You can now sign that big contact over a Zoom video meeting

Getting that big business deal signed and delivered could soon be done on a video call thanks to a new partnership between Zoom and DocuSign.

The eSign giant has announced a new DocuSign eSignature app for Zoom that allows users to sign and confirm documents whilst on a video conference call.

With the ongoing pandemic restrictions still making it tough for some organizations, particularly those with operations across the globe, to do face-to-face business, DocuSign says it hopes the new app will make signing agreements online that little bit more personal.

Zoom DocuSign app

“DocuSign eSignature for Zoom enables organizations to reimagine agreement processes with virtual, face-to-face signing experiences that accelerate time to agreement – while building trust and loyalty,” the company said in a blog post announcing the news.

The launch should also make thrashing out any specific details easier and quicker to resolve, with a face-to-face video call much quicker than going back and forth over email.

Signing can be done live by selecting the app whilst on a Zoom call, which is also able to automatically verify a signer's government-issued photo ID or eID in real-time with ID Verification. The host is then able to pass the documents around to the required signees, with all attendees receiving a PDF of the signed contract after the call has ended.

Users won't even need to have an account with Zoom or DocuSign to be able to use the service – just come along to the meeting.

“Employees don't want to spend their days toggling between countless apps and emails, especially when working with customers or partners. They want tools that streamline workflows and easily enable them to connect and collaborate,” said Ross Mayfield, Product Lead, Zoom Apps & Integrations. 

“We’re excited about DocuSign eSignature for Zoom as it allows stakeholders to review agreements together in real time before signing, helping eliminate communication silos and accelerate the completion of agreements.”

The app is available to download from the Zoom marketplace now.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Millions of people will celebrate Christmas over Zoom again this year

With or without Omicron, a significant portion of Brits were already planning celebrate the holidays over video conference, new research suggests.

Surveying 2,023 UK adults for the report, networking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) found that 11% expect to use live-streaming apps to connect with their friends and family during Christmas and the New Year, as compared with 12% last year.

While keeping in touch with friends and family over digital platforms is a necessary evil for more than a third (37%), almost the same proportion (34%) say the technology helped them feel included when they were unable to participate in-person last time round. A further 28% said it helped them feel connected, which is particularly important during the holiday season.

A digital Christmas

As a result of the pandemic, the use of live-streaming and video conferencing services is on the rise, with Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and Zoom all attracting more users than before.

However, connectivity issues are hampering their experience, the report suggests, with a quarter of people encountering fuzzy or low-quality pictures, or video freezes.

Part of the problem, GWS hints, lies with the telecoms sector. Of all the users that have suitable devices (e.g. a decent mobile device, webcam and headset), a third (33%) do not have adequate speeds to watch or broadcast an HD live-stream effectively. According to the report, a mobile device would need at least 5 Mbps download speeds and 4.5 Mbps upload. 

The report singles out O2 as attracting the fewest complaints from customers in this context. Roughly half of O2 customers (51%) did not report any issues when live-streaming, and 02 customers also had fewer issues with audio and picture quality.

For those suffering from connectivity issues, 5G could roll out just in time to save the day. More than a quarter (28%) of Brits are excited about the launch of 5G, with a fifth (22%) seeing it as important for keeping in touch with their loved ones.  

  • Check out our list of the best VoIP services around

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Zoom could owe you a pay-out after court ruling over privacy breaches

Zoom has settled a class-action lawsuit that alleged the company was in breach of privacy laws and put its users’ data at risk. As a result, it now needs to pay a small sum to all customers that can prove they were affected. 

The lawsuit alleged that the video conferencing app, Zoom Meetings, shared certain user information with third parties, did not do everything it could to prevent unwanted meeting disruption by third parties, and that the company falsely advertised its service as end-to-end encrypted.

In the legal notice of class-action settlement, which was published on the Zoom Meetings Class Action website, it was said that Zoom “denies any liability whatsoever, and believes that no member of the Settlement Class, including the Plaintiffs, has sustained any damages or injuries due to these allegations”.

However, because the company has decided to settle the suit, it is still required to issue compensation.

Who is eligible for compensation from Zoom?

