October Toolbox: Various ideas for video calls

toolbox

Communication. It’s kind of important.

I learned one time that communication is derived from the same word as a community. So, if you want community, there has to be good communication.

I have a friend who played an FBI Analyst on the hit show NCIS New Orleans one time.

Her role was during crunch time and she played someone trying to get a trace on a call with a kidnapper.

Communication can be critical.

That’s why in our industry, we often take video calls. Seeing someone face to face is important to building trust. Thanks to several different tools, we have plenty of options for video calls.

In the past year, we have all made more use of online capabilities to hold video calls. They have come in handy but also come with challenges.

The major player is, of course, Zoom which many of us was using well before we ever heard the term COVID.

I thought to myself, “What are some other options?”

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At my office computer, I use Brave Browser. One day when I logged on to Brave, I noticed something I hadn’t before.

The browser had an icon and told me I could, in fact, make a call using Brave Talk.

I was taken back.

Therefore, In this month’s toolbox, we explore other options for making video calls.

Brave Talk

Brave Talk is pretty to implement. First, of course, you have to have Brave Browser. Next, they require you to activate Brave Rewards.

Once you have completed these two things, everything is similar to other video conferencing tools.

You get the added benefit of using Brave Browser which allows you to browse privately and use a more private search engine.

Brave Talk Screenshot
Brave Talk Screenshot

Additionally, it comes with ad-blocking built into the browser.

It comes with unlimited private video calls for free. Users can upgrade to host video calls for multiple participants for a very reasonable price.

Note: Brave does not come without its own “skeletons in the closet.” I recently found out it hasn’t been always truthful about its privacy.  It seems, from what I can tell, they used affiliate links for some cryptocurrencies which definitely affects their privacy. Last year the CEO apologized via Twitter and gave some promises. I am not sure how or if this issue affects using Brave Talk.

Google

We all know that Google may be the biggest player in the space. Video calls are no different.

Google has at least two options you can use.

The first option is Google Meet. Yes, it does still exist, and it appears they have improved their performance in the past year.

There are lots of good features with Google Meet including closed captioning, recording (premium feature), screen sharing, a Whiteboard, and breakout rooms (premium).

Google Meet Screenshot
Google Meet Screenshot

Another option for Google is called Google Duo.

Duo can be used for iOS, Android, and web platforms.

Duo also claims to encrypt the calls so they are private.

The implementation of Duo makes me wonder if they did this to take some of the pressure off of Hangouts.

Duo uses a phone number or an email address. It is very handy for use with your smartphone.

Whereby

In preparation for the article, I was browsing a few articles and came across Whereby.

The New York Times advocated for Whereby in their Wirecutter section.

I decided to take a look.

Whereby includes an embed feature that allows you to embed the video on your own platform.

The embed feature is used by industries such as Telehealth, eLearning, and Virtual Events.

I must admit it looks promising.

The prices for meetings look really reasonable and worth taking a look at.

Whereby’s Mission:

“We believe it shouldn’t matter where work happens. As a fully flexible remote team, we’re on a mission to give people the freedom to work and live where they thrive.” Source

The homepage claims there are no apps, no downloads, and no long meeting links (think Zoom).

Take a look.

Other Options

Open Source Options

Many of us like open-source options. There are a number of those to consider as well including Jitsi Meet.

The article by Makeuseof gives 5 open source options for you to consider for video conferencing.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has promoted Teams quite a bit since last year. Teams use a Microsoft account, of course, and it is attached with a phone number. Teams can be a convenient way to communicate if you use Microsoft Office products.

Microsoft also has ownership of Skype which is still in use. Skype is like the grandfather of all video conferencing tools not for enterprise businesses.

Wrapping it up

As a business owner, I have tried Google Meets and Zoom. I also used Jitsi Meet when I attended a virtual conference one time.

Of course, in years past I’ve used Skype. I am actually very interested in Brave Talk and will probably try this at some point.

I am also very interested in Whereby.

Have you used any of these options? Let’s talk about it in the MainWP Users Facebook Group.

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