Our church is considering a move from free services of Zoom or Skype based on a persons preference to paid host licenses. Has anyone worked through this and can recommend or just explain their decision on limiting hosted accounts. We are being asked to do all we can to support remote connection during COVID-19 and would like to do that wisely. License needed for small groups where experience may be limited? Skype for small groups and committees and Zoom for church leadership (staff, elders, deacons, etc)? Anyone using MS Teams and want to push for its consideration?
We have one paid Zoom account that we successfully used this week for a virtual Council meeting. The paid Zoom account allowed us to go beyond the 40 minute limitation of the free account. We had 10 participants, and we were able to share a screen to show an agenda, etc.
I have used Skype, Skype for Business, and Teams. You should review what each offers and determine what best fits your requirements.
As you evaluate options, keep in mind that the pricing for Zoom is per HOST, and the login may not be shared within the church. Their website says "A Host is someone who schedules, starts and controls the settings in a meeting." And, from their legal terms of service, "A Host subscription may not be shared or used by anyone other than the individual assigned to be a Host." So unless you're going to have one person at every meeting, you'd be looking at multiple licenses.
Another option is meet.google.com. It's free. I use Meet. But I also get invited to a lot of Zoom meetings. There are some differences (Google it and you'll find articles comparing the two). Maybe Zoom's reliability is a wee bit better (in my experience) but they both do the job just fine IMHO. And they both have dial-in options for those without a computer.
[UPDATE: It looks like Google Meet might be just for churches that use G Suite. I can't quite tell if it's available outside of G Suite (and don't have a non-GSuite account to test with). Perhaps someone can try and report back.]
I am an IT consultant and belong to a large church in St. Charles IL. I am currently working with Logmein (GoTo Meeting) to provide free, without limit Go To Meeting access for our church members, specifically for our community groups which typically run from 5 - 20 people. Our church has over 250 of these. While Zoom has free accounts they are limited to 40 minutes in duration. This access to Go To Meeting would not have that limitation. They are talking about making this available for free for 3 months.
Let us all know how it goes because you have the price point we all would like to hit...FREE
Things are going a bit slowly because they are a bit swamped with the high need for work from home. However, they have a temporary (3 month) FREE service that is available to schools and not for profit organizations and includes teachers. You have to connect with a GoTo Meeting (the company is actually LogMeIn) representative. I have gotten the ok from them for my church but still working out the details. I will post here again when all is worked out.
I have an update on free, without, or higher limit, video conferencing. I was able to obtain free without limit, temporary licenses from GoToMeeting. I had to contact a GoToMeeting (actually the company is LogMeIn) and provide information and it did drag on a bit. Another option is a telecom company called 8X8. They are primarily a cloud-based phone system provider but have other services. Do a search for 8X8 Meetings (I don't like to put in direct links in postings if I don't have to for security reasons) and it will tell you how to take advantage of their free video conference service. Zoom has a free one but it has a 40 minute limit. The only limit on 8X8 is max of 50 participants, no time limit.
Hey Steven, we just created some tips for new Zoom users this week. Maybe you'll find it helpful! You can find the article here.
We have included these in our intro email on ZOOM already. THANKS! Today we explain ZOOM by phone and just cut the instruction down to MUTE is the thing....Video off if choppy connection...and don't be offended if host does it for you.
I'm an IT Engineer and would recommend Teams or Go To Meeting as mentioned by Ed Sehr in the comments. There are known security issues with Zoom which are only just being addressed and given it's history, I can't recommend it. Stay safe and God bless each of you during this challenging time.
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