Interactive communication tools: Skype
Skype: Internet telephony and video conferencing for beginners
The spread of the novel coronavirus and the associated movement restrictions are forcing more and more people to work from home. Many conversations that have previously taken place in conference rooms or coffee kitchens have to be transferred to the network overnight. But not everyone is already experienced with video conferencing and Voice over IP, i.e. telephoning over the Internet.
Widely used and easy to use
Skype, the instant messaging service is a good program for beginners. The communication tool runs on all common platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and can also be installed on smartphones and tablets. The tool offers many free features as well as some additional paid functions, it is easy to use and widespread: According to statements by Skype’s parent company Microsoft, hundreds of millions of people around the world use this service to stay in contact with one another. And not just since the Corona crisis: The service was introduced in 2003, one of the earlier innovators on the internet – but one that has been constantly evolving.
What Skype can do
The most important function: With Skype you can make free voice and video calls – from one-on-one conversations to group conversation with up to 50 people. There is also a chat function, you can exchange files and share your screen with other users. Meetings can also be held during the “social distancing” phase, online tutoring, therapy and yoga lessons can be organized and much more. For conversations with foreign language participants, we recommend the Skype Translator, which translates calls almost in real time into German, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin.
Good to know: Skype can also be used to call landlines and mobile phones all over the world. However, there are fees for this.
Get started with Skype
To use the service, the program can be downloaded for free directly from Microsoft or from the respective store. You can log in with your personal Microsoft account, which can be created on newer Windows computers, or you can create your own account. Now you can personalize your profile and, for example, choose a Skype name and upload a profile picture. Before the first call you should do a short camera and speaker test and set the volume accordingly. Other Skype users can be found via the contact search function or you can connect your Facebook account to Skype. In order to be able to call each other, the other user must first accept the contact request. Then you can have one-on-one discussions or put together groups for a video conference.
Images: Pexels, Skype