Remote work is here to stay. So hold on deleting Zoom from your laptop. To help you choose the best video conferencing platform, we’ve made a list of the best options.
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While Zoom tends to be the default conferencing solution, a quick search pulls up hundreds of different video conferencing options.To help you choose the right video conferencing platform, we’ve made a list of the best options. If you go for one of these software choices, the only issue you’ll need to worry about is your unstable internet connection. Time to call that technician!
What makes a great video conferencing software?
So how do you know if a video conferencing tool is up to par? Here are the key features to look out for:
Easy-to-use. Nobody likes to be in the middle of a conference call and be unsure of how to use the platform. How do I enable screen sharing, anybody? Your chosen video conferencing software should make it easy to send a meeting link while the call is in progress, provide a dial-in-number, and add more people while it’s in progress.
Collaboration features. Features like a live chat window for sharing relevant links, easy-to-use screen sharing, and options for making annotations are important for team collaboration.
Reliability. There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with freezing screens, choppy videos, and distorted audio. Your software choice needs to reliably handle small and large groups without any of these issues or dropping off completely.
Device compatibility. People like to have the option of working on the go. Granted most video conferencing software also come with a mobile app, not all of them are built equally. Some apps aren’t user-friendly and others don’t account for the smaller screen size.
Integrations. Depending on your tech stack, you may want some integrations with your most used platforms. Increasingly, software has integrations with platforms like Slack, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, and Salesforce.
9 best video conferencing software options
Here are some of the best video conferencing software options with the above features and some bonus features.
1. GoToMeeting [Best for mobile apps]
Part of LogMeIn’s collection of video conferencing software, GoToMeeting is their standalone web conferencing software.
GoToMeeting comes with all the regular features you’d expect from video conferencing software aimed at professionals. You can record calls, use dial-in numbers and even ask the software to call a phone number so all the participant has to do is answer.
One of the standout features is their smart meeting assistant which enables users to take notes and send them out immediately after the meeting. Its ability to record calls and then create shareable links makes it ideal for connecting with customers or people who may have missed the meeting.
You can also create a custom branded link, which is a great feature if you’re inviting people from outside of your organization or hosting a virtual event like a webinar for the public.
GoToMeeting offers mobile and desktop apps along with a web interface. So you don’t need to worry about invitees having to download the software prior to the call.
The downside is that the software and mobile app can be a little confusing because of all the available features and options.
Pricing: The Professional plan costs $14 per month per organizer and allows up to 150 participants, while the Business plan costs $19 and accommodates up to 250 participants.
2. Hopin [Best for events]
Hopin is an excellent choice if you want to use video conferencing software for holding virtual or hybrid events.
Worried about lack of audience participation? With Hopin, you can drive attendee engagement with quizzes, polls, and Q&A sessions.
Built for large audiences, Hopin allows organizers to stream and screen share videos to up to 100,000 viewers. To encourage participation and engagement, attendees can break into an unlimited number of simultaneous live sessions with multiple speakers.
The software makes it easy to manage your events too. Hopin enables organizers to hold events of any size, sell event tickets, recruit sponsors, and then analyze data from your events.
Hopin’s integrations with newsletter software Mailchimp and CRM platforms like HubSpot allow you to automatically add event attendees and registrations.
However, if you’re looking to hold a larger event, you might find it limiting that Hopin only supports up to 5 speakers simultaneously.
Pricing: The Starter plan is $99/month and allows one organizer to hold up to 72 hours of events per month for up to 100 registrations per event. For more attendees, organizers should contact Hopin directly for their custom Business and Enterprise plans.
3. Microsoft Teams [Best for Office 365 users]
If you’re already using Office 365 as your workspace, Microsoft Teams is a top choice. The video conferencing software allows you to schedule video or audio meetings with an individual or a team. Organizers can also arrange large meetings and webinars with up to 10,000 participants.
You also have all the features you’d expect from video conferencing software including live chat, screen sharing, real-time captions, call recording, and background blur functionalities.
Full integration with Microsoft 365 enables easy scheduling and invite sharing between team members, while guests can simply join from their web browser.
Its powerful functionality and user-friendly interface means that users can join calls from anywhere and any device.
Keep in mind, though, that some users complain about the platform’s limited flexibility. Currently, users can’t move channels between teams, which leads to wasted time in the shape of manual replications.
Pricing: The Business Standard plan is $12.50/month/user and comes with other remote work and collaboration tools like their office apps and secure cloud storage. The Business Premium plan comes with cyber threat protection and device management. All plans are based on an annual commitment.
4. Webex [Best for collaboration]
Webex by Cisco is built for large-scale video conferencing and real-time collaboration. If you’re looking to hold remote brainstorming and planning sessions, it’s an excellent choice.
One of Webex’s top features is its virtual whiteboard. During a call, you can choose to share your screen as a blank white space and use sketching tools, geometric shapes, and text to collaborate.
Everyone on the call can use the whiteboard at the same time. Plus, you can create separate whiteboard pages and view them individually or flick through them as thumbnails.
