With COVID situations easing across the world, some countries are looking at 2021 as the year when things start getting back to normal. However, there are many organizations that are still opting to invest in the ‘Future of Work’ taking the trend of work from home and making it a permanent fixture in how companies are run.
Though emails may be the preferred choice of official communication because they are quick and direct, there is still an extra benefit of face-to-face meetings. Research reports state that face to face meetings is 34% more successful than emails. With employees across time zones, the need for official and personal conversations can really only be done with video conferencing software.
Luckily, there’s a massive market of infinite options for different types of video conferencing software. The best one for your company will depend on several factors, such as the number of employees you have, your budget and any special features you may need.
Some parameters organizations need to consider to finalize an appropriate video conferencing tool are:
- Provide online video and audio communication between employees across geographies and network bandwidths.
- Allow video conference hosts to modify specifications and invite guests to meetings
- Offer features like screen/document sharing and chat options for in-call conversations
- Real-time recording facilities for future reference
Here we’ve put together the Top 10 paid video conferencing tools for 2021 that would help organizations in their endeavor of adopting the ‘Future of Work’:
- GoTo Meeting
An industry leader in online video conferencing for companies around the world, GoTo Meeting is trusted by millions of people every day for real time virtual communication and collaboration. GoTo Meeting provides a fast, easy and reliable professional online meeting solution that enables customers to meet face to face, share presentations and chat with colleagues, all with the click of a button. Nothing can match the momentum of your team or business when it’s fueled by an award-winning collaboration solution; GoTo Meeting pairs productivity with flexibility to let employees work effectively anytime, anywhere on any device.
- Extremely user friendly
- Great quality audio and video
- Offers various tools like chats and polls to engage the audience
- Professional looking platform
- Add ons: Live polling features makes it stand out from the rest
- Limit of 100 participants per video conference
- Not ideal for remote work
- Doesn’t work well on mobile devices
2. Blue Jeans Meetings
Blue Jeans is the meeting platform for the modern workplace. It brings video, audio and web conferencing together with the collaboration tools people use every day. The first cloud service to connect desktops, mobile devices and room systems in one video meeting, Blue Jeans makes meetings fast to join and simple to use, so people can work productively where and how they want. It is the meeting solution teams trust to do their best work.
- Great to use for virtual meetings highly dependent on screen sharing
- Easy to use and navigate
- Full of functionality
- Secure video conferencing platform
- Fewer features than other video conferencing tools available in the market
- Not suitable for all network connections
- All participants need to have a Blue Jeans account to log in
3. Click Meeting
Click Meeting can be trialled without signing up with a credit card, which is handy if you’re still on the fence. It’s well suited to webinars, with custom branding, invitations, and a waiting page available.
The variety of modes available—Q+A mode, listen-only, and discussion mode—make it easy to control the meeting. Additionally, it has YouTube integration, meaning you can play videos within a meeting. This range of features means it’s a great solution for running remote training sessions.
- Free trial without credit cards – convenient for small business to try it out
- Multiple modes of use
- Not robust for internal communication
- Not secure as other options available in the market
This member of the Log MeIn family should be on the video conferencing software shortlist for businesses on a tight budget. Audio meetings with screen sharing for up to three participants are free, with a unique interface that puts each participant’s face in a bubble that bounces around the screen. Paid conferencing plans start with Lite ($10 per host per month, five meeting participants, no time limits), with no webcam streams but support for screen and window sharing. Upgrading to Pro ($20 per month) increases the number of meeting participants to 250 and adds 50GB of cloud storage plus recording options. Go to the ($30-per-month) Business plan for 1TB of storage, single sign-on support and Salesforce integration.
- Practical, simple and powerful functions
- Join a video call with just one click
- Application includes numerous resources useful for virtual meetings
- Low cost product
- Difficult to use it on smartphones/ tablets
- Connection issues on different bandwidths
- Limited on call chat features
5. Team Viewer Meeting
Team Viewer Meeting is a video conferencing software and collaboration solution developed by Team Viewer. With the aim of boosting productivity and simplifying remote team work, Team Viewer Meeting is the perfect tool for any-size team collaboration. Main features: – HD Video and Audio – 4K Screen Sharing – Scales to meetings with 300+ participants – Conference Recording – Secure Chat – Mix VoIP and Audio Conferencing – Free of charge dial-in numbers for more than 50 countries.
- One of the most secure video conferencing tools currently available in the market
- Communication system agile for new working methods
- Two step verification system
- Simpler system than others
- Accessibility to join video conferences
- Only Team Viewer users are allowed to join in on the call
The award-winning software enables companies of all sizes to cut telco costs, boost employee productivity, and enhance customer experience. With integrated Web RTC video conferencing; apps for Android, iOS, the web and desktop; a full suite of collaboration features, and website live chat, 3CX offers companies a complete communications package out of the box. Easy to install and manage. Low cost to buy and maintain either On-premise or in the Cloud.
