This summer, VK is launching free group calls that can hold 2,048 call participants simultaneously, an unprecedented number for a social network. This feature was announced on 17 May at the Highload++ conference by VK Technical Director Alexander Tobol.

Such a number of call participants provides organizers of entertainment and educational events with new opportunities, allowing them to effortlessly bring people together for online concerts, educational forums or IT conferences. Holding massive online meetings on the VK Calls platform is available not only to organizations with large numbers of resources but to any user that wants to share content with an audience.

Alexander Tobol, Technical Director, VK:

“For most services, the number of call participants is limited by the capabilities of browsers and smartphones, internet accessibility and available technical solutions. To overcome the 128-participant limit, we completely reevaluated our service’s architecture and implemented numerous non-standard solutions for video and audio processing and transmission. All of this allowed us to “break through the ceiling” so that, in the very near future, we can unite thousands of users in a single VK call.”

The VK Calls platform provides all features commonly found in paid corporate video conference services, as well as other unique features, all for free. For example, calls have no time limit, people can join calls via link even if they’re not registered on the social network, and participants can share their screens as well as record and live stream their calls.

In addition, users can enjoy advanced noise suppression when using VK Calls, allowing participants to hear each other clearly even with noise from cars or neighbors in the background. Also, to ensure silence in “the lecture hall”, call organizers can mute all participants and choose whether to allow them to turn their microphones back on. If a participant wants to ask a question, they can write it in the chat or “raise their hand”, after which a chat administrator can give the participant the chance to speak.

In September 2020, VK launched group calls that could hold 128 participants, making them an ideal tool for collaborative studying, work or personal communication. This service can be used on any device, from smartphone to laptop.

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