Zoho Review

Reviewed by:     André Spiteri

The Gist

Zoho Meetings may not be the most full-featured web conferencing app around, but it’s still well worth checking out. It’s reasonably secure and makes it possible to host web conferences without the need to download or install anything. This, coupled with an impressive free tier, makes it a great choice for startups and freelancers who want to collaborate online whilst keeping their overhead as low as possible. 

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Zoho Highlights

  • Bank-grade encryption.
  • Embedding option.
  • Multi-platform support.

Pros

  • Free tier.
  • Browser-based.
  • Detailed reporting.
  • Google Apps Integration.

Cons

  • No live customer support.
  • Recordings cannot be password protected.

Features

Zoho Meetings has both a free and a paid tier.

The free tier only allows one-on-one collaboration. Other than that, however, it sports an impressive array of features you’d normally only find in paid web conferencing solutions. These include desktop sharing, multi-platform support, instant messaging and the ability to share mouse and keyboard controls.

Of course, you’ll get more features in the paid tier. These include up to 20 hosts and 100 simultaneous participants, the option to change presenter and surprisingly detailed reporting.

Unfortunately, Zoho Meetings does lack some features which come as standard on other web conferencing solutions we reviewed. For instance, it does not have a whiteboard, or any advanced meeting features such as electronic hand raising. More significantly, while you can record audio, you cannot record video. 

Flexibility

While there’s a dedicated desktop plugin you can download, it’s possible to operate Zoho Meetings completely within your browser.

You’ll need a Zoho Meetings login in order to organize and host meetings. However, as an attendee all you need is to follow the link, input your meeting key and you’re done.

Because you can manage meetings directly from the Zoho website, you can run it from multiple platforms. Alternatively, you can embed Zoho Meetings into your blog or website.

That said, your browser will need to support Active X, Java or Flash viewer.

The free tier only supports one on one meetings, while the priced plan can support up to 20 hosts and up to 100 simultaneous participants. While this should suit most business meetings just fine, it’s not going to cut it if you want to conduct a webinar or other large scale event.

Security And Privacy

While it doesn’t have much in the way of advanced features, Zoho Meeting’s security is reasonable.

All connections and data transfers use industry standard 128-bit AES encryption. The system is also built to work well behind firewalls and proxy connections, which allows you to add an extra layer of security to your communications.

You’ll also need a randomly generated meeting key in order to access a meeting.

However, it’s not possible to password-protect recordings. It also seems you’ll need to get in touch with Zoho personnel in order to retrieve them. 

Ease Of Use

Zoho Meetings’ interface is clean and minimal.

You can initiate a meeting either by logging on to the Zoho web site or through a dedicated desktop client. Similarly, you can join a meeting either via a desktop shortcut or by following a link. You don’t need a Zoho login if you’re just an attendee.

That said, while this sounds easy on paper, there’s an added complication. Even though Zoho Meeting is advertised as being completely browser-based, you’ll need to select Active X viewer, Java viewer or Flash viewer and wait for it to run or install before you can join the meeting. This means there may be some waiting time before you can start your session. 

Customer Support 

Zoho’s website has a dedicated resources page. You’ll find detailed user guides and a regularly updated blog full of tips and tricks on making the most of Zoho Meeting.

There’s also a forum where you can ask questions. However, Zoho staff generally seem to take quite a while to address queries, at least as far as we could see.

You can also submit a ticket via an online form. Unfortunately, no live customer support is available.

Conclusion 

Zoho Meetings is a reasonably secure and flexible way to collaborate online without breaking the bank. That said, once your business starts to grow you might well need some added functionality which Zoho Meetings is as yet unable to provide. 

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Last Updated:   April 2016

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