Video chat and call technology has been around since the early 60s but only a few among the general public could use it due to its expensiveness. Life has since evolved and the internet is now a part of our lives. Over the years, the internet connection speed has also increased thanks to the ever-evolving technology. With that said, video chats and calls are no longer cumbersome and have become more accessible and affordable to anybody who can connect to the internet.
Despite not being the only service provider for video chats and calls, Skype ranks among the oldest and most popular video call services out there. Skype is easy to use and does not require any special equipment to set up. To top that, it is free to use (excluding the cost of the internet connection.)
Skype is a VoIP service provider which enables consumers to receive and make video and voice calls using the internet. Users can make video calls on various platforms such as web browser, desktop app, or smartphones.
This program is suitable for both personal and business purposes. It can be used to communicate on an international basis without incurring any additional costs. This is a service that broke the communication barrier, making it possible for families, friends, as well as work colleagues to chat face-to-face while thousands of miles apart.
How to Use Skype
Skype is a free to use service for communicating with someone who also has an account on the platform. However, its outbound calls and messages features come at an extra yet affordable cost. To better understand the nature of Skype, let’s start with the brief history of this service.
The service was established back in 2003 when Voice over IP was still a fresh invention. Skype had changed ownership a couple of times before landing into Microsoft’s hands in 2011. Despite remaining a dominant communication platform on PCs, Skype has been dethroned on mobile devices by the likes of WhatsApp.
Starting to Use Skype
Setting up Skype is a piece of cake. But before you start using Skype, you must determine the purpose you want to use it for as well as how you will be using the service. If your PC will be the fundamental device to using Skype, you must make sure the system’s operating software is updated to the latest version.
Skype can also be set up on mobile devices such as iPhones, Android, iPads, and tablets. It can also be set up on a smart TV. Older mobile devices such as 3G phones, Blackberry, and other Android phones can run a special Skype mobile version.
If your main purpose is to make voice calls and chats, then you should be all set if you have an inbuilt mic. However, if you want to make video calls, you will need a camera if your PC doesn’t have a built-in webcam. If you’re using a smart TV, then you will need to get a special webcam. The best part is that most webcams come with a built-in mic, so you shouldn’t worry about getting too many accessories.
An internet connection is a must-have. High connection speed translates to smooth video calls with less to no lags. Therefore, you and the call recipient need to have a stable internet connection for a great video chat experience. To make outbound calls, you need to buy Skype credits. To do so, you must first set up a Skype Credit account, and then load it using your credit card or PayPal.
Now that you have all the components needed to set up Skype, you can proceed to download the program from its official website or trusted software distributors. Once installed, follow the prompt of creating an account. You can use your email address or phone number to create a Skype account. Since Skype is part of Microsoft’s ecosystem, if you already have an Outlook account, you can auto-register with Skype using your existing details.
Existing Skype users can learn more about common issues on Mac systems to enjoy a fluid experience.
Although Skype now faces strong competition from the likes of Slack on the professional front and WhatsApp from a personal perspective, its adaptive capabilities are what kept it in the game for so long. Here are what users can do with a Skype account:
- Group video calls
- Text messaging
- Direct calls to standard phones
- Get a real public number to receive and make calls with
- Offer live translation
- Integration with most applications and platforms
- Skype has introduced chatbots
- Use Skype on the browser without having to download the software
- Skype Wi-Fi hotspot
As you can see, there is a lot that you can do with Skype. Despite being widely known as a video chat platform, it also presents a cool platform for family and friends to hold text chats. These chats are enhanced by a long list of engaging emojis. The group chat setup can hold up to 300 participants. Moreover, with Skype Wi-Fi hotspot, you can stop worrying about connection into unsecured public hotspot areas. The Wi-Fi hotspot feature comes at an extra cost, but the prices are far better than some of the hotspot costs in public areas.
Skype Pros and Cons
- Free group and one-to-one video or voice calls
- Fluent connection and better image quality
- Live translation of foreign languages
- Low rates to outbound calls
- Skype Wi-Fi hotspot
- Offers screen sharing feature
- Photo and document sharing
- Smooth integration with other Microsoft products
- Can’t receive inbound SMSes
- The connection can be poor at times