2020 has brought a massive change to the world, which came as a consequence of the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. Many lives were lost due to the virus, and the world was plunged into chaos as the economy showed just how frail it really is.
The fact that businesses started shutting down, or at least temporarily stopping, also left a lot of people without jobs. However, there were also quite a few of the lucky ones who could afford to work from home, thanks to modern technology.
So, the world wide web allowed us to work from home, but there are still conferences to go to and team meetings to attend, right? Absolutely. The good news is that you can do that from the comfort of your home, as well. All you need is some good video conferencing software, and we have an entire list of excellent suggestions for you to try out yourself.
The Best Video Conferencing Software
Zoom Meetings, or simply Zoom, is likely one of the best-known video conferencing apps and is highly preferred around the world. It offers both video conferencing and messaging, and it works for mobile and desktop alike. Zoom is fairly easy to set up, and it only takes a few minutes to do so. It also comes with a wide range of scaleable features.
On top of that, it offers HD video and audio, and it is particularly appreciated by conference attendees and organizers alike, as it can support as many as 1,000 participants simultaneously. In total, it can fit 49 different videos into a single screen, so that a large number of participants can see one another. Of course, it goes without saying that bigger monitors are the best for this kind of thing.
Zoom also allows users to save the meetings, whether they prefer to do it locally or to the cloud. It even offers transcripts with searchable text, so you can quickly find a part of the discussion that you need by searching specific keywords. Next, you can also share files via the chat, which also features a searchable history, with the archive going back for ten years.
Lastly, security is also excellent, with the industry’s strongest encryption protecting your conversations, so you don’t have to fear of being spied upon or leaking sensitive information.
Next up, we have GoToMeeting — a standalone web conferencing service that is extremely mobile-friendly, and perfect for people on the go. It not only offers audio and video conferencing but also screen-sharing, so you can provide or receive assistance at any time. The fact that it is smartphone-friendly is something that a lot of people appreciate greatly, especially since plenty of major brands struggled to introduce their own software to phones.
It offers high image and call quality, and sending invites for people to join the meeting is extremely simple, and all it takes is a single tap. The apps are provided separately for iOS and Android, although both are extremely well-accepted by the users around the world, judging by the reviews.
Almost all standard features are available even with its basic plan, which costs $14 per month. The price can be reduced by $2 if you opt for a yearly plan. This plan also brings a limit to 150 participants at once, although this is extremely generous, itself, and more than enough for most conferences.
In the third spot, we have a name that pretty much everyone knows by heart — Skype. Skype is Microsoft’s own video conferencing app that comes with Windows itself. So, if you use a Windows system, you likely already have it on your computer.
The thing with Skype, however, is that most people don’t think of it as anything more than a way of keeping in touch with friends and family. However, a bit of a deeper look uncovers that Skype allows you to have group video calls for up to 50 people.
Not only that, but you can use it as a PC app, mobile app, or in a browser. That way, you can even call people who do not wish to install the app. Simply send them an email with a link to join, and they will be able to do so from the browser.
Screen-sharing is, of course, a supported feature, and you can even blur backgrounds to focus more on the people you are speaking to. And, if you happen to need to organize a major conference, you can always pay for a Business plan and boost the number of allowed participants to 250.
Nearing the end of the list, we have Google Meet, or Google Hangouts Meet, as it used to be known. This is a part of the G Suite office productivity platform, and was rebranded only recently. However, it does provide an excellent video conferencing service, as it was specifically designed for business needs. As such, it also supports a large number of participants at once. Not to mention that it uses smart participation and a very fast interface, which allows it to reduce the need to wait.
Google Meet is especially useful if you need to work with external clients, and it makes it easy to do so by providing more of a web app experience. In other words, you don’t need to download any extra software. Not only that, but it also comes with a dedicated dial-in number. That means that employees can join on the go, while at the same time, it maintains the quality of the entire experience.
Lastly, as part of Google’s massive ecosystem, it is easy to use it alongside numerous other apps, such as Google Calendar, which allows you to plan meetings and set up various event information.
Lastly, we have BigBlueButton. This is an app that is absolutely packed with features that you can (and likely will) use for online webinars and conferences. It allows you to share audio, presentations, video, and similar assets, all during the call session. You can even share your desktop, and it is perfect for conferences, but also for students who are attending online classes due to the pandemic.
However, BigBlueButton goes even further than that. It offers a multi-user whiteboard, which lets you place students into various rooms, which is perfect for organizing small groups and having them work together.
So, whether you need an app for private conversations and online conferences, or if you need one for studying groups, BigBlueButton is absolutely perfect, with great performance. Best of all, it is completely free, while it offers all the features that premium video conferencing apps ask of you to pay for.
2020 has been a difficult year, and the events that transpired pushed most of the business interactions online. However. that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially when you consider that you can use modern technology to make up for you not being able to attend conferences in person.
These apps are excellent in terms of features and possibilities, and they let you coordinate with your company from the comfort of your own home, on the go, or in any other situation.