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Category Archives: Jitsi

Our right to health and the COVID-19 pandemic – Davao Today

Posted: June 13, 2020 at 1:02 am

[T]he most effective way to prevent infections and save lives is breaking the chains of transmission. And to do that, you must test and isolate. You cannot fight a fire blindfolded. And we cannot stop this pandemic if we dont know who is infected Excerpts from the World Health Organization Director-Generals Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID-19 (March 16, 2020)

For the past months, the country has been dealing and battling with the COVID-19 health crisis. With more than 22,000 cases nationwide according to the Department of Health, a substantial portion of the population have been seriously affected by the iron-fist implementation of quarantine policies as part of the countrys response to the crisis.

The community quarantine marked by intensified police presence at the borders and checkpoints, who are prepared to grab and arrest the ordinary civilian who allegedly violates so-called community quarantine protocols, have become distasteful for many, particularly of the inhumane treatment and degrading punishment that were meted to these alleged offenders. Who would ever forget the story of Mang Dodong, a fish vendor who was detained for days for allegedly going out without a quarantine pass; of the relief volunteers who were detained for doing community kitchen to feed their hungry neighbors, whose sources of income and livelihood have been affected by the lockdown? More lockdown stories are tear-jerking and heartbreaking enough to trigger the anxiety and fuel the rage we are all feeling at this moment of uncertainty.

Being primarily a health issue, health experts and the public have been calling for mass testing to identify, isolate and treat those who have been infected with the deadly virus, in order to contain the transmission. However, it is appalling to read in the news how our public officials are conveniently passing off the conduct of mass testing to the private sector, as though the issue is not one pressed and imbued with public interest. It is quite disappointing, all the more, to hear the governments health department and the alter egos of the president trying so hard to use adjectives and nomenclatures in their attempt to deviously skirt around the health issue and cover up for the apparent lack of a systematic and holistic plan to address the pandemic and to cushion its impact on the well-being of the people.

I cannot find the appropriate words to describe how our government is handling the crisis. It is a health issue to begin with. However, the response of the government, noted by its militaristic fashion, appears to be tangential and seemingly unresponsive to the situation. The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized on the need for the conduct of testing, isolation and contact tracing. The WHO has even identified this as early as March 16, 2020 to be the backbone of the response to the pandemic in order to determine who is infected with the virus and effectively prevent the further spread of the contagion. Unfortunately, we cannot get the facts straight as regards the number of tests conducted and the countrys capacity to conduct the tests, since there were conflicting reports even from among our public officials about it. At the end of the day, this keeps us all practically groping in the dark.

To a certain extent, too, I cannot help but feel personally affected with the issue of mass testing. Our familys grand matriarch joined our Creator on May 8, after falling sick more than two weeks prior. I did not know if the deadly virus was the proximate cause of her demise because she was no longer tested for it. She was dead on arrival at the hospital. But because she had a fever weeks before and because of her advanced age, I was later informed that she was considered as COVID suspect. As a result thereof, she was cremated the following day and treated like any other patients who succumbed to the virus. She went home in her ashes. How to grieve in these times is unimaginable. You cry in front of your cellphone and tablet screens. You do your novena prayers for the dead online via Jitsi or Zoom. But the worse part for me is the fact that I have this lingering question, a question that I know will be left unanswered from here on. Did she get infected with the virus? That I would never know. And how many more have been in this kind of situation?

Now, more than ever, it is best to be reminded that our health is not just our personal concern and priority. It is also the responsibility of the State, pursuant to Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to ensure the recognition and protection of our right to the highest attainable standard of health. This necessarily includes our right to prevention, treatment and control of diseases and our right to have access to healthcare facilities and services. As elaborated in CESCR General Comment No.14 on the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, the right to prevention, treatment and control of diseases involves medical care during epidemics and availability of appropriate and relevant technologies and other mechanisms to control the spread of infectious diseases. Meanwhile, our access to healthcare facilities and services includes that for basic preventive, curative, rehabilitative health services and appropriate treatment of prevalent diseases.

With the pandemic claiming thousands of lives worldwide, we all deserve some certainty amid the chaos and anxiety. This can be achieved if State efforts are geared at and in sync with experts recommendation as to what the response against the dreaded virus should be like and that is testing, isolation and contact tracing effectively and efficiently. (davaotoday.com)

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A look at how Jitsi became a ‘secure’ open-source alternative to Zoom – The Next Web

Posted: May 24, 2020 at 3:44 pm

The coronavirus pandemic pushed people to stay in their homes, and in turn, forced them to use video conferencing products. In the past couple of months, Zoom became an almost indispensable app, Facebook had to step up and make a rival product, and Google made its enterprise conferencing product free for everyone.

Amid this video conferencing boom, Zooms security and privacy-relatedproblems made a lot of people skeptical about using its products. Plus, the company wasnt transparent about communicating its mishaps this forced a lot of people to look for free open source products, and Jitsi emerged as a perfect solution for them.

Apart from being open-sourced, Jitsi benefited from endorsements by a few highly-regarded names in the security community. In March, a privacy-focusedbrowser Tor tweeted about the product as an alternative to Zoom.

In 2017, in an interview with WIRED, Edward Snowden talked about using his own Jitsi server. Later, in a security conference, a lot of people saw Snowden using Jitsi to deliver a talk.

