"Dear Parents / Guardians,
Zoom is currently experiencing intermittent issues with their service that is impacting a large number of school districts.
We are in communication with Zoom’s technical support team to identify a timeline for resolution. In the meantime we have asked our teachers to communicate with their students through Google Classroom regarding today’s learning activities.
We will keep our students and families updated as we learn more."
Not sure whether this is a school district losing credibility… my son is on Zoom right now in the district telling me of the outage, and saying it’s a Zoom issue…
actually this is a zoom issue - https://status.zoom.us/incidents/1z2lrf4nrv8p
"We have received reports of users being unable to visit the Zoom website (zoom.us) and unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars. We are currently investigating and will provide updates as we have them.
Posted 52 minutes ago. Aug 24, 2020 - 05:51 PDT
I saw this breaking just now, with Zoom down worldwide.
Why does it matter?
Obviously it’s the first day of the school year for many people, and for Zoom to have mass outages it is not good PR. Perhaps Zoom could’ve anticipated the spike in usage and been better prepared for this, although my technical understanding of these outages and how they could’ve been prepared for is somewhat limited. And outages happen sometimes.
I think the important thing is how will Zoom address these outages, fix them quickly and minimise them going forwards. Clearly if there were to repeat instances like these it would damage the trust with customers, as well as the reputational damage. I could see schools would not put up long with a video conferencing tool that has continual outages. It may have put Zoom at a bad start with some schools, but I don’t imagine the impact will be lasting if it can quickly address these issues.
It’s the first day of school. The key for me now is to observe how Zoom responds going forwards.
For those interested, this site gives a live tracker of outage reports:
Reports seem to have started 2 hours ago, and continue to peak.
Most reports cite “System can’t login Zuora system (3,299)”. A quick google suggests that Zuora is Zoom’s subscription management system provider.
How much Zuora’s system would be under Zoom’s control is beyond me.
It would be good to see a quick resolution, Zoom to identify the cause of the fault and to put controls in place so it doesn’t happen again. Dealing with this quickly and with transparency could be key to minimise any short term reputational damage. If so it could be an opportunity for Zoom to demonstrate the effectiveness of its response controls.
Outages happen, how Zoom deals with it will be more telling.
FWIW, I just started and ran a short Zoom meeting with two colleagues a few minutes ago (10:30 am EST) in the NYC area and didn’t notice any issues. Maybe the issue is sporadic or affects a particular subset of accounts or is already resolved.
The Zoom status pages, fwiw.
Kinda hate to see changes applied on Sunday, followed by problems on Monday, but it looks like they’re constantly making adjustments so that may be completely irrelevant.
Just ran a 15 person zoom meeting from 10:30 to 1:30 Eastern Standard Time with no issues
From the Zoom “downdetector” link AThinkingFool posted about earlier.
Zoom stated the following:
This issue has been resolved and everything should be working properly. Thanks for your patience!
And Eric Yuan followed up with:
Today @zoom_us had a service disruption that affected many of our customers. We know the responsibility we have to keep your meetings, classrooms & important events running. I’m personally very sorry & we will all do our best to prevent this from happening in the future.
Although we would like to not see any down events, the speed with which Zoom reacted to this is good to see.
Hopefully this means there is a huge increase in usage to have caused this (no evidence of this, just my hopes) as a lot of schools are reopening (most, remotely) right now.
My wife is a public school teacher here in Los Angeles and this morning she was notified that Zoom was down before her first class began at 830am. I’m not sure that the problem hasn’t been fixed as she went into the physical classroom at her school today to do some needed work from there.
I heard about the Zoom outage this morning, but when I went into school in the late am, our district’s teachers were on virutal meetings and everything was working. They were on Zoom meetings again this afternoon, and they will be on Zoom meetings practically all day tomorrow.
This is our prep week for teachers. The school district that I work for will be all virtual for the month of September.
I can’t see how education won’t be a big spike in usage… it will be interesting!
Although this might look bad in the short term in the long term it demonstrates yet another advantage of virtual meetings. When the power, water, or heat is out they cancel school for the entire day. The same happens with weather events. Whereas a problem with Zoom has the potential to be resolved in the same day. Where physical attendance is necessary you can never go in later because of bussing issues.
Potential use case for Zoom, not related to current outage -
Perhaps schools will continue their Zoom subscription after the pandemic for kids who are sick? Schools get paid approximately $50/day/student. If the sick child can still attend classes via Zoom, the school may not necessarily lose the funding from the the state for lost attendance.
Unfortunately using Zoom to teach sick students is probably unlikely as it would require teachers to livestream their classes once school returns to fully in-person status. There are privacy issues involved which will cause the school lawyers to forbid this practice in most public schools.
Also teachers unions do not want this either - I’ve even heard of some school systems who are trying to prevent parents from watching the classroom teaching sessions that their children are receiving during distance learning. Most likely reason is they don’t want the parents to criticize the teachers.
I could however envision a use case where states could use distance learning via Zoom to teach advanced or specialized classes during non-pandemic times to students, especially in rural areas where they cannot justify providing in-person teachers and instruction for these subjects due to low enrollment. Currently this is done by either busing students (often after school) to a central location to teach a group of students with a single teacher or else having high school students sign up for classes at a local community college.
Living in a rural community for the past thirty years, I can tell you that at least since 2004 ‘distance learning’ has been in place for a variety of classes. This is on both the local school district as well as Community Education services. The idea is nothing new, although the technology is shifting from static endpoints (bridged teleconferencing equipment) to potentially dynamic endpoints via computers.
Outages happen, how Zoom deals with it will be more telling.
Here is some initial feedback on how Zoom has handled the outage from yesterday morning.
Looks like a textbook example for taking responsibility and ownership of a problem - so good to see.
Long ZM - and anxiously awaiting earnings.