Thursday, May 23, 2019
No matter the time of year, it can be really difficult to stay in touch with your family and friends. You’ve got work, which every so often turns into a nine- or 10-hour day. You’ve got to get dinner on the table. If you have kids, you have homework help, practices and general entertainment. You’ll want to try to fit in some time to yourself, too.
C’est la vie, right?
Don’t feel so resigned just yet. After all, we live in the Digital Age, a time when you can reach and connect with your loved ones at the click of a few buttons. There are several messaging apps, along with technologies like video chat.
There are, however, a few things you will need beforehand to utilize these technologies, mainly ensuring that your Internet solution is up to par.
So, what speed do you need? If you have a few minutes to spare, go ahead and do some research on Internet speed requirements for all the bandwidth-consuming activities you do on the web, such as video chatting or streaming your favorite shows.
If you’re pressed for time, though, take our quiz to find out, and check out our quick take on our bandwidth breakdown page. In short, you’ll want to consider all of your connected devices that run simultaneously: mobile devices, computers, streaming services, smart home tech or what have you. Remember that some devices use more bandwidth than others, and multiple devices connected to your Kinetic Internet will likely slow down your Internet speed.
Now that you know how much speed you need, it’s time to delve into what devices will best fit you and your family. What are your choices?
Smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Note that if you choose to use a desktop, you will likely need a webcam as most do not come equipped with a camera feature.
And, once you’ve got all the equipment you need, you’re ready to explore all the technology to help you stay in touch with family and friends.
Put away that pen and paper, and do away with snail mail. One of the easiest ways to keep in touch with family is email, of course! And, my, has it come a long way since the first ever was sent in 1971.
With email, family updates can come as often — or as little — as you like. The frequency will primarily depend on how quickly folks are able to respond. Do they let emails languish in their inbox for days on end? Or do they need to mark all as read?
This method is also great for sending along important moments that your extended family won’t want to miss but will have to, like the little one’s first recital or prom. Attach photos and videos from the big day. Just remember that most email services limit the file size that you can share. As an example, Gmail and your Windstream email only allow 25 MB per message.
And that brings us to a second way to share: cloud storage. Unlike saving to your computer’s hard drive or an external device, cloud storage lets users place their data in a remote database, accessible through the Internet. The main upside is that you can share certain files with people of your choice.
There are many free options that give you enough storage to house all those important moments that won’t fit in the email you’re sending. But, of course, if you do exceed the storage limit, there are paid options as well. Check out some of the cloud storage services here, and be sure to look for some of the integrations with the services you’re already using. As an example, Gmail will automatically send files over the 25 MB limit as a link to Google Drive, the suite’s cloud-storage service.
With family messaging apps, you could easily start a thread to ensure not a moment is missed. These days, messaging apps include much more than the ability to send and receive messages. Many — like Whatsapp, now a part of Facebook — have features that allow you to send photos and videos, share other types of documents and group chat — all using your Internet connection instead of your cellphone plan. Whatsapp also lets you sync your chats to your computer, so you can start on one device where you left off on another.
Other messaging apps, like Life360, combine communication with safety features like driving details, including top speeds and dangerous driving events. With Life360 specifically, parents can create circle “members” with immediate family, friends, caregivers or others, and customize messaging, location sharing and check-ins with specific circles.
And, for the ultimate face-to-face time, there’s video chatting. Like everything else that involves technology, there are more than a few ways to achieve this. The easiest is through your smartphone or tablet (for iOS users, Facetime). While there isn’t an equivalent for Android users, many video chat options — like Skype, Google Duo and even Whatsapp — all have phone apps for video chatting.
For each of these apps, you’ll want to read the bandwidth requirements it will take for you to run the app seamlessly so that all of your time together is quality time.
Try out these three ways to stay connected with your family using your Kinetic Internet, and never miss a beat!