Though video calling online is nothing new, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic could push the technology into more homes than ever before, as friends, families and colleagues look at effective ways to keep in touch.
With the older age groups more at risk, countless people across the UK and the wider world have begun setting up their relatives on video calling platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Facetime.
Whilst the charity Age UK welcomed video calling as a way to keep people in touch without being in touching distance, it did offer some advice to companies developing the technology.
The options should be as “user-friendly as possible”, says charity director Caroline Abrahams, adding that integrated technology (where a laptop or smartphone has a camera built in) would typically be much easier to operate.
This is no surprise to the tech giants, who already have such devices on the market. Amazon, Facebook and Google are just some of the big players who have developed and released devices with video calling at the very heart of what they do. They also have varying functions and price points, so consumers and businesses can get the right product for their individual needs.
However, whilst these devices should be among the easiest to set up, they have one disadvantage over the humble smartphone – their reliance on a WiFi connection. Smartphones, on the other hand, can jump between WiFi and mobile connectivity (signal allowing) to ensure the user can make calls whenever and wherever they wish – using the strongest signal available to them at the time.
One downside to using smartphones is the associated cost, with most devices retailing at far more than Amazon’s Echo Show, Facebook’s Portal and Google’s Nest Hub Max. However, you should resist the urge to pass on your old devices to colleagues or relatives, as these are unlikely to receive security updates, meaning they could put the user in unnecessary danger from hackers exploiting known weaknesses. As always, it’s best to research all the options and make a considered decision based on the results. Thankfully, there are many options to choose from, so there should definitely be a solution to work for your individual requirements.