Video Conferencing Options in Slack

I received a request for Zoom integration in Slack. I thought it might be worthwhile to put the answer here.

It would be great to install Zoom for Slack in a way that it is available to all users in the Library Slack. Unfortunately, this requires someone with Zoom administrative privileges. And that person would be in central IT. In the current crisis, this will not exactly be IT’s top priority.

Unless and until that gets sorted out, you have two options.

First, you can use Slack’s built-in video conferencing. Type /call in Slack to start a video call with everyone in the channel or on the direct message. (Or click the phone icon in the interface.) In my view, the biggest upside to this approach is the simplicity of both starting a call and the interface. You can mute/unmute your audio, enable/disable video, start/stop screen sharing, and a few other things. But that’s it. No fancy permissions, invitations, scheduling meetings ahead of time, and so on. Also, as far as I’m aware, UCSF has no Business Associates Agreement or other similar agreement with Slack. This means that you should never use Slack video (or Slack text messages!) for sensitive information such as protected health information.

In contrast, we do have appropriate controls in place for Zoom. After all, UCSF uses it for telemedicine! And Zoom has many more features. It is also supported by central IT, so if you run into an issue, there’s a help desk that can assist you. To start Zoom calls from Slack, you’ll need to enable the Slack integration yourself. Once you’ve done that, you can type /zoom in Slack to start a Zoom meeting. Use /zoom help to get information about what else you can do!

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