Top tools to connect and keep in touch

As the world prepares for an undefined amount of time in self isolation, in quarantine and living a lockdown lifestyle, the need to use apps and software to connect is vital.

Whether you want to touch base with business and work colleagues or have a giggle with your mates, the virtual world will be the only way we can stay in touch.

What do you need: a gadget which could be a laptop, a mobile phone with a decent camera or a tablet. Some of these apps also work really well on games consoles and smart watches too.

Allow me to explain and introduce you to some software tools that are useful, as a starting point

Zoom

  • What is it? Zoom is video and web conferencing software that allows you to have 1-to-1 or group calls that can be recorded. 
  • What does it do? It is easy to plan and send the meeting invitations with your friends and you can easily navigate your way around the site to send chat messages and images. You can choose whether you want the call to be just audio or video.
  • How do you access it: via an app that you download to your gadget
  • Is it free or do you pay? There are free options that allow you a free 40 minute meeting. If you want more privileges and options, pay for a monthly or annual subscription.
  • Find out more https://zoom.us/

Skype

  • What is it? Since 2003, Skype provides free video conferencing chat and video calls 
  • What does it do? What are the pros and cons: it is easy to use and navigate your way around the software website to accept or make video calls. It’s great for international audiences so you can connect in real time to anyone in their own time zone.
  • How do you access it:  via an app that you download to your gadget
  • Is it free or do you pay: Skype is largely free but take a look for any in app purchases that you need to make
  • Find out more: https://www.skype.com/en/

Microsoft Teams

  • What is it? Microsoft Teams is a way to collaborate efficiently and effectively in one centralised place to share documents, participate in instant chats, have group video calls 
  • What does it do – what are the pros and cons:  it is a great tool for project and group tasks to  store files and notes, host group meetings, share content and access apps (e.g. Word, Excel, OneNote, Planner, Forms) in one secure and easily accessible place
  • How do you access it? You can access Teams as an online version, as a desktop app or on an Android or iOS mobile device.
  • Is it free or do you pay: you will need to pay a licence or subscription fee to use Microsoft Teams.
  • Find out more: https://products.office.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

Whatsapp 

  • What is it? A quick and easy messaging platform on mobile phones, for free
  • What does it do – what are the pros and cons It allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media. You can also personalise your presence with a profile photograph.
  • How do you access it: download the app for free from itunes or google play store
  • Is it free or do you pay: it is free if you use wi-fi or your data allowance that comes with your mobile phone tariff
  • Find out more: https://www.whatsapp.com/

Google Duo 

  • What is it? Google Duo is a simple video calling app that is linked to your Gmail presence and account
  • What does it do – what are the pros and cons: connect with  up to 8 friends and family members for face-to-face chats any one time. It is also encrypted and safe.
  • How do you access it: Google Duo works on Android and iOS smartphones, tablets, computers, and Smart Displays
  • Is it free or do you pay: it is free
  • Find out more: https://duo.google.com/about/

House Party

  • What is it? Houseparty is the face to face social network
  • What does it do – what are the pros and cons. This app has become a popular option to be social with your friends and is a fun way to connect for fun video calls, and in app games.
  • How do you access it: download the app for free from itunes or google play store
  • Is it free or do you pay: it is free to download the app and access most games and interactive options but some games will cost about 89p to download and play
  • Find out more: https://houseparty.com/

Facebook Messenger

  • What is it? A messaging tool that is linked to your Facebook account.
  • What does it do – what are the pros and cons: Messenger is just like texting, but you don’t have to pay for every message. Use stickers, emoticons and cartoons to make your messages fun.  You can make video calls that also come with fun facial filters that are animated plus you can play interactive games when you use the video call option with friends. Interact with your facebook contacts using Messenger 1-to-1.
  • Is it free or do you pay: it is free and it works with your data plan for your mobile phone network 
  • Find out more: https://www.messenger.com/

Louise is a media and communications specialist with over 20 years’ experience of working in TV, Radio, print and online media for BBC and Commercial brands, businesses and services.

Working with names such as HSBC, Superdrug, LloydsPharmacy and Prince’s Trust to name a few, Louise creates and delivers pro-active and creative media content to share key messages and generate engaging and creative campaigns.

Click here to find out more about Louise and email for more information Louise@Soundbitemedia.co.uk

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