The product suddenly exploded during the pandemic. That meant Emil Ivov, Jitsis founder, and the rest of the team had to work even longer hours to keep the ship running.

Ivov originally built Jitsi as a project in 2003, when he was studying at the University of Strasbourg. Later, he spun off the project into an app and kept building it for desktop. In 2009, he started a company called BlueJimp (not to confused with BlueJeans, another video conferencing app) around it.

In 2011, Google open-sourced WebRTC communication standards to facilitate things like video-conferencing over browsers.The team took advantage of that and built abrowser-basedproduct, and so Meet Jitsi was born.

Apart from being open-sourced Jitsis ease of use helped it gain more users. To set up a call, you need to go to its website, and itll generate a meeting link with four words. That makes it difficult for Zoombombers uninvited people who join public video conferences and broadcast pornographic material to guess the link. Plus, you dont need to sign up to set up a meeting.

While the open-sourced version is free-to-usefor everyone. Its parent company, 88 offers a paid version with features such as transcription and meeting history.

In the past few months, the team had to scale up the infrastructure as users started to mount due to lockdowns all over the world.

The company learned that all kinds of people started to use video conferencing products. So they had to make things easier for users and educate them about the product as many of them were used to old-fashioned dial-in calls.

However, the pandemic has popularized the companys product. Ivov claims it pushed the apps growth by 10 years:

The pandemic provided an acceleration of 10 years in terms of growth. The last decade was an indicator of people moving towards remote work. This situation has just put us into the fast track mode.

After the pandemic hit the world, Jitsis open-sourced version and 88s paid version have managed to achieve 20 million unique monthly participants.

The next challenge for the company is to introduce end-to-end encryption for calls. The service already offers end-to-end encryption one-on-one calls and plenty of other security measures.

Ivov told me that hes never heard so many people talk about end-to-end encryption:

Ive never heard so many people talk about security and end-to-end encryption as I have in the past few months. We provide different levels of security for different needs. So primarily, we needed to educate people about the options they have.

He said that end-to-end encryption for a call with multiple people is challenging to develop. Ideally, when someone joins an encrypted call without a valid key, they would only see jumbled up video streams. When they have the legitimate key, the video stream would look normal. You can see that in a demo video below.

Now, this is easy to execute when there are two or three people on the call. When video services such as Jitsi meet use WebRTC, they create a connection with a central server that dishes out a single video stream to all participants.

If a service wants to use encryption, it has to create the same number of encrypted connection to the central server as the number of participants on a call.And the central server has to decrypt every stream, re-encrypt it, and send it to another participant.This works well for two or three-person calls. But puts a lot of load on the server for calls with multiple people.

To solve this problem, Jitsi is going to use Insertable Streams, a new feature released by the Chromium team that lets you add an additional layer of encryption. The idea is to encrypt frames rather than connections.

Ivov says the open-source nature of the app has helped people find bugs and report them and thats why we havent seen a major security scare on the app yet.Plus, this also helps anyone who wants to implement their own set of functions on top of Jitsis app.

For instance, the Italy-based classroom collaboration platform WeSchool has built some features on top of Jitsis open-sourced version. And according to WeSchools CEO, Marco De Rossi, nearly 30% of secondary schools in the country are using that tool. Rocket Chat, a free and open-source enterprise team chat solution also uses Jitsi for video conferencing.

The number of people using video conferencing simultaneously might decrease as countries are opening up, but Ivov believes a lot of people will still prefer this method of communication instead of a meeting packed with people.

He said that conferencing apps will need to try and make peoples lives easier by making meeting itemssuch as slideshows, documents, and transcripts available even after the session ends. However, the challenge for them would be to do all of this without compromising anyones privacy, and Ivov believes its possible.

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How the Covid-19 Lockdown Is Reshaping Uighur Activism – The Nation

Posted: at 3:44 pm

Protesters stand in support of Uighurs and their fight for human rights in Hong Kong. (Lee Jin-man / AP Photo)

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For Uighur activists, the coronavirus outbreak could not have come at a worse time.Ad Policy

The Chinese governments regime of oppression and mass internment in the countrys western Xinjiang province, under which upward of 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are subject to arbitrary detention in camps, began in April 2017. For two and half years, Uighurs outside of Chinain large diasporas in the United States, Europe, and elsewherefought tooth and nail for the world to take notice. But for too long, they say, press coverage came in a trickle, and action from foreign governments was all but absent.

At the beginning of this year, however, there was some cause for optimism. Leaks detailing the full extent of the governments brutality in Xinjiang, reported by The New York Times and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists last November, had made a splash. At the end of 2019, after many months of delay, the US House of Representatives passed the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, designed to punish China for its actions, which activists had hoped would be taken up in the first months of 2020 and passed by the Senate with a veto-proof majority.

At last, the plight of Uighurs in Xinjiang seemed on the cusp of breaking through to the mainstream.

Then, as it has so many things, Covid-19 obliterated that momentum. Weve worked really hard to make the world believe there is a massive human rights violation going on, Kuzzat Altay, president of the Uighur American Association, said. Now, nobodys talking about Uighurs. Around the world, events that were planned to seize on what seemed like Uighurs momentChinese embassy protests, advocacy training, and Uighur cultural celebrationswere canceled. Some will be rescheduled. Uighurs worry, however, that even when normalcy resumes, it could be months or longer before they regain any traction. Meanwhile, news from Xinjiang remains bleak.Refugee

But not everyone in the diaspora is lamenting the bad-situation-made-worse. In quarantine, activists have adapted quickly to new constraints, and many say they are finding new ways to reach people and expand the scope of their efforts.

