The only available option now for people to interact closely during the coronavirus outbreak is going to be virtual through video conferencing applications. The physical gatherings, meetings, parties, and events have all been banned to ensure social distancing, which has proven to be the only effective method to contain the COVID-19 further spread before life returns to normal if at all it will. Thousands of people have been downloading the video conference software since the World Health Organization and governments of various countries made calls to the citizens to stay at home and avoid unnecessary movements. These are the top video conference tools that are popular amongst many users.
Zoom is an enterprise video conferencing software with real-time messaging and content sharing. Zoom is popular and primary social platform around the world that many people including students use to interact and attend remote classes during the effected lockdowns in many countries. CNN reported that Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan has been lauded for his company’s efforts to help out schools and other organizations to communicate effectively during the crisis. Zoom’s basic package that is free allows a great person to person unlimited video calling and group calls of up to 40-minute time limit. One can also get unlimited direct and team messaging services with Zoom Chat.
FreeConference is ideal for smaller teams or meetings with a maximum of five participants, it is easy to use and with just access to the internet, users are able to conference by phone or web as no downloads are required. FreeConference allows people to share screens, texts, and documents. The moderator controls, allows the individual running the video conference chat to keep the HD audio and video meeting on track.
Google has a range of messaging services, Hangouts is one of them. Basic Google Hangouts supports chatting with up to 150 people and video calls of 10 participants. It is available for Chrome OS, iOS and Android. It allows video, audio, and messenger conversations, video meeting recordings and screen sharing. It is particularly good for a one-to-one conversation.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced on Twitter that Google would be enabling free access to various advanced video conferencing and communications tools for schools and businesses to enable them to communicate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to help businesses and schools impacted by COVID-19 stay connected: starting this week, we’ll roll out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities through July 1, 2020, to all G Suite customers globally,” she said in a tweet.
Skype is Microsoft’s video chat tool that works well for small teams with less than 10 total members hence good for keeping in touch with friends and family and very good for joining mainstream media chats. Skype Calls work on PC, they are excellent in quality of calls no drop calls and has been used worldwide for many years. Skype supports group video calling for up to 50 people. It allows for screen sharing option and has the ability to automatically blur the background.
Microsoft also has collaboration software called Microsoft’s Teams which Jean-Philippe Courtois, the company’s Executive Vice President and President for Global Sales’ Marketing and Operations announced that the platform will be free for six months for its workers to work remotely. Microsoft Teams’ free version offers unlimited chat, search, one-on-one audio, and video calls.