Due to recent unprecedented circumstances resulting in the majority of people working from home and the ban on unnecessary travel, we have all had to find new ways to carry on with our work meetings be it with clients, staff or a potential new hire. Just because our current way of life has us working from home, it doesn’t mean we have to give up that human interaction of office team meetings or the interviews that were scheduled, it just means that we have to adapt and this is where video conferencing comes in.
There are a lot of different apps and software that can be used for video conferencing, believe us we have used a lot over the past couple of weeks! We wanted to put together a blog post on the five apps that we have used the most, together with their positives and negatives so that you can make an informed decision the next time you need to have a virtual meeting/interview.
Microsoft Teams is great for instant messaging, voice calls and video calls and also has the brilliant function of being able to share your screen with the others on the call. We currently use Microsoft teams within our team to check up on each other, motivate each other and to keep morale high. We have also been using it to replace our usual weekly meetings as well as one-to-one’s we would usually have in the conference room at the office.
Downside? When you are on a call, although you can have up to 250 people in a meeting, you can only see 3 people on the screen at once, this rotates dependant on who in the group is talking/has talked last.
Zoom Video Communications Software is another we have made of use of recently. It has free and paid versions available, however, even on the free version you can still have up to 100 people on one call at once, the organiser can also share their screen during the call with is great. Another brilliant thing about Zoom is that only the person that sets up the ‘room’ (calls the other participants) has to have an account, meaning that not everyone has to download the software. This is a popular one for our clients when hosting interviews for potential new employees
Downside? On the free version you are capped at a 40-minute maximum meeting time, although some people have found that this has been removed for the time being due to recent circumstances.
Although most commonly known as a tool that allows you to stay in touch with friends and family members, Facetime can also be used for team video conferencing as well as one-to-one catch up calls with clients. The brilliant thing about Facetime is that if you have an Apple product it is already installed on your device and all you need is an email address associated with an Apple account or a phone number used on an apple device to get started, also its free to use.
Downside? Only relevant if you have an Apple device.
Google Hangouts is great for video conference calls from 1 – 50 participants. You can instant message, voice call and video call, same as with Microsoft teams and Skype, it also has great sound and image quality which is a massive plus. Another positive about Google Hangouts is that you can create a meeting and invite people with a link ahead of time so that they aren’t waiting for you to call them and can get set up 5 minutes prior to the call, without them even needing a Google Account.
Downside? In order to set up and invite people to meetings, you need to have a Google Account.
Skype is another platform that is widely used for video calling, it also, like Microsoft Teams, has the option to share your screen with other during the call. A plus side of Skype is that a lot of people already have it for personal use and if they don’t all it requires is an email address to get you up and running. There used to be a Skype for Business app that directly integrated into Outlook 365, however they replaced this with Microsoft Teams mid-2019.
Downside? Dependant on what sort of computer you are using, Skype can have issues such as the sound and image not quite linking up correctly, it is also known for intermittent freezing during calls.
If we come across any more easy-to-use video conferencing apps we will add them into this post, we will also keep it updated with any other highlights we come across when continuing to use the software we have mentioned.