What is a video call?
A video call (or even video call and video conference)is a call made with programs or apps that provide video as well as audio support. In this period, with Covid-19, their use has literally exploded, today the communication platforms are used by private individuals to communicate with friends and relatives, and by schools to make video conference lessons and by companies to communicate with collaborators who work remotely.
There are many platforms available on the market. The most famous are certainly those of Microsoft such as Skype and Teams followed by those of Google such as Zoom and Hangout and that of Zoom in strong growth. Among young people, the most used, however, is definitely WhatsApp. Those who are members of the Facebook social network have certainly downloaded Facebook Messanger and Live Chatroom. It is interesting to see the positioning and usefulness of the various platforms.
The most reliable video conferencing app is definitely that of Google Hangout. The best example of consumer-oriented software, widely used for years in the business sector. Allows full integration with all other Google applications: Gmail, Google Calendar, etc. The only flaw is that it allows a simultaneous connection of only 10 users. In the revised version of Google Meet (now free), however, it is possible to make an audio and video connection simultaneously for up to 250 people.
Advantages: Integrated with Gmail, Google Calendar, it works with Chrome through plugins.
Disadvantages: It does not support two streams simultaneously, some users complain about the quality and reliability of the connection.
The Microsoft app offers tools for both private users and businesses. Videoconferencing is possible from computers and mobile devices. It is possible to connect, also in this case 10 users at the same time, there is the possibility of accessing a directory of people where it is possible to search for all registered users of the service.
Advantages: familiar user experience, for anyone who uses Skype to connect with family members, additions of additional users that can be connected in the paid versions
Disadvantages: requires downloading an application, it can be considered unprofessional because it is widely used for private conversations, advanced features available upon subscription of premium subscription
Zoom offers a reduced service for group video calls quite satisfactory. Allows the choice of different types of plans. With the Basic plan, it allows users to make 40-minute calls with few features like screen sharing, local recording, meeting rooms, and camera filters. in the second quarter, with the increase in the Covid emergency, Zoom reached 200 million meetings per day!
Advantages: simple registration, includes basic registration, supports calls to 100 users simultaneously.
Disadvantages: requires a downloadable application, uses only the English language, all calls are not encrypted, calls have a maximum limit of about 40 minutes, no possibility to check spam or bandwidth
Lifesize is a widely used software for video conferencing. For its use it is necessary to open a free account, you can use a video conferencing service that allows the maximum participation of 25 users, without the need to download or install software.
Benefits: No download or installation required, unlimited conference duration, screen sharing, high video quality, based on a global cloud network, end-to-end enabled security and encryption by default.
Disadvantages: integrations for video conferencing systems in 4K are available but included in a paid subscription.
Webex is a Cisco Systems platform perfect for large companies, and full of tools.
Advantages: Easy to use interface. Users can easily share the screen, documents and much more.
Disadvantages: The default browser is internet explorer, so if you use firefox or chrome you have to change the browser setting before clicking on a shared link.
Fortune 100 Enterprise Doubles Video Communications While Cutting Costs With Zoom: Deployed 25,000 Zoom accounts with webinar, large meeting, and H.323/SIP connectors
Applying role-playing strategy to enhance learners’ writing and speaking skills in EFL courses using Facebook and Skype as learning tools: a case study in Taiwan: English as a foreign language (EFL) instruction faces many challenges in Asia because of many cultural and environmental factors, such as the lack of interactive speaking environments, emphasis placed on test scores, and foreign language anxiety. The purpose of this research is to conduct an EFL instructional course by integrating Facebook (asynchronous online discussion) and Skype (synchronous online discussion) as platforms through which students perform role-playing based learning activities and to observe the effects of the course on the challenges mentioned above.
The platforms that bring online classes
The platforms for e-learning They don’t stop at large groups. The Italian one that reaches most teachers and students is WeSchool. Founded by Marco De Rossi under the name of Oilproject, it helps teachers to “bring their classes online and make their teaching digital.” They are about 2 millions of students who access the Library section every month, populated by video lessons.
Moodle is an open source platform used by companies for training, but also by teachers to digitize part of the educational pathways. Edmodo gives the possibility to organize the class work, both on the benches and in the chair. It offers resources for schools, teachers, students and even for parents.
Redooc, rather than as a digital version of the classes, is an “online alternative to repetitions” and is focused on “mathematics, physics, Italian, financial education and logic games”. The Miur cites Bricks Lab, a Milan based platform that “allows you to create multimedia lessons” and “personalized educational constructions”. Resources can be shared by teachers with students, but also with colleagues, “so as to pool their work and benefit from that of others”.
What’s in the future of conference calls?
In the future, all players will focus on the quality of the service by offering 4K experiences. Making a conference call will be like shooting a movie, web cameras will be more and more efficient and cheaper so you can have many in the room, which could be very convenient for conference calls where a person has to stand up to do a presentation. In this sense, we are also working to integrate artificial intelligence, so that it can automatically frame the person who is going to the blackboard and attend meetings with 3D holograms.