Video conferencing software has been around for years and indeed has been used mostly in business for managing remote teams over a large geographic area. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with countries all over the globe going into lockdown, video conferencing has become a go-to tool to stay connected with family, friends and work.
You might be thinking which video conferencing software should you use, and which can you trust? There’s right answer to this and there are a lot of confusing messages in the media about it, so here we explore your best options so you can connect safely and securely:
To Zoom or not to Zoom? That IS the question. There’s been a lot of talk lately about Zoom in the media and about its security. The reality is, Zoom is super easy to use and if you follow the basic security settings in Zoom you can’t go wrong. The audio and video quality is the best out there and the options whilst in the meeting are second to none. However, to remove any fears, make sure you do these 5 things for every meeting:
- Generate an auto meeting ID (don’t use your personal number for additional security)
- Make sure you add a password (this is now enabled by default) for any meeting
- Enable your waiting room if you’re hosing a meeting which enables you to ‘check’ who’s waiting before they are admitted to the meeting. This conquers any risk of ‘zoom-bombing’ you might have read about.
- Never – publish your meeting information over social media or on public websites. This is where a number of people have come unstuck as it opens up your meeting to anybody in the world. Instead organise your meetings via e-mail internally. Never share publicly the direct meeting link either!
- Whilst on a meeting remember to mute your microphone or video when appropriate and don’t forget to leave the meeting at the end.
You can use Zoom for free but this will limit you to only meetings that are 40 minutes in length. If you buy a pro subscription this will extend the meeting length up to 24 hours in length which is more than enough (see pricing here). The great thing too though, is that you only need to buy one pro account in order to host meetings with up to 100 others. This increases your security and offers additional features at great value.
We used to use WebEx but switched to Zoom in 2019. The reason? Because users found it much easier to load on their PC or device and quickly join in. However, we did like WebEx as it is an enterprise solution used by businesses all over the world. There is a free version and premium versions available (see pricing here).
WebEx is very similar to Zoom and all you need to do just like Zoom to join a meeting is enter the meeting ID and password. WebEx offers 3 views whilst in the meeting which includes active speaker, thumbnail and grid view. Here’re some tips for using WebEx:
- Send out a written agenda in advance of the meeting so that everyone knows what will be covered in the allotted time. With so many working from home right now this is a great tip for getting the most out of your scheduled time.
- Setup WebEx in advance on all devices and recommend to your meeting attendees to do the same. This will save time whilst people setup when the meeting has already started. It only takes 10 minutes to get used to WebEx.
- Send out a reminder before the meeting happens if people are unfamiliar with the technology advising them that if they don’t have a microphone on their PC to use the WebEx app for making the call.
Microsoft Teams is the all-encompassing team collaboration platform which is great for when working with remote teams or working from home. The software enables you to collect information and work together in a clean, familiar Office 365 environment. You can set up video calls and chats and share documents and files with ease.
The only issue we have found with Teams is that it’s a little clunky when inviting people in from outside your organisation into a meeting. For this reason, it’s why we use Zoom. You will also need an Office 365 subscription too to use it too. If you’re working from home and need to work with your team remotely – go for it!
Some More Video Conferencing Software Options
If you don’t like the thought of these then we recommend checking out Blue Jeans which has a nice friendly interface, FaceTime and Google Hangouts. Whichever tool you choose though, stick with it so that people aren’t jumping around between platforms.
We hope this helps give you some ideas in which tools to use for video conferencing. Our recommendation for your video conferencing software would be to continue using Zoom if you already have it but to enable the security features as a minimum outlined if you are the host. If information surrounding security and Zoom changes we will advise accordingly.
If you have any questions about video conferencing software in general, or the hardware required, then please contact us we’re happy to help.