Video Conference Review

With the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing practices becoming a norm in our life, video-conference tools are becoming essentials.  

Modern video conferencing allows families and friends from anywhere in the world to talk with one another face-to-face as though they were sitting in the same room. 

Video-conference applications also enable employees to work from home, a business having virtual locations that ultimately can increase your client’s and partners’ relationships even in these challenging times.

Today, we have available apps and services such as Skype, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Twilio, and Microsoft Teams, video telephone calls are cheap, easy, and readily available over the internet on computers and smartphones. But, can you even remember what life was like before video communication? 

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the concept of transmitting an image alongside audio over wire was born in 1870. The word video was first coined in 1935. And the term, Video-Call was introduced around 1950. It was also, first know the phrase “video conferencing” around 1967.

In 1970s, AT&T offered its Picturephone service for $160 a month for 30 minutes of call time plus $0.25 for each additional minute. AT&T thought the system would be a huge success, but by the mid-1970s, only 500 systems had been installed.  

When the WWW enters to the public, PictureTels introduces a product that converts PCs into videophones in 1993. In 1994, the first QuickCam was born- as the first commercial webcam under $100. In 2002, Apple released iChat, shortly after Cisco introduces the first Video Phone System ( Call Manager).  Applications like Facebook and Whatsup allow users to hold peer-to-peer video calls that you can use for Free.

Zoom has a Free subscription that you can use and also maintain video-calls between more than two people. Zoom allows you to hold a video-conference for Free (up to 1,000 people connected). After the 3rd participant (+plus the host) has signed into the video conference, the rest will not be able to interact in the video-conference since they will be a listening mode only if you have a free account.  

Before you select the tool, you should ask another question, what type of discussion will be taking place at the conference. So be mindful of the email account used when signing up for Free applications like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Zoom. Yesterday, a couple of recognized news outlets reported that thousands of Zoom video calls left exposed on open Web. BTW, it is not the first time Zoom is compromised. 

If the conference is business-related, you should hold the video-conference in a business channel or at least under a business account. It is not a good practice to call your clients under a personal phone number or use Zoom under a particular email.

Finally, I want to recommend you to take a look at the new offer Microsoft has for Business. The new application included in the Office365 is Teams. The latest version of Teams (a collaboration tool for work teams) consists of the Team Voice app where you can chat, call, and have video-conference with your workmates. 

That is all for today. If you have any questions, please put them in the comments below. 

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