Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash
Written by: Mitch De Guzman
The internet gives us more ways of communicating with one another without even having to make a call. We could be on different continents, but that doesn’t stop us from talking to each other. We can send messages through social media, online chats, phone calls, or text messaging but video conferencing is the most effective way of getting our messages across.
This goes to show how our communication methods have progressed significantly. Snail mail is no longer used to correspond with distant family, acquaintances, and colleagues. Emails, text messages, and regular phone calls are still helpful. But video chat is a much better way to meet and speak with our loved ones and colleagues. Since it’s a video created in real-time, we don’t need to wait for responses or imagine their facial expressions. It’s the same as meeting face to face; only it’s online video.
The Perks of Video Chatting
Video call apps enable us to communicate with people we cannot see in person. Business owners frequently use them to discuss work with their employees and with families who live apart.
However, video calling is no longer confined to those purposes. Since health protocols (still) restrict us from meeting with family and friends, video chats became the closest thing to having human interaction. Even big gatherings such as parties, expos, seminars, conference calls, and training are increasingly held online via a video calling solution.
How to Choose a Video Call App
Everything is much easier with the technology we now use through our smartphones, tablets, computers, and laptops, which can all be connected to the internet. And since these devices have free video software, we can now have video calls anytime and anywhere.
Now, all you have to do is to select a video calling solution. Whatever your reasons are, you can certainly make your video calls more enjoyable! Here are some of the popular video call apps and their features.
Frequently Used Video Chat Apps
There are numerous video chat apps available for Windows, Android, and IOS users, but there are a few that most people seem to prefer. All video conferencing software almost has the same video calling features, so it really comes down to personal preferences when you choose.
FaceTime was previously available only to IOS users. However, you can now invite folks who use Android or Windows for a group video call with their recent update by sending an invite link. Once they click it, they’ll be able to join via their web browser on whatever device they’re using.
Also, they have added more functionality to enhance your video call experience. Not to mention the end-to-end encryption, which makes your video chatting experience secure.
Microsoft Teams (Skype)
Skype was the first video conferencing solution to implement group video calls in 2003, earning the trust and preference of many enterprises. A single video conference session on Skype can handle up to 50 individuals. However, Microsoft later acquired the company in 2011, making Skype one of the most popular VOIP (voice-over-internet) communication tools.
Microsoft Teams which will soon replace Skype for Business, offers significant gains in collaboration, communication, and file sharing resulting in a better employee experience.
This has become the industry standard for video conferencing nowadays. It was designed for business conference calls, but you may now use it for personal meetings as well. The free version allows you to organize up to 100 participants in a single call. However, meetings can only last 40 minutes, so you will have to restart again to continue. On the other hand, breakout rooms for team meetings, confidential back-channel discussion, and screen sharing are all built-in capabilities for business plans.
While this application is available for Android and Apple mobile devices, it does not support real-time video sharing like FaceTime and messenger. On the other hand, it gives HD video and crisp audio for those lengthy video sessions. And you can also snap screenshots of your video chat conversation.
Furthermore, this video call program has capabilities not found in Microsoft or Skype, such as a “call me” button and the option to use your video chat as an intercom. Finally, you can record video meetings for up to 15 minutes for free! You can always upgrade if you need to record longer sessions.
While it may not be as well-known in the Phils., like the other applications, RingCentral’s key advantage is its great video quality and compatibility with other cloud-based storage and collaboration services, such as Microsoft 365.
If you want a complete set of cloud computing, productivity, and collaboration tools, then this one is perfect for your team. Similar to Microsoft, it has various video and voice call apps and instant communication solutions. Some may have been integrated into another, while others may have been disbanded. It can be perplexing, especially when things shift so quickly. But as of this writing, you can still use the following video chat platforms on your Workspace.
Hangouts and Chat and have almost the same functionality. Thus, these two apps will become one soon. If you’re still using Hangouts, you should update now to save your data.
Hangouts are available to anyone with a Gmail account. You can use it either for instant messaging or video calls. It can support up to 150 users but only allows 10 video participants at a time. Hence, the rest will be listening to audio exclusively. Also, it does not allow screen sharing.
Furthermore, if a participant prefers to go incognito, you won’t be able to view his profile picture or any of his personal information. That’s why Hangouts is most commonly used for video calls with close connections like friends and family. Still, it can be a good option if you don’t need to share displays or have many participants on the call.
Meet is the more sophisticated video conferencing platform built primarily for enterprises. Unlike Hangouts, it’s only available to GSuite (now Workspace) users. A live stream can support up to 250 users or 100,000 views at a time, and it still constantly innovates to make this app more user-friendly by introducing more advanced screen-sharing capabilities and other features.
