What platform do you use for synchronous online learning?
Adobe Connect? Blackboard Collaborate? WebEx? GoToMeeting? BigBlueButton? Skype? Google Hangouts?
A new startup, Zoom.us, is determined to shakeup this market.
The founders of Zoom.us come from Cisco (which purchased WebEx), and they believe that there is a need for an educationally focused collaboration and e-learning tool that is designed for the mobile and cloud era.
The platform is still relatively young, and all the feature sets in the Zoom.us roadmap have not been implemented yet. But in putting out a relatively early release, Zoom.us allows us to experience fast and easy HD video conferencing through the browser or an iOS device. The comparative advantage of Zoom.us is how easy it is to start a meeting (with your Google or Facebook login and contacts), jumping right into high quality video and VOIP conferencing and screen sharing. The platform currently allows for 15 people to meet online, and it works seamlessly across iPhones, iPads and every browser.
Could Zoom.us replace the synchronous class/meeting web conferencing platform that you use now? I'm hoping that Zoom.us develops quickly, but at this point the answer for me is a "no".
We use Adobe Connect, and Zoom.us currently lacks some of the core features of this platform. This includes the ability to scale up the number of webcam feeds (to at least 35), persistent content upload (to leave presentations in place), breakout rooms, polling, and phone integration with the VOIP for meeting audio.
Zoom.us has the meeting recording and playback , and the screen sharing is robust. Zoom.us also seems to do a superior job with VOIP, so I wonder if the conference line integration will be a requirement in the future (as paying for phone minutes is expensive).
I hope that you check out Zoom.us - and contact the founders. My impression is that the startup consists of very talented engineers and developers, and that they will be very responsive to crafting the platform around the specific needs of higher education. While higher education is not the only market that they are looking at, our segment is a priority, and the more of us that Zoom.us the more the platform will develop as a learning tool.
The other reason to spend time with Zoom.us is to give you a reference point to work with whatever synchronous web meeting vendor that you are currently working with. If Zoom.us can make login seamless, video HD quality, VOIP sound great, and easy login by Google or Facebook - then why can't everyone else?
Let us know what you think of Zoom.us, and how happy you are with your current synchronous learning platform.