The BART strike hit Bay Area’s 400K daily commuters this morning with a slap in the face. Oakland ferry lines were stretching around the corner and the Bay Bridge has been backed up since 5:30 a.m. KTVU-TV’s @sal_castaneda tweets:
In 1997 [the last BART strike] most people couldn’t work from home using a high speed internet connection. Will today’s tech help during this #BARTstrike?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
In fact, BART officials’ top 2 suggestions for dealing with the strike are “adjusting work hours” and “telecommuting.” If you want to carry on business as usual with these commuting alternatives, there are a gazillion new apps and tools to help you connect and collaborate with coworkers wherever you are. Here are our favorite video collaboration tools to help you stay connected. Also check out our video conference product reviews page:
1. VSee (of course!) – VSee is a super simple tool for getting work done like you’re face-to-face. VSee group video calls are always free and its signature one-click screen share (paid if >1 share) makes collaboration easy. It also uses ultra low-bandwidth to allow you to work with coworkers on crowded wifi hubs and 3G networks. You can even integrate VSee into your own app with the VSee API.
2. Cisco WebEx - This is a full blown presentation tool with all the bells and whistles you need – moderation control, meeting scheduling, whiteboard, PSTN dial-in…you name it, it has it. It’s a great product, especially for large webinar presentations, but rather clunky for simple, quick check-ins and staying connected throughout the day.
3. Google+ Hangouts and Skype - A lot of people in the freebie crowd use these in conjunction: Skype for free 1-on-1 video calls and Google Hangouts for group meetings. However, neither of these will fly if you have concerns about privacy or security, and neither can’t beat VSee for low-bandwidth.
4. Zoom - Walt Mossberg did a rave review of Zoom when it first came out last year. It supports a lot of the same functions as WebEx with the focus on video. Thus it has pretty good quality video, and it allows meetings for up to 25 participants. It also support iOS and Android mobile platforms.
5. Vidyo – We really have to hand it to Vidyo for doing a great job on video quality. It offers a wide range of products from desktop to room-based video conference and has been giving Polycom and Cisco Tandberg a run for their money with its software-based video conference at a quarter of the cost. But like WebEx, it’s designed more for formal meetings and presentation than lightweight collaborations.
What are your favorite video collaboration tools? Tell us in our comments.
photo courtesy: @ChrisFilippi via Twitter