In March, as the United States finally began to respond to the virus, Uighur leaders representing 35 advocacy groups in 18 countries met via Jitsi, a secure Zoom alternative, to discuss how they might regroup. The pandemic was well past the point of being a China story, but there were aspects of the Communist Partys handling of the outbreakthe suppression of journalists and whistle-blowers, an active disinformation campaignthat have long marked the situation in Xinjiang. Perhaps there was a chance to highlight Chinas authoritarian dangers, Dolkun Isa, president of the Munich-based World Uighur Congress, said. The leaders determined to redouble their efforts, starting with social media.

Since the call, Uighur groups have been churning out more video testimonies than ever, in which members of the diaspora tell stories of friends and family members who have gone missing or suffered in Xinjiang. They post the videos on Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and elsewhere, hoping to catch the eyes of everyone around the world who has little place to go right now but their screens. It can be a challenge to break through still, but the videos are getting more views than was typical before the pandemic, Isa said. Interactions with posts on social media are up, and supportive private messages are flowing in.

Of course, Uighurs in the diaspora also have more time at home on their hands. And so, activists are recruiting. Theyre conducting advocacy training on Zoom, sponsoring Twitterstorms and hashtag parties, and enlisting support for letter-writing campaigns to prominent politicians around the world. In April, 38 Uighur groups sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging movement on the Uighur Act, the largest such campaign since the crisis in Xinjiang began.

In mid-May, the Senate finally passed the bipartisan bill, sending it back to the House. (Human rights advocates have warned that meaningful enforcement still depends on the president, who has broadly avoided addressing Chinas human rights abuses.) Isa believes the advocacy push helped expedite the bills approval.

For Tahir Imin, who runs an all-volunteer news aggregation service focused on Uighur issues based in Washington, D.C., the lockdown has meant more bandwidth for his team to write and publish articles. With new volunteers, Imin has also expanded his news servicewhich has worked for the past two years in English, Uighur, and Chinese, among other languagesinto German, French, and Urdu. He called the net effect of quarantine a level up for the Uighur cause.

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Indeed, reaching new audiences is an essential part of Uighur advocacy, but translation and targeted outreach often fell by the wayside in busier times, Rushan Abbas, founder of the Campaign for Uighurs, said. In recent years, Abbas has toured US universities and other institutions giving speeches to raise awareness of Uighurs treatment in Xinjiang, but her work was almost exclusively in English. Now, in the past month, her team has translated speeches, press releases, and op-eds into Chinese, Turkish, and Arabic; Abbas said reaching the Muslim world is especially important, as the acquiescence of governments in Muslim-majority countries is in part what has allowed Chinas actions in Xinjiang to continue unchecked. I should not say we thank the pandemic, Abbas said. But we are using this terrible situation as an opportunity.

Many in the Uighur diaspora live in exile from China because they escaped the country or were abroad when the Xinjiang crackdown began and did not dare return. Cut off from loved ones back home, work and fellowship with other Uighurs are often the only things to help those in exile cope with the painand often the powerlessnessof that separation. Social distancing has left many feeling doubly alone.Forced Labor

Making matters worse, scant knowledge of how the coronavirus spread in Xinjiang, and who was affected, have added to the already intolerable anxiety of the diaspora. Amid a dearth of information from the province, Uighurs worry about what the Communist Party might get away with while the worlds attention is turned away. Maybe an entire concentration camp is going to disappear, Altay, of the Uighur American Association, said. Whos going to care? Whos going to hold China accountable?

To manage the added stress brought on by Covid-19, more in the diaspora are turning to activism, Abbas said. This is giving comfort to Uighurs, because they feel like they are doing something, she explained. Instead of being lonely and homesick, theyre being a voice for their people.Current Issue

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This has been the case for Jevlan Shirmemmet. A young professional in Turkey, Shirmemmet discovered recently that Chinese authorities had sent his parents and brother to internment camps in Xinjiang. For two years, Shirmemmet said, he hadnt spoken with his family, because international contact is frequently cause enough for Uighurs to be detained. He avoided advocacy, also, for fear of retribution against friends and family. But learning his family had been detained anywayin his mothers case, he believes it was simply because she visited him once when he was a university student in IstanbulShirmemmet, with encouragement from Abbas, took to social media to tell his story.

Within a week, young Uighurs in Turkey and other countries reached out to Shirmemmet to share that their families, too, were detained. They thought that their collective voice might have a greater impact than that of individual testimonies. From quarantine, about a dozen young Uighurs now work together to create a series of videos about the Xinjiang crisis, how it is affecting specific groups of Uighurs, such as mothers, and other topics in the news that they then link to Xinjiang. In conference calls, they select topics for the videos. Later, some write the content and record the videos, while others translate the videos into a variety of languages.

