Communication has gone through a rigorous change over the years. It is now possible to have hours of conversations with people sitting across the planet.
One of the key reasons why is due to the emergence of VoIP apps. The past few decades have seen great leaps being made to perfect the technology. Today, users are spoiled for choice as there are hundreds of VoIP apps. All of these VoIP apps are meant to cater to different needs. Students, professors, doctors, musicians, YouTubers, as well as large corporations rely on different VoIP apps for their individual needs.
But what is VoIP? What makes it so easy to use? Is it secure? What are the best options? Do I have to pay for the best options? What else can VoIP apps be good for? These are just some of the questions that this blog addresses. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll know exactly which VoIP app to choose based on your distinct needs as well as features on offer.
VoIP is an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol or also known as IP telephony is a technological term for phone services over the Internet. In other words, if two people are connected via the internet then they can use VoIP service for free calls between each other, so in this case, you will have free VoIP phone service instead of a traditional phone.
Perhaps you’re hearing the term, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), for the first time. But unknowingly or not, you have been using VoIP services for many years.
Skype, Zoom, Viber, WhatsApp—ring any bells?
Yes, these are VoIP applications. These online resources allow you to get engaged in audio and video conversations over the internet. VoIP providers are typically substantially cheaper than traditional phone networks (and may even be free).
Here’s how free VoIP is playing its role in keeping you connected to the world.
VoIP is Vital to Maintain Communication Currently
As the recent pandemic has shown, constant communication is a crucial feature across all major professions. Even people that never felt the need to opt for a VoIP app in the past have had to use them based on the current situation. VoIP apps represent the future of communication as they can be tailored to suit the needs of whoever is using them.
This is precisely why VoIP’s have become so vital in the current scenario. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a housewife, or just someone that does not want to remain without interaction with their friends and loved ones.
Here’s how a VoIP can help you across the board, both personally and professionally as well as the best VoIP options you should opt for:
VoIP makes remote working feasible for businesses
The work from home trend has seen an abnormal spike ever since global leaders have decided to impose restrictions on crowded areas and public gatherings.
Likewise, tech giants have sped up the remote working policies to help masses prevent further spread of the virus, all the while keeping the economy alive.
Big names like Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have issued work from home policies across all its offices in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, as well as in North America.
Similarly, Microsoft, Twitter, and even giants from other sectors like JPMorgan have opted for remote working.
Remote working isn’t possible without VoIP. It allows businesses to keep their staff connected. Any employee is only a click away when there’s a need for quick meetings.
VoIP enables pupils to overcome the academic loss
Schools, colleges, and universities across the globe have announced the cancellation of in-person classes amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
On many campuses across the globe, no classes were conducted in the hope that the virus would die out in a few days. But it didn’t.
Since schools cannot afford the academic loss, they have braced the online education experiment, which isn’t feasible without a reliable VoIP application.
Though teachers had to come up with ad hoc strategies and timetables for the online classes, they get to at least cope with their remote learning experiments because of online resources powered by VoIP.
Through free VoIP applications, teachers can conduct online classes, share syllabi and other class materials, read stories to nursery school children, and do much more.
VoIP helps people with mental health issues
Every country is now forcing its residents to stay in their homes. In fact, people who are highly likely to catch the virus are going into self-quarantine mode.
This type of social distancing may prove to help keep the virus from further advancing, but not without causing unintended consequences.
For instance, social distancing may be particularly difficult for those who struggle with mental health challenges. Some, for example, need continuous therapy with their psychiatrists and psychologists.
Emily Roberts, a psychiatrist from Manhattan, says, “It’s important for those who are infected or who feel physically ill and have depression to be in touch with their support systems.”
To help people connect with their therapists and counselors, VoIP can prove to be fairly helpful. VoIP applications can allow patients and doctors to connect whenever they wish for any therapy session or any other consultancy.
Top 3 premium VoIP apps you can use for free
You don’t need to spend even a penny to stay in touch with your loved ones locked down or quarantined in their home. Check out the following premium VoIP options that have been made free in response to the COVID-19 spread or that have been free already
Google Hangouts Meet
Google Meet is the pro version of Google Hangouts, formerly operating as its de facto free VoIP service offer. It is built for G Suite users such as schools and businesses to hold online meetings and classrooms. Amazingly, Google has made its premium version, Meet, free until July 1, 2020.
