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Communications

Zoom Video Conferencing Alternatives

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Now that we have more and more people working remotely from home due to the coronavirus, video conferencing services have increased in ways many people would not have thought possible in the previous months. 

Of all the video conferencing products out there’s one that’s seemed to pull ahead of the pack and it’s called Zoom.  This video conferencing app made its debut in January 2013 and by 2014 it had already amassed over 10 million active users worldwide (source). Fast forward to today and it is one of the most wildly used video conferencing platforms.

When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted various organizations to transition their workforce to remote workers Zoom’s user-base grew 67% (source).  While this sounds like a big win for the folks at Zoom Video Communications it was actually the beginning of one of their biggest nightmare to come–it was brought to light the once touted highly secured platform offering end-to-end encryption of all communications between users was in fact vulnerable and open to hackers

I’m sure by now you’re thinking, well, if Zoom is not as secure as it was marketed then what are my alternatives? Well, we have a few solid alternatives that come to mind.

There are many more video conferencing products on the market. Some opensource, others paid, and/or freemium. However, the big question you must always consider is, will my communication between myself and my teammates be secured and not a point of vulnerability that compromises my computer system or will it be the opposite? 

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Communications

Communication During Cell Phone and Internet Outage

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Communication During Cellphone Outage

2020 has been a year that somehow feels like 10 years packed into one. Between the Covid-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders, business lock-downs, mass unemployment, food shortage, protests and civil unrest, and the increasing political divide, it’s tough to imagine anything else being added to the mix right?

While the present situation is overwhelming for all of us, can you imagine a state or nationwide cell phone and internet outage that last for days? It’s hard to phantom something like that happening at this point since our society is already on a knifes-edge and people are already frustrated as-is. At least right now we can still browse the internet, watch streaming movies, text/video chat, and partake in all things social media related to help pass the time and ease the stress (Ok, maybe not ease the stress, but that’s the idea).  

To have cell phone and internet service go down for an extended period of time, the masses will freak out and increase the chaos exponentially more. Will you have a way to communicate with family and friends, or get critical information from various sources to stay informed? If the answer is no, here are some recommendations on communication devices you’d want to get for yourself and family members.

Ham Radios (UHF/VHF)

So what’s a Ham Radio you ask? A Ham Radio is a device needed for the use of radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosportcontesting, and emergency communication. Radio operators are limited to the use of small frequency bands, the amateur radio bands, allocated throughout the radio spectrum, but within these bands are allowed to transmit on any frequency using a variety of voice, text, image, and data communications modes. This enables communication across a city, region, country, continent, the world, or even into space. (Click here for more information)


2-Way SMS Messengers (Satellite/Off-Grid)

An off-grid 2-way messenger is a communication device that allows users to send sms text messages back and forth without cellular service. Some devices also offer GPS tracking, Topo Maps, and sending SOS emergency signals. These are great devices to have in addition to a portable Ham Radio.


Satellite Phone

A satellite phone or satphone is a type of mobile phone that connects to other phones or the telephone network by radio through orbiting satellites instead of terrestrial cell sites, as cellphones do. Wikipedia

Sat phones are the more expensive option of the entire group of recommendations, however, if you’re looking for a device that functions more like a traditional cell phone (talk, text, send images) but can be used worldwide and without cellular and/internet service, this might be the better option.


Tell Us If We Missed Anything

Couple experiencing cell phone outage

Please feel free to share any additional communication methods we missed that would be good to use if we were to experience a massive cell phone and internet outage today.

 

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