Video conferencing has become an important part of any small or large business. It is a cost-effective way to share goals and plans with your business partners. Employees no longer have to travel between sites to attend meetings and can save time. Additionally, it is a popular marketing tool for holding webinars and other online events.
In addition to face-to-face interactions, most platforms allow users to share their screens or remotely access each other desktops. This makes it easy to exchange files, communicate via digital whiteboard, or even broadcast conferences to large groups of passive viewers. Telecommuting is booming for IT workers in particular, who work from home at least half of the time. And since the COVID-19 outbreak, most employees are working from home as well.
Video communication services have become an effective, everyday tool for maintaining an organized and busy work schedule. According to Transparency Market Research forecast, the global conferencing market will be worth $8,958.7 million by 2025.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of video communication services available to the public. Some are free, some are paid, but all of them have one common goal: allow quick, easy, and dynamic conference call at the touch of a button. Here are the most popular companies and their products in this field.
RingCentral is an American company that created one of the best video conferencing platforms in the world. The system allows meetings with up to 100 participants and includes simultaneous screen sharing, team messaging, and whiteboard options. Aside from this, they are geared with VoIP, or Voice-over-IP packages, which allows for dynamic changing voice calls to video calls and sharing meetings without the need for a new connection.
The platform works well with other work-related services like Microsoft Outlook. This allows people to schedule meetings with just one click and set appropriate notifications for upcoming events. RingCentral can be accessed via Mac or Windows, but also on iOS or Android device. It comes in three different service plans: Free, Essentials, Advanced.
• Free plan allows up to 100 participants, unlimited one-on-one meetings, and a 40-minute limit on group meetings.
• Essentials plan costs $14.99 per month per user and allows up to 100 participants, unlimited group meetings, 24/7 phone support, and 1,000 call minutes per license.
• Advanced plan costs $19.99 per month per user and allows up to 100 participants, real-time usage dashboard, and 2,500 call minutes.
The free plan is actually decent when you compare it to other platforms and companies on the market. Though it is limited to only 40 minutes in group meetings, it still allows for 100 participants. On the other hand, all service plans are limited to this amount, which is very low in the long run. However, there is a possibility to add larger meeting options for the extra cost.
GoToMeeting, created and marketed by LogMeIn, is definitely a top choice for video conferencing. The platform allows users to easily turn any video conference into a highly flexible and collaborative workspace. It comes with the ability to integrate with the system your business is using, making it very popular among sales managers, business owners, and IT teams.
GoToMeeting comes as an all-in-one hardware and software kit. This means it is more advanced than any regular camera, microphone, or speaker on your preferred device. Other top features and benefits include Cloud collaboration, automatic bandwidth adjustments, multi-channel support, and integrated scheduling. The platform comes with only two service plans, both of which are paid (sometimes they are on a discount):
• Professional at $14 per month.
• Business at $19 per month.
They are rather similar, and both offer unlimited meetings, meeting durations, Salesforce integration, Slack meeting launcher, and an admin center. The biggest difference is the number of participants that can attend the conference. The professional service plan allows for 150, while the Business plan allows up to 250 people in the same meeting. Additionally, the latter plan gives access to transcripts, unlimited cloud storage, and mobile cloud recording.
One of the unique abilities of GoToMeeting is the option to allow up to 3,000 participants. But this can only be acquired if you contact sales directly.
Microsoft designed a platform specifically for internal communication in the workplace. No other company comes near Microsoft Teams service regarding this domain. They offer chat, audio, and video capabilities to groups of 10 or 10,000 people. It is the ultimate in-house communication solution with superior technology and video conferencing features. However, all of this comes with a certain complexity, which may prove to be too difficult for some people.
The platform is best optimized when accessed from a desktop device or a web application. There is a mobile application, but the web version seems easier to navigate. There are three service plans:
• Microsoft Teams.
• Office 365 Business Premium at $12.50 per user per month.
• Office 365 E3 at $20 per user per month.
The free plan has a limit of 300 users, and most features will be available for use. Business Premium plan has a limit of 300 users as well but has more than 140 integral apps, 1 TB of storage, schedule meetings, and administrative support. The Office 365 E3 has unlimited user capabilities, and both paid plans are available only with an annual contract.
The biggest downside of this platform is its limitation to in-house meetings. It’s not the same video conferencing service like other platforms but is more oriented for one-on-one or smaller group meetings.
Zoom quickly became one of the top video conferencing services and is the most popular “free” platform. It is simple, versatile, and offers the capability of meetings with up to 1,000 participants. It can stream 49 videos on the screen simultaneously and makes it easy to collaborate with interactive features like screen sharing.
It has a highly functional mobile application, enabling users to access meetings at any time and any place. There is a plan option for businesses of all sizes:
• Basic is free and offers a 40-minute limit on group meetings, up to 100 participants, unlimited one-on-one meetings, and an unlimited number of meetings.
• Pro costs $14.99 per month per host and offers all Basic features, 24-hour meeting limit, user management tools, admin feature controls, reporting tools, and 1GB of cloud recording.
• Business costs $19.99 per month per host and comes with all Pro features, a minimum of 10 hosts, up to 300 participants, dedicated phone support, company branding, cloud recording transcripts, and admin dashboard.
• Enterprise costs $19.99 per month per host and has all Business features, a minimum of 50 hosts, up to 1,000 participants, unlimited cloud storage, dedicated customer support manager, executive business reviews, and bundle discounts for webinars.
The Basic plan is an excellent choice for personal use or small and quick meetings. Beyond this, Pro or Business plan will give the most out of the platform. These packages also come with much better support, making the investment worth your money. Luckily, Zoom makes it easy to scale to a bigger package if need be.