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CHAPTER THREE

Video Conferencing Software Options (Free and Paid)

The popularity of the video format has led to the development of countless new products and systems, which can make choosing the right option for your business a challenge. 

In this chapter, we’ll review the most popular software options on the market today. Keep in mind that you’ll be most satisfied when you find a solution that works well for your unique needs. You’ll also have long-term success when you choose video conferencing that is set to adapt to future technologies. 

The following video software options are commonly used in businesses today.

 

Zoom

While Zoom does offer a free service for shorter one-on-one meetings, most businesses will find that their video needs far outpace the free version. Zoom offers three levels of paid software options, from a version that works well for small teams to an enterprise-ready package.

Zoom offers the following features:

  • HD video and high-quality audio
  • Screen sharing for collaboration and training
  • Recording to the cloud
  • Auto-transcription
  • Capacity for up to 500 participants
  • Whiteboarding
  • Breakout sessions
  • MP4 recording
  • Email or Google login
  • Mobile scheduling

While many users appreciate Zoom’s reliability, others say that the interface isn’t as intuitive as they’d like.

 

Skype for Business

Skype was one of the pioneers of the video conferencing industry, and Skype for Business is now part of the Office 365 suite, which also includes Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint. Initially released in 2003, Skype’s original technology got a major update in 2012 after Microsoft acquired it from a private investment group for $8.5 billion. Today, Skype for Business users enjoy the following features: 

  • Up to 250 participants in a meeting
  • Instant messaging
  • One-click joining
  • Screen sharing
  • Annotated PowerPoint integration
  • Whiteboarding
  • Polling capability
  • Auto-cropping and head-tracking
  • Compatibility with any device

One of the benefits of Skype for Business is that most people already have Skype accounts because it’s been around for so long. User complaints about the software focus on reliability and problems with instant messaging.

 

WebEx

Cisco WebEx is a global leader in conferencing, with over 71 million people using the platform every month. The WebEx ecosystem includes platforms like:

  • WebEx Meeting Centre
  • WebEx Event Centre
  • WebEx Training Centre
  • WebEx Support Centre
  • WebEx Assist Services

 

They’re designed for easy integration with your other IT programs, all backed by multilayer Cisco security.

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CommuniCloud

With plans ranging from free to $79/month, CommuniCloud has a video conferencing package that suits every business. The free version can host up to three participants, making it perfect for a small-team collaboration meeting. The largest package works well for enterprises and can even include custom in-meeting themes. Let’s take a look at other features of CommuniCloud video conferencing: 

  • Australian-based support and sales and data storage
  • Meeting recording
  • Universal chat
  • Screen and document sharing
  • Proprietary InView technology
  • Unmatched interoperability (Apple, Android, Polycom, Skype for Business, Cisco, Explorer, Safari, Chrome, etc.)
  • Customised layouts
  • Sub-conferencing
  • Dial-out capability
  • Call transfer

The following table makes it easy for you to compare these popular video conferencing software programs.

 Platform  Zoom  SkypeForBusiness  WebEx  CommuniCloud
 Free Version  x      x
 Meeting Recording  x  x  x  x
 Customised Layouts  x      x
 Video Dial-out        x
 Global Local/Toll Free phone access as standard  x    x  x
 Webinar Capability  x  x  x  x
 Screen Sharing  x  x  x  x
 Sub-Conferencing  x      x
 Google Hangouts Meet Interop        x
 Native SkypeForBusiness Interop        x
 Mobile Device Support  x  x  x  x
 Join by H.323 or SIP Video Room Systems    x  x  x
 End to end Customer Branding        x
 Australian-based Sales and Support        x

  

We hope this information will help you as you make decisions about which type of video conferencing software to use in your company. We recommend basing your decision on the types of applications you’ll use on a regular basis. 

Will you use video for hiring interviews? Team meetings? Collaboration? Training? Webinars? Consider ease of use as well. If you’ll be asking clients and customers to join you for video calls, you’ll want the program to be as easy to use as possible.

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What Software Does Your Business Need?

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER FOUR