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Virtual meetings work!

The Washington DC area group just finished our first virtual meeting via Zoom. It obviously was not as satisfactory as our meetings at Teaism, but we managed to talk for two and a half hours and it was great to talk about trips we hope to take; trips we may, sadly, have to postpone and the latest intel on where to buy groceries. We had a new member as my cat, Percy, decided to join for a bit and display his “best side” to the group.

We are planning another virtual meeting for April. I will post details when it is confirmed. If someone outside the Washington DC area would like to join us, pm me and I will let you know how to log in.

Happy future travels everyone.

Posted by
7606 posts

Kim! What a great idea! So happy you all had a good meeting and thanks for sharing.

Posted by
2456 posts

How many participants can there be in a Zoom meeting? I could see a BIG virtual meetup in the various travel groups’ future...

Posted by
116 posts

Mona, it depends on your subscription. I think the free version limits to 30 or 40. There is potential for hundreds.

Posted by
20569 posts

Any chance of overloading Zoom for non critical items. My son's company has been used zoom in a limited way for the past couple of years but now is using it for nearly everything. His complaint is that is breaks up now and it did not in the past. Raises the question of capacity. Since I do not know the technology behind Zoom I would assume there is some limits to it's capacity.

Posted by
1835 posts

Kim, what a great idea and thank you for sharing. I bet it was fun!

Posted by
1383 posts

Kim, so glad to hear that Zoom worked well for you.

The San Francisco East Bay group held our virtual meeting yesterday using Adobe Connect. I've used it many times at work, with hundreds of participants, so decided to stick with something I knew. It is free during the crisis and supports 25 (correction) users. Though realistically, if you're showing a webcam video of each person, your normal meeting size is probably a practical screen limit.

One tip: laptop and desktop users should use headphones to avoid an audio feedback loop through the microphone.

I would be happy to help any leader get it set up for their group.

Correction made above: while Adobe Connect can support hundreds of users - which I've done at work in the past - the free trial version, available now through July 1, supports 25 participants.

Posted by
4435 posts

Any chance of overloading Zoom for non critical items.

I suspect that if you are holding meetings outside of business hours, there is less of a risk of this

Posted by
4435 posts

By the way, meant to add a thanks to Kim for setting this up for us DC participants.

Posted by
17 posts

We're heavy users of Zoom at work and haven't seen any drop off in quality. Some people have had local issues with the significant increase in home internet use during the work day. There will be a limit to how much they can scale but they don't appear to be close to it yet. Their peak use is during the work day so evening meetings are less likely to cause issues.

From a practical perspective an interactive meeting with more than 20 people is complicated on Zoom unless you do break out rooms but you can physically have many more connected. If you're all together only one person can talk at a time.

Only the host needs a paid account. Quite affordable if you regularly go longer than 40 minutes.

Posted by
5311 posts

suspect that if you are holding meetings outside of business hours, there is less of a risk of this

However, keep in mind that non-business hours in the States are business hours in Asia and Europe, etc etc (and vice versa).

I mean, maybe Zoom has different servers for different regions, I have no idea. But it is a thought.

Yes, I think Zoom is going to be tested to the limit!!

Anyway, very cool for your travel group meeting, Kim!

Posted by
7540 posts

If things haven't changed by April 18th maybe we can try a virtual meeting next month. I'll definitely need help with that or maybe someone else in the group can set it up.

Posted by
17 posts

However, keep in mind that non-business hours in the States are
business hours in Asia and Europe, etc etc (and vice versa). I mean,
maybe Zoom has different servers for different regions, I have no
idea. But it is a thought.

I don’t think Zoom has said which cloud provider they use but I’m assuming they run in many different regions in the world. Load in Europe wouldn’t necessarily cause issues with capacity in North America.

Zoom has had a number of operational issues but they all seem to be short lived. If you look through their status history there are mostly regional: https://status.zoom.us

Until you see them restricting free access to ensure capacity for paying customers I wouldn’t be too concerned,