Posted on 12/05/20

LOCKDOWN- that dreaded word that was inevitable due to Covid 19.

We weren't given much time to prepare for lockdown that was announced in March. All of a sudden plans for birthdays, family meet ups, girlie nights, lads night out, holidays, weddings and anything else planned on your calendar came to a halt.

It was something that had to be done. We had no choice. We are to stay indoors until this deadly virus goes away. But, this is the 20th century and thank goodness for that ! Staying home does not mean that we shut ourselves away from our friends and family. With modern technology, we are now able to still communicate with our loved ones albeit not the same as physical contact.

Whether you are video conferencing for work, 'seeing' family on screen or catching up with friends, virtual communication seems to be the new 'trend' and for some, a life line in this pandemic.

We've compiled 16 different video conferencing tools that you may or may not of heard of. At a glance, here are the best 16 free ones :

In many respects Zoom does nothing new. It's a cloud-based video conferencing tool where you can host calls with others. Users can open chat rooms and can have up to 500 attendees all sharing the feed from their webcams, thus giving the illusion of a typical meeting.

Google Meet, previously named Google Hangouts Meet, is Google's premium video conferencing software, provided as part of G Suite. There's also a free version of Meet. Meet is similar to the video chat service provided in the consumer Hangouts but supports far more participants. Maximum participants 250.

Houseparty, described by Epic as “a synchronous social platform that lets you connect face-to-face with the people you care about most”, is free to download. You are asked to submit your name, email address, mobile phone number and a user name. Maximum participants 8.

UberConference is a cloud-based conferencing system produced by a private company in San Francisco known as Switch Communications, Inc. ... It is a visual audio conferencing system that allows the callers to see the avatar of the other participants on the mobile browsers or on the desktops. Maximum participants 10.

WhatsApp is a free app for iPhones, Android smartphones, Windows Phone and Mac laptops and Windows PC. It allows you to send messages, pictures, videos and even voice recordings, as well as make voice and video calls over the internet for free, rather than using your mobile network which costs you money. Maximum participants 4.

FreeConference offers free conference call solutions for you to connect through telephone or online with your customers, relatives or colleagues anywhere. our FREE conference account includes: Unlimited free conference calls. Up to 400 callers per call. Maximum participants 5.

Facebook Messenger is a FREE mobile messaging app used for instant messaging, sharing photos, videos, audio recordings and for group chats. The app, which is free to download, can be used to communicate with your friends on Facebook and with your phone contacts. Maximum participants 4.

TrueConf is a Russian company that produces software-based video conferencing and unified communications solutions. Company's applications are designed for usage in conference or meeting rooms, at workplaces, and on mobile devices. The company is headquartered in Moscow. Maximum participants 3.

A Webex meeting is an online meeting that allows you to virtually meet with other people, without leaving your home or office. Webex meetings require a computer with Internet access and a separate phone line. By logging into the meeting via the Internet, you will be able to see the presenter's computer screen. Maximum participants 200.

Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat-based collaboration platform complete with document sharing, online meetings, and many more extremely useful features for business communications. Maximum participants 250.

Lifesize Go- you can make as many calls as you like, without restrictions on meeting length. Invite attendees by sending a link or an email with no download or account required to get started. Share a presentation or other content and collaborate instantly and securely. Maximum participants 8.

BlueJeans video conferencing software makes joining a meeting directly from a web browser easy, with no passwords or downloads required. Maximum participants 50. Free for one month trial.

Skype is software that enables the world's conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice one-to-one and group calls, send instant messages and share files with other people on Skype. Maximum participants 10.

Slack is a collaboration hub that can replace email to help you and your team work together seamlessly. It's designed to support the way people naturally work together, so you can collaborate with people online as efficiently as you do face-to-face. Maximum participants 15.

FaceTime is Apple's video and audio calling service. You can use it from any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, to call anyone else using any one of those devices. Maximum participants 32.

GoToMeeting is a web-hosted service created and marketed by LogMeIn. It is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software package that enables the user to meet with other computer users, customers, clients or colleagues via the Internet in real time. Maximum participants 26.

We, at home have been using Zoom with friends and work for many occasions and have loved it. My teens have used Houseparty which can host up to a maximum of 8 people and with some online games that you can play whilst chatting. As for communicating with family and close friends, we have gone for WhatsApp or Messenger.

A friend of mine turned 50 beginning of May and decided to invite '50 for 50th' on Zoom. We had 50 of us singing happy birthday to her on Zoom...it was epic!! Teen's birthday is round the corner and I have some girlie evenings planned out on WhatsApp... time to start shopping for an awesome 17th birthday party, which will most probably be on Zoom and not forgetting the all important bottle or two for my virtual girlie evenings.

So, what's on your calendar that you had to postpone ? Can you still go ahead virtually? If you haven't planned anything, then start filling it up. Quiz nights. Games night. Lads Curry night. Ladies Gin night. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Whatever you fancy doing, Forwardvia is here to help. Wherever you are in the world, start planning! ForwardVia can help to get your favourite British goods from online shops in the UK. All this at the comfort of your own home!

If you haven't already, do try Video Conferencing with your family or friends. You might just end up being an expert at the end of this pandemic.

Meanwhile, keep safe and stay happy!

ForwardVia Team

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