Video conferencing apps such as Zoom are increasing the number of people who use telework and other than business.
Many of these video conferencing apps have “free versions” that allow you to use certain functions for free, and can be easily used by small and medium-sized businesses, freelancers, and even individuals.
On the other hand, there are many aspects of each feature that cannot be understood without actually using them. This time, I actually tried a typical app and checked its function.
[SNS conference app] Talk to members who have pre-approved each other
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Meet
Video conferencing apps that allow you to talk face-to-face can be broadly divided into two groups. One is an “SNS type” application that requires mutual prior approval. This includes video chat on social media, where you can only talk to your friends.
For example, in “LINE” group talk, you can make video calls in groups. Up to 200 people can talk at the same time. However, there is a limit to the number of people that can be displayed on the screen at the same time , up to 16 people in the case of the PC version of the LINE app.
There is also a function that allows you to share the screen from your PC, so you can talk while sharing presentation materials. It also provides a function to blur the background, although it is limited to the LINE app for macOS. In addition, on smartphones, you can use the effect function to display characters on your behalf or hide your face.
Similarly, Facebook’s “Messenger” can make video calls for up to 50 people (up to 6 people can be displayed on the screen). You can share your screen from a PC (web and Windows, macOS, plug-in installation required) or Android.
As with LINE, the effect function can also be used with smartphone apps. It also has the ability to shoot the screen during a video call and add new members to the group during a call.
In early May, Google released the video conferencing service “Google Meet,” which was provided for corporations, to general users for free. Up to 100 people with Google accounts can use it for an unlimited amount of time until September 30 (usually there is a 60-minute usage limit).
Smartphones require a dedicated app, but PCs can use screen sharing and three types of layout change functions with just a browser. There are differences such as “meeting recording function” and “invitation to users who do not have a Google account” compared to corporate users, but it is practical enough for personal use.
[Guests do not need an ID] Registration is OK only with the host. 4 tools that guests can easily join from the URL
- Cisco Webex Meetings
- Microsoft Teams
Another group of video conferencing tools is “Only hosts register.” The rest of the members can access the meeting without registering or signing in.
Since the burden on the participants is small because the troublesome registration is not required, there is an advantage that it is easy to invite a person who is not accustomed to video conferencing.
The Hangouts mentioned above can also generate a dedicated URL during a meeting, but you’ll need to sign in with your Google account to access it. In that respect, “Skype” allows you to participate without an account or sign-in .
In addition to being able to make video calls with up to 50 people with pre-approved people on Skype, the “Meeting” feature allows you to generate URLs and invite unregistered guests. Guests can join from a browser or Skype app without user registration.
In addition to sharing and recording the screen, you can also use the function to blur the background and the function to automatically add subtitles. It also has a function that allows you to set a call schedule in advance and notify prospective participants.
Even the popular free-of-charge video conferencing tool, Zoom, allows participants to access the conference without registration or sign-in. The host simply sets the date and time to hold the meeting in advance, generates a dedicated URL for each meeting, and shares it.
You can participate by calling a dedicated number in addition to the browser and application of your PC or smartphone. Even the free version can hold large-scale meetings for up to 100 people .
In meetings, you can share the screen as well as the whiteboard that you can write on the spot, and it also provides the function of blurring the background, synthesizing any background, recording / recording function, and raising hands .
In addition, the host can use all the fairly full-fledged features for free, such as dividing the participating members into small groups called “breakout rooms.” It should be noted that the large difference between the paid version, that the time of three or more of the video conference, and is limited to 40 minutes per time. It is possible to save the recorded conference log data in the cloud.
Similarly, Cisco Webex Meetings, which can hold meetings for up to 100 people for free, requires user registration only for the host. Participants can join the meeting simply by accessing the shared URL or the number for each meeting from the dedicated app and registering their name and email address.
In addition to sharing screens and files, it also has a function that allows you to share web content by specifying a URL, a whiteboard function, a voting function, etc., giving the impression that you have all the tools you might need at a meeting.
However, the functions that can be used largely depend on the OS and browser, and it seems that there are cases where content sharing etc. cannot be used depending on the browser
Finally, the fast-growing Microsoft Teams collaboration tool also offers a free version . It is a tool that has both business chat and video conferencing functions, and even the free version can be used by up to 250 people (up to 300 people can register with Teams).
Guests as well as hosts need a Microsoft account, but they can collaborate on the same screen using Office apps such as Word, Excel, and Power Point while communicating via chat and video conferencing .
Business chat tools such as “Slack” and “Chatwork” can be used for free for one-on-one video conferencing, but Teams can also be used for group video conferencing in the free version. While it’s easy for anyone to use and doesn’t require sign-in, it’s a unique all-in-one tool for streamlining group work in chat, file sharing, and video conferencing.
At the moment, the free version does not allow recording / recording of video conferences or holding meetings scheduled in advance, but the schedule function of the conference will be provided in the free version in the future, so that I also want to expect points.
Although the needs of video conferencing tools are rapidly increasing due to the spread of telework, various support programs are provided for companies, such as not only providing the free version but also setting a long free trial period for the paid version. Has been done.
In the real world, avoiding three dense spaces (closed space, dense place, close conversation) is the slogan, but various trials have begun on how to make communication “dense” digitally.