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Video Conferencing Platforms: An overview of ‘Zoom’ – What is it being used for?

May 11th, 2020

Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, our collective efforts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 spread, many community programs, support groups, religious groups and gatherings that many of you may have relied on or had been planned were either indefinitely postponed or cancelled. Schooling has become more difficult for many students that relied on the social aspect of in-classroom learning and having the teacher present for hands-on learning and support.  Others may have also relied on the personal interaction with peers and other support within the classroom to help them focus and learn social skills. Many parents and others were introduced to the online meeting platform Zoom, among others. The use of Zoom (and other video-based communication platforms) has helped many individuals stay connected for work, education, social interactions, religious ceremonies and other community support that are being offered while respecting physical distancing.

Zoom is a web-based platform on which you can conduct meetings, webinars, and online video and/or voice chats with others. The platform has become popular since the social distancing and social isolation efforts in the Province in order to address COVID-19. 

Schoolboards and other agencies have started relying on various video conferencing or collaboration solutions - prominently the Zoom platform in our Region - which has benefited many in being able to:  see the instructor, coordinator, worker or companion, pastor and people ‘live’ on the computer screen, tablet or smartphone. What is also interesting to some - with a little more learning about the platform - is that you can share a screen or an application. Some features that parents, students and teachers enjoy is the white board feature; for children and educators, it allows them to be hands-on by participating and interacting in screen-based activities, seeing what is being taught or read and engaging within a different aspect as some have learned in the past. According to our Outreach Coordinator Kait-Lynn, this would have been great while in elementary school as an option to stay more focused on the paragraphs being read by others because seeing them on the screen, highlighted, would have avoided being distracted by not reading ahead and focusing on highlighted words being read. 

Additionally, this platform is assisting those that require mental health support or spiritual support.  In our catchment, churches and professionals in mental health and other community services have turned to Zoom (or other video platforms) to hold “in-person” sessions. This also allows professionals to connect with patients and other professionals in the same sessions as well.  

As with anything online, there is a potential exposure to your online privacy while using any application. Recently, Zoom has had their share of negativity along these lines, with their recent cyberattack where users’ details were found on the Dark Web. A few tips to ensure you are safe while on the web using ANY online meeting software is to only allow participants you have sent the join link to, not to have a “public” or “open” session (meaning participants will have to have the join link to join), having passwords to join meetings, have a moderator to ensure the participant list is accurate, and to use online safety practices always. Safety practices include: not sharing personal details, not giving out information that can be tracked back to you, sharing passwords or phone numbers and emails. 

NEOnet uses Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting for internal collaboration between staff and board meetings as well as presentations.  We also use Zoom as part of our Digital Services Squad activities (in conjunction with Slack).  Many individuals also stay socially connected by using Apple FaceTime, Apple iMessage (iPhone & iPads/iPods), Facebook Messenger, Facebook Rooms, Facebook, Google Duo, or Microsoft Skype. Additionally, many employers that are looking to hire temporary staff during this time have been using services such as Cisco WebEx to continue completing interviews with participants. 

Want to learn more about Zoom or any other Video Collaboration tools? Reach out to us to continue the conversation! 

Read more about Zoom here: 

Support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Zoom’s A Lifeline During COVID-19: This Is Why It’s Also A Privacy Risk

DSB1 Continuity of Learning Plan

Northern students tackle online learning

A parent’s guide to online learning platforms

What is Cisco WebEx


2 "new" Video Collaboration tools to consider, as shared by NEOnet Board Members!

Jitsi is a set of open-source projects that allows you to easily build and deploy secure video conferencing solutions. At the heart of Jitsi are Jitsi Videobridge and Jitsi Meet, which let you have conferences on the internet, while other projects in the community enable other features such as audio, dial-in, recording, and simulcasting.

If you want an alternative to Zoom: try Jitsi Meet. It’s encrypted, open source (currently Free), and you don’t need an account. Meet Jitsi.



Secure Video Conferencing for Teams from TAURIA

Connect and collaborate securely over truly end-to-end encrypted video calls. Seamlessly meet and share information over video, the entire meeting stays private. 

This newer commercial offering has a Canadian connection – out of Waterloo, Ontario!

Tauria is creating a future where companies can communicate, send files, store important information and more, knowing their data will be secured and protected from internal and external threats. Tauria was founded by Jesse David Thé, in Waterloo Ontario.  with the goal of creating an easy-to-use platform to protect a company’s most valuable information. Today Tauria’s solutions are used across every continent and has operations across 3 countries and has military grade encryption.