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We often hear from Zoom users about our platform’s awesome ability to connect people, especially its power to deliver the face-to-face communications you would get from a business trip without ever having to leave the office. However, many users may not realize the full extent of its versatility. Zoom not only allows you to connect and collaborate without traveling, it is also ideal to help you stay in touch on every leg of a journey if you do have to travel. To illustrate that point, I thought it would be fun to share some stories about Zoom meetings held in planes, trains, automobiles–and even on a bicycle.
Since I joined Zoom as its CIO in March of this year, I have had occasion to travel to meet colleagues in other Zoom offices, attend technology conferences, and visit fellow CIOs. While on the road, I still need to participate in presentations, meetings, and one-on-one calls with my team–in short, I need to “keep the wheels turning” no matter where I am, and Zoom has proven invaluable in letting me do that!
I have used Zoom to conduct meetings while in the air over Iceland, traveling by train from New York City to Philadelphia, in Ubers driving across town, and while walking on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Zoom’s flexibility and ease-of-use allow me to quickly transition from one mode to another and to adapt to my surroundings in all types of settings. For example, I have Zoomed in audio-only mode while riding my bicycle, and then switched to video once on the train. I have discovered that Zoom’s collaboration features provide the same awesome, easy-to-use experience on the go or in the office. When I have needed to explain something to a colleague while traveling, I have pulled up the whiteboard in my Zoom meeting and started drawing a diagram or annotated a shared a document– all from my phone! When content is shared with me on my phone, I am able to “zoom” in and see it very clearly, with perfect reliability.
Zoom’s versatile feature set makes it ideal for travel. When I am on a plane or train, I use video, but turn off my microphone and use chat instead. Doing this allows me to actively listen, but not talk (since that might disturb people around me). By using chat, I can still ask questions, make comments, and be completely engaged in the meeting! In fact, I Zoomed with a colleague to discuss this blog post while flying from New York to Houston recently. Additionally, Zoom just announced iPhone virtual backgrounds. This feature allows you to have a professional backdrop from anywhere – no physical green screen required.
You do not have to take it from me that Zoom provides frictionless communications in nearly any setting–you can hear it from our customers too. We recently received a letter from a user who recounted how Zoom “saved the day” by allowing him to close a very important deal while traveling in the Philippines (you can read the full account here). He got caught in traffic and had to call into a meeting a client scheduled using a legacy screen sharing tool–while he was a passenger in an Uber. Not only did the call fail, but then his laptop battery died. Fortunately, he was able to reconvene the meeting using Zoom on his mobile phone. He reported that he could not only hear and see the clients perfectly, but that the clients liked the experience so much that they asked to use Zoom–instead of the legacy solution–for the next meeting!
We also heard from a Notre Dame professor who used Zoom to participate in his students’ year-end project presentations while he was flying to Detroit from Amsterdam, where he had just spoke at an important conference. His teaching assistant placed an iPad near the front of the auditorium where the students were presenting the projects, allowing him to see and hear everything, and to communicate with everyone involved. By using Zoom, he avoided having to skip the conference or reschedule dozens of students’ presentations.
Zoom has been a huge boon to my productivity, and as you have read, has helped Zoom users in some unique ways too. I can get more done now than I had ever been able to, and travel no longer creates scheduling obstacles or is synonymous with downtime. I’m not sure where my travels will take me this summer, but maybe I’ll post a video of me Zooming on a jet ski soon!
I would love to hear about how Zoom has helped you on the road or in the office. You can send me your stories and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.