The group aims for relevance and immediacy. After the World Health Organization advised people to wash their hands, the group produced a video in which Shirmemmet discussed the importance of handwashingand then bridged to the fact that many Uighurs in Xinjiang lack clean water, especially in the detention centers, where hygiene conditions are notoriously grim. Many videos have gotten tens of thousands of viewsfar more, Shirmemmet said, than the typical individual testimonies hes seen.

Shirmemmet now regrets that he did not speak out sooner. He vows that even after the coronavirus lockdown is liftedand its been strict in Turkeyhe will continue his activism. I feel I can do something for my nation and my family, he said. The situation in Xinjiang often seems like it might never improve, he said, but the new camaraderie Shirmemmet has found online is reason to take heart. We are in a difficult position, he said. But we can do something together. That is hope.

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TikTok now gives you one-tap access to streaming app Resso – The Next Web

Posted: at 3:44 pm

Earlier this year, TikTok-owner Bytedance launched its music app Resso in India. At that time, Ressos team said that at the moment theres no plan for integration between both apps.

However, that seems to be changing. TikTok usually shows the original soundtrack used in the clip in a ticker below. But now, it also includes a shortcut to Resso if the song is available on the music streaming app. If you tap on that, you will be redirected to Resso, where you can listen to the full song.

[Read: A look at how Jitsi became a secure open-source alternative to Zoom]

Whats more, Resso, shows you the back button, so you can go right back to TikTok and resume watching videos.

While this integration is beneficial for both apps, Resso has more to gain from it. The music app is relatively new, and not a lot of TikTok users might have it. So, they would be redirected to Play Store or App Store to download it. Indias TikToks biggest market with more than 200 million monthly active users, so even if a few of them download Resso, its a win for Bytedance.

A TikTok spokesperson told TNW that this feature is currently in the beta testing phase:

As a platform built on innovation, our constant focus is to work towards enhancing the in-app experience of our users. We are currently in the beta testing phase and are early in the process to share any further details.

TikTok played a key role as a hitmaker for a lot of artists and songs, notably Lil Nass Old Town Road, Drakes Toosie Slide,and more recently,Melanie Martinezs Play Date, which is a 2015 song. So rather than have people listen to these songs on Apple Music, Spotify, or YouTube, Bytedance wants to leverage Resso and make it an ecosystem play.

Update (22/05/2020): Added statement from TikTok.

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Tips on Running a Remote Animation Studio – Animation World Network

Posted: at 3:44 pm

With social distancing still widely enforced throughout the world, working remotely has gained a foothold as a viable, and necessary alternative to heading into an office every day. Safe, remotely connected teams have enabled many creative companies to continue production on projects without a centralized studio.

Modern digital communication methods adopted for remote working may offer studios benefits that will endure far after the lockdowns end. This is certainly true of Agora.Studio, an example of a VFX and animation hub that was well-ahead of the work-for-hire curve; the studio is built entirely using a remote workforce. Co-founder David Hubert describes Agoras web of creative talent as a global ecosystem. The studio has expanded to the point that its able to manage 100s of employees remotely at any given time. AWN spoke with both Hubert and fellow co-founder Jacob Gardner about how they managed to build Agoras success with remote freelancers.

AWN: How did the idea behind Agora.Studio emerge?

David Hubert: We started Agora four years ago, when I was working at a studio and a lot of other studios were asking me for my availability. Gradually, I asked if they would be open to working with freelancers. I reached out to a few contacts over the weekend Jacob was one of themwed met at DreamWorks a few years prior and by Monday, we were ready to go. We had no workflow, no pipeline, just an understanding of the tasks we had to do and the money available for the project. One thing led to another, and now, we have a group of a little over 650 freelancers in our pool of resources. We work on 10 or 12 projects simultaneously, and at the moment, were hiring between 40 and 50 freelancers at all times, so we are ready to scale up as projects come in.

AWN: How difficult is it to work out contracts and NDAs when managing multiple freelancers in multiple locations?

DH: For contractual work, all our freelancers have already signed an NDA and contractor master agreement with us, so they dont have to sign a new one for every new project they work on. We discuss the salary with each freelancer ahead of time to improve efficiency when casting on a new project. We also have a hub where the artists can log in and input their hours for the given day, which are then compiled for invoices. We try to automate and standardize these administrative elements so its simpler for all the freelancers.

AWN: How do you maintain clear communication across remote teams?

DH: When we started, we had two or three freelancers, so we could effectively use email for communication. Now we can have a dozen projects with 40 people at one time, so we need to hire supervisors and email is not really a viable option anymore. If we didnt handle our comms with the right tools, it would take up half of our time.

Jacob Gardner: We use Slack as a primary communication tool, but our use has evolved so we dont lose important information in a sea of comments. To do this, we create a new workspace for each client we work with and create dedicated private channels for each production. For projects that involve different departments, we create sub-channels for each production step: character work, rigging, and animation. The goal is to standardize the structure within Slack and avoid confusion when freelancers jump from one production to the other while also allowing the freelancers to communicate efficiently.

Were continually thinking about how to work most efficiently with people across the world. Some people are working while Im asleep, and vice versa. Weve also tried to bridge the feeling of loneliness from working at home by having Slack communities and virtual rooms in Jitsi that people can access whenever. We have learned that having informal methods of communication can help freelancers feel less lonely working in their own house.

AWN: How is work reviewed?

