Online communication is a form of communication that is done through social media and various communication platforms. Through online communication, companies can collaborate, develop business relationships and stay in touch with their employees and partners around the world. There are basically three main types or kinds of online communication:
- Text - this includes emails, chat applications and instant messaging, SMS, MMS and RCS.
- Voice - this is where we would include VoIP telephony and chat applications that support voice messaging and calls.
- Video communication - this is provided by chat applications with video call support and video conferencing software; however, we could also include live video streaming (even if it is only one-way online communication).
Text-based online communication - chat applications and email
For fast and efficient communication between colleagues or teams, chat apps are an invaluable tool. These applications allow instant messaging, file sharing and the organisation of group discussions. Some of the most well-known chat apps include:
- Slack - a chat application designed primarily for business use, offers persistent chat channels structured by topics, private groups and direct messages. All content, including conversations and user lists, is searchable - however, the free version only allows you to view and search the 10,000 most recent messages or messages archived for up to 6 weeks.
- Microsoft Teams - one of the most prominent platforms for chat, video conferencing and collaboration in the enterprise, which you get as part of Microsoft 365 (if you don't use it, you can try Microsoft Teams as part of a 30-day trial subscription). It offers lots of features for virtual meetings, screen sharing, chatting, and active collaboration on real-time documents.
- Messenger - a communication tool developed by Meta for the general public, registration on Facebook is required. It allows online communication via text, as well as audio and video chat calls, including group calls with up to 50 participants. The tool is widely distributed and is available in desktop and mobile versions. In addition, it can also be used via a mobile browser or within the Facebook social network interface. Screen sharing is also possible with the tool, but file sharing is somewhat limited.
- WhatsApp - chat app again from Meta. It is primarily aimed at chat communication between two or more people. WhatsApp also allows group calls, but only with a limit of 4 participants. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a screen sharing feature and like Messenger only has limited file sharing capabilities. A paid version of WhatsApp for business is currently in the works, which should bring a few improvements. One of them is support for communication for up to 100 video conference participants.
When making a choice, it is important to consider features such as message archiving, integration with other tools and the ability to link with the corporate email system. For simple and quick communication with colleagues or clients who do not use traditional chat applications, web or mobile communicators may be suitable.
Use only secure communicators, taking into account end-to-end encryption - a feature that ensures the data protection of online communication between the recipient and the sender (chat messages are readable only by active participants). Of the chat apps listed above, WhatsApp supports end-to-end encryption.
Applications and platforms for video calls and video conferencing
Video calls are a great way to connect with colleagues, clients or business partners remotely. You can see each other's faces, perceive gestures and reactions, creating a more effective communication environment. When choosing a video calling platform, it's important to consider the number of participants, features like video sharing or recording, and the stability and quality of the connection.
If you need to communicate and collaborate with more people at once, video conferencing is the ideal choice. These have become an indispensable tool for business communication and remote collaboration. When choosing a video conferencing solution, it is important to consider the requirements for the number of participants, scalability, security features and ease of use.
The most well-known platforms include (in addition to Microsoft Teams, which we mentioned above):
- Zoom - offers connectivity for up to 100 participants in a simple and user-friendly interface (but only in English), which also allows you to "send" callers to isolated conference rooms. In addition to a basic trial plan, the app is fee-based and offers good scalability, dozens of add-ons and advanced features such as polls and screen sharing.
- Google Meet Enterprise - does not need to be installed and offers connection of up to 100 participants to a video call, screen sharing is a matter of course, and the advantage is excellent scaling and the ability to connect directly from Google Calendar (generally integration with Google Workspace) and the possibility of video conferencing for up to nineteen hours.
- Avaya Spaces - a corporate multi-channel environment that unifies chat, video calls and video conferencing into one platform, plus project management (whiteboards, scheduling, delegating and tracking tasks and other project tools). It is therefore the most robust solution of all the tools and platforms mentioned so far, with the ability to connect up to 1000 users without the need to register.
→ Tip: Check out the case study describing the benefits of implementing Avaya.
We hope this article has given you a practical overview of the different types of online communication and helped you choose the optimal platform for your needs. If you have further questions or would like a free consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us.