Conferring on video with apps like Zoom: Another forensic tool

Video conferencing with apps like Zoom makes it even easier to push back against COVID-19 and do the right thing at the start of a forensic investigation.  That is, get on site quick-smart after a failure or accident and do a visual assessment.

An app like Zoom comes into the picture when the forensic expert is briefed on the incident during a video conference.  And what a marvelous way to get briefed – sitting in a bright and colourful virtual meeting room.

Microsoft Teams (‘Teams’) and Go To Meeting are two other video tools making life easier and cost effective.


I knew about Zoom but only just.  I learned more last Wednesday evening (June 3) when I took part in a virtual meeting with members of CATAIR, the Canadian Association of Technical Accident Investigators and Reconstructionists.  Of course it was like sitting and meeting in the same room as many of you know.

CATAIR provides accident investigators a professional and affordable way to meet and share experiences and ideas.  The association consists of serving and former police officers as well as professional engineers and others with a technical background.

The purpose of the meeting on Wednesday was to discuss organizing regular meetings of the Atlantic chapter of CATAIR as video conferences.  Also supplemental “get togethers” to discuss reconstruction topics and, generally, to stay in touch.  In the past we met in person in Amherst, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick.

My interest in Zoom was tweaked.  A little more checking and I concluded video is going to play a big part in forensic engineering investigation in the future – starting with the initial briefing.


It’s big in the corporate world now.  More than half the Fortune 500 companies confer on Zoom video regularly.  Almost all the top 200 US universities do.  And that was the case before COVID-19 shut everything down.  After the lock-down is lifted many will still be working from home and conferring on video.

One of my three daughters oversees computer support for a testing laboratory with five divisions at a large hospital in Toronto.  She virtually meets with staff on video throughout the day using Zoom.  Another daughter in Edmonton works from home for a university and often relies on Zoom to connect.  My third daughter practices vet medicine in North Berwick, Maine.  Hopefully she relies on video conferencing – anything to stay clear of the COVID-19 epic centre in New York, in a sense, just down the road from her.


Connecting on video is enhancing our lives socially as well.  My neighbour connects with his two daughters out west weekly courtesy of the Zoom app.  One of the chaps who took part in Wednesday’s virtual meeting and his partner catch up with their family on video as well.  Guess who is going to be “meeting” with his daughters when he gets up to speed with Zoom?


There’s no question conferring on video using apps like Zoom is going to impact forensic engineering investigation.  For sure during COVID-19 but afterwards as well.

Forensic experts can be briefed on video now about a failure or accident so they can get on site before the dust settles and do a visual assessment.  The tools are there to be used.

This type of simple, cost effective assessment is sometimes all that is necessary.  If more forensic work is necessary, meeting during a video conference to report progress is certain to ensure continued savings.






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