In the recent past and following the rise of the COVID-19 cases that have affected most of the economies, terms like working from home, social distancing, lockdown, virtual events are no longer new to us.
This has in turn seen most businesses opt for video conferencing apps for meetings or even events. In fact, so high is the demand for these apps that on Monday a new report from App Annie, showed that business conferencing apps have been experiencing record growth as a result, and just hit their biggest week ever in March, when they topped 62 million downloads during the week of March 14-21.
Whether you are out to hold a meeting with your employees and clients, hold a virtual event or even have a product demo, here, therefore, are the best video conferencing solutions in the market currently an when you can best use them during this period:
Zoom is one of the majorly used platforms across businesses and even institutions. IIn the recent past, Zoom, has gained more popularity than Skype and other video conferencing platforms. This is even more evident in the report quoted earlier where App Annie, showed that Zoom topped the charts worldwide in February and March, and continues to see high numbers of downloads in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.
It is one of the most popular video conferencing solutions for businesses. This could be highly driven by the fully packed helpful features that make it ideal for organizing and holding meetings with work teams. With Zoom you can easily share your screen, message the group and even send across files and photos from your cloud service of choice.
The user experience is also top-notch since all you have to do is launch a meeting through a doddle – with just a click of a button, you can either generate a link to send to your friends or type in an email address to send the link directly to someone’s inbox.
The platform also comes with various plans based on business size and needs. Prices range from free for basic personal meetings to $19.99/month/host (with a minimum of 100 hosts) for large enterprises.
Currently, we are hosting many virtual events and Google Meet is one of our to-go tools. Created for enterprise customers, Google Meet is an upgraded version of Google Hangouts. Google Meet is designed around scheduled video meetings among team members, with similar features to Zoom like calendar syncing, conference room booking, and a more polished user interface.
The tool also allows you to record a presentation or a conversation for future reference that is backed up in your Google Drive. What I also love about it, is its ability to make use of emojis, stickers and GIFs. This brings a whole lot of a more modern feel than its main competitors.
Microsoft’s popular Skype service is augmented as an enterprise-ready video conferencing tool. It has several business features, such as allowing up to 250 attendees in a meeting and connection with other Skype users and virtual whiteboarding capabilities.
There are some limitations, however, such as the lack of an integrated dial-in audio conference feature, and lack of hardware support with online-only plans. User fees start at $2 per user per month.
An industry-standard service, especially for those with a large number of team members or an exceptionally large enterprise, Cisco’s WebEx video conferencing service operates like a mash-up of web conferencing and voice calling services.
Cisco WebEx allows you to host up to 100 participants in a single call, for as long as you want. There are no limits on the number of calls you can place, and you get 1 GB of cloud storage with your free account. Conferences include support for features like screen sharing, video recording, and file sharing.
Webex allows users in up to 52 countries to use a standard telephone to join any conference. Participants who want to use their webcams have a choice of website, dedicated desktop apps, or mobile apps for iPhone and Android
Microsoft Teams lets you manage projects on the go complete with file editing and sharing. You can connect face-to-face with HD audio and video and join meetings from wherever you are. You can also chat privately or in groups, and communicate in designated channels, save conversations, customize notifications, search chats and conversations, and get enterprise-level security while you’re at it.
The app requires a paid commercial subscription to Office 365 or a free or trial subscription of Microsoft Teams.
GoToMeeting is the standalone web conferencing service provided by LogMeIn. One of the features that sets GoToMeetings apart is its mobile-friendliness – you can set up and start a conference from your smartphone, something some big brand software would struggle to do.
There are also settings to maximize call and image quality, as well as one-tap invites to join meetings as well as chats. Go To Meeting also provides Mobile apps separately for Android and iOS, and both have high positive review volumes, which again makes a change from some other providers who struggle to balance quality and usability with mobile use.
In terms of pricing, almost all standard features are available with the most basic payment tier, which costs $14 per month, or $12 per month with an annual payment. A Business plan tier is available for $19 per month (or $16 when paid annually) which increases the number of participants to 250 and includes a few admin features plus drawing tools and mouse sharing. An Enterprise plan is available to accommodate up to 3,000 participants.
Slack users can take advantage of the call feature by simply using the command /call or clicking the phone icon at the top of the conversation with another Slack Video user. This is an easy way to make calls right from Slack if you need to ask a teammate a quick question. You can also Slack with up to 15 people if you start a call from a channel, enabling the rest of the channel’s members to join. This tool is good for teams looking for a supplementary video calling solution for small teams.
But if you are out to sell a product or do a product Demo, then you would want to consider Facebook Live. It is a great fit for businesses, influencers, or individuals who are looking to broadcast demos, videos, or showcase their company culture while streaming live.
Facebook allows you to reach thousands of people and you can easily save the video after a live stream and let your followers engage with your product further.
The other interesting thing is that your followers on Facebook can comment and chat live and you can respond to the comments in real-time. You can select a custom audience for the video, and you can schedule videos ahead of time to gain excitement. Here is an example of how we recently used the Facebook Live Platform to host a workshop on the spread of COVIID -19.
YouTube Live, like Facebook Live, is a platform for demonstrating a product with live Q&A, hosting an educational session to teach your audience while screen sharing or using a whiteboard, or hosting a live conversation with members of your team.
Video conferencing is a powerful tool for businesses, students, and groups who want to stay connected over long distances. There are so many video conferencing apps out there, that business people can choose from to stay in touch with clients or even employees when you simply can’t be there in person and especially now that Governments have given directives that most employers should allow their employees work remotely.
If you’re new to the world of letting your employees work remotely, here is how you can easily manage your team without making them feel micro-managed during this period.
Thinking about what joining a workspace designed for business, could do for you and your team? Talk to our team – we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.