- Intuitive application which is easy to manage
- Cost effectiveness for organizations
- Good audio quality
- Minor daily glitches
- Firewall issues, making it difficult for certain users to access the application
- No data monitoring panels
7. Big Marker
Big Marker is a fully customizable virtual event platform that combines powerful video technology with robust marketing and interactive experience capabilities to create unique branded virtual events. Companies across the world use Big Marker’s all-in-one virtual event platform to create immersive and interactive virtual events. Big Marker also provides integrations, APIs, and white label services that enable companies to integrate powerful interactive video experiences into their marketing, sales, and learning stacks. Founded in 2010, Big Marker is headquartered in Chicago and powers virtual events for thousands of companies and organizations around the world.
- Unmatched video quality for both pre-recorded and live video conferences
- Reliable platform for businesses
- Easy to use video conferencing tool
- The interface is detailed but not interesting enough for the new generation employee
- Call invite details could be made more enriching
8. Intermedia Unite
Intermedia Unite is an award-winning, highly reliable, fully integrated, cloud-based phone system that helps small businesses keep employees connected, lower costs, simplify management and increase employee productivity anywhere, anytime. With complimentary mobile and desktop apps, it’s users can stay seamlessly connected wherever they go, on just about any communication device. Getting started has never been easier with 100% remote setup and no hardware required. Additionally, Unite is backed by Intermedia’s J.D. Power-certified 24*7 support and a 99.999% uptime service level agreement.
- Intuitive video conferencing platform
- Easy to use, especially for screen sharing presentation
- Good customer service team
- Reliant on internet connection, so may need to upgrade bandwidth
- Complicated for some sections of employees (non-tech savvy)
- Tutorials are not currently helpful
9. Skype for Business
Packaged with Microsoft Office 365, Skype for Business is likely already familiar to many users. The business version takes the free, standard platform’s capabilities to the next level. All Skype for Business plans include:
- Unlimited meetings
- Screen sharing
- Instant messaging anytime
- Tight security
- Conferencing with up to 250 participants
Skype can also easily integrate with Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.
- Legacy service agreement
- Can be used in any browser
- Easy screen sharing options
- Allows up to 250 participants
- Call reliability
- Not as secure as other options in the market
10. Ring Central Video Meetings
Ring Central Video is one of the most robust options on this list, offering a comprehensive range of features. To really get the most out of it, it’s worth downloading the app, but it has a useful in-browser option which includes:
- Messaging, video and phone services
- Replacing multiple tools to streamline your tech stack
- Multi-device connectivity
- Huge range of features and integrations
- Real-time analytics
The pricing plans start from $19.99/user per month up to $59.99/month (assuming annual payment)
- Ease of use in scheduling and starting meetings
- An application for use across platforms
- Efficient CRM integration
- Frequent app updates
- Import of contacts is not seamless
With the pandemic driving businesses to adapt to the ‘new normal’, it is more important today than ever to choose the right tools for remote employees, as everyone strives for efficiency along with flexibility with work from home.
Video conferencing tools are not only what the name suggests – these solutions can be used for internal check-ins, conference calls, external meetings, and presentations. Many video conferencing tools also offer additional functionality outside of video conferencing itself, providing file sharing and instant communication features that support collaboration within teams, even when the primary video calling capability isn’t being used.
Understanding which of these features your business might need outside of video conferencing is key to finding the best product for your use. From there on starts the journey of narrowing down the search towards the best video conferencing tool available in the market and reaping the benefits of the same. Free versions of video conferencing tools are also an option, though they provide less extensive functionality and hence are more suitable for single users.
In the long run, when global citizens get vaccinated, the future of work might seem different from what it is today, but video conferencing tools would continue to offer cost benefits to organizations since they:
- Save money and resources with cheaper long-distance and international communication options
- Eliminate geographic barriers and allow your team to work remotely
- Enhance team collaboration by allowing for increased engagement through screen sharing and file sharing
- Reduce travel costs by allowing people to join meetings from the comfort of their office or home.
Additionally, video conferencing tools are sometimes built into online learning platforms or learning management systems as well. Allowing an extension within the organization to utilize this medium as a part of the Learning & Development function.
Everything said and done, with great technology comes similar challenges. From privacy controls to cybersecurity to minor issues like call quality/ video quality that need to be considered while finalizing the right application for the organization.
Adding in another dimension – no matter how advanced a video conferencing tool is, the experience of a video call is highly dependent on the network bandwidth of the users – in this case, the employees. Hence, while choosing the right video conferencing tool for your organization, do consider the locations from where your employees would be logging in and the best possible network that they can get on to.
The decision may not be easy, but we hoped this helped narrow down what your organization is looking for! Happy calling!