zoom-concept-photoThe online meeting/video conferencing world is quite crowded, but Zoom is shaking things up by allowing meeting attendees to share their mobile screens, in addition to sharing webcam video and desktop screens. Available on iOS for now, but coming “soon” to Android, the feature works by simply using AirPlay to broadcast mobile screens (over WiFi) back to a desktop-enabled video conference.  It’s impressively simple and efficient.

zoom-airplayUsing Zoom, I shared my iPad screen with Nick Chong (Zoom’s Head Product Marketing) in just a few taps. Note that there is a one-time software installation that users will need to go through, but since the PC (Windows or Mac) is the one connecting and broadcasting the video stream, it was a straightforward way of doing this.

For app developers, this is possibly the best method to demonstrate an app and work collaboratively since it’s possible to add annotations. The overall video quality was excellent and preserves the sharpness of the original hiDPI table display. (We used a 10 Mbps upload Internet connection, so I’m not sure how it scales at slower speed).

At the same time, Zoom has also added a Cloud Video Recording capability to their meeting service. Previously, it was possible to record locally, but now users can now opt to save their videos directly onto Zoom’s cloud storage, which may be better for having a centralized place to store all meetings.

The video recording happens in HD 720p, and also works with the mobile sharing described above. If you want to see what videos may look like, I recommend checking Zoom’s YouTube channel since they have a pretty accurate representation of what can be done with a fast connection.

If you haven’t heard of Zoom before, we first spotted them last year and the company has been very aggressive to enroll new users: everyone can get most of the main features for free. The biggest difference between the free (“Basic”) and paid service (“Pro”) is that the free version has a time limit of 40mn, after which you have to restart the conference.  The Pro version is also compatible with SIP room systems and other enterprise features. The Business edition gets additional IT management features that SMBs probably don’t really care about.

If you are looking for a video call service that lets you record video for 40mn for free, this may be your best option, especially if you want a great mobile-sharing feature. Here’s their pitch:

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