What’s good with this app is that you can attend the video conference online or offline. If you happen to be in an area without internet access, you can still participate by dialing the number shown in the meeting invitation and entering the code provided.
Duo is the Android equivalent of Apple’s FaceTime, and as such, it is gaining popularity as a global video calling software because it is available to both operating systems. Once you download it on your mobile device, you can make video calls to your contacts using their phone numbers or email addresses. You can also leave a video message if the person you’re calling isn’t available. However, text chatting and screen sharing are not allowed.
Learn more about these Google apps here.
This began as a Facebook messaging app, but it’s now an outstanding alternative for group chat. Yet, you can still use it for voice calls and text chat. It includes various features that other programs do not have. An example is the toggle navigation that allows you to use your camera or photos from your phone with just one touch while still on video with your friend.
The good news is Messenger Rooms will soon be added to allow up to 50 people in one session.
It’s not always easy to find the best internet video calling program for oneself. It can be challenging to identify which features are right for you. Of course, there is also the matter of cost to consider.
One common issue with video chat apps is restricting the number of people participating in a single session. Another is the ability to use your phone or computer for another activity while you’re on a video call.
You may give each one a shot to see which one works best for you. Besides, most of these video call software have free versions so you can explore. Just go to the app store and search for the video-calling program of your choice. Then, download and install. The setup is relatively simple. There is no requirement for technical assistance.
Tips to Prevent Stuttering Video Calls
Stuttering or intermittent video calls can be inconvenient, especially if the meeting is crucial. It could mean losing a potential client or viewers leaving the conference, giving you negative feedback. There could be several things that could affect video call quality. But there are workarounds to prevent it from happening.
The following tips will empower your video calling experience.
- Use a headset with a high-quality microphone for clear dialogue and to reduce the distance between speakers.
- Ensure that both participants are in a pleasant setting with minor interruptions from noise or other people. You can also use a headset with the noise-canceling feature.
- Check that both parties have the most recent versions of their software installed.
- If you are the one presenting or conducting the meeting, check your inflection. Rehearse your lines and record yourself before going online for the video meeting. Then play it back to help you get into character for the video chat.
- Most importantly, make sure you have a stable and precise internet connection when making a video call online. It’s important to know that the video call quality will suffer when you lose connectivity (like when someone goes into another room). This is why it’s vital to have a reliable connection throughout your video call.
- Check the configuration of your local network at home or office, as this may have a significant impact on your video-over-internet experience. It may be that many devices are connected to the same internet connection in your house or workplace. This is not surprising since we use the internet almost for everything.
More Ideas for a Better Video Calling Experience
Indeed, internet connection is indispensable in making voice and video calls. But it would help if you also looked out for these elements to ensure a clear and high-quality video call. It may be a bit technical, but these are important factors for high video quality.
BANDWIDTH is the capacity to transmit data from one device to another at a specific time (typically seconds). It is the downloading and uploading power of your internet. Simply put, binge-watching on Netflix may be smooth, but you may have trouble uploading a video.
LATENCY measures the amount of time (in milliseconds) it takes to deliver data from one location to another. Since video call is created in real-time, buffering is not allowed.
JITTERS is the variability of delay across time or power fluctuations.
Fiber Internet: The Ideal Option for Online User Satisfaction
Video calling has become an essential tool in today’s business world – but not all networks are created equal. Streamtech fiber-optic infrastructure ensures that your data transfer rates stay consistent no matter how many people are on the call at once. They offer unlimited internet bandwidth, so you can always be confident about your online meeting performance.
Furthermore, Streamtech has a network capacity that can provide highly reliable fiber optic internet connection to support various high-bandwidth applications like video conferencing with HD quality or real-time streaming. Their fiber optic system is low latency, so there’s no delay in voice and video transmission. Therefore, you or your business will have the power it needs to stream, meet, and share content with ease. You’ll never experience lag or choppy playback again.
To top it all off, Streamtech provides reasonably priced fiber internet services. Aside from that, they have product solutions that will help you increase your online productivity even more such as Extendifi and Digiclass. Classes will begin soon, and it’s a smart idea to be prepared. Start the school year off right with their teacher-student discount promotion. See, Streamtech is not only dependable and fast, but they are also cost-effective. How can you beat that?
Sign up for Streamtech today to experience the difference for yourself! Exceed your limits and improve your video calling experience. For additional information, visit their website and social media profiles. You can also speak with their online chat representatives.