Staying Connected with Video Conferencing
With the latest push for non-essential businesses to work from home, video conferencing tools have become an essential piece of technology for businesses and individuals alike. Whether your company is already set up for video conferencing, or just looking to dive in, consider these three tools to enhance your availability and communication strategy.
House Party – Best for Individuals / Freelancers
Have you ever just wanted to hop on a video call with a few of your contacts? House Party just might be the app you have been looking for. (https://houseparty.com/)
While many folks choose FaceTime for casual video hangouts, this doesn’t work for your Android powered contacts. House Party provides an app that is available to iOS and Android users. The app is also extremely simple to set up; provide an email and password, then choose your username.
House Party lets you pull your contacts list through to find out which of your friends are already using the app.
The app opens with the camera on (like Snapchat) and starts a “room” instantly that your friends can join. Rooms can also be locked to prevent others from joining. The platform also support muting and other chat features that could make it viable for businesses to consider using it
Remember, this is an entry level video conferencing app not an enterprise application. House Party is great for individuals, but lacks the advanced features of its competitors like screen share or in-video chat.
Completely free to use
Google Hangouts – Best for Small-Med Sized Businesses, Collaboration (G Suite Users)
If your business currently uses google apps/gmail as the primary form of communication, Google Hangouts can offer a simple video conferencing tool that is just a couple clicks away from your inbox. Hangouts integrates seamlessly with Google Calendar and links to start a video conference can be easily included with a meeting invite.
Google Hangouts offers at least two features that are not available in House Party. These include the ability to share your screen with other participants in the chat, as well as the ability to chat with the group in a text box alongside the video. These are both extremely helpful features for collaboration and group work.
There is a cost to running Google Apps on your business account. However, anyone with a gmail account can be invited to your meeting, and creating a gmail account is free for individuals that do not meet the storage needs of an online business. (https://gsuite.google.com/pricing.html)
Zoom Video – Best for Med-Large Sized Businesses, Online Education, Live Streaming
Zoom is one of the latest and most popular video conferencing tools available today. It has become adopted as the go-to tool for online education and even youtube streamers who record their shows.
This would be the ideal choice for a rapidly growing business that needs to see features scale with users. Zoom does offer free plans for individuals as well if you are a freelancer with a side hustle.
Zoom enables users to take advantage of a “green screen” style background to enhance the look of their webcasts and video conferences. A customizable backdrop could be a great opportunity for your business to include additional branding, graphics or even data displays to your video segment.
Zoom offers a “Basic Plan” for free with unlimited meetings. This plan does come with a 40-minute time limit on meetings with three or more total participants. There are three other tiers of paid pricing that also offer enhanced features and scale. (https://zoom.us/pricing)
Now is the time to look at your video communications toolbox
In conclusion, it has never been a better time to improve the flexibility of your business with the help of one of these video conferencing tools. Staying connected is important for keeping your customers top of mind and being responsive to changing business conditions.