Best video call apps to use for work and socialising

06 April, 2020 12:34  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Couple waving during a video call - @Freepik.com

In a few hours, I have an "apero-time" with friends (a virtual apero, as it becomes the norm with the current corona virus lockdown). Earlier I spent 30 minutes on a video-conference meeting with colleagues at work, talking about the latest change in the delivery schedule of some projects.

Video call apps have become inevitable nowadays with the vast majority of the population in confinement and working from home. We list below some of the most popular best video conferencing tools that you could use.

Zoom

In a few months it has become the most popular application with a reported 200 million daily users in March, up 20 times from the end of last year. Is is free for up to 40 minutes (but often extend for more nowadays) but with unlimited meetings (which means you can resend a link immediately for another meeting) and allows you to start or join face-to-face video calls with up to 100 people. Probably one of the nicest feature is the possibility to see all participants in similar tiles (hilghlighting the person speaking), which is usefull as soon as you have more than 10 participants.

You have also more features for company meetings if you pay: the most expensive tier gets you meetings with up to 1,000 participants, but there are cheaper options.

However, with popularity come criticism, as Zoom has been labelled a "security disaster" by some security analysts, which could explain why many companies have preferred to use Skype or Webex. CEO Eric Yuan said that the company was freezing any new features to the service for 90 days in order to concentrate on security and bug fixing. The company has also published guidelines to improve security of video-meetings.

  • You can find the Zoom sign-up page here: Zoom

Webex

Owned by Cisco, Webex is well know from professionals and widely used by companies running video conferences and webinars.You can run webinares HD video and broadcast-quality audio for audiences up to 3,000 and virtual events for up to 100,000 participants with expertise from Cisco Webex Webcasting.

As for Zoom, their main competitor before the COVID19 crisis, they have a free version with 100 participants, unlimited time and audio call-in (in addition to existing VoIP capabilities, participants can just call a number for free in 52 countries). Problably surprised by the sudden success of Zoom (seen as a cheaper version before), they have tried to react in upgrading their free version (only up to 50 participants before, and up to40 min limit). Other prices range from £11.25/months to £22.50 for 200 participants and the possibility for international calls with another £29.75/month.

As a Cisco product, they really focus on business, providing Webex Teams collaboration features as well as video conferencing.

  • Sign up on Webex here: Webex

Skype

Skype has been around for a very long time (now owned by Microsoft). Many company have bought the professional version but it's also a great tool for personal use. Skype can be used on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, and offers video and audio calling, as well as a messaging feature.

However it is limited if you want to use it for large group meeting as it supports up to 50 people on the same audio call. But it allowssome nice features as adding captions and subtitles.

If you buy a Phone subscription (Skype Credits), you can call phone numbers around the worl directly from your Skype software. For example you can call the United Kingdom ~500 mins for £10.00.

Google Hangout

The Google app offers high-definition video and audio meetings with up to 250 participants. An annoying feature however is the constant switch to the current person speaking on full screen and the other participants only visible in tiny boxes.

  • You can find the hangout page here: Hangout

FaceTime

Only for Apple users, FaceTime is a popular App on iPad, iPhone or Mac. You can reach the user with a phone number or Apple ID and it works on Wifi if you don't have data connection. You can organise a group FaceTime with up to 32 people at once since OS12 in 2018.

  • Download the app for iOS here: FaceTime

WhatsApp

The Facebook owned app has more than 2 billions users. You can use it both on iPhone or Android, as it works with a phone number. There is the possibility to use a desktop interface and a web interface, but this is limited to text messages then.

It has become very popular to make free phone calls (using Wifi) to anyone you are in contact with, wherever the person is. It is a great option for keeping in touch with family and friends worldwide.

With end-to-end encrypted, your messages and calls are secured so only you and the person you're communicating with can read or listen to them, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.

Houseparty

Houseparty is a video chat app owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games. Popular for aperitif and playing games,  Houseparty is a face to face social network. When you join the"house", your friends will be alerted and have the possibility to join too.The app is available for iOS, Android, MacOS and Chrome.

The app has seen massive growth in downloads since the start of March, according to data from Sensor Tower: it recorded 2m downloads worldwide in the last week of March, compared to 130,000 the same time in February.

Whereby

Whereby is a flexible tool providing you with video meetings in the browser – no downloads & no logins for guests. However the free version is limited to 4 participants per meeting.

Professional offers range from$9.99 to $59.99 for multiple users and up to 10 meeting rooms.

Marco Polo

This app dedicated to friends and family combines texting, social media and video chats - all in one private, easy to use app.The main difference with others is that it allows to send video messages to individuals or group chats, which the other parties can watch and respond to at their leisure.

Microsoft Teams

As advertised on their home page, the COVID19 crisis is an opportunity for Microsoft to promote their Office 365 tool to companies and schools around the world. They offer sign up for free for the entire school resquesting. Otherwise, Office 365 business plans that include Teams start at $5/user/month.

However for personal use they redirect to Skype (see above).

Information page: Microsoft Teams

Messengers

For Facebook addicte, you have the popular Messenger. It's primarily used for sending messages, but also includes a video chat option.

Jitsi

Jitsi is a multi-platform open-source video conferencing. It can be used for large multi-user video conference client and all tools are 100% free, open source, and WebRTC compatible. You can use their multi-user conference client, called Jitsi Meet, or build your own.

