Remote working and Work-From-Home are on the rise, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many employees now seek jobs that allow Work-From-Home because it allows them more flexibility, saves commute time (and expense), and offers more peace of mind. For employers, it’s a way to minimize resources and increase employee productivity.
But the problem is that in most offices, constant communication between team members and up-and-down the hierarchy is needed to ensure work efficiency. That isn’t easy when most of the staff are working from home. And that’s where web conferencing solutions come in.
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Video Conferencing Software – The Future of Group Communication
Web conferencing allows multiple users to connect and communicate with each other, using audio and video, over the internet. The term is often used interchangeably with video conferencing, and in a broad sense, these two are the same.
Web conferencing has evolved to absorb different needs of organizations and institutions that use it to conduct meetings, conference calls, teaching, feedback from multiple sources, etc. Good video conferencing solutions use VoIP for clear audio transmission across the channel, adequate video quality (that’s also dependent upon the internet connection of the individual members in a web conference), file sharing, group and individual messaging, and screen sharing.
Leveraging video conferencing solutions offers a lot of tangible advantages to a business. According to an estimate, businesses can cut travel costs by 30%. Cloud-based web-conferencing solutions offer 75% more cost-saving compared to traditional hardware multipoint solutions. These benefits have made video conferencing a tool of choice for almost all corporate layers, especially B2B marketers. About 92% of them use web conferencing tools for their core marketing tasks.
Important Features of Web Conferencing Solutions
When you are sifting through different video conferencing solutions, you have to keep some of the most important features of web conferencing software/apps in mind. This will help you understand what you should be looking for in a particular solution and what competitive edge one solution has over the other.
Participants: How many web conferencing participants a software permit is essential, especially for large organizations or marketers who need to hold meetings with many participants at once. Remember that the total limit and how many participants the software can successfully support may be different.
Initiation: In many cases, you have to initiate a meeting yourself or call for the meeting. Ensure your video conferencing software allows you to do that instead of simply being a recipient of the call and participating in the meeting.
Recording: The software should have a recording feature so that the participants who can’t attend the conference in real-time can still hear what was discussed later.
File/Screen Share: File and screen sharing are essential features, especially for meetings where participants have to display individual presentations or exchange meeting minutes or supporting documents.
Ease-of-Use: Since all participants will be using the same software/app to attend the conference, it’s should be easy to use for everyone.
Pricing: That’s perhaps the most decision-swaying feature of all. There are many free tools available, but most organizations and businesses will likely benefit from a decent paid video conferencing solution.
Five of the Best Video Conferencing Solutions
We have selected five of the best video conferencing solutions currently available on the market. Even if one of these five doesn’t fit the bill for you, it may give you some insights into picking the best one.
LogMeIn GoToMeeting is an affordable video conferencing software to help boost meeting productivity. And it contains a wealth of helpful features. Moreover, their selling point is their software’s flexibility that can help accommodate many different business needs. Furthermore, it comes with a powerful free version that can accommodate up to 250 participants.
The software is reliable and has amazing video and audio quality. It also has a feature that allows one meeting to be conducted several times while retaining the material from past instances.
- Pricing: Free Demo | Professional – $14 per organizer/month (150 participants) | Business – $19 per organizer/month (250 participants) | Enterprise – Call to get a quote.
- Important Features: HDI Video, screen sharing, No meeting time limits, personal meeting room, meeting lock.
- Limitations: Echo in sound for mobile participants (for some users)
Zoom gain popularity as the go-to tool for teachers during the pandemic. It has a simple interface, easy to set up, and has a 720p video quality feature. It comes with various features like user management, cloud recording, built-in collaboration tools, and decent customer support for business use. One thing that’s a bit lacking in Zoom is security.
- Pricing: Free – Personal meetings (40-min limit for group meetings) | Pro – $14.99 per host/month (100 participants) | Business – $19.99 per host/month (300 participants) | Zoom Rooms – $49 per room/per month.
- Important Features: Apps can be screen shared, admin feature control, vanity URL, company branding
- Limitations: Security (but the company is constantly working on improving it).
3. Google Meet
It’s suited for small to medium-sized organizations and teams. It used to be Google Hangout, but it’s now rebranded and comes under G-suit. Since it supports a web-based interface, you don’t need to download any separate software. Perhaps the best feature of Google Meet is that it can integrate with other conferencing software. Its pricing is also more affordable, and the benefit of using Google Drive and Docs for seamless collaboration.
- Pricing: Free – $0 (1-Hour meeting, 100 participants) | G-Suit Essentials – $10 per user/month (300 meeting hours, 150 participants) | G-Suit Enterprise Essentials – Call for a quote (300 meeting hours, 250 participants). Currently, G-Suit Essentials is free until September 30th.
- Important Features: Dial-in phone numbers, advanced protection program, Terabytes of collaboration data allowed (pooled).
- Limitations: Desktop version is a bit weaker than the mobile version, the number of participants.
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4. Microsoft Teams
Just like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams is essentially a feature of Microsoft 365. For offices, businesses, and individuals who heavily rely on 365 for their day-to-day activities, they can easily incorporate it for video conferencing.
- Pricing: Office 365 E1 – $8 per user/month (Charged annually) | Office 365 E3 $20 per user/month (Charged annually). All plans can support up to 10,000 participants.
- Important Features: Scheduling, Follow-up, recording
- Limitations: Expensive and depends heavily on Microsoft products
Ring Central has a comprehensive set of products regarding remote connectivity, including virtual phone and video conferencing. It integrates with Slack, Microsoft 365, and G-suite seamlessly. This makes it ideal for web conferences where the collaboration requirements are high. It’s easy to use and has a decent variety of additional features.
- Pricing: Standard – $34.99 per user/month (100 participants) | Premium – $44.99 per user/month (200 participants) | Standard – $59.99 per user/month (200 participants).
The pricing might seem costly, because it includes virtual as well.
- Important Features: Device switching, recording, analytics tools, integration.
- Limitations: No end-to-end encryption.
To learn more about Web Conferencing Software from RingCentral, CLICK HERE.
If your organization is small with limited video conferencing needs, there are plenty of free options available as well. Apart from Zoom’s free version, you can use FreeConference, Cisco Webex, Skype, and 8×8 Video Meetings. But seeing how remote working trend is evolving, you and your organization may want to look into a plan that you can hold for a long time. That covers all the necessary features and is still in your budget.