The company I work for has two main office locations, one in the Bay Area, the other in Western Canada. While our HQ is in California, every team that is involved in defining and building our SaaS solution — product, design, engineering, and QA — is distributed between the two locations. And, for good measure, we also work with engineering contractors in additional locations, as well.
As a consequence, even before the current pandemic, the vast majority of our meetings has involved bridging the long geographical distance between our offices via Zoom video conferencing.
Zoom has a few UI quirks that I find very odd, but, overall, it’s proven to be a very stable and relatively user-friendly solution. Especially with our setup of “Zoom Rooms,” which is based on a combination of iPad app and a Mac mini running the actual video conferencing software.
Add the necessary rooms for the “physical meeting component” to a Google Calendar item, click a button to add Zoom conferencing capabilities, and all meetings for each of the rooms will appear in said stationary iPad: click “Start Meeting” to magically join the meeting you created, and you’re up and running.
We obviously never expected this to happen, but thanks to our experience, taking our entire company Zoom-remote hardly changed any of the meeting scheduling procedures that we’ve been following already.
Now it just means that, instead of connecting a few rooms in our offices via Zoom, we’re simply connecting individuals of those teams who are all WFH.
Thankfully, with very few exceptions, Zoom is holding up remarkably well to the increase in demand caused by the pandemic and ensuing shelter-in-place orders.
In fact, I heard from co-workers that Zoom might be facing 5x its usual traffic, and seeing how stable the platform still is, is quite remarkable.
The one area that we haven’t really explored yet, is the annotation feature which lets you draw right on the screen. Not a new idea by any means — I first saw this idea in a demo of Bryce by none other than Kai Krause from back in April of 1996(!) — but still surprisingly underused.
P.S.: I have a copy of that Bryce demo video and was never able to find it anywhere online. If you have seen it, please let me know. Because if it truly isn’t out there, I should publish it. It’s just too awesome to not let others enjoy it, as well.