Javier Soltero, Google’s G Suite General Manager, said in a blog post, “As more employees, educators, and students work remotely in response to the spread of COVID-19, we want to do our part to help them stay connected and productive.”
Meet’s advanced features support up to 250 participants for online meetings and up to 100,000 viewers for live streaming.
Cisco Webex is yet another VoIP application that delivers seamless video conferencing and online meeting solutions to remote workers. Though Webex already offered a free plan, it came with limited meeting time limits and participants.
But after the spread of Coronavirus, Cisco Systems Inc. announced, “We’ve expanded the capabilities on our free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, not only those impacted by COVID-19.”
Now, up to 100 participants can join the meeting, and there are no time restrictions whatsoever.
The video conferencing service, Zoom, seems to be the first when it comes to lifting restrictions on its VoIP features. The service offer lifted its 40-minute time limit on free meetings. Now, meetings with more than two participants can be extended for more than 40 minutes.
“It’s my responsibility as Zoom’s CEO — and Zoom’s unique responsibility as a company — to do everything in our power to support those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak by committing our reliable technology, expanded access and agile customer services,” said Eric Yuan in a blog post.
Zoom has offered its features on VoIP freely to its users. This move shot them in starlight which also made them a target for hackers, such as zoom bombing where hackers manage to invade private meetings and record it or share explicit photos there.
Zoom released new updates by providing security features such as password and enabling a host to allow members into the meetings. This layer of security was able to counter the hacker’s attempt and you can use a VPN to further secure your connection.
The 5 Best Free VoIP Services in 2020
If you aren’t comfortable switching to premium applications, you can opt for any of the following best free VoIP services instead.
The app packs some pretty solid features that make messaging convenient. It supports SMS messages, audio calls, video calls, voice messages, location sharing, free phone calls, and more.
It also offers a lite version for older devices.
WhatsApp has over a billion active users in over 180 countries. It gained popularity because of its end-to-end encryption that allows safe and secure calling. Similar to Facebook Messenger, it supports text messages, file sharing, location sharing, and audio/video calling, to name a few. As far as free VoIP services are concerned, it is undoubtedly one of the most popular choices for users online.
Google Hangouts is the free version of the Hangouts Meet. It packs similar features as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, with the exception being that it offers a Google Voice number for free phone calls.
Just like WhatsApp, Skype has a massive user base across the globe. The application is compatible with a wide range of devices like iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. Moreover, its simple audio/video calling feature makes it a perfect choice for even non-tech users.
In terms of strict privacy policies, encryption, and better security features, Signal takes the crown. Though it doesn’t have any outstanding list of features, it does a pretty good job offering secure audio and video calling.
In a relatively short period of time, Discord has become a widely popular VoIP service. Most of its users prefer Discord’s services owing to how it allows them to stream their favorite gamers, join different servers, and talk on call or video. All of these features are available for free.
Viber is a free Instant Messaging software developed by the Japanese firm, Rakuten. Users are required to register for the service via a cellular network. Additionally, the service can also be accessed across all major devices such as Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux without mobile connectivity. With more than a billion registered users, Viber remains one of the most popular VoIP services on the market.
Zoiper IAX SIP
Zoipher stands out in this list as it remains one of the few VoIP services that use SIP as well. The service focuses on phone calls, while also including support for Bluetooth and IAX support. This gives users the option to make calls over the internet for free.
If users want, they can choose various paid plans as well. As you’d expect, these plans come with different added perks such as better audio, call transferring, video-calling support, as well as some UI customization options. Despite being an older software, it dishes out regular updates ensuring that users’ online interactions are well-protected.
Unlike Zoipher, you will need a SIP account to use MizuDroid. However, you’ll have access to numerous important features such as VoIP tunneling, call diversions, voicemail, individual chat encryptions, and support for multiple SIP accounts.
The UI can seem outdated at times, and may not be as sleek as some of the other services on this list. However, whatever MizuDroid lacks in appearance, it makes up for in terms of performance. There are absolutely no in-app purchases for all the features mentioned above.
The world is going through an unparalleled phase of transformation. This has inevitable affected the way we communicate and talk to each other as well.
These VoIP apps may represent a peek into what human communication and interaction may seem like in the future. Far from simply making audio and video calls, people can now watch entire concerts as well as carry out banking transactions through these apps. It is clear that the possibilities in terms of their capabilities are endless and we’ll continue to see improvements in the future going forward.