Tech Talk: Video Conferencing
April 2, 2020
SECLUSION-As our time apart stretches on seemingly indefinitely, the importance of alternative forms of communication rises. Fortunately, there's a heap of technology at the ready.
Unfortunately, deciding which method of digital communications can be a tangled web. Some decisions may be easily dictated by the device used to access it. For example, if you're using Android devices, Facetime will not be a video conferencing solution in your arsenal. The vast majority of popular options cater to both Android and iOS, making the choices a bit trickier.
Compiling information from app stores, user reviews, and personal experience from myself as well as currently matriculated students pursuing higher education who've been pushed into online learning platforms, I've compiled a quick guide to help choose the video conferencing option best suited to the task.
Among the important criteria are the number of users per video call, price and a general pros and cons list. Students also noted the necessity for a "Brady Bunch" option, being able to see everyone in the call on screen at once as opposed to just the presenter as very important to their learning experience.
To avoid oversharing, or presenting something other than the intended content, keep your desktop's webcam covered until you are ready. Times staff uses anything from band-aids to electrical tape.
Best for personal use: The highest-ranking apps for personal use are FaceTime, Marco Polo and Google Duo. Marco Polo is best for video messaging, not necessarily for conferencing in real time.
Best for business use: Two of the highest-ranked video conferencing apps for business are ZOOM Cloud Meetings, and Google Hangouts Meet. Google Hangouts offers two different versions of its app. Google Hangouts Chat is for personal use, whereas Google Hangouts Meet is better for business. The closed captions feature is very handy, translating spoken information into text in real time which is a great backup in the event of loss of audio.