Many companies have been using video software to connect remotely for years. However, only recently have we seen almost every industry look for ways to work from home to follow social distancing recommendations due to COVID-19. Small business owners are hard at work imagining new ways to do business; new ways to lead and manage in a future that will rely more heavily on technology than ever before.
The good news is there are apps available to maintain personal, face-to-face connections with businesses, clients, classes, and loved ones already in place. Most are easily searched and downloaded for free. Here are some of the most popular and useful platforms available today:
Video Chat with Friends and Family
User simplicity and connection to one's social media make some platforms preferable over others when connecting with family and friends.
Skype – One of the first video chat platforms out there, Microsoft’s Skype is easy to use. It’s also useable with a PC or mobile device, including iPhone and Android, which can be a problem with other apps that work with a single platform.
Facetime – The primary video chat app for iPhone and Mac users cannot interface with Android or PC. The video is clear and powerful and is one of the features that encourage users to buy iPhones over other brands.
Facebook Messenger – With the largest user group, Facebook’s video messenger has become a common way for “friends” to connect. The video image is inconsistent depending on location but useful for all platforms, and most users already have it.
What’s App – Owned by Facebook, over a billion people use this app primarily to share photos, status updates, and videos. Still, the video call feature is becoming very popular and promises to surpass other apps. It’s known for its stability and usefulness in sending large files.
Video Conferencing for Business and School
Video conferencing with business associates and clients or for classes require features that may not be available in family and friends-type video chat programs. The ability to share the screen with multiple other chat members, sharing files, and including a task list, calendar, and presentation is also desirable.
Zoom Meeting – With a free and paid version, both have a lot of features. The free version can include up to 100 people on a conference chat, though groups of 3+ can’t chat over 40 minutes. The file-sharing, desktop and app sharing, use of a whiteboard, notes, and ability to record videos are all included in the free version, unlike other applications.
Google Hangouts – It has a lot of great features, including sharing from Google Drive and My Business accounts. Google Hangouts connects up to 150 people, and video calls work for smaller groups from 10-25 people, depending on users’ platform options. It is generally thought of as a robust cross-platform app, though less secure or structured than Zoom.
Skype – Skype is useful for business and online classes due to its file-sharing feature, with a translator for up to 10 languages. It can share screens, videos, and photos as well as documents, and it connects to Outlook calendars. Most users are familiar with it, so the learning curve is quicker.
Charles Myrick currently holds regular video conversations with clients over Zoom (Zoom.us). While we wait for events to play out during this pandemic, it’s a great time to contact us with your questions and concerns. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.
Charles P Myrick CPA, Washington DC tax preparation firm, specializes in accounting and bookkeeping services for small business and entrepreneurs. We invite you to learn more about the small business accounting services that are available: (202) 789-8898.