Video conferencing software gives you the ability to connect users in diverse locations for real-time conferences. This technology can significantly reduce travel costs for businesses, encourage collaboration, drive productivity and save companies on traditional operating costs and employee overheads.
Video conferencing software has the capability to share files among participants, record meetings, share screens in real time and control the meeting from a remote desktop.
In this comparison guide, we’ll look a selection of popular video conferencing programs so you can make an informed decision on the best solution for your business. We recommend that you get a free trial or demo of any video conferencing program before you make a purchase.
Before we jump into our comparison, let’s take a look at key features of video conferencing software so you’re familiar with the terminology:
- Application Sharing: The capability to share apps with others
- Chat / Messaging: Users can participate in instant messaging during the conference
- Dial Out: Ability to call out to get someone on the conference who forgot to join or didn’t have an invitation
- Electronic Hand Raising: A non-audio method for getting everyone’s attention
- Live Video Streaming: Streaming your meeting in real time over the internet
- Presentation Streaming: Streaming a presentation to a wider audience
- Private Text Chat: Participants can text each other privately during the conference
- Recording and Playback: Recording of the meeting so you can play it back later
- Sub-conferencing: Breakout sessions for meetings within meetings
- Webcasting: On-demand media broadcasts
- Whiteboard: A method by which participants can present their points
Use this guide as you search for a video conferencing program that meets your organisation’s needs. These five popular programs are listed in alphabetical order.
ClickMeeting is a webinar-focussed video solution that connects people regardless of location, time zone or operating system. It’s a popular tool for marketing and sales teams engaging their prospects, but is also commonly used for everyday meetings, onboarding and training. Presenters and attendees can link with each other to hold meetings, deliver presentations, share their screens and share YouTube videos.
Prices for packages start at $25/month, and the program includes the following features:
- Audio and video conferencing
- Private chat
- Meeting room branding
- Simultaneous chat translation
- Webinar statistics
- Tests and surveys
- Desktop sharing
- Moderated Q&A
Some users have had trouble with the desktop sharing functionality and complain that the speed can be slow at times.
Built for professionals, CommuniCloud video conferencing combines BlueJeans Primetime and proprietary technology to bring participants face to face for meetings, webinars and conferences. Users will enjoy the multi-video support, crystal clear audio and unmatched interoperability with the software you already rely on today.
You can use CommuniCloud for free with a limited number of participants. For larger plans with increased options, click here to see full pricing. CommuniCloud video conferencing includes the following features:
- Screen and document sharing
- Skype for Business Interoperability
- PSTN calling
- Universal Chat
- Customised layouts
- Dial out
- Call transfer
With GoToMeeting, you can switch between VoIP and toll-based options without incurring extra charges. You can also set up toll-free conferencing to make it easy for users to connect from anywhere without having to pay for the call themselves. Instead of using a URL, code, or PIN, users simply answer a call to their devices.
The starter package for GoToMeeting video conferencing is $33/month per user, billed annually. Features of the starter program include the following:
- Web audio
- Screen sharing
- Unlimited meetings
- Dial-in conference line
- HD video
However, to access some of GoToMeeting’s more exciting features like the mobile apps, drawing tools and mouse sharing, pricing rises up to $79/month per user.
GoToMeeting is one of the most widely-used platforms for a range of businesses, but some users report a lack of advanced meeting options such as polling, and others report that the meetings tend to shut down after a while if no one is actively speaking.
4. Skype for Business
With Skype for Business, people can join your video conference calls by clicking on a personalised URL. High definition video calls can be enjoyed from any device (PC/Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android). You can also use certified USB speakerphones, HD cameras and headsets with this program.
Skype for Business is part of the Office 365 package, and prices start at $8.25/user/month with an annual commitment. The program includes the following features:
- Unlimited number of meetings
- Screen sharing
- Built-in instant messaging
- PowerPoint interfacing
- URL invites
Skype for Business is not a fully-fledged VoIP platform, so online plans don’t work with hardware phones. Also, there are no integrated dial-in audio conference features with this program.
Zoom can be used for online meetings, marketing events, business instant messaging and employee training. It unifies cloud video conferencing, group messaging and simple online meetings into one platform.
Zoom has a free package as well as several larger packages starting at $20.99/month/host. Zoom features include:
- Online meetings
- Cross-platform messaging
- File sharing
- Business instant messaging
- Expanded audio
- Video webinars
- 323/SIP connector capability
Like GoToMeeting, Zoom’s more robust features are saved for their more expensive subscriptions.
Whether you’re looking for video conferencing for a small business or for a large enterprise, you can find what you need in today’s market. As you sort through the available options, consider reliability and ease of use first and foremost. Your clients and employees will be happier and more productive when they can meet without having to work through technical issues.
Next, look for video conferencing tools that work with the way you do business now. If you’re using the latest technology in other aspects of your work, you’ll want to use state-of-the-art video conferencing software like CommuniCloud that works seamlessly with your devices and communications.
If at all possible, get access to a free trial or demo of the video conferencing software you’re considering so you can try it out before you make a purchase. This will help you to know if it’s user-friendly, if it meets your needs and if it has all the features you’re looking for.
For more information about video conferencing, or to get your own free trial of CommuniCloud, get in touch with us. We’d love to help connect your team.