Try to think: if they had asked you a year ago, you would have replied that zoom is the function of the video camera to magnify the captured object. Twelve months later, Zoom means above all else and is one of the most searched words on Google and most named at work. The same goes for Meet which translated its meaning into English into daily practice: to meet. The year of Covid has cleared customs for a new way of working, the famous smartworking, which from a “benefit” granted by the most advanced multinationals, has become a daily practice almost everywhere, where there is an office, a desk and a PC terminal. Even in public administrations, par excellence refractory to change. And the change was not only organizational but also cultural, a legacy that will remain even after the epidemic is over, hopefully as soon as possible, with all the questions and consequences of the case. But one thing is certain: today practically everyone can physically work from home, just an internet connection and the office as if by magic (perhaps black magic?) Materializes between the kitchen and living room.
The vast majority of employees, professionals and consultants of various kinds have experienced in this cursed year what was taboo until 2019, measuring its advantages and limits, testing its opportunities and discovering its physical and mental pitfalls. This revolution would not have been possible without the apps and web platforms already on the market but used mostly by the high segment of the business. When needed, they have become the lifesaver within reach of tablets, smartphones and PCs to not stop activities. Thousands and thousands of downloads and upoloads that have made the shareholders of e-companies rich and emptied their offices between one Dpcm and the next. The anti-Covid decrees could only limit themselves to recommending the use of remote work, where possible, but the response of companies and workers in terms of membership and speed was objectively remarkable, after the practical and regulatory uncertainties of the beginning. Of course, the differences on the Italian territory as always are not lacking and reflect the map of the greater development of technological infrastructures, such as broadband.
The vademecum for agile work
Who in recent months has not attended an online meeting or entered a case by connecting to the company computer from home? Of course, the fields of application are innumerable, ranging from work to socializing, from school, which deserves a separate treatment with the joys and sorrows of distance learning to cultural and even sports activities. From the interview with the CEO to the drama or yoga lesson, everything has become possible “from a distance”, even condominium meetings. So it is reasonable to say that these platforms have changed the way we live and not just work. But what are they? Let’s limit ourselves to a roundup of those that can be downloaded for free, without going into in-depth comparisons
The most downloaded and used of all for videoconferencing, due to its versatility and the ability to connect up to 500 participants with the meeting organizer who can mute or turn on everyone’s microphone from time to time. Some have criticized the video resolution but the real problem is related to privacy. The incursions of unwanted outsiders, a kind of conference hackers, have occurred so often that the zoombombing phenomenon has been mentioned without considering the case of the transmission of personal data to Facebook. On her side, she has the fact that everyone chooses her. Within a year, 447 million downloads. What else to say?
Google’s video conferencing platform has entered our daily lives thanks to the fact that almost everyone has a Google account. Associated with the Calendar function, it is very convenient both from a PC and from a mobile phone for business meetings but also at school. In fact Meet is used a lot by teachers even if experts say that Zoom has more suitable characteristics. Google Meet can be accessed via a browser or with apps specifically created for IOS and Android. Meetings of up to 250 participants with a limit of one hour.
Before the pandemic, for the general public, there was only Skype, Microsoft’s video calling service that kept people connected from one end of the world to another. Ideal for small groups, it can connect up to 50 people for an unlimited period. More video chats between friends, therefore, than business meetings. Microsoft Teams It is the Microsoft platform designed for the work that the giant founded by Bill Gates has granted free access during the pandemic. All you need is a Microsoft account to host free meetings with 300 attendees.
More internationally known than Italian, widely used for webinars and conferences with a single speaker and up to 1000 participants but also recommended for home use. It stands out for its high security standards and for the possibility of integration with other platforms.
The feature of Jitsi Meet is to be open source: accessible to all for free and without registration, just the connection. But you can also download the App. For the rest, the characteristics are similar to other platforms with the possibility of being able to share videos on youtube as well as the screen but you cannot share files. Much used at the beginning of the pandemic by schools.
It is the Facebook platform for video conferencing business meetings that also allows for the storage of personal files and translation from other languages.
EzTalks and Big Blue Botton
Free and open source, it’s very similar to Zoom that took EzTalks as a model for developing its Video Meeting App. BigBlueBotton is free and open source, does not require registration and can be accessed via broswer. It was developed
specifically for schools. Little known in Italy.