It's a fully encrypted video conference solution that you can use without creating an account and allows you to share desktops and share messages while you chat.

Depending on your needs (and the requirements from your company) choose the best app as we have now plenty of choice... just imagine a few seconds if the same crisis would have happened 20 years ago...

   


Tips to work remotely during the COVID19 crisis

03 April, 2020 09:00  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Working from home - freepik.com

With the lock-down measures imposed on more than 3 billions people, most of the office workers were forced to work from home. While the flexible working habits have still to spread through most of the companies (see ou previous article on that issue), staff was suddenly urged to adapt to the new conditions in confinement.

Even with the modern technologies using emails and shared documents, with remote connection to the companies IT infrastructure, certain things need to change: you won't have so many face-to-face meetings anymore and rely on instant messaging tools instead of popping out to your colleague's desk to ask for some information.

Here are 4 tips that could help you work from home during the confinement period (and even after, as your company might decide to move to flexible working):  (More)

   


How COVID19 is forcing many companies to move to remote working

02 April, 2020 09:00  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Working from home - freepik.com

The world crisis created by the current COVID19 pandemic has forced many companies to undergo fierce changes and adapt to flexible working.

First of all, we need to remember that for a lot of companies, working from home is not an option. The vast majority of the work includes physical interaction and manual actions: while drones are only an aspiration for your online shoping delivery, you still need someone for the parcels to come to your door; take-away and food shopping requires staff to prepare food and stock up supermarket shelves; emergency work involves ingeniors or technicians to repair and maintain plenty of appliances; and of course all the health sector will need to be working in hospital and surgeries.

Working from home has been part of the work-culture for a long time in some country, especially northern Europe. In the recent years, lead by office space reduction more than a sudden consideration for the well-being of their staff or environmental concern commuting reduction, more companies have moved from a full-time office based location to flexible working (meaning partial remote working, one or two days per week for example).  (More)

   


COVID19 - An overview of the world situation

31 March, 2020 15:30  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Pandemic status in the world31/03/2020

Only 3 months done in 2020 and we already know that year 2020 will enter in History books as one of the major event in the 21st century! The pandemic that has spread around the world rapidely started in December 2019 in the Wuhan area, at the heart of China (although some say it might have been even as early as September - and many think that the Chinese government is still hidding the real amount of deaths, that might go up to 40,000).

As of today, end of March, up to 3 billions people are in lockdown and the planet is more or less at a stand still with more than 170 countries affected... But while it is now agreed that the rapide reaction to the situation is critical in the fight against the pandemic, many countries are still adapting. (More)

   


Full update on the guide for expatriates in New York

13 February, 2020 15:47  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Expat guide: New York CityWe have now fully updated our guide for New York. The guide has been fully reviewed and extended, and with 143 pages (PDF) of information you will read the most complete guide to prepare your expatriation to New York City.  (More)

   


Happy New Year 2020

01 January, 2020 00:00  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Happy New Year 2020 - Designed by kjpargeter / Freepik

We wish you all a very happy year 2020!

2019 has been an opportunity to consolidate our audience and take advantage of our new forum with (eventually!) all our contents available with secure HTTPS format.

New expat guides and updates are coming soon, starting with the update of Budapest's guide with the manual translation in French in January on EasyExpat.com.

New blogs and interviews have been published on BlogExpat.com and we will continue to do so in 2020 to spread your expat experience across the world.

As usual we count on you to share your best tips, experience and advice on our forums.

 (More)

   


Guide for expatriates in Lima (Peru)

07 May, 2019 15:32  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Expat guide: Lima, Peru We are proud to launch our new city guide for expatriates in  Lima, Peru.

Lima is the capital city of the Republic of Perú and the largest city of the country, and its population is around 8.574.974 inhabitants.

 (More)

   


5 Essentials You Must Know About Rental Security Deposits

05 February, 2019 10:10  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Article sponsored by Sing-Guarantee

Sing-Guarantee: Rental Security Deposits in Singapore

You cannot escape putting down a rental security deposit when renting a property in Singapore (like in many other countries). Landlords need resources to repair and maintain their property. These deposits act as coverage against any possible damage caused by tenants and help landlords maintain their property.

Even if it feels like a burden to pay, you also benefit from rental security deposits. The amount you deposit is enough to cover you for possible at-fault and no-fault property damages. In the event you miss paying rent (for valid reasons), the security cash deposit also pays for it automatically.

We have compiled a list of things you need to know about rental security deposits to help you understand how renting a property works in Singapore. (More)

   


Guide for expatriates in Quito (Ecuador)

25 January, 2019 10:59  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Expat guide: Quito, Ecuador We are proud to launch our new city guide for expatriates in  Quito, Ecuador.

The Republic of Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, bordering Colombia in the north and Peru in the southeast. Ecuador's capital of Quito, officially called “San Francisco de Quito”, is located high in the Andes at an altitude of approximately 2,800 meters, making it the highest official capital in the world(More)

   


Happy New Year 2019

01 January, 2019 00:00  EasyExpat EasyExpat

We wish you all a very happy year 2019!

We are excited to start a new year at EasyExpat and BlogExpat.

In 2018, we upgraded to a completly new forum, with plenty of new functionalities and tags to better classify your posts.

We will offer again new and updated guides next year, interviews and improved community tools with always more news to help you with your expatriations plans.  (More)

   


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