In an online world cluttered with communication options like Zoom, GoTo Meeting, and Slack, Discord emerges from the gaming world as a possible awesome alternative that you might not have heard about in the business / teaching realm.
Discord is a FREE application that allows users to communicate through voice, video, and text channels. The application is very simple and efficient and allows instant communication with the click of a mouse. While it does not have all the bells and whistles of some platforms, it is definitely a viable option for businesses looking for a way to communicate instantly for any projects that need cooperation.
To get you started, we are gonna cover some basic Discord terminology.
- Server: similar to a channel in Slack. It is an invite-only chat room where you can see all the text channels, join voice channels, and see all the members in the server. This could be thought of as your "classroom" or "conference room."
- Channels: within servers are sections that can be either a text channel or a voice channel where members can join with a click and instantly talk to everyone else in the channel.
- Roles: roles allow you to put members in your server into categories and control what permission each category has in your server.
Now that you are familiar with the basic lingo, let’s take a look at some features that may convince you to give Discord a try in your business.
- Role Creation
- Video Quality
- Security (how to make it 100% safe)
- Customizable (personal settings, volume controls, notifications, etc) “brand it for your company”
Cost: The free version of discord allows you to join or create as many servers as you want. There is an 8MB upload limit and voice channels start at 60Kbps (increase option of 96Kbps), and 720P video quality. These can all be upgraded with a “Nitro boost” subscription ($10/month) or a “Server boost” ($5/month each) which I will go more in-depth about in a later blog.
Role Creation: Role creation is a wonderful tool for businesses because it allows you to easily control what each member in your server can do. You can create as many roles as you need and add people to that role whenever you want. Role options range from administrator permissions (which allows people to do everything the server owner can do) all the way down to things as simple as whether or not they can send texts or images on the server. There is also a priority speaker option if one person in a video chat needs to be heard more than others.
Video Quality: Video chatting is supported for up to 10 people and comes in at 720P standard, but that can be upped if needed with some of the options mentioned in the cost section.
Security: I have personally used Discord for years and have not had any issues with leaked information or hacks. Discord has an option for anyone that finds weaknesses in the system to report them, and they will be compensated which helps make the application safer. While all information is kept tightly sealed, the application is still not end-to-end encrypted and therefore the only way to be 100% safe is to run it through a VPN, so that no outside sources can get in.
Customizable: Discord allows customization so that you get the look, feel, and operatation just like you want it. Appearance options let you choose light/dark mode, how big your text is, and more. Notification settings allow you to choose whose messages will give you notifications all the way down to which channels in a server (or the whole server itself) will pop-up a notification. Within servers you can control the volume of other people in a voice channel with you by right-clicking their name in the channel. A certain level of branding for your company is available for your server. You can also pay and get a custom URL for your business.
- 10 people in a video conference max (During the Corona Pandemic, the number of people has been upped from 10 to 25).
- UI is not as professional looking as sites like slack or zoom
- 8MB max upload size without a paid-for subscription
- Corporate firewalls could block Discord because it is deemed as gaming software
- Dual login is not possible - you can not be logged into two accounts at once
- Terms Of Service contains an arbitration clause
If Discord seems like a good fit for your team meetings, training classes, student classrooms or networking events, we encourage you to take it for a test drive.