When President Rodrigo Duterte announced the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on March 15, 2020, most of the businesses in Metro Manila and nearby provinces also started to impose a work-from-home system with their employees.
Ever since the lockdown started, private businesses and even the government have been looking for all possible ways to continue their tasks and duties without risking their health and safety.
This signalled the rise of various online communication platforms that can help people resume their meetings, events and even sessions in Congress while staying at home.
One of the pioneering softwares that was first used by employees working at home is the Zoom app.
The application offers a free version and a pro version. For the free version, the basic video calling for one-on-one is unlimited and free, while group calling is limited for 40 minutes. Direct and team messaging capabilities with Zoom Chat are also unlimited.
Meanwhile, the pro version has more special features to offer such as having enhanced admin controls on your meetings. More features are available depending on the plan and pricing you will avail of.
Both versions allow users to record the video meeting.
Like Zoom, Google Meet also offers video meeting features that can be used for free, but just for 60 minutes. It also offers free and paid versions.
However, the thing about Google Meet is that, unlike Zoom, recording of the video conference is not allowed for free users in the coming days.
G-Suite Enterprise members can record, but G-Suite members can avail this free feature until September 30, 2020.
This platform is also a communication platform used by a "team," to start a meeting that members can have a workplace chat, "file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration."
To join a meeting, the administrator or owner will only forward a specific link to the team where his members can join.
Microsoft Team is commonly used, specially during this pandemic, by schools and universities through its Teams for Education in setting up online classes and programs joined by teams including students, school staff, teachers, and professors.
Messenger Room is the latest one to join the online software that can be used in business meetings, video conferences, and even events.
Developed by Facebook, Messenger Room allows you to create a "room" at your fingertips.
It offers an unlimited time of video callings with a limit of 50 persons in a room. And just like the video call feature we use in our Messenger, you can edit your backgrounds, add filters to your camera, and chat while on a video call.
Note also that anyone can join your room even that person does not have a Facebook account. He or she can join the video call through a specific URL that the creator will send.
Unlike the mentioned software above, Streamyard offers free broadcasting of your browser through social networks with its free, basic, and professional plans.
Included in the free version is that the user is allowed to broadcast 20 hours/month for free. However, the user does not have controls in customizing his screen with his own logo.
But if you opted for the basic or the professional plan, your own branding feature is available and you can stream in two and five different platforms, respectively.
There are still a lot more platforms that offer free video calling that private businesses can use so that their employees can still perform their tasks and reach their customers. The question here is: How accessible and convenient are these for both end—employees and customers?