Video Conferencing in Times of Coronavirus 
Last updated on May 7th, 2020
A decade back video conferencing and remote meetings were more of a luxury and many people were finding their feet when it came to remote meetings. However, in the times of the Coronavirus, video conferencing is now a daily routine for people around the world, as Work from Home (WFH) and remote PowerPoint presentations becomes the norm. Even when the clout of the Novel Coronavirus subsides, it is likely that this trend is unlikely to be reversed in the near future. Here is our guide to video conferencing in times of Coronavirus in 2020.
What is Video Conferencing
Video conferencing enables face-to-face meetings from different locations using digital technology. You can conduct video conferencing using a variety of software and supported devices such as from laptops, tablets, smartphones, phablets, etc. Video conferences are usually conducted via the Internet with the use of different video conferencing software. Video conferences can also be conducted between people in the same office via an Intranet. This might be the case for employees in a large office premises, divided across multiple floors or a large land area.
Video conferences are conducted using video telephone, with audio-video signals from users located across different locations. These are usually geographically divided locations from different cities, countries or even people within the same city but in a far away place. Video conferencing has its history as far back as in the 1930s. The service became available for the first time during the 1970s via AT&T.
How to Host a Video Conference or Webinar
It’s not just Generation Z which is often new to the concept of video conferencing but rather a lot of people who have long resisted switching to the technology. Other than Zoomers, this includes Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. You can conduct a video conference or webinar by using a software for transmitting your PowerPoint presentation, video demo, product launch or to conduct a face-to-face meeting with clients, contractors, employees and co-workers.
Here is a brief video about how to effectively conduct a video conference or webinar, followed by a list of the best video conferencing software that you can use for conducting small or large-scale video conferences and webinars.
Best Video Conferencing Software
While there are a number of video conferencing software that you can use, we have listed a few according to their utility and features.
Many had not heard of the name of this app prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, Zoom is now a household name. And with good reason. This is a video conferencing app with both free and premium features. You can host up to 100 meeting participants, with up to 49 webcams enabled. Depending upon your Zoom licences, you can host as many as 500 people. This makes Zoom ideal for not only video conferences but also webinars. You can also change the background for your Zoom meetings to morph your psychical background with images and videos using Zoom backgrounds. You can learn more about this app from our detailed guide about Zoom video conferencing.
Before Zoom, Skype was undoubtedly one of the most used video conferencing apps. This Microsoft powered platform supports a wide range of digital devices and even supports Microsoft powered devices such as Xbox One and HoloLens. With Skype you can have as many as 50 video conferencing participants. You can learn various tips and tricks about this platform from our posts about Skype video calls.
Microsoft Teams is another Microsoft powered video conferencing platform which is more suited for teams and e-learning. You can even get a free license for it if you are a student or a teacher. It combines your workplace, chat and video calls to provide a platform which can be used for video conferences and e-learning sessions. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices. While the number of video call participants are limited to 20; what makes this platform truly unique is its ability to support as many as 20,000 attendees. Learn more here about Microsoft Teams.
People who are familiar with the Zoho suite would also be familiar with Zoho Remotely. It can be your integrated work from home toolkit. You can manage your projects, spreadsheets, documents, presentations and a wide range of other tasks using the complete range of Zoho apps. Remotely supports up to 250 attendees for webinars and 100 participants for meetings, with 25 video feeds. Here is more about Zoho Remotely.
While GoTo Meeting might not be as famous as Zoom, it is another gem of a remote meeting platform worth a try in times of Coronavirus. This is because it has a plethora of features which can help you conduct video conferences and webinars with up to 3000 participants. In a regular remote meeting you can have 250 participants, where 25 can share their webcams. Learn here about using GoTo Meeting.
Jitsi is a set of open source projects consisting of APIs and SDKs which can be deployed for video conferencing. While it isn’t a platform for the average user, it can be used by developers and IT professionals for conducting video calls. Depending on your server resources, you can host dozens of video call participants using Jitsi. In fact, the limit to users will depend upon how you use Jitsi. Learn here about Jitsi.