As Covid-19 – Coronavirus – continues to strengthen in the United States, employees and students are being asked to work and study from home. Families are unable to visit with loved ones for fear of spreading the virus. And, many are doing virtual office visits with their doctors. Video conferencing is becoming the new normal, allowing people to stay connected from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Video chats allow you to see people’s faces, expression and body language while visually looping in more than one person. It builds comradery and effectiveness in communicating at a distance.
Learning something new, particularly technology-related, can be challenging, confusing and scary for some. This blog post will share some free options to stay connected today. We hope you’ll find one that works for you.
If the person you want to chat with has an Apple device, Apple FaceTime provides one of the best video and audio quality apps available — plus it comes already installed. To be most effective, you do need a good WIFI connection. To learn how to use FaceTime click here. https://youtu.be/TXLZ-egtIe0
Zoom allows you to run your meetings/video chats at no cost with up to 100 participants. It allows for one on one and group meetings, screen sharing and more. Once set up – it’s easy to join from a simple click if you’re using your computer or phone’s audio. The quality is great. To learn more about Zoom or to download the app go to zoom.us.
Facebook has been a popular app to learn what people are doing, and now more and more are using its Messenger app to participate in video conferencing and group chats. Simply open your Messenger app, bring up contacts and select the video icon to begin conferencing. You can easily add others as well. Simply download the app. To learn more go to https://www.messenger.com/
“We’ve been using Facebook’s Messenger group chat since half the office is working remotely at home every other day,” says Wendy Norem, marketing director at Shorewest, REALTORS®. “It’s more timely than emailing back and forth, and you see when someone is working on a response rather than having several emails come back on the same topic.”
The free version of Skype works great for video meetings/chats with less than 10 people. It’s a simple video chat you can do from computer, phone or tablet. It also includes screen sharing and video recording. To learn more about Skype or to download, go to skype.com/en/
Of course, there are many more options like UberConference, TruConf Online, Appear.in, GoToMeeting, GoogleHangouts but these tend to be more difficult and limiting as far as participants and features.
Staying connected today whether it be for work, school or family is important. Video conferencing is an easy and available way to do it. No matter what you choose, we hope that you’ll give one or more of these free options a try and stay connected during this challenging time of social distancing.