By: Barbara Agin, NJCUL Vice President, Member Experience & Education
When you look at New Jersey on the map, you would think travel would not be an issue for such a small state. Not so! While Hightstown makes sense as a central location, it isn’t necessarily convenient or conducive for our members given the travel time and/or overall time out of the office.
The League first introduced a video conferencing solution in 2010 with the assistance of two credit unions: Atlantic FCU in Kenilworth and Members 1st of NJ FCU in Vineland. This helped some but still left many unreachable.
Short of bundling limo service with membership—not going to happen!—our only option was to develop a cutting edge distance learning capability that allows you to participate remotely, either as a group at a satellite location or from the convenience of your own desk via a browser.
So we made the decision to invest in new technology that will address this issue and provide far more value to our members.
Several months ago, we began researching Webinar platforms, and one provider really stood out from the pack—a company called Zoom. When I first heard about Zoom, I couldn't help but remember a television show on Channel Thirteen where kids ran around talking in their secret language and making things out of gum wrappers. If you know what I'm talking about, then we are of the same generation, and if not, hey, that's okay. As my kids remind me, I’m old.
So how does Zoom work? As they say, Zoom is a cloud video conferencing system that is easy to use and supports a wireless screen-sharing experience across Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and more! What does that mean to you? It means that we have the technology to connect you to our educational sessions in Hightstown wherever you may be. If you can reach the Internet, you can reap the benefits of our sessions through Zoom.
In addition, Zoom allows us to host Webinars, which my colleagues Nicola Foggie and Chris Abeel are currently using for compliance and regulatory topics as well as political and legislative updates. Nicola’s next Webinar, where we challenge you to “Stump Nicola” with your compliance questions, is coming up soon on March 9th at 10 a.m. Register here.
Another way we can use the technology is with Zoom Meetings, which are similar to Skype or FaceTime (but way cooler) and are great for interactive education. We currently use these meetings to connect with our video conferencing partners (Atlantic FCU and Members 1st of NJ FCU) through our updated “Zoom Room”, which is a transformed and technologically upgraded version of our Education Center. We’ve added some new equipment, including cameras and two large screens that enable us to share presentations and connect face-to-face through video chat.
It’s easy, fun and, as I mentioned, convenient! Last week, I received an email from a Fraud Roundtable attendee telling me she had a conflict and needed to cancel. I asked her if she had an hour or so to spare to participate from her desktop. She did, logged in with her browser and speakers, participated remotely, and said it was great!
We also have the ability to record and archive the Webinars so that you can view them on your time, when it fits into your schedule; again, convenient! You can access Nicola’s archived Webinars here (this is members-only content, so you’ll need your www.njcul.org login).
Our goal here at the League is to get more members using Zoom to allow maximum flexibility when you cannot travel to us, and look for opportunities to leverage this platform for a greater learning experience. It’s all about you – our members!
Want to give Zoom a try? Click here to register and join us on Friday, March 17th (good old St. Patty’s Day) between the hours of 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. to connect with us through our transitionary, soon-to-be-completed, somewhat state-of-the-art training room.
And yes, there are pictures of the Zoom Room. Check them out here!