Over the last ten or so years, video calling and conferencing has grown steadily to become an absolutely necessary tool for teams in different locations, home-based and remote employees and freelancers and virtual client meetings. And this year, the COVID-19 crisis forced many to work from home, leading to the rapid adoption of video conferencing tools even in industries that were slow to embrace it. Since this, there has been a record download number for video calling software. Over the next few years, the market for video conferencing apps is expected to at least double. And, the good news is that there’s a wide selection of useful tools available for businesses of all sizes. There’s something for every type of user whether you’re looking for an app that facilitates quick and easy meetings or you want software with extensive features and integrations.
Whatever you need from your video calling and conferencing software, here are some of the best tools available in 2020.
Since COVID-19 hit, everybody knows what Zoom is and what they offer. It offers a robust, feature-rich experience for any kind of video conferencing and is now used on a regular basis by office workers, freelancers, school classrooms and more in order to bring people together face-to-face when they cannot meet in person. While there might have been some concerns about security with Zoom, it’s currently the biggest player in the game for very good reason. It’s the best option for workers who need HD video and audio they can rely on, along with a range of powerful functions like virtual backgrounds, advanced host controls and more. The free option allows users to hold forty-minute meetings of up to one hundred participants, making Zoom an excellent tool for holding webinars and other large virtual group meetings.
Companies that utilize tools from Microsoft will find that Microsoft’s collaboration and communication platform, Microsoft Teams, offers a reliable video conferencing function. Microsoft Teams is a tool that has replaced the older Skype for Business. It allows users to host or participate in web, video, and audio conferences or arrange live virtual events with up to ten thousand participants. Teams can be used in collaboration with the Microsoft Office 365 suite and offers a range of helpful features like notes from previous meetings, scheduling assistance, meeting recordings, in-meeting chat, collaboration tools and more.
Join.Me by LogMeIn is an excellent choice of tool when you need to arrange a video call with a client as easily as possible. It allows you to generate and share links to personal online meeting rooms within seconds, without the need to download a software program or app or schedule a meeting. It comes with a simple, user-friendly interface that allows users to quickly share their screen with participants in just one click, which makes it a popular option with IT support and other tech businesses that might benefit from sharing their screens with clients and leads for the purpose of product demonstrations and more. However, this option does lack some of the extensive features offered by competitors.
Cisco Webex Meetings
Cisco’s conferencing tool, Webex, offers a range of both video and audio features. It’s a top choice for businesses of all sizes, due to the improved free plan with excellent features for users to take advantage of. You can set up a meeting for an unlimited amount of time with up to one hundred participants free of charge. It comes with a range of tools and features for collaboration and meeting controls along with 1GB of cloud storage included. The paid plan offers further functionality with features such as administrative controls and recordings available.
Slack is a communication and collaboration tool for teams of all sizes in various industries, and it’s growing immensely in popularity. Although it’s often used for its chat and file-sharing services and the ability to create separate group chats for different teams, it also includes some video conferencing capabilities. Slack’s video conferencing tool might not have all the features that you could expect from standalone video conferencing software, but it is an ideal tool for Slack users who need to quickly get on a video call with a colleague or client. It also offers useful collaboration tools like screen sharing and allowing users to draw on one another’s screens.
BlueJeans is a feature-rich, simple-to-use cloud-based video conferencing app that allows you to launch video calls and conferences straight from your browser without the need to download any software. BlueJeans integrates with a wide range of popular collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google G Suite, and includes several great features including in-meeting chat, recordings, screen sharing and whiteboards.
Another video conferencing tool from LogMeIn, GoToMeeting was the original leader of video conferencing tools and today, it still offers a range of excellent features for businesses of all sizes. Users can take advantage of custom meeting URLs, dial-in conference lines, a range of collaboration tools like whiteboards and screen sharing, in-app messages, meeting transcription services and more. You will usually need to download the software if it’s your first time using this tool, but afterwards, you can easily set up video calls and conferences from both a desktop browser or the mobile app.
Google Hangouts Meet
Google Hangouts is a tool that offers free video calls to individuals, while Google Hangouts Meet is the brand’s enterprise video conferencing software. They are both fully integrated into G Suite and free to use for all G Suite users, who are able to use it to create meetings of up to one hundred participants in their Google Calendar. Hangouts Meet is currently being rebranded as Google Meet. Although many users report that it does fall behind market leaders like Zoom in terms of overall features, it does offer a wide range of useful collaboration tools to users, such as dial-in numbers for those joining the meeting by phone, screen sharing, cloud RIS, and more. Hangouts Meet also runs exclusively in the browser, so there’s no need for users to download software to get started.
Which video conferencing tool is the first choice for you?