Video conferencing has become a popular tool among businesses, especially for collaborative work. There are many reasons for you to consider making video conference calls the primary tool for communication. It not only makes communication more manageable but also increases productivity, cuts travelling cost and includes remote employees. Now since the threat or Coronavirus/Covid-19, many offices around the world have closed, halting travelling and disrupting work schedules. In such a problematic time video conference is the solution that has made remote working and social distancing possible without threatening businesses. Before we list the best video conferencing apps lets cover some basics.
What Is Video Conference Software?
Video conference software is a technology which launches and hosts video communication among multiple participants. They might also include functionalities like file sharing, messaging, online video recording and other communication-based tools.
What Is Video Conferencing Equipment?
To make a video conference call, you must have a set of equipment. The equipment that you need depends on the type of video conference you use (type of video stream, number of participants, etc.). However, standard video conferencing equipment includes internet connection, webcam, headset, monitor or TV, microphone and web conferencing software of your choice.
8 Top Video Conference Software
1. Skype For Business (Part Of Microsoft Teams)
Skype is a popular communication tool that almost everyone has used. You can use it on desktop, mobile or through web browser to easily video call with a client or group. Skype offers calling, video conferencing, instant messaging and document collaboration. Skype for Business is a low-cost tool that has a free version for start-ups and small businesses. Being a product of Microsoft means that Skype can be easily integrated with other Microsoft software. It is a popular and useful communication tool. The only drawback it has is occasional stability issue whether audio or video, along with delayed notifications, with lost chat histories, and more.
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams also includes Skype for Business has a free version of the software and starts at $5 per user or per month. This software offers text chat, video calling, file sharing and much more. MS Teams has begun to substitute Skype for Business as a professional online free online meeting solution. Both tools are one-in-the-same just with a new branding angle. Microsoft Teams is a project management solution making it easier for businesses to make conference video calls. They provide different account options for educational use, personal use and business use, offering flexibility to all interested parties. Microsoft Teams stand –out feature is the ability to gamify video conference calls. The users can experience fun addition to their chats and calls, from GIF upload to filters. The software can also be integrated with other MS software such as excel, word, publisher and outlook along with third-party apps. Desktop users usually face sluggish performance, and it can be cumbersome to find the latest version of a file.
3. Zoom Meetings
Zoom meetings is another software for video conferencing. This software offers an easy to use and scalable solution for setting up HD audio and video. Businesses can host conferences with up to a thousand participants and 49 screens simultaneously. Also, you can save these meetings on the cloud and can access them later on. Zoom is a great collaborative tool, providing users with the ability to share screens and notes. There is a free version of zoom that allows users to host video conferences with 100 participants for 40 minutes.
4. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a communication tool developed by Google. It offers video conferencing for desktop and mobile users. Biggest benefit of Google Hangouts is that it is free of cost. This software is robust enough to cater to all start-up and small business needs. Google Hangouts can be integrated with other Google software such as Google Docs, Gmail and so on. In addition, third-party services can also be connected through Google’s designated API. However, the only con of this tool is that it will have paid tools with a range of features or a more particular niche. You might experience some connectivity problems such as audio echoing or poor connection.
GoToMeeting is a web conferencing service that offers audio and video conferencing facilities along with screen sharing, chat, and mobile app for iOS and Android. This tool is ideal for remote workers. The software allows you to conduct a conference with up to 150 members or you can pay to get their business plan tier which allows more than 250 members. Also, this offers features like mouse sharing, drawing tools and other admin tools. Large enterprises can opt for an Enterprise plan that can connect over 3000 participants.
6. Intermedia AnyMeeting
Intermedia AnyMeeting is a platform that offers chat, video conferencing and screen sharing. It is a cloud-based phone service that also has VoIP capabilities and enterprise-level PBX system. AnyMeetng has simple Lite and Pro plans, which includes up to 10 participants. These offered plans provides conferencing features and allows you to schedule recurring meetings, make customised meeting URLs, use Google tools, and other platforms. The software has end-to-end encryption. Its pro plan will enable you to hold conferences with more than 30 participants, record and transcribe meetings and store meetings in the cloud.
7. VoIP Business
VoIP Business is a cloud-based video conference service. It is a relatively new provider but offers a range of VoIP capabilities. VoIP Business provides a complete hosted VoIP phone system that is very affordable for start-ups and small businesses. They offer unified communications and three different packages to choose from. However, if you don’t want to spend money without testing the service, then you can subscribe to their free plan that allows you to test out all the features. Their services include a wide range of features such as free VB to VB Voice Over Internet Protocol Calls , audio and video conference calls, call queues, pick up groups, Teams, ring groups etc.
8. Cisco Webex
Cisco Webex is a conferencing tool with personal profiles, and by-link invites so you can learn about the members you call in real-time. The software offers a variety of solutions for audio or video conferences with multiple offices or locations. With this software, you also get tools like an unlimited number of meetings, screen sharing, storage and support for all the plans they offer. The audio and video quality is excellent, and the bandwidth of the software is comparatively low, so you don’t have to spend a lot on a good internet connection. Cisco Webex integrations include Google Drive, Outlook, Office 365, Github, Gmail and Salesforce. However, there are some drawbacks, including connecting issues through a browser.