Zoom video-conferencing app keeping millions connected amid coronavirus pandemic
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Eric Lewis and the rest of the management team at Youth Opportunities Unlimited in Cleveland typically gather together each Monday afternoon for a meeting.
But not today.
“We are all going to be on Zoom,” Lewis, director of talent management at the Cleveland nonprofit that finds work for disadvantaged young people, told
Over the last few weeks, Zoom has become an extremely popular video-communications app for users to stay connected at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has people avoiding each other and governments have ordered some businesses to close.
“Overnight, Zoom has become a primary social platform for millions of people, a lot of them high school and college students, as those institutions move to online learning,” according to a recent article in the New York Times.
Just how many millions using Zoom? The California-based company, which produces both a free version of its app and an enhanced version for those willing to pay, declined to say when contacted by
And Zoom’s shares, traded on the Nasdaq exchange, have soared.
Zoom and its founder, Eric Yuan, are also getting plenty of positive publicity for their willingness to help out in the crisis.“Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan has been lauded for the company’s efforts to help out schools and other organizations during the crisis,” reads a March 21
article. “On March 13, Zoom started removing the 40-minute call limit for free accounts at tens of thousands of schools in the U.S. and other countries.”
Yuan, a former Cisco vice president of engineering, started Zoom in 2011 to “deliver happiness and bring teams together to get more done in a frictionless video environment,” according to Yuan’s bio on the Zoom website.
Youth Opportunities Unlimited of Cleveland pays for a more enhanced version of the Zoom app. Lewis said he prefers it over other Web-based video-conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams. But many people sidelined by the coronavirus can download the free variety.
Lewis said Zoom is very easy to use and it fits a variety of collaboration platforms. The app he uses allows participants to mute themselves or turn off their cameras during a conference call, he said, and the presenter has the ability to show slides and share them with others.
“So it is just really, really feature rich,” Lewis said.
John Berghoff, founder of the Flourishing Leadership Institute in Hudson, said Zoom is going to help transform the meeting process.
“Most people hated to go to meetings before all this happened,” he said, “ . . . and those meeting are going to be worse online.”
But with Zoom, companies can actually improve their communications, he said. For example, a video conference of, say, 700 people can be divided into breakout groups and then brought back together with the push of a button.
“The bottom line is the whole world overnight had to figure how to get things done remotely,” he said, and for many of them Zoom is the answer.