What is a Virtual User?
A “Virtual User” is a participant registered with the system using an email address that contains zusers.com in the domain name. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Virtual users are a tool that allows ZipDX users to adapt aspects of our Identity Conferencing model to some special cases. Virtual users don’t receive email notifications from ZipDX.
In order to understand that value of virtual users you need to first appreciate a few things about normal users.
The User Profile
In our classic approach to identity conferencing every ZipDX user has a profile. The profile contains various pieces of information about that user. The basics are:
- Email address
- Company Name (optional)
- Time Zone
- Up to 10 phone numbers (optional)
The email address is the most most fundamental thing in the profile. It’s at the core of how the system keeps track of users.
For example, a user who is a meeting organizer logs into the web portal using their email address and a PIN or passphrase. Further, when someone is invited to a meeting the system sends them an invitation via email.
All of this is based upon the idea that the user/participant is an actual person. There may be times when that is not appropriate. Let’s consider a simple example.
Example #1: A Conference Room
A board room or conference room may be equipped with a phone that’s used when a group needs to join a ZipDX conference. In that case the “participant” for the call is actually a group, not an individual.
As a practical matter, one of the people in the meeting room could dial-in to ZipDX, entering their PIN to identify themselves. If they were invited to the call this would cause the group to be joined to the conference.
While the call was in progress the group would be shown in the conference dashboard as the individual who connected the conference room to the call. The call history would only record the participation of that individual, with no indication that a group was connected. That’s clearly less than ideal.
As we’ve described elsewhere, there are significant advantages to having ZipDX call you at meeting time. That can only be done if the system knows how to reach of each of the individuals invited to the call.
A conference room is usually a shared space, used by different people every day. Thus it’s not practical for it to be associated with a single participant. So there’s no way for ZipDX to call the meeting room, unless it is itself added to the system as a virtual user.
Conference Room as a Virtual User.
The solution is to create a unique virtual user for the conference room. In the pictured example we imagine firstname.lastname@example.org as the virtual user.
The conference phone in the room can be added to the profile for the virtual user. The “Conference Room” user can be invited to the meeting using the associated zusers.com email address.
Anyone dialing into ZipDX from the conference room phone will be automatically recognized (Auto-ID) as being in the conference room, and joined to the call scheduled for that time. ZipDX can even call the conference room (Call-Me) at meeting time, like any other participant.
Example #2: Eliminating Email Notifications
Some ZipDX customers make use of our integration with electronics calendars, including Outlook and Google Calendar. These users don’t schedule conferences via our web portal. Instead they use the meeting request tools in their calendar.