Top 5 Communication Tools in 2017 for Both Personal and Professional Settings
You’ve probably been through many undesired situations simply because of bad communication. Be it being late for an important meeting because people didn’t give you the right address, or be it failing to deliver a project according to the expectations of your manager, bad communication can be a real pain.
Today we will give you an overview of what we believe to be the top 5 communication tools in 2017.
Skype: the Traditional
Skype has been on the market for almost 15 years, and it has been widely used since then for both personal and professional communication purposes. Skype has been the norm in remote job interviews for a long time and many still use it for video calls with the family even though many new tools and platforms are emerging. While voice and video calls account for most of Skype’s activity, they are not the only possibilities the tool offers. You can use it to place conference calls with several members, send and receive SMS messages to actual phone numbers, call people on their phones (no matter where they are in the World), and share your screen with other people so everyone can see your desktop.
As a messaging app Skype, however, Skype is not your best option. Since the software has a lot of heavier functionalities, using it for communication might be quite inefficient. Their phone app is really slow sometimes, and you can get better results using some of the other tools on the list.
In any case, Skype is a software you should always have with you on your computer (and, if mandatory, on your phone), since most people already have and use it on a daily basis.
Pros: Skype is extremely well-known, and the tool goes well beyond the normal voice call most people do. It offers video options, screen sharing, conference calls, extremely accessible rates for phone calls, and you can even purchase a phone number for your Skype. The quality of the calls is usually good, but I have used other apps (Hangouts, for example) that performed better when the quality of the internet was not so stable.
Cons: try to stay away from their mobile application (at least for Android). When I had it, my battery would be completely wasted in a few hours, and the calls would normally freeze due to lack of phone processing power. Despite being a great Desktop application, the company still needs to rethink their mobile strategy.
Final grade: B+
Slack: the Trendy
Slack has picked up a lot of momentum, especially for groups of people and remote teams within the Tech industry. Just recently I was reading an article about a new group of VCs in Slack where dozens of investors interact and discuss topics related to entrepreneurship and business. The platform is being used in both personal and professional environments, and we can say, from our own experience, that it surely brings several great benefits.
For businesses, for example, it allows you to connect with different teams, be in the information flow of several departments, and create 1-on-1 private conversations with specific people.
For personal use, Slack can be a great choice for interacting with friends. The app allows you to share a bunch of different types of contents, from images to GIFs and entire videos, and it also gives you the possibility of creating different groups for different social circles. The best of it all? The company offers a free version with an unlimited number of users and, from a personal usage perspective, with a good amount of functionalities.
Pros: Slack offers a lot of flexibility for creating different communication channels and groups, as well as for being in touch with people that are distant from you. The tool recently implemented the possibility of video calls (1-on-1 in the free plan, and up to 15 participants in the paid plans), which might be very welcomed by the people who like online conferences.
Cons: Skype still dominates the more traditional world of business. Due to it’s less formal approach, Slack is not very well accepted by older people who prefer more conventional approaches such as Email and Skype.
Final grade: A-
WhatsApp: the Mobile
WhatsApp user base is as big as India’s entire population. You probably use it, we definitely use it, and even dogs are being trained with the help of it. This app is one of the most widespread communication tools for personal and group conversations, and there is a reason for that: it makes communication extremely easy. Open the app, tap on the person’s name, and send a message. No need to be looking for phone numbers, browsing through groups, or trying to reach them via phone calls.
While the mobile app is almost as mandatory as having a phone itself, the browser version of the service is not so well explored. That’s probably because it doesn’t really add any value apart from being able to send messages from your computer instead of from your phone. It helps you to focus by removing the need of constantly checking the phone, yes, but it doesn’t add much more apart from that.
In any case, WhatsApp connects people in a very simple, intuitive platform, and there is absolutely no need for us to say “go and get it”, because, well, you already know you should do that.
Pros: very simple to use, and (almost) everyone has it. It’s relatively new functionalities include voice and video call, as well as file sharing through the messenger. The app has improved its security and encryption algorithm after several bad experiences from users.
Cons: the app had some dark times when the news that it would share private information with Facebook came out. It also doesn’t offer many features apart from instant messaging and group chats, and its web service does not offer much value added to the user. The app also doesn’t offer a native desktop software for every operating system.
Final grade: B
SquidHub: the Innovator
SquidHub recently entered the market and it offers a simpler experience when it comes to communication. Its focus is on groups that get together towards a common goal. Be it a group of friends or a project team, SquidHub offers you the possibility of creating distinct groups for different purposes, and to integrate the communication functionality with its other two main focuses: resources sharing, and to-do lists and meetings.
With the tool, it is possible to manage a group like it was a real project team. It is possible to create and delegate tasks, centralize the resources needed for executing each assignment, and communicate with the entire team while doing so. Be it with your colleagues or with friends in University, the tool offers great functionalities for organizing and making the most out of your group efforts.
Naturally, since the application is new in the market, it is not yet widespread among project teams and groups of friends. The focus of the software is on groups of people that want to simplify the planning and execution processes of any group activity. The tool is intuitive, straightforward, and offers all the functionalities you need for a great team management experience.
Pros: all services of messaging, centralizing resources, scheduling meetings, and creating and delegating tasks are accessible from one single dashboard. The tool also has a mobile application (you can download it on App Store and Google Play), which makes life much easier for its users.
Cons: the app is still new in the market, so not everyone has heard of it yet. Also, the messaging part is focused on groups, so the functionality of privately messaging users is not yet available. In any case, as the tool grows and develops more services, we believe it will become a very powerful force in the market for communication apps.
Final grade: A-
Telegram: the Alternative
In 2014, The Verge claimed that Telegram had become the hottest messaging app after WhatsApp went down for a couple of hours. It’s 2017, and I still don’t use Telegram. My colleagues and friends don’t ask me if I have Telegram, they ask me if I have WhatsApp. Yes, the claim of The Verge was obviously overrated, but that’s how they attract attention, isn’t it? Yet, their article got me thinking about why Telegram (and not Slack or Skype) emerged as the second choice for the no-WhatsApp Armageddon.
What first called my attention was exactly what originated the title of this section: Telegram is seen as an alternative to WhatsApp. The consequence? A strong focus on mobile phones, and a not-so-powerful desktop application.
Then, after reading more about the app, two other characteristics seem to dominate the arguments of the “Telegram defenders”: the speed of the app and it’s almost unbreakable security. So I did some more research, and I found a very interesting comparison table between Telegram and WhatsApp.
Pros: Telegram has a bunch of features that WhatsApp didn’t implement yet. Here are my favorite four: ability to delete or edit a message that you already sent (I’d bet one of my kidneys that you already found yourself in serious need of this functionality in WhatsApp), one account for all devices you use, the ability to chat with yourself (to send a file or a link you might want to check later on another platform), and the possibility of sticking certain contacts to the top of your home screen.
Cons: you cannot see when people received and read your messages, and… almost no one uses it.
Final grade: C
The Bottom-Line: Get the Best Out of Each Tool
The purpose of this article was to show you that there is not an absolute winner. For desktop, Skype and Slack seem to dominate, while mobiles are under the WhatsApp dictatorship (although Telegram has the potential to grab a considerable market share). When it comes to innovation and to flexibility, SquidHub is a great alternative.
So it’s not about choosing one app or another. It is about understanding the strengths and the weaknesses of each one and choosing a combination that brings you the most benefit!
To explore the SquidHub platform and check the different ways you can benefit from our services, go to our dashboard right now!
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