JG: Having sourced such a large network of freelancers, we soon identified that we needed a solution for reviewing media that wasnt just me recording a video and sharing. We found that solution in the collaborative review tool, SyncSketch; its the ideal tool for notes and annotations. Being able to roll back and forth across the frames weve worked on is essential to our work, and it works so well.

When we have lots of projects on the go, we can switch between them with ease in SyncSketch. This really simplifies everything, and a lot of the tools are convenient for doing things remotely.

AWN: What tools have you built or modified to increase efficiency?

JG: We found we were doing the same things over and over again for each project, so we wanted to simplify these processes and mitigate tasks such as manual clicking. We built some custom tools that have helped us a lot. Any time were building a tool or finding a solution, were thinking about how to make this universal enough to work on other projects or clients in the future. We want to be able to build something that accepts many different requirements; were always aiming to think much broader. If our tools can be easily adapted to each clients requirements, then we save time and expand our capabilities. One example is our own data transfer solution called NextCloud. Its like FTP but much more versatile.

AWN: What other tips can you share about the dynamics of a remote work-for-hire lifestyle?

DH: We know everyone goes through the same struggles when they start working from home. And suddenly, artists around the world have found themselves in this new situation. Weve had artists asking lots of questions, from what computer to buy to how do I deal with my kids? Having a routine is a common tip: get dressed like youre going to work and take a regular lunch break. You need a work structure to make sure you have separation. You need a good computer, internet connection, headset, and webcam. Physical exercise is also especially important. Its easy to just move between the couch and the computer if youre not careful.

We started to produce video clips with the freelancers we work with, sharing tips and tricks for artists who have just started working from home. You can find them all here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/6972970. We had a lot of freelancers that were eager to share their thoughts. We are aiming to produce between 50 to 100 videos of tips ranging from 15 seconds to 2 minutes. Weve started sharing these already and are getting a great response. Some of them are funny and entertaining, while others are more factual and great for new remote workers. We hope by sharing our experiences that we can help other artists and studios out there adapt and thrive working remotely.

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Adapting from Home: This Weeks View of Video Meeting Triumphs and Concerns – Yahoo Finance

Posted: March 31, 2020 at 5:54 am

8x8.com/live Documents the Leading Trends in How People Around the World Are Using Video Meeting Technology to Teach, Heal, Work, and Socialize

8x8, Inc. (NYSE:EGHT), a leading integrated cloud communications platform, today announced its findings from an analysis of the social conversations about 8x8 Video Meetings and its related open-source project Jitsi.org use cases. Additionally, 8x8 reported that the global monthly active users of 8x8 Video Meetings is nearly 4.5 million, as people adopt video conferencing technology with unprecedented velocity. A livestream of these social conversations, daily updates on usage stats, and other video meetings and remote work resources are available at 8x8.com/live.

Video Conferencing and Meetings Notable Stats:

Five Trending Dynamics:

4.5 Million Video Meetings Monthly Active Users Globally; 1 Million Increase in Last 48 Hours

8x8 is the main contributor to the Jitsi.org open-source solution, and the standalone and integrated versions of 8x8 Video Meetings for business are based on it. The Jitsi.org code has been hardened with over a million downloads and in applications like banking video conferencing, education as a service platforms and home security applications globally. The product is packaged with 8x8 X Series for businesses that have a mobile and remote workforce requiring a highly reliable and resilient solution across desktop and mobile devices for voice, video, chat, contact center, APIs and advanced analytics. It is also available as a standalone offering and as part of 8x8 Express, which is for small organizations and teams that require a complete, preconfigured business phone system with a dedicated business number, video meetings and messaging in a single desktop and mobile application.

The free, standalone version of 8x8 Video Meetings, introduced to the public in November 2019, is available at https://8x8.vc, and includes international dial-in numbers in more than 55 countries. 8x8 Video Meetings utilizes the WebRTC standard which enables attendees to instantly join meetings without any downloads or plugins.

About 8x8, Inc.

8x8, Inc. (NYSE: EGHT) is transforming the future of business communications as a leading Software-as-a-Service provider of voice, video, chat, contact center, and enterprise-class API solutions powered by one global cloud communications platform. 8x8 empowers workforces worldwide to connect individuals and teams so they can collaborate faster and work smarter. Real-time business analytics and intelligence provide businesses unique insights across all interactions and channels so they can delight end-customers and accelerate their business. For additional information, visit http://www.8x8.com, or follow 8x8 on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

8x8 and 8x8 X Series are trademarks of 8x8, Inc.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200327005088/en/

Contacts

8x8, Inc. Contacts:

Media: John Sun, 1-408-692-7054john.sun@8x8.com

Investor Relations: Victoria Hyde-Dunn, 1-669-333-5200victoria.hyde-dunn@8x8.com

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8 Best Zoom Alternatives for Video Conferencing and Webinars – Beebom

Posted: at 5:54 am

In the wake of Novel Coronavirus, remote working and video conferencing have become an essential part of both online and offline businesses. While Zoom is undoubtedly one of the best communication tools for real-time video conferencing, recently, many users complained about its subpar video quality and buffering issues. Its expected as companies all over the world are working online and putting a severe load on the servers. Then there was also the problem of Zoom secretly sending data to Facebook. So, whether you want better video conferencing or hate Zooms privacy policy, you can always use some capable alternatives. In this article, we have curated a list of 8 best Zoom alternatives which you should definitely try out in 2020.

