While organizations in the digital age have consistently used means to interface and communicate with distant workers and customers, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a greater catalyst for the increment in the utilization of virtual gathering stages. In a period of social distancing, organizations are depending on these platforms to stay connected, exchange information, and work together to keep operations running smoothly and consistently during this uncertain time. Face-to-face interactions help to enhance how messages are given, taken, and interpreted even if it is behind the computer screen
Zoom has been one of the most used software platforms and has been one of the most widely used apps during the whole pandemic period. Zoom Meetings are easy, reliable, and secure, providing HD video, audio, and content sharing across everything from your mobile and desktop devices to telephones and conference room systems. Special features include cloud and local recording with transcripts and multi-user annotation capabilities via screen share. Easy access with one click, chat across platforms and share files all with encrypted, compliant settings for extra security. A basic plan with a Zoom meeting is free to use for unlimited time and offers unlimited meetings with a 40-minute time limit for each. The Zoom audio technology is quite sophisticated in filtering echo and noise and enhancing audio quality. But poor audio at times disruptions causing the software to crash.
The user interface seems relatively easy to use even for less experienced users, for example connecting headsets and cameras, finding the mute button, viewing shared screens and presentations, or using text chat.
- Supports large audiences
- Ability to stream your meetings/webinar on Facebook
- Google, and Outlook calendar support
- Easy to use
- The free plan is limited to 40 mins per meeting
- Only supports up to 720p video resolution
- Must download the Zoom app to attend/host meetings
Microsoft Teams is a sub-feature of the Microsoft Office 365 platform. This sub-feature can hold meetings with up to 300 participants alongside access for guests, person-to-person and team video, phone calls, sharable files with 2 gigabytes per person, and 10 gigabytes per group, desktop sharing for easy collaboration, and file organization through coloration. This service is free with sign-up using an email address
- Increased productivity through MS Office integrations
- No additional cost for Office 365 users
- Downloadable bots for repetitive tasks
- Seamless files search, backup, and collaboration
- A limited number of channels (200 public and 30 private)
- Uses too much space in the hard drive
Google Meet is a Mobile and web-based free communication solution that allows users to stay in touch with clients and teams globally. The application works in sync with the other Google applications and allows you to present, collaborate and live stream meetings to 100,000 viewers at one time. It also comes as a Chrome extension and can be used across all devices. Most notably it is free for meetings that include participants up to 100.
- Very easy and simple user interface
- Ability to use Google meet for free for almost every meeting
- Seamless integrations with other Google products, like Google Calendar.
- Has a ‘live caption’ option that converts speech to text/subtitles.
- Doesn’t allow 2-way screen sharing. Only one participant can share their screen at a time.
- Can display up to only 16 participants in a grid at once.
An easy-to-use app that allows you to connect with a single person or a group of people. It is a well-known platform that many meeting participants most likely already have personal accounts for service use. However, external participants sometimes struggle to join using the computer because the installation of browser plug-ins fail, the software insists to sign in with Microsoft account details, or the web version refuses to use the computer’s built-in audio while the same hardware is working well on other teleconference platforms. Skype app comes with no long-distance costs but is prone to audio and visual display problems, buffering delays, and calls being dropped.
- Skype to Skype communication is free which includes, messaging, voice, and video calling. There is also a subscription if you want to call from Skype to mobiles and landlines.
- Has a live subtitle option which can come in handy if your speakers aren’t loud enough
- Ability to record calls.
- Has a “blur background” feature that helps erase the clutter in your office or home.
- Poor performance in low-bandwidth situations
- The user limit of 50 makes it good for small businesses and classes only.