In today’s fast-paced life, it is no more essential to physically meet a person or a group of people to discuss your ideas or have a meeting. Whether you are working with remote colleagues, or have something critical to discuss with clients placed elsewhere, you will need best video conferencing apps that is dependable, and easy-to-use. You wouldn’t want to deal with technical issues, dropped calls, bad audio and video when you have something very important to discuss.
Back in 1884, industrialist John Jacob Astor IV made some predictions for the 21st century. This was also published in his history of the future. Apart from a few ill-fated predictions, he also predicted about video conferencing.
“Telephones will have been so improved that one person can speak in his natural voice with another in any part of the globe, the wire that enables him to hear will also show him the face of the speaker.”
You are now in a position to have a face-to-face call from any corner of the world without leaving your chair. Listed below are 10 best video conferencing apps that you can choose from.
Zoom offers a free basic plan as well as paid service which is not too expensive. The free meeting plan includes 40 minutes of conferencing, for a maximum of 3 participants. With a slight upgrade, you can include unlimited users, and conduct an unlimited number of meetings. The various features in the paid-version include active speaker view, dual stream for dual screens, full-screen view, and join by telephone call-in.
Various other features of Zoom video conference includes:
1) Private and group chat
2) MP4 meeting recording
3) Virtual whiteboard
4) Keyboard and mouse sharing controls for free
5) Share the screen of an iPad or iPhone app
Zoom is undoubtedly one of the best video conferencing apps. The flipside is that the group meetings cannot be more than 40 minutes long. Even though you can host an unlimited number of meetings, it cannot exceed 40 minutes. It is only in 1 on 1 meeting that there is no limit to duration.
While everyone across the globe is aware of free Skype video conferencing, not all are familiar with its various unique features like screen sharing which is absolutely free.
Skype is ideal for a small team as it allows you to host audio or video conference with up to 25 participants. Further, Skype supports all popular desktops, iOS, and Android phone apps.
Google Hangouts is a great platform and a free option for a small sized team. Google wants Hangout to be the future of its telephony product. Google Hangouts is similar to Skype and WebEx but requires a Google account.
The downside of Google Hangouts is that only 10 people can participate in the video conference at a time.
Appear.in (iOS, Android, Web)
All you need to host a video conference on Appear.in app is an internet connection and a browser. Appear.in is the best tool for small group chat as a total of eight people can participate in the video conference for free.
Texts and links can be shared in the chat pane. Apart from stickers to cover the face, there is also an option to share the screen upon installing a browser plugin.
Appear.in offers free unlimited calls for video conferencing with up to 8 people. From then on, it costs $12/month per room in the Premium edition for 12 people per call. Then there is screen sharing apart from video and custom branding. Appear.in works only in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera as of now.
FaceTime (iOS, Mac)
FaceTime is the ideal platform for a reliable, quick and clear video call just like the usual phone call, the only difference being that you can see the person on the other end. The fast audio or video call can be made over your data connection. All you need is a Mac or iOS device, and it works very well even in a crowded airport.
FaceTime does not have too many features. You cannot share the screen and if you want to chat instead of making a video call, you will need to use iMessage. Switching apps on iOS turn off your video.
Slack (Mac, Windows, Web)
Slack is a very popular team chat app, as it has taken chat much beyond mere text and pictures. It is one of the best video conferencing apps.
Back in June 2016, Slack added 1-to-1 voice calls to its desktop and mobile apps. Six months later, it added video to those calls.
Slack is similar to a normal phone video call and can accommodate up to 15 people. Even though it doesn’t have features like the other video conferencing apps, it allows you to make a call if you think it will take too long to type it in chat. Screen sharing is not possible on Slack either.
The Standard plan for video calls is $8/month along with unlimited chat archive and priority support.
GoToMeeting is a “go-to” solution for video conferencing. Apart from screen sharing and personalized meeting URLs, GoToMeeting provides HD-quality video and the opportunity to connect to meetings through desktop and mobile.
It is an ideal platform to conduct meetings as you can also use the whiteboard feature to highlight the presenter’s screen.
The Pro version is priced at $39/month per organizer and has 25 participants. The Plus version begins at $56/month per organizer for up to 100 participants. There is a free plan available for 3 attendees.
Join.me is also one among the best video conferencing apps. Being available in more than 40 countries, attendees can call in via VoIP or telephone, and is a good solution for international teams.
Few of the features of Join.me include:
1. Record meetings
2. Screen sharing
3. File transfer
4. Change of presenters
5. Meeting space can be personalized with custom URLs and screen backgrounds
The free version of Join.me can accommodate 10 participants. Instant screen sharing is also possible in the free version. Pro and Enterprise plans include up to 250 attendees.
ReadyTalk turns out to be one of the best video conferencing apps with mixed features of mobile conferencing, video conferencing, web conferencing, and webinar tools. The various features of ReadyTalk include:
1) Change controls so that another participant can take over the meeting
2) Interactive real-time polling feature can help make group decisions immediately
3) Streaming of 4 video feeds simultaneously
4) Integration with Outlook, Google Calendar, Lync, Marketo, Salesforce, and more tools
Another interesting feature of ReadyTalk is that a customer support rep will join your meeting if at all you need any technical assistance. The paid service is available for $24 (10 participants), $34 f(25 participants), and $59 (100 participants).
Onstream video conferencing app is similar to other apps. However, what sets it apart from the other meeting app is its capacity to include up to 1,000 attendees. This is great for companies that host meetings for more than 250 people. Onstream subscriptions begin at $49/month.
Onstream features include among many others:
1. Screen sharing
2. Document sharing
3. Group or private chats
4. Polling, shared controls, and a collaborative whiteboard
All of us have had a bad experience with team video calls. However, the ten apps mentioned above are among the best video conferencing apps that both small and big business can use to communicate with their team and to contact their clients.