Organizations and individuals alike have been flocking to video conferencing tools to keep in contact while working remotely. With so many video conferencing apps available, which one is most appropriate for which situation? We’ve evaluated five popular video conferencing apps:
Automatically integrated into Apple devices, FaceTime is a useful application for Apple enthusiasts. With one tap, a voice call turns into a video call, and up to 32 users can join in on a group call. As such, FaceTime is easy and convenient for those who use Apple devices. However, the application does not support other operating systems, such as Windows and Android. Also, no business features (such as screen-sharing) are integrated, making it unsuitable for some business purposes.
Google Hangouts is a cross-platform message app from Google. Although Google has been pushing business users to move to Google Meet, consumers can still access Google Hangouts through their phone or computer. Because it’s a Google service, you can create a video chat directly from Gmail and invite up to 25 people (a temporary increase from 10) with no time limit. Voice calls can also be made to any telephone worldwide. To gain extra features, such as extra users, recording, and document-sharing features, businesses can pay between $6 to $25.
Microsoft Teams is designed for businesses exclusively and includes text and video features. Its key selling point is its integrations with dozens of other tools that can be accessed through the software. Also, up to 250 users can join a meeting, and there are no time limits in place. If needed, an Office 365 subscription unlocks extra features. That said, the application can be complex and is likely not suitable for the average user.
Doubling as both a messaging tool as well as a video- and voice-conferencing application, Skype is a multi-functional software owned by Microsoft. One of its key features is that you can use it to make calls to any telephone worldwide for low fees. Not only that, but Skype no longer requires its software to join or host meetings, so it’s effortless to start a video conference that can host up to 50 users and last up to fours. That said, Skype’s free service is prone to stuttering and disconnecting, so it may be frustrating for the meeting members if these disruptions occur.
Quickly gaining popularity following the coronavirus outbreak, Zoom has become the default video conference tool for many industries. You can host meetings with up to 100 participants using the free service, although there is a 40-minute time limit. There are plans you can buy to unlock more features, such as longer meetings and recording features. A feature unique to Zoom is that multiple people can share their screens simultaneously. Something to consider about the service is that they have had privacy and security concerns, and many organizations and schools have banned the platform because of this.
Each video conferencing app serves a purpose and is appropriate for specific situations. So, evaluate these programs and see which one best suits your needs.
Read more about how to stay safe while working remotely.
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