Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
Web Conferencing Vendors Offer Free Access During COVID-19 Social Distancing Measures
Web conferencing vendors lined up to offer their software services for free on Monday as workers around the globe started their weeks working from home, complying with social distancing recommendations in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microsoft says the premium tier of Microsoft Teams will be available free to all users, allowing them to schedule video calls and conferences. Team limits will also be removed. The free offering comes via a free six-month trial.
Google is also offering its Hangouts Meet software for free to all G Suite customers through to July 1. Users will be able to host meetings with limits of 250 participants as well as livestream to up to 100,000 viewers under a single domain account. All meetings can be recorded to Google Drive. Normally this tier of service would add US$13 per month per user onto the base level subscription.
Zoom lifted the time limits on its video calls for free version users in China and is doing the same by request for education sector users in Japan, Italy, and the US.
LogMeIn is offering critical front-line service providers with free use of many of its products for three months. It’s releasing Emergency Remote Work Kits that include solutions for remote meetings, video conferencing, webinars, and virtual events. It’s also supporting IT support and management of remote employee devices and apps as well as remote access to devices in multiple locations.
Zoho is also offering its Remotely software package, which includes a range of apps that assist with online collaboration and productivity, for free until July 1. It includes Zoho Meeting for web conferencing purposes.
Source: Web Conferencing Data Quadrant at SoftwareReviews Published Feb. 20, 2020.
With a huge portion of the population in many countries now pushed into remote working scenarios due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies will see their business continuity plans tested.
Most companies will already have some web conferencing or collaboration tools in place to support those who may work at home periodically. But with entire organizations taking to the home office, those systems may be pushed past their limits. Already on Monday, Microsoft Teams outages were being reported in Europe and the US as millions logged in to collaborate.
IT teams and task forces responsible for business continuity processes should monitor whether their online working solutions are doing the job effectively or not. If your team discovers performance issues or runs up against unexpected limitations on your service tier, then take stock of the temporary free options available from vendors. Also check with your own vendor to see if you can upgrade your staff to a better level of service for no cost.
Want to Know More?
Remote annual general meetings and shareholder meetings have certain end-user requirements that cannot be fully met by standard go-to web conferencing tools. Explore what other software options are available in this marketspace.
The Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York has reached a settlement with Zoom Video Communications. The agreement promises enhanced data security and user controls.
Verizon has acquired BlueJeans for between $400-500 million. The move will see BlueJeans integrated into Verizon’s 5G plans, utilizing BlueJeans' advanced and encrypted video-conferencing solutions for telehealth, eLearning, and field service work.
With an update that makes it easier for new and existing users to jump into a meeting, Cisco’s Webex is looking to address one of the few areas where it’s not rated at the very top of the pack.
If you’ve been working remotely during the pandemic, chances are you’re doing a lot of videoconferences with a poor-quality laptop webcam. If you own a Canon camera and use Windows 10, a new free utility can help you upgrade that A/V setup.
Zoom is living up to its namesake in its responsiveness in addressing security and privacy issues that users have identified. While the upcoming 5.0 update addresses many initial concerns, the product still does not offer end-to-end encryption.
The impact of COVID-19, as it became a global pandemic in Q1 of 2020, has affected user sentiment toward software during a growing period of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. To analyze the impact, SoftwareReviews compared Satisfaction (willingness to recommend to a peer), ability to deliver Business Value (fair cost to value), and Likeliness to Renew prior to March 10 and post March 10.
Security research firm Cyble has reported a discovery of over 500,000 Zoom accounts, including login and password information, being sold on the dark web and in hacker forums.
While the US stock market declines as rapid selloffs follow COVID-19’s global outbreak, Zoom Video shares have increased. This is because more people are choosing to work remotely to avoid contracting the disease, positioning videoconferencing as an essential part of business continuity plans against biohazards.