I would say if you are looking for a complete web communication solution like Zoom then Microsoft Teams would arguably be the best alternative. It comes with a range of features and in some cases, even exceeds Zooms capabilities. You can chat, make a video call to your teammates, access Office 365 documents,collaborate in real-time, and also call anyone from Teams Calling or direct Phone System. As I said, its a powerful tool for web communication either through video, audio or chat.

However, keep in mind, Microsoft Teams allows you to host a web meeting of up to 250 participants in comparison to Zooms capability to scale up to 1000 participants. Nevertheless, Microsoft Teams can handle up to 10,000 teammates in a web seminar which is equal to Zooms ability. Having said all of that, Microsoft Teams brings a lot of additional perks like screen sharing, access to 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, Office 365 access and more. To conclude, if you are looking for a capable Zoom alternative then Microsoft Teams is a suitable pick.

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I know Skype for Business has been replaced by Microsoft Teams and its no longer available. And thats why I am talking about the free version of Skype which is for personal users. Skype can be very helpful for small companies to hold web meetings and seminars in HD quality and best of all, without any charge. In terms of participant limit, Skype can host up to 50 participants which is half of Zooms 100 participants offering under the free tier plan. However, you do not have any limit on group calls on Skype whereas Zoom has a 40-min limit if there are more than 3 participants.

So in a way, Skype is not bad at all and brings limitless features without any cost. You can chat and call with your teammates as well, but if you want to directly call phone numbers across regions then you will have to pay some charges. But other than that, everything is free and accessible including call recording, mobile screen sharing, live subtitles and more. I would suggest, if you are using the Basic plan of Zoom then you should give a shot at Skype.

And if you are satisfied by Skypes free offering, you can also look at Skype alternatives to check out similar free video calling solutions.

Visit Website (Free)

Hangouts Meet is Googles new answer to Zoom and it seems the tech giant is finally into the race. At present, Hangouts Meet is only available to G Suite users and those who are enrolled in the G Suite for Education program. Now coming to features, its very much like Zoom in a sense, that you can just create a meeting and share the link with the participants. And they can easily join the meeting without creating any account whatsoever. And the best part is that, since its Google, you have dedicated apps for almost all the platforms so that is awesome.

Talking about the group limit, well, at this point, Hangouts Meet can host only up to 100 participants. However, Google recently announced that, from July 1, users will be able to create much larger meetings of up to 250 participants and can stream live webinars to 100,000 viewers. Thats great news, right? So, if you are looking for a Zoom alternative then Hangouts Meet is a decent pick right now. I would say, come July, Hangouts Meet will become a comparable rival to Zoom.

Visit Website (14-day Free Trial, Starts at $6/month)

If you are looking for a free alternative to Zoom then Jitsi Meet is the best option available. Its an open-source video conferencing platform where you can host group calls of as many users as you want and without any charge. On top of that, its encrypted, does not need an account, and there is no time limit as well. Thats awesome, but whats the catch? To be frank, there is no catch. Jitsi is fully funded by 88 company that uses Jitsis products like Virtual Office and other open-source projects.

In my brief usage, Jitsi Meet performed really well mainly because of its lightweight interface. You can just type the meeting name and hit enter to start the video conference. Further, you can set a password to your web conference or simply share the link to as many participants as you want. Surely, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, there has been a huge surge, but Jitsi still manages to pull through and you will get decent quality without much issue. Simply put, if you want a free solution to Zoom without compromising on security then Jitisi Meet is an apt choice.

Visit Website (Free)

You can consider Cisco Webex as another complete solution, similar to Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Its packed with features and caters mostly to corporations and large-scale companies. However, if you are a small company then you can take advantage of its free plan. It allows you to host a free Webex meeting with 100 participants and members dont need to create an account to join the meeting which is great. Similar to Zooms Basic Plan, you get HD video, screen sharing, and password-protected personal room.

However, Cisco Webex has a limit of 40 minutes just like Zoom so keep that in mind. If you opt for the paid plans then you can make group calls and host up to 200 participants. Apart from that, Cisco Webex offers Event Center for webinars, Training Center for online training, Support Center for remote support and more. Basically, you get everything as you would expect from a corporation-focussed video conferencing solution.

Visit Website (Free, Paid Plan Starts at $13.5/month)

Bluejeans is another great Zoom alternative that you can take a look at. Similar to Zoom, it offers video conferencing, personal rooms, events, and some really smart features. For instance, you can access Microsoft Teams Meetings from BlueJeans using its Cloud Video Interop technology. Thats really cool, right? Other than that, you can collaborate using audio and video using any device you have and in real-time. Having said all of that, the best part about BlueJeans is that it improves your productivity by highlighting meetings, creating transcription, automated alerts and a lot more.

I would say that you will have to use BlueJeans to understand how its much more than a video conferencing tool. As for the participant limit, it can host from 25 to 100 members which is quite good. Overall, if you want some smart management on your side then try out BlueJeans. Its quite comparable to Zoom on the UI/UX front.

