Though the lockdown across the globe has physically increased the distance, the quarantine homestays are bringing people together virtually; thanks to the video calling apps like Skype, Zoom, Houseparty and Google Duo.
The video calling apps have seen a sudden surge in downloads as well as a number of active users across the globe, Zoom being the most popular reporting 26.9 million downloads on Google Play Store in March. However. Skype has topped the list with more than 59 million active users in the 31-day period. Skype recorded 6.2 million new downloads while Houseparty crossed the 5 million downloads in a month.
A newly-married couple, Kartik and Madhura Shete are living in Mumbai away from their parents. Kartik said that he has never had a video call with his family for years until he got married.
Speaking to The Federal Kartik says: “My family member never really bothered about video calling me. But since we got married in February and immediately shifted to Mumbai, we couldn’t get enough time to bond with each other’s families. However, now we are using this quarantine time and video apps for the same.”
And yes, it really helps says Kartik, who works as a voiceover artist and a film director. He also mentioned that these apps have got them even closer to their families.
The lockdown, as huge as it may seem, couldn’t stop people from learning or following their passions. A Mumbai-based theatre company and Pune-based German language professor have managed to find their ways through the odds.
The production manager at The Company Theatre, Chaitanya Deshpande, said that the production house has begun their production right through the video calling apps.
He further explained, “We were in the pre-production stage of our new play, the Mountain Language, when the lockdown was announced. But we did not stop our process.”
Our play is ‘virtually’ on the floor already, says Chaitanya. He is using the Zoom app to connect with his team and assign them tasks. The theatre company is based in Mumbai.
More than 40 people can connect at once and around an hour of free online session is what once gets in the Zoom app. Also, it gives some customized functions like a host who can control the meeting which has made it popular among people.
Prachi Atre, who is based in Pune teaches the German language at the University. She uses the Zoom to connect with her students. She said, “Though we face issues like weak signal or disruptions, the apps serve the basic purpose to connect and learn.”
She further explained, “I usually host the meeting so that I automatically get control over what’s happening in the call. I can share my screen, tick something like I do on a blackboard or even highlight things, show them separately to each student. This makes the learning experience more interactive for them. So we enjoy the learning sessions barring some network interruptions.”
Prachi also added that the app has a good audio-quality which makes it efficient than the other counterparts.
A PR professional Suraj Singh Jhala is also using video chat apps to connect not only with team but also the clients.
He said that he uses Zoom and Google Duo to connect with his team. He further said, “For businesses like us (PRs), our work thrives on communication, especially how effectively we do it in the times of crisis like these.”
“This not only connects us but these calls boost each other’s morale in the times like these,” Suraj added.
We also use these apps to connect with our clients to discuss and plan our agendas. We don’t know for how long this is going to be, but upgrading our communication skills by knowing the various methods surely comes handy, he said.