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Video Conference Calling: Who to Use and Why

By | Articles

Around the world individuals and businesses have been forced to accept a new normal at the hands of the novel Coronavirus. As part of this new normal we’re all confined to our houses or apartments, practising social distancing and self-isolation as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus.

But being away from work and the social interactions that we’re used to has far-reaching implications from many perspectives. Businesses are struggling to keep their employees focused and motivated, the lack of social interaction is taking a toll on the mental health of individuals and we’re all struggling to adapt to a new way of working and socialising.

Luckily for us, a host of tools exist to support our endeavours to keep our lives as normal as possible.

Enter Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet and Houseparty

Over the past few days and weeks you might have become more familiar with the names presented above, maybe some more so than others. These are the video conferencing services taking the world by storm as individuals and businesses adjust to having to work from remote environments.

The services allow for a sense of connectedness between team members and families at a time when, for most, physical interaction is not possible or even safe. The services are designed for different target markets and their functionality has been developed accordingly. Here’s a high level of what they each look like followed by a breakdown of each product according to some set criteria:

Zoom: An independent video conferencing tool built primarily for enterprise or business clients to support their employees’ video calling or conferencing requirements.
Google Hangouts Meet: Google’s constantly-rebranded entry into the enterprise video calling and conferencing world. Hangouts Meet is integrated into the G Suite ecosystem.
Google Hangouts: Google’s longest-running video calling application.
Houseparty: A social network geared towards video interactions with colleagues, friends and family.

Accessibility

One of the most important aspects of video calling or conferencing software is that it is as accessible as possible to the group that intends to use it. Calls should be easy to start, painless to join and comfortable to participate in. In this category, Zoom is a clear winner for the ease at which calls can be both started and joined. Google Hangouts is also a contended for the top spot. Google Hangouts Meet is part of a larger ecosystem, which forces you to adopt the Google way. This, to some, can be a challenge. Houseparty is not designed to be used for business meetings or ‘normal’ catchups, it is more of a social experience.

Pricing

All of the services named above can be used for free in some capacity with certain limitations imposed. Google Hangouts is Google’s free entry into the video conferencing market whereas their Hangouts Meet offering is geared towards paid-for enterprise accounts. Zoom has a generous free tier. Houseparty is free as an application for iOS and Android.

As you scale your need for more capacity, be it in call length or participants, each service will introduce new tiers of pricing to suit your needs. Google Hangouts and Houseparty don’t have offerings in this respect. Google Hangouts Meet’s pricing tiers will depend on the underlying G Suite account while Zoom’s pricing follows an ordinarily-tiered structure.

Which is the best?

It really does depend.

The beauty of the modern Internet is that you can try all of these services before committing anything to them. The service that will suit individuals best is the one that they feel most comfortable in. In certain cases this decision may not fall on their shoulders which is unfortunately beyond their control.

But for the most part the service you prefer will largely depend on what you intend to do with it and who else will be joining you and what their preferences are. Zoom and Hangouts Meet are great for business meetings, but could you host a really great business meeting on Houseparty? Of course, if you wanted to. Social media has been ablaze with individuals using Zoom to have birthday parties and social dinners. The services are not confined to their prescriptive use cases.

Where Arqino can help?

We’ve got experience deploying solutions for businesses trying to transform themselves to accommodate unexpected changes or new ways of working. Contact us to chat about how we can help you move your services online.

5 Tips for Successfully Managing Parental Consent using WooCommerce

By | Articles, Consent Manager

As a user of WooBookings and WooCommerce you’ve taken the first steps towards providing the best booking experience for your customers. However you may still be dealing with paper-based forms in order to capture consent details from parents for their children.

This article describes how you can eliminate paper-based consent forms by integrating the capture of consent details as part of the booking process. Also covered are 5 tips on how to best manage parental consent.

Frustration with Paper-Based Forms

Are you responsible for capturing registration details and parent’s consent for your organisation?

Is this a familiar sight? Does it fill you with dread?

Getting forms filled in so that parents can register their children for an activity at your organisation is often fraught with difficulties. It’s usually the second step when your customer interacts with your organisation in order to get their child signed-up to attend a class or activity after they have called or emailed you about the activity.

Then you’ll know that form filling, especially paper-based forms and their ongoing management, is a costly affair.

People don’t like to fill in forms. Then there is the issue of managing the forms once they are filled. Do you capture the data from the form electronically? How do you file them? Where do you store them? Can you find the child and parent’s details quickly in case of an emergency? These are all problems that arise when using a paper-based system for managing registration and recording parental consent.

The Need for Parent’s Consent and Agreement

As an organisation providing classes or activities for children, consent is needed from parents for the following:

Medical Treatment – In case of an emergency, when parents cannot be contacted, medical details about the child and associated consent for giving treatment
Sharing Personal Data – Consent for the organisation to share personal data e.g. contact and medical details with 3rd parties, under the terms of the organisations privacy policy
Use of Media – Such as photographs or videos of children by the organisation or by an approved 3rd party.
Terms & Conditions –  Agreement to any financial or other terms and conditions

5 Tips to Manage Parental Consent

The primary objective for any WooCommerce capable website is to provide a booking and checkout experience that involves as little stress for the customer as possible.

Keeping the parents in mind is key. They are often juggling their time between work and children. When they do have a spare 10 minutes to book an activity for their children then they want the process to be as quick as possible.

With this in mind, the following will help ensure a smooth checkout experience:

1. Integrate the capture of child details into the booking and checkout process. e.g. number of children, names and ages, that will form part of the booking and the information will be available to the organisation and directly linked to the order.

2. Allow parents to review, edit and complete consent details as part of their user profile on WooCommerce. This allows parents to change their minds about their information as well as the information relating to their children on an ongoing basis. Less location, adjustment and refiling of paper-based forms!

3. Only show names of children that have completed consent details for subsequent bookings.

4. Allow authorised staff to easily search for a child and parents details, in case of an emergency. It’s important to have as much depth of detail as possible on hand, always. Having emergency search functionality allows staff to access information wherever and whenever necessary.

5. Combine child consent with general data privacy consent, so that all consent management is in a single place. Gone are the days of managing information and consent in different files or folders, now it’s all in one place.

Quick Implementation of Consent Management

Using the Consent Manager for WooCommerce Plugin, you can quickly implement consent management for your WooCommerce website. The tips described above are all incorporated into the plugin together with additional features for managing personal data. Consent management together with GDPR, and website terms are all managed from a central place.