Visit Website (Free Trial for 7 days, Starts at $9.99/month)

Zoho is quite popular for its online office suite and the company has been making some of the best tools for account management, word processing, and of course, web conferencing. Its basically a one-stop solution where you can schedule meetings, create documents, invite participants, and discuss the project all in real-time. Another best feature about Zoho Meeting is that its completely web-based. While apps offer you a broad range of features, you can still join calls and web conferences through a browser even without an app installed. Thats awesome, right? Apart from that, you get all the standard web communication features like screen sharing, audio calls, video conferencing and project collaboration. As for the limit, Zoho Meeting can host up to 100 participants at one time which is nowhere near Zoom, but if you have a small team then its pretty good.

Visit Website (Free Trial for 14 days, Starts at $10/month)

GoToMeeting is one of the oldest video conferencing platforms out there and its packed with features. The company primarily deals with corporate clients, but even if you are a small company then GoToMeeting has you covered. To begin with, you can host video and audio meetings from any device and from anywhere. And the best part is that GoToMeeting supports up to 250 participants for video conferencing and 1000 attendees for Webinars. Apart from that, GoToMeeting also brings direct call, cloud recording, Office 365 plugin for integrating all your Office documents, screen sharing and more. Overall, GoToMeeting is a complete web communication solution and you can reliably opt for it over Zoom.

Visit Website (Free Trial for 14 days, Starts at $12/month)

So those are our picks for the best Zoom alternatives that you can pick right now. As we went through the list, we can see that some companies offer a fully-featured video conferencing tool and some offer limited features. Nevertheless, based on your requirements and company size, you can pick a tool from the list. I am pretty sure, you wont be disappointed. Anyway, that is all from us. If we missed out on your favorite Zoom alternative then do let us know in the comment section below.

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8 Best Zoom Alternatives for Video Conferencing and Webinars - Beebom

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Jitsi Downloads – iOS & Android apps; Jitsi Meet, & Jitsi …

Posted: March 26, 2020 at 6:33 am

Free Jitsi Meet Service:

The easiest way to get started with Jitsi is to start a meeting on our free Jitsi Meet service:Jitsi Meet Online

If you want to run Jitsi on your own desktop or server, you can download Jitsi Desktop, Jitsi Meet and all Jitsi related projects below. Use the stable builds for more consistent behavior. Latest nightlies are also quite usable and contain all our latest and greatest additions.

Stable Ubuntu & Debian packages

You can also use our Ubuntu/Debian repository:

or only the packages you need like for example:

Nightly Ubuntu & Debian packages

Just as with stable you can also use our Ubuntu/Debian repository for nightlies:

or only the packages you need like for example:

If you are using our stable build line, you can switch to nightly builds using the following provisioning URLs:

We would like to support as many distribution specific packages as possible. If you would like to be a maintainer of such a package please let us know

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What Is the Most Secure Video Conferencing Software? – VICE

Posted: at 6:33 am

Now that millions of people are practicing social distancing and working their office jobs from home because of coronavirus, video conferencing is more popular than ever. Whether you're just attending your regular work meetings, grabbing a beer with friends, or catching up with your extended family spread across the globeall these fun activities now live thanks to video conferencing apps.

The peoples choice, more often than not, is Zoom. But it doesnt have to be.

While Zoom offers end-to-end encrypted chatmeaning only the participants in the exchange have access to the contents of the messagesits video calls are not encrypted in the same way by default. Hosts, however, can enable end-to-end encryption in video calls too, according to the company.

The app has a troubled record when it comes to security and privacy. Thanks to a creepy feature, hosts can track whether you are paying attention to the meeting, and the companys privacy policy allows it to collect all sorts of personal data.

Last year, Zoom had a flaw that allowed hackers to turn on someones webcam without their consent, and without them noticing. On top of that, when someone had the Zoom app closed and even uninstalled, the software left a web server up and running, allowing for an automated install of the app if someone invited the user to a Zoom call. Finally, Zoom makes it really hard for you to join calls without installing the app, even though thats possible.

So, what other apps can you use instead of Zoom?

The obvious choice, if you have an Apple device, is FaceTime. Apples video (and audio) conferencing app has been end-to-end encrypted for a very long time. On top of that, its incredibly easy to use, and allows for up to 32 participants. The downside, of course, is that its only for iOS and Mac users. So if you use Windows, the most popular operating system in the world, youre out of luck.

Pros:

Cons:

A great cross-platform alternative is the little known Jitsi, which is end-to-end encrypted, and has apps for Android and iOS, but also just works in a browser, without having to install anything. Jitsi is also open source, meaning anyone can inspect and contribute to the code. I have used it occasionally and it always worked very well.

Pros:

Cons:

WhatsApp is the most popular chat app on the planet, its end-to-end encrypted with state-of-the-art protocols, and is incredibly user-friendly. Its also cross platform, although video calls dont work on desktop. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of enterprise software, but if you're just looking to connect with a couple of friends or family, it's more than enough.

Pros:

Cons:

Finally, one of our favorite end-to-end encrypted chat apps, Wire, offers group video chat, but only to paying customers.

Pros

Cons:

If you want something thats easy to use, but not end-to-end encrypted, you can always fall back on Googles alternative: Meet.

Pros:

Cons:

Zoom has become the de-facto video calling app in the last few days, but it's far from perfect. Its privacy policy is vague and seems to indicate the company could sell some of your data. Calls are not end-to-end encrypted by default and it's unclear if they can be at all.