Zoom will be paying out $ 85 million in total, and also agreed to change its policies and practices to benefit the members of the settlement class.

It seems that quite a large number of people are eligible to receive a small amount of compensation as a result. They fall into two categories: paying customers and those who use the free version.

Paying users that subscribed between March 30, 2016 and July 30, 2021 can file a claim for $ 25, or 15% of the subscription fee, whichever sum is greater. Those who used the free version by registering an account or downloading the Zoom Meeting app during the same time frame can file a claim for $ 15.

It’s important to keep in mind that the sum could change, depending on the number of people who file the claim. The claims must be submitted by March 5, 2022, with the final approval hearing scheduled for April 7, 2022.

Those who used an enterprise-level account or government account are not eligible for any compensation.

Claims can be filed here.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft accused of using Windows to push OneDrive and Teams over rivals

A coalition of software and cloud companies has filed a complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior of bundling its OneDrive cloud storage, Teams, and other services with Windows 10 and Windows 11.

The Coalition for a Level Playing Field includes several European Union (EU)-based companies led by open source hosted cloud storage vendor Nextcloud.

“This is quite similar to what Microsoft did when it killed competition in the [web] browser market, stopping nearly all browser innovation for over a decade. Copy an innovators' product, bundle it with your own dominant product and kill their business, then stop innovating,” says Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud.

Big Tech 

Arguing that Microsoft’s behavior is bad for the consumers, the coalition has asked the EC to enforce a level playing field for all the players, and ensure that Microsoft doesn’t leverage its dominant market position in the operating system sector to drive out competition in other segments.

Besides Nextcloud, the coalition includes several prominent open source, and non-profit organizations, such as European DIGITAL SME Alliance, the Document Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

On their homepage, the coalition suggests that the anti-competitive behaviour of Big Tech is not only killing competition, but in doing so is harming the consumers and business. 

“Microsoft is integrating [Microsoft] 365 deeper and deeper in their service and software portfolio, including Windows. OneDrive is pushed wherever users deal with file storage and Teams is a default part of Windows 11. This makes it nearly impossible to compete with their SaaS [Software-as-a-Service] services,” reasons the coalition.

To further drive home the point, it argues that while Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have grown their market share to 66% in the EU, the share of local providers has contracted from 26% to 16%. 

If you looking to make you business data omnipresent, these are the best business cloud storage services

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This all-new version of Microsoft Teams will take over your working life

Small businesses will now be able to utilise video conferencing software and online collaboration tool much easier with the launch of the first ever stand-alone version of Microsoft Teams.

Available now, Teams Essentials provides small businesses with an affordable meeting solution that is ideal for hybrid work environments. At just $ 4 per user per month, the software giant's new offering is one of the most competitively priced video conferencing and collaboration solutions on the market today.

“We know how difficult the past 20 months have been for small businesses,” noted Microsoft's corporate vice president of Modern Work, Jared Spataro. “They’ve had to demonstrate extreme flexibility to adapt, often with limited access to tools and technology. Teams Essentials is built specifically to meet the unique needs of small businesses, enabling them to thrive in this new era of work.”

Microsoft Teams Essentials

SMBs that sign up for Teams Essentials will be able to hold unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours and meetings with up to 300 people but they'll also get access to 10GB of cloud storage per user.

Teams Essentials also includes all of the existing and upcoming capabilities available in the free version of Teams such as easy invitations that only require an email address, Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar integration, virtual backgrounds, Together mode, always-available chats, polls and more.

Small businesses interested in purchasing Teams Essentials subscriptions for their employees can do so directly through the Teams website or from a variety of Microsoft Cloud Partners including ALSO, Crayon, Ingram, Pax8, Rhipe, TD Synnex, Telefonica (ES), Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone (IT) and Wortmann AG.

While Teams Essentials makes sense for small businesses that want to continue using their existing office software, for just $ 1 more at $ 5 per user per month, they can sign up for Microsoft 365 Business Basic which also includes access to the web and mobile versions of Microsoft's Office apps, 1TB of cloud storage per user, business-class email, Teams meetings recordings with transcripts and more.

Looking to improve your video calls? Check out our roundups of the best video conferencing softwarebest business webcams and best headsets for conference calls

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More