Video calls are livestreams, just private

There are so many terms for online interaction, it’s getting confusing to understand what everyone means. At this point of the pandemic, workplaces are meeting online more than in-person, but what does it actually mean to “meet online” and how is it different from any other form of online interaction?

Video calling is probably the most common form of virtual communication. Backlinko reported that Zoom registers over 3.3 trillion annual meeting minutes, which we can only assume is growing. This doesn’t count other video calling apps like Microsoft Teams, who’s usership has also surged since lockdown, Skype, WhatsApp the hundreds of other new apps that have surfaced in recent years. 

Even though a video call isn’t what we would usually refer to as a “livestream”, it operates much the same as an on-location, publicly broadcasted event that people can tune into online. Sure, your calls are private and only viewable between those actually in the conversation, but in order to have that conversation virtually the app is streaming video and audio from each end to the other. It’s still being held online, and others can easily join in if invited. This is essentially what we would refer to as a private or invite-only livestream.

That might sound scary to a lot of people, but it’s important to understand how the technology that is being used by millions of people everyday works, for your own safety and to utilise all the amazing things you can do with it.


By now most people will be familiar with most video calling software and watching events and conferences from home. For day to day internal meetings, apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the common ones, and many people will also be using phone-based apps like WhatsApp to catch up with people on the go. When you’re using one of these, app functions like share screen can easily give you the ability to share your work and collaborate virtually with others. Most of these apps also have in-app chat functionality, which many workplaces will use throughout their workday in place of email to streamline their communications. Another cool feature that’s become particularly useful when running meetings with lots of people is “raise hand”, which places a hand emoji on your video feed to show others you have a question or something to say. This avoids people talking over one another and makes for a much smoother meeting. You can see below Christchurch City Councillor’s using this feature during a recent meeting (look for the little yellow hands in the top left corner of each person’s window!)

For the bigger events, conferences or presentations, working with a production company like Tandem means you can run a higher quality livestream. We often use third-party software to integrate other cool features and enhance interactivity on your event (such as chat, polls and questions), but we can also integrate apps like Zoom or Teams to run virtual elements of your event.

If you have any questions about how to run a livestream, whether that’s just for an internal meeting or for a public event, chat to our team.