Pros:

Cons:

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What Is the Most Secure Video Conferencing Software? - VICE

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Home schooling tips: The things I wish I’d known before the schools went into lockdown – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: at 6:33 am

Last week I was feeling just like almost all UK parents are now. Following an emergency 2pm meeting, the Dutch government had announced that all schools in the Netherlands, where Ive lived for nearly two years, were closing due to coronavirus. And with immediate effect.

Although my husband and I had been gently introducing the idea of what might be coming to our two children, Pearl, 9 and Honor, 6, who both attend a local Dutch school, it was a very abrupt end to all the angst and anticipation. As a self-employed writer and editor, whose husband - for now - has to keep his studio running, what would I do?

I neednt have worried. Soon my email, WhatsApp and Facebook account were pinging with incredible (read:intimidating, if like me you find the concept of homeschooling as appealing as herpes) blogs and listicles of how to keep the kids entertained and educated over the coming weeks. And thats before the brilliant teachers started Whatsapping worksheets and sending links for online lessons.

The kids will indeed be alright. But the parents not so much, without a little prep. Because while I went into this week fully briefed on how to make an edible solar system, I was sadly lacking in the practical measures that would have made the last few days just a little bit smoother.

So heres what I wish Id known. Not that we had much time to implement it over here. You at least have the weekend. Use it wisely

Stop talking about schools being closed, or referring to the kids being off school, with immediate effect. If you want a slither of chance of them doing any work over the coming weeks, make like Boris and co and adopt nudge theory, by explaining instead that the government has decided children must study from home.

On Monday, I was surprised my children were up even earlier than usual, until I realised they assumed weekend rules applied, and they could load up on Coco Pops in front of the TV until well, Ill let you use your imagination.

While we all need a bit of downtime as we adapt to the new normal, kids - like adults - are creatures of comfort. So, after a few lazy mornings at the start of the week, were now aiming to be dressed and at the dining room table for a 9am team meeting. We check the messages from teachers, I make a loose plan for the day (we usually ditch it by lunchtime but it makes me feel calmer to start off with a structure), mirroring school snack and playtimes with fresh air on our roof terrace. And we also agree a chore for the day - social isolation takes the domestic load to a whole new dimension.

The sooner you can set expectations - whatever yours may be - the better. Easier to bend the rules later than try to bring them in belatedly.

If youre not already on familiar terms with Zoom, Google Hangouts, Jitsi et al, now is the time to get acquainted. Theyre not complicated, but theyre going to be a big part of your life, and theres nothing more humiliating than trying to work out how to turn the microphone on with teacher and 20 expectant classmates all watching. Likewise, make sure you know your passwords to any school apps, and that youre happy with which parent is on the school mailing list for A LOT of communications.

Finally, rather than just saving dozens of those what to do with kids in a lockdown lists, pick one you like the sound of, divide it up with your partner and actually investigate the suggestions before you need to deploy them. Yesterday, amid a meltdown over a smashed Lego house, I finally negotiated a fragile peace with the promise of an astronaut reading a story from space, only to realise too late that the link Id saved was wrong and all hell broke loose again. (Its http://www.storytimefromspace.com by the way. Youre welcome.)

Now is not the time to recycle. All those cereal boxes and finished loo rolls (wail) will be your best friend once you start perusing those how to entertain kids lists. A month ago I was cursing having so many family birthdays at the start of the year, now were turning all the old cards into postcards to send to family and friends at home.

Im also stupidly grateful for a pile of Lego in the lounge that no one had got round to tidying up, which has organically become a go-to place for the kids to amuse themselves independently.

Side note - my friend in Spain is hiding treats around the house to keep her two lively dogs entertained while theyre not able to go out as much. Sorry Mrs Hinch, but leaving an old puzzle or book in an unexpected place isnt the worst idea to buy yourself ten minutes peace.

Working and studying from home assumes a lot of space that most of us dont have. Use the weekend to discuss who will be based where, and when. Yesterday, feeling overwhelmed by the avalanche of books and worksheets and drawings that must be kept, I dug out two old box files and gave one to each kid, calling it their mobile office for when they hot desk.

For now at least, using sophisticated sounding adult terms is generating unusual levels of compliance.

Do those light-up unicorn headphones actually work? Are all your entertainment passwords saved on one device? Now is the time to get fighting fit in the tech department.

For the last four days I've felt more like IT support staff than mum / home school teacher, never mind a writer as I try to resuscitate geriatric iPads and try to remember who sent the Zoom code, and on which app. If you have more than one child or need to WFH yourself, quickly beg, borrow or steal any extra tech. Frankly, any child-free people with their own laptop who are now WFH with a company one should be made to share with families of school age children, in the national interest.

And if your IT budget is up to it, what I wouldnt give for some noise cancelling ear defenders for when the online lesson ends and all the kids have a virtual playtime

Just like the global situation itself, how our family is dealing with studying from home is changing every day. Its a bit like having a newborn baby, just as you think youve discovered what works, a new challenge crops up - especially if youre freelance.

Today, after a decent morning of online lessons and workbooks, the girls have been playing on our phones while Ive been writing this article. Yesterday I took smug photos of them hoovering, today Ive literally lobbed chocolate eggs at them from my desk. Its a marathon, not a sprint, guys.

How are you preparing for school closures? Tell us in the comments below.

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