Since most Ukrainians have to stay at home and limit any direct social contacts with people due to the spread of COVID-19, we have decided to express our opinion on how to keep in touch and be efficient in this situation.
According to the scientists, communication is much more efficient when you can see the person you are talking to. Luckily, there are numerous types of video conference software that are capable of satisfying most demand for remote communication today. You can meet eye-to-eye or as a group of people regardless of how far you are from each other.
Below is the collection of free software with the video communication function, which, in the opinion of the Legal IT Hub team, is the most efficient and offers the best functions.
+ cross-platform support;
+ usable in the web browser;
+ live subtitles;
– 50 participants.
Skype is the brand almost every Ukrainian is aware of. The video chat by Microsoft is often treated as a means of communication with your friends and family, but the cross-platform application also supports group video calls for up to 50 people.
Skype can also be used in a browser, and this useful function is of help if the person you are talking to has not installed Skype. You can always ask the person to join by using his or her e-mail address.
In keeping with the best traditions, there is an option of common access to the screen, and you can blur the background automatically to focus on the speaker. Other useful functions include live subtitles (in English and Russian) of the conversations and chat recording.
If you need video conferences involving more people, there is a paid update, Skype for business. You will get the function of chats for up to 250 participants, Microsoft Office integration and more reliable security parameters for a small monthly fee.
You can create an account with Skype here:
Cisco Webex Meetings
+ 1 GB of cloud storage;
+ up to a hundred participants;
+ screen sharing.
Webex Meetings is the premium video conference function. Although there are different service plans for Webex Meetings, the free version can satisfy all the user needs in most cases. Webex Meetings provides for HD video meetings for up to a hundred participants and such functions as screen sharing and private chats.
When you enter your account, you are assigned your personal URL (Uniform Resource Locator), which can be used to manage all of your meetings, to plan video conferences and to access the records.
When it comes to video conferences, you can choose between Webex Meetings applications or the website although it should be noted that the PC application has a more convenient interface. There are also mobile applications.
The free service package includes 1 GB of cloud storage, an unlimited number of meetings of any duration and MP4 recording function. The security is ensured with 256-bit encryption TLS 1.2 and AES and supported by Cisco know-how in the networking area that procures exceptional performance.
You can create an account with Cisco Webex Meetings here:
+ no need to install software;
+ international communication available;
– up to five participants.
FreeConference makes life for its users easier as it does not require the installation of any software. There are mobile applications, but you can participate in the video conference session from almost any device with a web browser. You can participate in text and video chats and use such functions as screen and file sharing.
However, FreeConference has some restrictions. The maximum number of conference participants is five people, which prevents use of the application by many organizations that can regularly hold meetings for a large number of people.
A number of international telephone numbers are available for international calls, and you can record the calls if you wish. The settings, fee management and planning in FreeConference are very simple, including by means of Outlook. Another pleasant option is to set up repeated events. Unfortunately, such functions as improved security, video recording and transcription are offered in the premium package only, but the free version is also quite powerful.
You can create an account with FreeConference here:
+ for desktop and mobile gadgets;
+ usable in the web browser;
– video chat for up to ten participants.
Hangouts is a very simple tools supporting the chat for up to 150 people and video calls with up to ten people only. When it comes to Hangouts, we mean speed and convenience. Hangouts can be used in the browser, and there are also applications for Chrome OS, iOS and Android.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, when lots of people have to stay home, Google has offered extended options of Hangouts Meet to the users of G Suite and G Suite for Education for free. Also, the functions of the Entrepreneur level, such as meetings of up to 250 people, recording to Google Drive and others are available for free until 1 July 2020. It should be noted that Google Hangouts Meet is available to the clients of G Suite only, so it is actually not free, contrary to the main service Google Hangouts.
You can create an account with Google Hangouts here:
+ up to a hundred participants;
– 40-minute limit for large meetings;
– confidentiality and security are not guaranteed to the full extent.
Zoom Meeting is available for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android and had ten million users as of the beginning of 2020. In March this year, the number reached 200 million. The success was followed by a number of scandals and accusations of the inability of Zoom Meeting to facilitate the confidentiality and security of its users. In particular, online conferences were a soft target for hackers.
Therefore, Zoom Meeting recently announced a 90-day freeze of development of new functions to focus on the resolution of the security issues.
Let’s return to the functions of Zoom Meeting: there are free and paid versions, but even the free version enables you to hold a personal meeting or corporate meetings involving up to 100 people. However, there is a 40-minute limit for the meetings with three or more people. There are several pleasant aspects, including desktop sharing, interactive board and annotating as well as MP4 or M4A meeting recording, which is usually for a fee in the competing software.
Microsoft Outlook and Chrome offer the plugins that may be used to schedule meetings, and the administrator can control the meeting and chat rooms. After the security issues are resolved, Zoom Meeting can be used as a basic communication tool, but if you need more, for instance, support of a large number of participants, different inexpensive upgrade packages are offered.
You can create an account with Zoom Meeting here:
The most important selection criteria were reputation and functions. Of course, the video conference service market is huge and offers more than these applications. At the same time, we recommend using similar principles to choose the platform to meet all of your needs.