With the increase in flow ratesflow rates fixed and mobile Internet 4G4G and soon 5G5G, it is becoming more and more common to use videoconferencing. But if some are satisfied with the solutions offered by general public communication tools like FacebookFacebook Messenger or AppleApple Facetime, there are many softwaresoftware with broader or more professional features. Futura has therefore drawn up a panel of the best solutions on the market, whatever the profile and needs of the user.
We cannot talk about videoconferencing without mentioning SkypeSkype, the best-known software in the field. Launched in 2003, bought in 2011 by Microsoft, it has expanded its functionalities and compatible platforms. If Skype started on Windows only, allowing two speakers to communicate through their webcam and their microphone, the latest versions have added some very interesting features. For example, it is possible for users to share their screen, and therefore to present PowerPoint files or demonstrate software usage. This is all the more practical as Skype allows group discussions for up to 10 people.
Another interesting option is the possibility of recording current conversations, practical for both professional and personal communications, since Skype is often used in a family environment, used for example by grandparents to watch their grandchildren grow up.
The advantage of Skype is that it is not limited to communication ofcomputercomputer to computer or from mobile to mobile; in fact, Skype offers two solutions for connecting to the traditional telephone network. Thanks to Skype-to-Phone, it is possible to call telephone numbers, both geographic and mobile, anywhere in the world, for a fee, but the cost is much lower than the normal cost of calls, especially when calling from or towards abroad. And conversely, thanks to the Skype Number, the user can temporarily purchase a classic telephone number, French or not, which will be redirected to the Skype software without the caller knowing that it is a Skype number. An ideal solution for people who travel a lot and need to remain contactable, even when they are abroad.
Skype’s strength is being a cross-platform product. The software is available on computer (Windows, Mac and LinuxLinux), on mobile (AndroidAndroid, iOSiOS et Windows 10 mobileWindows 10 mobile), on Xbox One and even on AmazonAmazon Alexa.
Google Hangouts is certainly not the Mountain View company’s best-known product, yet it does not lack appeal. Hangouts is the chat counterpart to Gmail, the most popular email service on the planet. Who has an account GmailGmail has a Hangouts account. Here is the first strength of this product.
Google Hangouts brings together three products under the same name for three distinct needs. GoogleGoogle Hangouts is the instant chat service found in the Gmail interface. However, it’s much more than that, and you just have to go to the Hangouts website to realize it. In a simple interface and responsive, we find all our Gmail contacts, an instant message chat system, as well as a videoconferencing system with a user or a group of interlocutors. Nothing to install on computer, you will have to download theapplicationapplication mobile to use it on Android or iOS. Google Hangouts therefore has features similar to Whatsapp or Facebook MessengerMessengerhere too an invitation must be sent to the user before being able to communicate in writing or by video.
But if Google Hangouts is part of this list, it is because it stands out from these two other candidates with unique features. The first is Google Hangouts Phone, formerly Google dialerdialer. Thanks to this tool, the user can, like Skype-to-phone, call telephone numbers physiquesphysiques all over the world, and at a lower cost. The cost is even zero for calls to the United States and Canada in most cases. The feature called Google Voice also allows you to obtain a virtual number connected to a physical (American) number and therefore to receive calls to your +1 number. Google Voice also has an impressive functionality since voice messages are automatically transcribed into text and sent by email, or by notification in the application, very practical at work or in meetings when you cannot listen his message can still be read.
Finally, the least known version of Hangouts but which should nevertheless interest more than one manager, business leader or association manager, is Hangouts Meet, part of G Suite by Google Cloud, the part of Google intended for professionals. G Suite is a set of services, often free for individuals, which are improved and made available to businesses for a subscription. Among the G Suite services, we find a reworked Gmail which will replace the messagingmessaging native to the company, and thus greatly simplify its administration. Likewise, Hangouts Meet is a boosted version of Hangouts allowing you to launch invitations to videoconferences by a simple entry in the calendar (Google Calendar) which will automatically send an e-mail (Gmail therefore), containing a Hyperlink which will trigger the videoconference without any software to install on PCPC (on iOS or Android, installation of an application remains necessary). Google has pushed the integration of its services quite far, and has even opened them to others since by using the standards SIPSIP et H.323H.323Meet video conferences can be joined by Skype for Business users.
Aimed at the professional world, Zoom is positioned as a turnkey solution for everything relating to collaborative work. Thus, Zoom has a very advanced videoconferencing solution, allowing you to communicate in pairs, in groups or even in a conference room. Better yet, it is possible to initiate or join a discussion directly from a hyperlink. If the user is browsing with Chrome or Firefox, an extension will then be installed. However, it will be necessary to have installed the application if it is on mobile. Finally, in the event that the user does not have a smartphone, tablet or computer, telephone numbers are available to join the meetings using a unique code; in the case of a Premium subscription, the numbers are free and it is even possible to be called. In addition, it is possible to record video lectures in the cloud and view them later.
Another strength of Zoom is its ability to create “webinars”. A mix of Web and seminar, they represent the current trend in mattermatter corporate communications, both internally and externally. This is one-way videoconferencing, with communication from participants to the presenter occurring through a chat room, often used in question-and-answer sessions at the end of the webinar. Among the other features offered by Zoom, we note, in particular, the advanced screen sharing options and also the Zoom Desktop application which allows all communication to be centralized, with a channel system very similar to Slack. Zoom Voice replaces the company’s phone system by switching it entirely to VoIPVoIPincluding voicemail.
Zoom is therefore professional software intended mainly for businesses, and its cost is affected since the subscription amount varies from 15 to 20 dollars per month per user, with specific rates for schools. But there is a free version, if you make a few sacrifices, for example the durationduration group videoconferences limited to 40 minutes or saving videos only on the facilitator’s computer and not on the cloud. However, this free plan remains a very good opportunity for individuals, small businesses or associations.
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