Businesses have been around for quite some time now. Over time, this sector has adapted to changes that go along with technology and lifestyles.
However, the year 2020 wasn’t a normal one for businesses. People spent more time at home than at work due to the Coronavirus outbreak. This meant companies had to come up with new strategies to keep the workforce going.
Although the majority of the companies differ in priorities, they all had to keep going. This is where video conferencing software came handy. Because of the health crisis, these apps have never been this much on demand. They kept workers connected, with information as well as task distribution. Tasks get shared as if the business operations were in a normal office setup.
When it comes to software selection, the choice depends on a company’s number of employees. It also depends on the participants, budget, and other key use instances. In most cases, small businesses rank the cost of a product, while big entities focus on security as well as reliability. The majority fall somewhere in the middle. This makes it necessary to learn the differences between free video conference software providers.
Benefits of Free Video Conferencing Software
The business industry has experienced a paradigm shift overnight. Those that can adapt must move their workforce to an online setup physical meeting. Despite appearing like a challenge to many, video conferring has been helpful. Video conferencing software has helped a lot of businesses and employees reduce expenditures.
Thanks to ever-evolving technology, video conferencing has become more reliable. It is accessible and even more affordable. It even allows employees to continue working from home. It also offers a host of features to keep general communications close to reality. Moreover, the carbon cost of travel gets cut off. This enables businesses to engage in real online meetings that are more environmentally friendly.
Knowing that it is necessary for businesses to have access to an affordable tool that matches their needs, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the best free video conferencing software today. With the help of experienced experts, each listed product is special. They got reviewed in a detailed manner after dedicating hours of analysis.
The key advantages of using excellent video conferencing software include:
- Getting Ahead of the Competition: Teams can share information more quickly. It can also assist in creating strong relationships, especially between representatives and customers via face-to-face interactions.
- Reduces Travel Expenses: The main element of video conferencing is communication. With a video conferencing software, it is possible to reach various people in different locations from the comfort of your home. So, there are no expenses concerned with traveling to meetings or booking venues.
- Enhance Productivity: Conventional forms of communication like phone calls and emails can lead to misunderstandings because of the lack of focus. Video conferencing apps help participants focus. They also help to understand the importance of the message through facial expressions.
What Is the Best Free Video Conferencing Software?
Understanding the best free video conferencing software goes beyond picking the one with the most users. As already indicated, the needs and priorities of users differ. Thus, it is quite complicated to select the right software for online meetings.
We selected the candidates based on the following key features:
- Screen Sharing: This is the most vital feature when it comes to video conferencing, especially for meetings as well as webinars. It lets users share their screen, allowing participants to follow the presenter.
- VoIP: With this feature, communication is seamless. A video conferencing app that supports VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) makes it possible to switch between voice and video calls without any disturbances. It is also possible to add more users to the call without having to pause or make new connections.
- Video Recording: It is important to record meetings and presentations for future reference. Most video conferencing platforms offer easy recording tools. You still want to check out one that offers plenty of storage in the cloud. It must also make it easy to share with others.
- Video Quality – This feature is important as it determines the clarity of shared info. Moreover, everyone participating can clearly see the speaker, creating a more realistic environment.
- Branding Options: This is more suitable if the content is for customers like webinar or tutorial material. Such kind of video content requires a company logo or another sort of branding to give it a professional
- Various Presentation Features: For complex presentations, you will want to use various elements. This can include the ability to upload various file types and videos. Some of the best video conferencing software apps enable note sharing.
Now, let’s get to it and check out the best free video conferencing software today. Consider any of the following for your next remote face-to-face meeting:
1. Google Hangouts
This is the best definition of a consumer-grade app, one that has formed a formidable relationship with the business world. Hangouts is part of the Google ecosystem and offers a host of excellent features that make video conferencing a seamless experience. Those already familiar with Gmail and Google Calendar will enjoy a smooth integration when using Hangouts.
The app still has some shortfalls that still need some improvements. These include the lack of dual video streaming. Moreover, the app occasionally displays poor video quality, which raises reliability concerns.
2. Skype: Individual to Enterprise-Level Consumers
Skype is a guru in the video conferencing software industry. It’s part of the Microsoft hub and users can expect swift integration with other MS products, including Office, Outlook, and OneDrive. With a 10-way calling feature, as well as a directory filled by individual users, Skype is a truly free video conferencing software. Skype always offers rich features, such as MS Teams that come as a package in Office365 license.
The app has a lot of advantages. For starters, most people are familiar with it so there is no special training needed. It also integrates well with other premium video conferencing brands.
The downside is that some of the advanced features are only available on the paid version.
Zoom provides a host of features that incorporate video conferencing and messaging options. It is available on both desktop and smartphones, making it ideal for those who want to stay connected to their colleagues even in transit. It is easy to set up and offer a variety of scalable features.
Zoom stands out as it supports up to 1000 participants in HD video and audio quality. It can hold up to 49 videos on a big screen. The recorded meetings and presentations can be saved on local storage or on the cloud. It also includes transcripts that are searchable using keywords. There is a built-in collaboration system. It enables participants to share their screens and notes.
The chat feature also allows the sharing of files and has a searchable history. Users also have the opportunity to escalate meeting calls to one-on-one.
The platform deploys impressive security measures with a built-in 256-bit end-to-end encryption. This means calls, messaging, as well as shared files are safe. The free tier is feature-rich, accommodating up to 100 participants for a limited time of up to 40mins. But the calls can take place on countless occasions.
More suitable for webinar hosts, ClickMeeting provides a lot of tools that can prove useful during a presentation. There is screen sharing, slideshows, as well as the ability for participants to take over your mouse cursor. It also offers live polls and a QA session.
For data-driven companies, ClickMeeting offers a lot more. There is a smooth integration with marketing as well as analysis tools. The software let users customize their webinar page in a more flexible way. The platform has automated follow-ups and various tools to enhance a participant’s engagement. There is also cloud storage of recorded meetings. ClickMeeting is an ideal tool to grow your business and stay in touch with employees.
5. CiscoWebex Meetings
Usually associated with pricey products, Webex is Cisco’s web conferencing solution. Its free package offers a host of features, providing a barebone video conferencing option. The platform takes up to 100 participants in a call for an unlimited period. You can also initiate as many calls as you like but users are only capable of storing data of up to 1GB on the cloud.
The conferencing feature offers screen sharing, video and audio recording, and file sharing. The outstanding feature is that users from up to 52 countries can join the conference via a standard telephone. Participants can use webcams via the website platform, desktop app, or smartphone. The app is also available on both iPhone and Android devices.
Working online can be stressful, especially with limited or complex tools provided. To improve productivity, it is the employer’s duty to find a suitable video conferencing app that will make it easier for the participants to showcase their talent.
Note that the free versions of the above apps usually offer a toned-down platform with no advanced or some of the essential features. But this doesn’t mean a free tool isn’t enough to get your daily meetings going while working remotely. If you’re new to working from home, get to know the best tips to safeguard your data.
An excellent free video conferencing software may not offer all the required features, those needed to make your task fluent. But you can still apply the cheat book by employing different free software based on the nature of the meeting.