Think video conferencing systems are now robust enough to handle the surge in learning and working from home? Unconcerned that your team’s communications are heavily reliant on some very young tech vendors whose systems have yet to be proven robust? You may want to reconsider.
Monday morning was some college students’ first day of online classes. Many at-home workers were preparing for company- and department-wide morning meetings, and others were preparing for videoconference job interviews.
Much of that came to a halt, however, as the popular Zoom video calling app experienced widespread outages across the United States, affecting potentially millions of users.
Many college students noted the outage on Twitter, including one posting of an official notice from Washington & Jefferson College recommending that instructors use Microsoft Teams to conduct online classes until the Zoom platform issue was resolved.
The first notice about the problem from Zoom occurred on its status.zoom.us website at 8:51 a.m. Eastern daylight time. The note said that Zoom was investigating “reports of users being unable to visit the Zoom website (zoom.us) and unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars. We … will provide updates as we have them.”
Downdetector.com showed that reports of problems started trickling in before 8 a.m. Eastern, with a spike in problems reported at 9:53 a.m., when more than 16,000 users clicked on the site’s “I have a problem with Zoom” button. About 73% of users reported trouble logging into Zoom and 15% issues with joining a video conference.
The Zoom support site also said that users were also unable to sign up for paid accounts, upgrade, or manage their service on the Zoom website.
At 10:58 a.m. @zoom_us tweeted that the company was “in the process of deploying a fix across our cloud. Service has been restored already for some users. We are continuing to roll this out to complete the fix for any users still impacted.”
According to ZDnet, “Zoom was an early beneficiary of the videoconferencing boom spurred by the the company grew from 10 million users in December to more than 300 million daily meeting participants today—but the platform has experienced several outages this year that has disrupted its service for users.”
Zoom’s problems come as it attempts to expand into other areas of communications. It introduced a hardware device for the home office in July. It is also marketing its Zoom Phone service, which it calls “a simple, secure, cloud phone system, [for companies] to untangle their global telephony spending and replace their existing PBX solution with one that fits seamlessly into their overall communications framework.” Zoom Phone is now available in more than 40 countries and offers a “global plan” in which the organization pays one flat price per user.
In addition, on Wednesday, Zoom announced the upcoming availability of its video calling service on smart displays, including Facebook’s Portal, Alphabet’s Google Next Hub Max, and Amazon’s Echo Show.
The Zoom videoconferencing app has a somewhat spotty operational history. In April, security experts found problems with Zoom’s technology that could expose users’ classified data to certain vulnerabilities.
Zoom Video Communications stock was down about 1.9% at 12:20p.m.
At 12:14 p.m. Zoom tweeted that “meeting and webinar service has been restored for the majority of users.” Still, users were unable to perform account management via the company’s website, it said.