Tech Talk: Bill Magee
One assumes, as one does amid this bothersome Covid-19 lockdown, that when the Royal Family got together online to celebrate the Queen’s 94th birthday, “The Firm” as they’re affectionately known, took every cybersecurity privacy and security precaution possible before using Zoom.
However, it remains somewhat surprising just exactly why that particular tele-conferencing option was chosen. After all, there are numerous other more established and very similar rich media interactive offerings to choose from; ones that hadn’t attracted a barrage of adverse press headlines such as Zoom collected over a lack of online safety and reports pointing to a number of lawsuits pending.
A new phrase has even been coined: “Zoombomber” where an uninvited “guest” can drop in on conference conversations. Imagine if that had happened at such a regal occasion.
We are talking Defence of the Realm here of the highest order. Okay, Zoom has now been upgraded with tighter encryption but that’s like closing the palace gates after the corgies have bolted!
Now, I understand, the UK Parliament has voted to use Zoom to stage virtual sessions. What could possibly go wrong?
In the meantime, back to business and the real world.
It’s still early days as regards the overall Coronavirus impact. So I thought I’d have a go at singling out my top six conferencing hubs in terms of connection, ease-of-use, delivery and successful outcome.
SKYPE FOR BUSINESS
Formerly Microsoft Lync, singled out as best for group conferencing able to accommodate up to 50 work colleagues. That’s some screen!
It’s available on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac formats both video and audio as well as messaging features with an easy-to-use interface all round. You can record, save and share video calls. Live captions and subtitles are available to enhance communications and collaboration.
Bumped into (virtually that is) Perceptive Communicators founder/managing director Julie Moulsdale who singles out LinkedIn as “really the major social media channel for business networking..with a very captive and attractive audience.”
The “Live” version is still in its infancy in terms of awareness and users’ confidence. You have to apply to use it and it carries a cost. So numbers are limited, but given the very tailored, yet huge audience and ever growing appetite for such conferencing apps “watch this space,” she hints.
GO TO MEETING
Whether a business-critical meeting or more casual discussion, this app carries with it claims of clarity in its technology with numerous features boosting its overall functionality.
In plain English: it shouldn’t crash midway through your key statement to bosses, hopefully leading to that long overdue promotion.
As to be expected, best for Office 365 all-in-one option groups come together to chat, video/audio meetings utilising Word, PowerPoint and Excel as required.
Enterprise software suite Office 365 E1 is available for businesses but there is a monthly charge per user compared with other apps that are free.
Microsoft maintains its reinvention of an organisation’s digital communications and collaboration workspace provides unmatched security and data protection. Still, a tad expensive.
Completely free, no account required it’s viewed as the best Open Source option.
This multi-platform video conferencing service for multi-user conferencing, or a build your own format, can be used all day, everyday.
Jitsi claims it’s secure, simple and scalable, fully encrypted with desktop and trade messaging as standard during the online chat.
Easy to navigate. Viewed as best for sending video messages to cover those who cannot attend a real time meeting due to busy work schedules – or live in another time zone and are asleep. Covers either single or group conferencing chats. All videos are saved.
Okay, I fibbed, this makes seven – CNet highlights this video chat app, reflecting how online gaming has increased by over 70% since the start of the pandemic, especially involving 18-to-29-year-olds, reports Psychic Ventures.
This particular app is currently dominating the download charts at both Google Play and the App Store. You get an alert to play games like Trivia and Heads Up! when friends/colleagues “are in the house.”
A bit cheesy, but a bit of light relief during some well earned downtime from work – Enjoy.