Zoom will lift its meeting time limit for the festive season

17 Dec 2020

Image: © PixieMe/Stock.adobe.com

The video-conferencing app will give unlimited meetings to global users for several days over the holiday season.

As the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe and sent schools and businesses to the online world, video calls and virtual meetings became vital for work, learning and socialising.

Zoom quickly emerged as one of the most popular choices for this, which reflected extremely well in the company’s earnings reports this year.

While the video-conferencing platform offers paid subscription plans that provide users with unlimited meetings and other features, its free service is more limited, offering unlimited one-to-one meetings but capping group calls at 40 minutes.

At the end of March, just as schools around the world were beginning their remote learning journey, the company lifted its 40-minute time limit on free accounts for K-12 or primary schools.

Now, the video-conferencing app is once again lifting its meeting time limit for all users globally for several days throughout the coming holiday season, so that friends and families don’t get cut off abruptly after 40 minutes.

In a blog post, the company said: “Whether coming together on the final day of Hanukkah, celebrating Christmas, ringing in the New Year, or marking the last days of Kwanzaa, those connecting with friends and family won’t get cut short.”

Users will not need to do anything, as the time limit will automatically be lifted for a number of designated times throughout December and into the new year.

The 40-minute time limit will lift during the following periods (all times in UTC):

  • 3pm on 17 December until 11am on 19 December
  • 3pm on 23 December until 11am on 26 December
  • 3pm on 30 December until 11am on 2 January

Making the most of Zoom

In spite of its popularity, Zoom has not been without its problems throughout the year, particularly in the early months in relation to security and ‘Zoombombing’.

So, for those who are making virtual calls during the festive period, it’s a good idea to take a look at Silicon Republic’s essential guide to keeping your Zoom meetings secure.

This will help you familiarise yourself with the security features already in place on your plan, navigate meeting IDs and passwords and give you some additional tips around restricting participants’ powers.

For those who have managed to largely avoid using Zoom this year, don’t worry about trying to figure it out before your virtual festive get-together. We also have some six simple tips that will help you get to grips with the basics of using the app. It will also help you set that all-important festive virtual background.

Finally, if you’re looking for some inspiration for your virtual festivities, our own Lisa Ardill has plenty of ideas that will get you into the remote Christmas party spirit.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com