Comparison to Video Tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom

Comparison to Video Tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom

Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom are similar; each tool provides video chat, written chat, and screensharing for groups of two or more people.

We chose to use Zoom as the video provider for QiqoChat.  That means every time you open a video chat on Qiqo, you are using Zoom.

Qiqo Event Screenshot
Example of a QiqoChat event with 31 participants across four breakout rooms. The host added the custom blue background and the Google Doc being used for notes on the right side of the page.  There’s a lot going on!

Qiqo extends Zoom functionality by “wrapping” Zoom video chats with additional functionality:

  1. Breakout Rooms: After you sign in and click “Participate” in a Qiqo live event (example) you arrive at the main table.  You will see 10 breakout rooms on the left (see the screenshot below).  When a participant clicks on a table name, they will open up the page for that breakout room.  When they click the “Join Video” button, the Zoom video chat for that breakout room will open.
  2. Participant Profiles: When a user enters a breakout room, their profile photo is visible.  Each participant can see who is in which room and make a decision about which conversation they want to join.  With their profile, each participant can share some basic info about themselves, making it easy for them to connect 1-1 and build relationships.
  3. Collaborative Notes: Each breakout room has a notes page on the right hand side (see the screenshot below).  As the creator of the event, you can replace this notes page with a Google Doc or any other collaborative tool so that people can interact with it while they use Zoom video chat.
  4. Group Calendar: Anyone in your circle (or just the admin) can schedule a Zoom video chat which shows up on the group calendar.  This calendar provides continuity between events and is connected to a weekly newsletter which announces upcoming events every Monday morning, saving you time and making it more likely that people who attended previous events attend the next one (or even schedule their own!).
  5. Additional Tools: All your participants become members of your “circle” on Qiqo.  The group calendar is just one of the collaborative tools in your circle.  Here is a list of all tools on Qiqo.
  6. Per-Minute Pricing: We are big fans of Zoom, and we think their $15/month pro account is very reasonably priced.  If you want the functionality of Zoom, but do not use it enough to justify the $15/month subscription, then there is a pay-per-minute option to use Zoom on Qiqo.  Any Qiqo user can set this up at this link, whether or not they have created a circle.  The price is just 1¢/min per participant.  You will receive a customized link which you can use to invite participants to your meeting space.  Here’s mine!  https://qiqochat.com/meet/Lucas_from_Qiqo
Relationships Build Community

Relationships Build Community

It sounds simple, and it is: to build a strong community, your members must be able to build strong relationships.

This means that they need a variety of fun and productive ways to connect with each other.  Over time, these connections and interactions will add up to strong relationships.

I experienced this lesson firsthand this week, and here’s how it happened.  For the past 7 years, I have been a member of an online community of dialogue facilitators.  This community has gathered around an email discussion list for the past twenty years so it has quite a bit of history.

The email discussion list is quite active.  When I shared this blog post about a fun dialogue experiment that I held this week, it resonated with a handful of the members very, very strongly.  Two of the community members even said that they would replicate the experiment in different parts of the country.  Other members of the community were supportive, but there was a noticeable difference between these two types of reactions.

When I took a step back and noticed who had responded so enthusiastically, I realized it was the same group of people that I meet with on a weekly basis for a live Skype video chat.  Although the video chat is open to everyone, there are about ten regulars.  Over time, we’ve gotten to know each other very well.

It is no coincidence that the relationships I’ve built during these video chats made it possible for my blog post to resonate with these folks.  For members of that community with whom I’ve never met during one of those video chats, my blog post was just words.  For people whom I’ve met through the video chats, they could connect with more of the emotion I shared in the blog post (curiosity and apprehension) and it had a bigger impact on them.

How this relates to QiqoChat

This is why we’ve made realtime audio and video events the centerpiece of QiqoChat.  We believe that when people can connect live online, they can build relationships in a much deeper way than they can by simply replying to each other’s emails or comments in a forum.

We look forward to seeing all the ways our clients create space for their members to connect in meaningful ways, and we look forward to sharing many of those insights here on this blog.

Synchronous Learning Exchanges

Synchronous Learning Exchanges

We’re excited to introduce the synchronous learning exchange, a new and highly interactive format for online learning and collaboration!

This format works when your association gets a critical mass of people online at the same time on a recurring basis, say every 2 weeks or every month.

Members create video chat breakout rooms on the topics that are relevant to them, and the group self-organizes into these breakout sessions.  Sessions are highly interactive, because members are seated at 4-person tables to give everyone a chance to participate.

Members can pop into different rooms and different tables to keep the experience fluid and dynamic.  The format is the best of both worlds; it ensures that topics are timely, and it requires very little staff preparation because members choose the topics.

We’ve been experimenting with this new format over the last few weeks with members of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and we have an upcoming event with the Maryland Association of Counties.

To test out the video chatrooms, visit our demo and click on “Connect Live”.  Once you sign in, you can create video chatrooms with 4-person tables and jump between chatrooms and tables.  Try it with a colleague to get the full experience.