It’s the dawn of the Pandemic and whether you’re a small, medium, or large international business, you’re bound to have been exposed to the use of video conferencing tools one way or another by now. Video conferencing is nothing new because the first few concepts were first developed back in the 1870s to further the development of audio devices.
The year 2020 simply accelerated the rate of use when corporations were forced to adopt the concept of running a remote or dispersed team. Video conferencing is no longer optional. It’s crucial.
For remote working teams, video conferencing is the closest we can get to face-to-face meetings. It’s also been proven that video conferencing tools and apps improve communication by 30%.
As one of the leading IT solutions companies in SEA, AceTeam Networks have experimented with a host of video conferencing tools. Here is our list of best video conferencing tools and apps you should use for productive meetings.
In April 2020, the ever-popular video conferencing app, Zoom, reached an all-time-high rate of download, recording a whopping 3.2 million downloads for both its Android and Apple platforms.
It has proven itself to be a very robust, complete, dependable, and user-friendly app that can be downloaded and used on all kinds of mobile devices, computers, and laptops.
Zoom is, first and foremost, professional and reliable. It has a free version that comes with a few limitations but it suffices for small businesses and personal use. It remains a hot favourite for remote workers and teams.
Why Use Zoom Video Conferencing App
- Easy to install and use
- Seamless setup and scheduling
- Private meeting room links
- Can host up to 100 members/participants
- Suitable for one-on-one or group meetings
- Screen sharing capabilities
- Unlimited number of meetings per day
- HD audio and video
- Private and Group Chat features
2. Google Meet
If your everyday work life is already deeply entrenched in Google apps and tools, your go-to video conferencing app may well be none other than Google Meet. Compared to other standalone apps and video conferencing tools, Google Meet is a walk in the park to set up via your Gmail account on a Chrome browser. It’s literally a click and copy-paste away.
Users can also create a meeting and schedule it right up on Google’s Calendar app. It also provides you with easy access to everything else you already have on Google which includes emails, tasks, Meet Now and Google Drive.
Benefits of Google Meet Video Conferencing App
- Access to a multiple of other Google-related services and apps
- Ability to schedule video conferences via Calendar or Email
- Adjustable layouts and screen settings
- Live captioning during meetings
- Tab-sharing feature for media sharing
- Solo streaming feature with up to 100,000 participants in view-only mode
- Jamboard tool for creatives available for G Suite users
3. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts has been around forever, only a close 10 years behind Skype. When the Pandemic hit and Zoom got into trouble for its security issues, Google outrightly banned the use of Zoom internally. Hangout can accommodate up to 10 people for its simple Instant Messaging-style video conferencing tool.
Hangouts also only require your email to launch or set up a meeting. Integrated with Gmail and Google Calendar, Hangouts is the no-fanfare version of almost all the online meeting apps in the market today.
- Integrated with all Google tools, apps and features
- Easy to use
- Free to use
- Only LITE version features available
- Can accommodate up to 10 participants per call
- Scheduling a meeting is literally a couple of clicks away
- It has a simple, no-nonsense user interface
GoToMeeting, first off, is not free. It’s serious about its features and it means business. The video call app presents you with a bunch of advanced features you may find useful as a business. So, if you’re OK using free video conferencing apps and tools for your meetings and it’s working, you can probably safely pass on a GoToMeeting app investment.
However, for those who value HD quality, auto transcription, unlimited cloud recording, whiteboard, note-taking, and 24/7 phone and email customer support, GoToMeeting is worth exploring.
GoToMeeting’s Serious Business Video Conferencing App
- Laser-focused on business functions
- Can accommodate between 150 to 3,000 participants
- Webinar broadcast ability
- Automatic transcription
- Cloud recording and storage
- Note-taking tool
- Whiteboard tool
- Ability to join the video conference via browser, Android app, iOS, Window Phone, or a phone call
- Complete host-control of participants
- Toll-free numbers for more than 50 countries
- Automatic adjustment according to user bandwidth capacity
5. Microsoft Teams
Although Microsoft Teams was designed with features that aimed to make business video conferencing easier, it comes tightly connected to its Office 365 tools, apps, and features. Many educational organizations like colleges, universities, and schools opt for Microsoft Teams video conferencing app because of this.
Although the video conferencing app is clean and well organized, it is only familiar to those who have used the app at least a few times before. It could be more user-friendly but based on feedback from regular Microsoft Teams users, once you get the hang on using it, you won’t be using any other video conferencing apps.
- Highly customizable
- Connected to Office 365
- Well organized
- Familiar to Microsoft users
- Accessible via browser, smartphone, mobile device, desktop or mobile app
- Team chats
- Activity reports
- Transfer of files
- Screen sharing
- Can be integrated with apps like JogNog and Quizlet which teachers use for online tests
- Ability to web-surf while in a meeting without leaving the app
The Pro version of Join.me doesn’t come cheap but it has a free and LITE version that is just as sleek, lean and easy to navigate. Video conference calls and meetings can be created from either a phone or desktop browser and invitations are automatically sent to participants with a direct link to the meeting room.
Many Join.me users have good things to say about its screen share and annotate functions both on desktop and mobile which makes on-the-go collaborations a walk in the park.
- Customize your own meeting URL
- Customized background
- Optimal audio and video quality
- Recording and scheduling available
- Can be controlled remotely
- Toll-free numbers
- Screen sharing and broadcasting feature
7. SKYPE Meet Now
Both SKYPE and Microsoft Teams are owned by none other than Microsoft, so you might wonder what the benefits are for each of these platforms.
For one, SKYPE’s Meet Now feature is free which lets you use the video conferencing tool without signing up for an account and there are no apps or software to download. SKYPE’s Meet Now has, however, some limitations compared to other heavy-duty business-orientated video conferencing tools. As long as the meeting is created ahead of time, there’s no expiration date and your team can have the meeting at any time. In fact, for those who wish to join just as a Guest and not a signed-up Skype user, you can absolutely do so (for now)! Pretty handy.
Although there’s room for improvement when it boils down to the quality of its video, audio, enhanced business functions, bandwidth requirements, background noise cancellation, security, lag time, and there’s little to no customer support, it’s still a wonderful video call app to use for small groups.
- Lite version of all the video conferencing tools mentioned above
- Easy to use
- Can be accessed via a web browser, as well as a desktop and mobile app
- Focused on small groups, non-business interactions, quick meetings
- Screen sharing and Voice Recording
- Up to 50 participants
- No expiration date for scheduled meetings
- Background blur and full chat feature
- Available to non-Skype members
- Cheaper alternative for small businesses
- Clean-cut, familiar features
Whether you decide to invest in the best video call app in the market or make full use of the free or LITE versions of the online video call apps, it pays to experiment a little during the early stages. Even if you take video conferencing seriously, LITE and free versions may do the job just as well.
But if your meetings must take on more professional approaches regularly, investing in a reliable, professional, business-focused video conferencing software might be just the thing you need.
It’s without a doubt that video conferencing and participating in online meetings has become the norm today. It has ALWAYS been important for people who deal with others from the global community, the Pandemic has simply pushed everything forward.
What we strongly advise you to do is to set the productivity goals for your team right from the start. What do you want to get done? How much time do you plan to spend on online video conferences? How are you going to organize the team? What’s the workflow of your company like? And ask your team members which online video meeting tool is their favoured one.
Decide, experiment, and don’t be afraid to change.
If you’re exploring your options, get in touch with us right now to find out more about how we can make your video conferencing experiences more seamless.