Social distancing is a new concept that is essential in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the world. This health crisis has forced businesses and individuals alike to migrate to digital modes of telecommunication such as texts, audio calls, and video conferences.
From meeting with friends to connecting with clients and colleagues, video-conferencing apps have surged in demand and have now become incredibly important in today’s crisis and even well into the future. Organizations have also started priming employees to get used to work-from-home setups.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan noted that because of the coronavirus, people suddenly realized the need for a video conferencing tool. He says that this is indeed the future, and it will change the working landscape.
Zoom is one of the most popular video-conferencing apps to rise due to the pandemic. It boasts reliable performance, and numerous companies have expressed that the platform is high-quality, seamless, and relatively stable with few dropouts in participants.
It also has unique features, such as multiple screen-sharing and breakout rooms. Compared to other software, Zoom has the highest maximum limit of 500 meeting participants, making it ideal for big companies.
On the other hand, its free version allows up to 100 participants and has a 40-minute time limit on calls.
Although relatively safe, it has also experienced numerous security issues, so its best to be aware and careful. The business and enterprise packages are also more expensive compared to peers, with a fee of $20/month.
Price: Free to $20/month
Microsoft Teams comes with the Office 365 bundle. It has impressive features, such as 1TB file-sharing, meeting scheduling, and screen-sharing. The maximum amount of participants is 300 users for the paid-version and 50 participants for the free-version.
It is also suitable for collaborative work and not just video conferences, with extreme security measures. It also has no time-limit.
Unfortunately, the free version isn’t as good as other free teleconferencing apps like Skype. This factor makes the case that if you aren’t a regular Microsoft user, Microsoft Teams isn’t for you as the transition would be too tricky, and there would be other software that may be a better fit.
Price: $5 to $12.5/month (has a free version)
Google Hangouts is very convenient for individuals that have integrated everything through Google. Many features such as Google Drive users being able to record and save meetings in their drive make it attractive to loyal users.
Furthermore, it has tight integration with Gmail, with numerous features such as synced contact information, meeting setting, and direct video launch video through the Gmail platform.
The free version has a maximum participant limit of 25 people, and the paid version has 250 users, both with no time limits.
Price: Free to $25/month
Skype is completely free, as they get their revenue through small ad spaces and subscriptions that mimic cellular phone plans. The maximum time limit is four hours, which is much better than most free versions.
Unfortunately, the low maximum meeting participants of 50 users makes it less attractive to businesses. It’s best to spend on a subscription if you’re a large organization.
Zoho is the ideal platform for webinars as there is no need to make an account (links and registration make for an easy call-in process). Furthermore, they have Remotely, which integrates business functions and makes it more conducive for team collaborations.
Unfortunately, there is no free plan and is, therefore, for business people who make webinars and not for casual users. It has a maximum of 100 participants per webinar.
Facetime is excellent for individuals and friends that use Apple, but not for businesses. It lacks features such as screen-sharing, and it only supports 32 participants maximum. It is hugely iOS-specific, and Apple integrated.
Because of the crisis, we have to utilize all means of communication necessary to allow socialization and maintain relationships.
“Before COVID’s stay-home requirement, I routinely scheduled walk-talk meetings in local parks. During COVID, I’m scheduling even more walk-talks – just by phone,” says Dr. Erlene Grise-Owens, LCSW.
There are numerous video conferencing software available at varying price points and features. It is best to choose one that fits your needs and allows you to connect with other people amidst the ongoing pandemic.