Video conferencing has increased by 545% since the beginning of 2020.
Have you been on more video conferences in the last year than in your entire life previously? The answer is probably yes.
We live in an increasingly digital world, and how we meet is changing as well. Because of this, new video conferencing apps have emerged, and previous powerhouses have added even more features.
Whether you use video conferencing platforms for business or social interactions, continue reading to learn the top seven apps to consider.
Zoom is one of the top video conferencing options for many people because of its reliability, the ability to have up to 1,000 participants depending on the subscription, and the long list of helpful features.
Prices range from nothing for their free plan to $19.99 per month for each host.
If you need to accommodate large groups of people and easily set who is in control of various functions, and if you rely on heavy participation, Zoom might be the choice for you.
2. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts wasn’t a top contender before, but their new update has added plenty of features that people will find helpful.
It’s one of the completely free video conferencing platforms, but to unlock additional features, pricing starts at $6.
Some features that might come in handy are instant messaging, intelligent muting, and the fact that it integrates seamlessly with other Google apps.
Google Hangouts is a solid option, but one downside is that the video quality might not be as good as some of the other options mentioned here.
3. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a combination of a team chat platform and video conferencing software.
One nice feature of this program is the whiteboard feature, which allows you to draw freehand and easily take notes or give a presentation with a personal touch.
The pricing varies, but if you pay for any other Microsoft subscription, it’s likely included in that. Package rates are available as well.
The one downside worth noting for Teams is that it’s not as seamless as other options when it comes to connecting with people outside of your organization that don’t have Teams installed.
3. Skype for Business
Also by Microsoft, Skype for Business is specifically oriented and designed for business use rather than personal use.
Because of this, it’s pretty streamlined and offers the ability to have up to 250 attendees in one meeting.
It’s free for teams comprised of 10 people or less, but you have to pay for a subscription after that. Still, it’s an excellent choice for many because it’s well-designed and offers a whiteboard feature.
One potential negative to keep in mind is that there isn’t a way to dial into the meeting, which might be a drawback for some businesses.
4. Facebook Video Chat
Facebook might not be one of the first places that come to mind when you think of team video conferencing software, but it’s a viable option.
You can chat with up to 50 people through the Messenger app or video chat! It’s a nice option for parties, friends catching up, or business meetings that don’t need a ton of extra features.
Facebook video chat is completely free, but you need is a Facebook account to take part.
Slack is a collaboration tool that’s used by many businesses around the world.
At first, it offered only chatting features, but they recently added the ability to video chat as well.
Their free account offers this option for up to 15 people, but if you need to accommodate more than that, you’ll need to get a custom quote.
Slack is a great tool for connecting hybrid teams, but if you aren’t using it already, it might not be your top choice because the setup is more involved than some of the other options mentioned here. Plus, video conferencing isn’t their primary focus, although they do it well.
6. Blackboard Collaborate
Blackboard Collaborate is the best option on this list for educators.
It makes it easy for teachers to communicate with one another and for teachers to contact their students as well. It’s desktop-friendly and mobile-friendly, and specifically designed for schools to use.
Classroom licenses are a minimum of $300 per year, and for an entire department, pricing starts at $9,000 per year.
ReadyTalk is one of the priciest options on this list, starting at $24 for 10 participants and moving up to $59 for 100 participants.
This price is understandable considering the features that they have available. You can have on-demand or scheduled meetings like most other video conferencing platforms, but you have the ability to share up to four screens at one time.
There’s also a meeting archive where you can store and edit videos.
This might be a good option for people looking to reuse meeting footage, but one downside is that the interface isn’t as polished as its competitors.
Video Conferencing Is Here to Stay
Video conferencing is absolutely here to stay, so finding a platform that works for you, whether you’re using it for business or personal needs, is a must.
All seven of the options mentioned here are great choices, but all have features, pros, and cons that make them better suited for specific situations and users.
Try out a few free trials to see which one is your favorite and find your ideal video conferencing software today!
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