Webex is also suited to regular video conferencing too. Powerful noise removal features reduce distractions and interruptions. Automatic transcription means that participants don’t need to worry about taking notes either. Custom layouts enable you to customize your stage view and focus on what you want.
The main limitation is that Webex only allows up to 200 participants, which is lower than most other options. However, a limit of 200 participants is probably sufficient for most organizers.
Pricing: The Call plan is $12/month and allows up to 100 participants and meeting durations of up to 50 minutes. The Meet plan is $15/month and includes up to 200 participants and meeting lengths of up to 24 hours.
5. Zoom [Best free plan]
Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave for the duration of the pandemic, you’ve probably heard of Zoom. It’s one of the most popular video conferencing software options around because for the most part, it’s easy to set up, and offers a range of features that make it suitable for multiple use cases.
There’s a text chat for participants to talk with either the whole group or in private messages. While screen-sharing, participants can choose to display the whole screen or just one of the apps they’re using.
You can schedule calls in advance through calendar integrations with Gmail, iCal, and Outlook. Meetings can be saved to the cloud with transcripts with searchable text.
Zoom’s major limitation is that the video and audio quality can be unpredictable. Videos are sometimes blurry or pixelated, making it harder to connect with participants.
Pricing: A free tier enables organizers to host up to 100 people for up to 40 minutes. Paid plans start at $14.99 and include cloud storage, group meetings up to 30 hours, and up to 1,000 participants with the Large Meetings add-on.
6. LiveWebinar [Best for meetings]
LiveWebinar is a cloud-based video conferencing software for businesses big and small. You can use it to run free and paid video conferences and stream your meetings live to various social media platforms.
Besides, you get to customize your video conferences to fit your own brand. Other features include screen sharing, live recording, whiteboard for illustrating ideas or taking notes. It also comes with engagement analysis to help you improve your next webinar.
Running a video conference with a team? Invite participants via a shareable link and assign roles to them. There’s no need to download anything because LiveWebinar works on all browsers and devices.
LiveWebinar also integrates with most email marketing tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit, SendFox, and more to help you grow your email list.
Pricing: LiveWebinar starts free with limited features. The Pro and Business Plans start at $17.99 and $143 per month. They also offer an Enterprise plan billed by quote.
7. BlueJeans [Best audio and video quality]
If top-quality audio and video are a priority, BlueJeans is an excellent choice since the software provides HD video and crisp Dolby Vision sound. There are also other useful features, like no time limits on meetings, easy screen-sharing, whiteboard annotations, and the ability to create up to 20 breakout sessions.
One of the most helpful features is that meeting recordings can be divided into chapters with section highlights, task delegation, and smart follow-up, enabling participants to quickly go through past meetings.
But, key drawbacks for people who work from home or on the go are the lack of a blur-out background feature and noise distraction-free meetings.
There’s no free tier with BlueJeans, but users can try the video conferencing software for 30 days for free.
Pricing: The Standard plan is $12.49/host/month, allows up to 100 participants and unlimited meeting lengths. An upgrade to the Pro plan enables up to 150 participants and 25 hours of recorded meetings.
8. Lifesize [Best for integrations]
Most people have their own preferred video conferencing platform they like to use and Lifesize knows this. Often collaborating or connecting with different team members and clients can mean using a different platform.
But, Lifesize enables you to use your Lifesize room system to host or join meetings on multiple cloud video conferencing apps like Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
Lifesize’s focus on professional services makes it great for solopreneurs looking to hold client meetings that don’t require software downloads. This software can be launched in a web browser with one click from an email.
Advanced users can also tap into Lifesize’s API to customize workflows and directory systems as well as manage meeting scheduling.
But, if security is a top priority for your video meetings, one downside is that there’s no end-to-end encryption.
Pricing: The Free plan enables up to 10 participants and unlimited meetings of up to 40 minutes in duration. The Standard plan is $12.50/user/month allows up to 100 participants and unlimited meeting duration.
9. Around [Best for limiting distractions]
Ever get tired of having to attend endless video meetings while you have an endless to-do list?
We know the struggle. You need to get work done but most traditional video conferencing apps try to take over your screen.
Launched in March 2020, Around is a response to the often distracting video meetings. The video conferencing platform crops participants into small floating circles that you can drag and drop. This means you have space to use other apps while you’re on a call.
Around is great for reducing general noise associated with remote work too. The “Echo Terminator” uses ultrasonic audio to eliminate those odd feedback noises. Using AI-based filtering, the software cuts out background noises like dogs barking or sirens.
Around’s main con is that it’s limited to just 15 participants.
Pricing: Around is currently in public beta and is free to use during this period. Later in the year, they’re releasing a paid Teams plan.
Which is the best video conferencing software for you?
Love them or loathe them, video calls have become an essential part of remote working. But not all video conferencing apps enhance collaboration or limit distractions.
Whether you’re managing a team of remote workers or are a solopreneur connecting with clients, each platform has a unique set of features that can help you do this. As with all software, take advantage of product trials and free plans before taking the plunge.
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