The use of team communication applications they have increased explosively as millions of employees have been confined to their homes to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and have moved into remote work functions.

The same has happened with videoconferencing applications for use by students as a formula for connecting with centers and / or teachers or simply on a personal level to maintain contact with family or friends.

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It is not surprising that in a time of physical distancing the use of all this type of software has experienced record growth. However, there are quite a few differences between a video and audio application that only offers communications and other more specialized for professionals and companies that provide collaboration and / or productivity. We review some of the most interesting.

Slack

It is a tool of Business Communication and project management It has gained enormous popularity, so much so that Microsoft has been “inspired” by it to create its own solution. Slack offers simple and efficient operation, starting with a friendly environment that is not without power to communicate work teams anywhere in the world. It allows the creation of public chat rooms, sending private messages, group conversations or channels, organized spaces for everything related to a project, topic or team.

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It is only the beginning because it includes powerful search functionality and integration with a number of cloud storage services such as Google Drive or Dropbox, social networks like Twitter and other productivity tools such as Trello. It offers free web service and a mobile application under Android and iOS and also a monthly paid subscription to access its full potential.

Microsoft Teams

Is he chat service for group work and collaboration that the software giant created to compete with solutions like Slack, making it the leading smart communications client for the Office 365 suite, enhancing the experience of meeting applications like Skype, by adding scheduling capabilities, integrating availability of calendar and facilities for the transition from chat to a high-quality video conference. This digital workspace is part of the Office 365 suite and connects its office applications, Skype’s own communication tools such as video conferencing; SharePoint for intelligent content management or Yammer for networking.

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It offers communication through public or private chat channels, it has a sidebar with tabs for everything you need (activity, Chat, Teams, Meetings and Files), allows you to share files and notes and use Bots. It includes search and integration functionality with cloud storage services, especially with OneDrive, and also with social networks like Twitter. If you already have an Office 365 account, it makes perfect sense to use Microsoft Teams, while the free account option gives teams an advantage over Slack, as it supports unlimited chat messages and searches.

Google Meet

Google is replacing the popular Hangouts with Meet, a communications tool for any type of user that was born for educational and business segments and that has added important new features in recent times, such as integration in Gmail; noise reduction in video conferencing; the ability to share individual tabs or increase support for up to 16 users in the same meeting.

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Google relaxed some weeks ago (due to the COVID pandemic) some restrictions for all commercial G Suite and G Suite for Education customers, regardless of their subscription level, but this week it has gone further and since next Monday 4 May will allow full use of its functions, among which are the unlimited time for calls, and the increase in the maximum number of seats to 100 participants. Other advanced features such as screen sharing, real-time capturing, or expanded view will also be available.

Basecamp

Another of the great applications of online team collaboration It goes beyond simple internal communications via Campfire, because it includes a document editor, task list or shared files that allows a really effective project management.

It has a web version and has mobile applications for iOS and Android. Basecamp is free for teachers, offers a sixty-day free trial for any user and then several packages with monthly or annual payment.

Twist

Created by Doist, the company behind the popular Todoist task management app, offers the order that in some sections Slack does not offer. Instead of focusing on chat rooms, Twist takes a different approach. You can have channels for multiple projects, but first someone has to create a thread instead of sending messages on the channel.

Similar to an email, the app asks you to create a subject first, then body text. From there, your team members can reply to the thread. Instead of receiving notifications about each message, you can view the unread threads to see the truly relevant ones and then reply accordingly. It’s also very easy to turn off notifications when you’re not working. Twist also has direct messaging, integrations, and file storage. The free plan offers one month of messages, five integrations and 5 GB of storage. Subscription costs $ 5 per month, per person.

Flock

Think of Flock as one cheap version of Slack with a combination of project management features. The interface is modeled after the chat room and has everything you need to communicate with your team, including private and public channels, direct messages, audio and video calls, and a robust search engine.

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Flock also has project management features such as to-do lists, notes, reminders, and a built-in survey feature. It can also incorporate many third-party applications. The limit of 10,000 in free accounts is similar to that of Slack. However, the Pro version of this app costs slightly less than it, $ 4.5 a month per person.

Rocket Chat

A very different team communication applicationFree, open source, and self-hosted for companies that prefer to do the heavy lifting when it comes to implementing their own solution. If you have the technical knowledge, you can install Rocket Chat on a server and run it on your own. If you don’t want to host Rocket Chat, you can still use the company’s SasS version, which is compatible with their cloud service.

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The free version of Rocket Chat is highly scalable. You can have up to 1,000 people, unlimited message history and integrations, and a custom domain. It has applications for all major mobile and desktop platforms. Even if you use the centralized cloud version of Rocket Chat, it only costs $ 2 a month per person.

As surely with confinement not only telecommuting, if you are looking for another less complex type of audio and video communication software, you can check this MC special with “Ten Free Video Conferencing Applications to Make Confinement Easier”.

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