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Virtual Easter with my grandma
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Virtual Easter with my grandma

DwayneDwayne Member

For obvious reasons we had to cancel our family get-together over Easter, so I was thinking of meeting online for a little chat. The technical side won't be much of a problem for most of my family (I hope) except for my grandma who can only use an old-fashioned phone.

Ideally, this would be a video conference with the possibility to call my grandma without her having to call a number and enter a meeting number/PIN and so on. We are 6 parties with Windows, Android and iPhone devices plus my grandma who is based in Germany. I don't mind paying a few Euros for this but don't want to enter into any lengthy contracts or spend enormous amounts of money.

Here is what I've come up with so far:

  • Google Hangouts Meet via G Suite. This allows me to add US or Canadian numbers to the conference for free. I would then register Callcentric's DID (USD 1/month) and another SIP provider with cheap calls to German numbers in my VOIP-enabled DSL router and let the router do the call forwarding from the US number to the German number. Tried this briefly, seems to work OK.

  • I've got my own Jitsi instance running. This works fine for video/voice chat but the SIP part for calling my grandma or having her call a dial-in number is a bit too overwhelming for me. If there is a simple HOWTO I 'd be grateful for a link.

  • Another idea would be a conference call with a dedicated phone number which only requires a 4-digit PIN, I already have a service I can use for this.

What would you recommend? Are there any other video conferencing services that would allow me to call German numbers directly?



  • hostworldhostworld Member, Host Rep
    edited April 2020

    I'm not sure if this is a possibility as it'll depend on what sort of phones your family has, but if you have a phone that has the ability to conference perhaps you, or one of your family members could dial into the conference that the rest of your family members are attending, using the US number. Then get one person to conference your grandma in on the phone call that they've already established? This way your grandma only has to answer the phone? That should work in theory at least...?

  • jbilohjbiloh Administrator, Veteran

    Just wanted to say good for you @dwayne for putting the effort in for your family.

  • bdlbdl Member

    Does your grandma have a computer with camera/mic set up already? You could always teamviewer/anydesk her computer to set up a Google Hangouts/Skype/Zoom/video conferencing session for her

  • You can use the original Hangouts and dial your grandma's phone number inside the session

  • asasdasasd Member
    edited April 2020

    Dwayne said: the SIP part for calling my grandma or having her call a dial-in number is a bit too overwhelming

    1: A phone number is an address on the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
    2: An IP address is an address on the internet.
    1+2: The provider maps the IP address to the subscriber's telephone number. You can't do it yourself.

    Luckily in Germany many providers have SIP gateways. In theory all you need to do is to call your grandma on her SIP address which probably looks like this: <yourgrandmasphonenumber> @ <sipgatewayaddress> .de
    If not working try with/without the country/area code, and try putting a '0' or '+' before the phone number.

    Dwayne said: I've got my own Jitsi instance running.

    For the 6 of you, let me recommend a software which also includes a server-less solution: Jami (formerly Ring).

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