Like all of you, I am working from home due to the virus pandemic.
I’ve done pretty well so far, teaching my online yoga and fitness classes with Zoom, and collaborating with writers on my special event text books on G-Suite. I’ve even tried to get my daughter interested is setting up on online business of some sort to occupy her and educate her about business.
Well, my students, family, friends, and colleagues keep asking me how to set up an in-home virtual office and I patiently walk them through some of the options. Thought I would share some of those virtual platforms with you and describe some of the traits.
Virtual meeting technology is a broad subject. There are many tools from which to choose and technology continues to change and expand daily.
Functions include: audio & video conferencing with visual tiles of participants, public and private chat, polling, recording capabilities, subtitles, online room set-ups, whiteboards, waiting rooms, host management, screen sharing, participant interaction with documents, files, and storage access, monetized webinars with a participant capacity of 10,000, integration with additional aps, integration with artificial intelligence devices, calendars and emails, quality HD capabilities, social media integration, security systems and passwords. Whew! This is a quick summary of a few of those tools that I’ve checked out.
You can use this video communication app for business and pleasure. Apple just announced that its launching group chats for up to 32 people with iOS12. The new FaceTime will have tiles with participants’ faces and highlight those who are talking. Users can also manually select who they want to highlight. Currently, this app is only for Apple users.
Skype specializes in video calling on computers, tablets, mobile devices, Xbox One console, and smartwatches. It provides messaging services, screen sharing, recordings, subtitles and has an Alex interface. Users can transmit text, video, audio and images. A benefit for choosing Skype is that it has been around a long time and most people are familiar with it. They may have an account already. There are issues, though, as sound and visuals can be of poor quality, and freezing and dropped calls occur frequently. There are free and cost options.
Zoom video communications offers a lot of options that fit any budget. It has shot up in popularity this last year. From the free plan with limited usage privileges, to the pro, business and educational options that can accommodate 100 video participants and 10,000 attendees. The plans with privileges charge a monthly fee and add-on pricing for special features. It allows for monetizing webinars, as well. The video quality is excellent with virtual backgrounds provided. It has also become very security aware and reacted to customer concerns regarding security.
Google Meet is a video conferencing platform fully integrated into the Google G Suite and G Suite for Education. This G Suite platform provides gmail options, video meeting services, chat, calendar integration, storage, word processing, spreadsheets, slides, forms, notes and more. The G Suite platform allows for remote working with groups of people. Monthly fees are paid for privileges.
AdobeConnect is a robust platform for webinars, training, and collaborative experiences. The host can design the room space for leading the meeting. Backgrounds and functionality are at the host’s discretion. The rooms can be saved as templates and reused or cleaned up. Custom aps can be loaded into the rooms, as well.
Microsoft Teams will provide video conferencing as well as online environments. The group can meet from anywhere on multiple devices. This platform accommodates from 10 to 10,000 participants. Files and documents are accessed and shared. This platform is popular among the healthcare industry.
WebEx meetings allows video conferencing, recording, and document viewing. It boasts that you can meet with up to 100,000 people. As the name indicates, the host can hold webinars and send webcasts.
The Amazon Chime ap provides remote learning and communicating capabilities. video conferencing with tiles, online meetings, screen sharing, and chats. It has a pay-per-use pricing structure.
This is a free service that provides audio and video conferencing as well as screen sharing and recording functions.
ClickMeeting is multi-user webinar software. It can be used and branded for business and educational purposes. It has audio and video capabilities, but it offers more functions as well. Whiteboard, multiple rooms, and streaming on Facebook and YouTube are some.
GoToMeeting has been around for a long time. Most business executives are familiar with this platform. It provides hosted meetings with video and it provides collaborative workspaces. GoToMeeting InRoom Link works with an H.323-enabled video conference room system. You can link one conference room to another if people are meeting in conference settings.
eZTalks provides meeting and video conferencing capabilities and webinar functions for 100 interactive video participants and 10,000 participants. It can also be monetized with PayPal. In addition, it records for on-demand capabilities.
Similar to the others, Onstream offers live video & audio, screen sharing, chat, customized interfaces, whiteboard, document sharing, recording & archiving, polling, and cross platform compatibility.
This platform provides video conferencing with collaboration tools, screen sharing, webcam, integration with various aps such as Outlook, G-Suite, Slack, MS Teams and others. It can be custom branded and it can send notes after the meetings to the participants.