Video conferencing is essential – especially in the era of COVID-19. But even as some states begin the process of re-opening, many companies are realizing that the convenience and flexibility that video conferencing offers could continue to be an asset in the future. Still, finding a video conferencing platform that offers the right combination of affordability, convenience, and quality can be challenging.
At TSP, we recognize that there are lots of video conferencing platforms on the market today, and making sense of which platforms are the most popular and which are the best for your business can be time-consuming and expensive. So, we’re here to simplify the process of identifying the right video conferencing platform for your business by offering insights into four of the top options available.
Maybe the most recognizable name in this list, thanks to its surge in popularity during the rise of COVID-19, Zoom is the leader in video conferencing solutions. It has earned its reputation by providing an easy-to-use, reliable cloud platform for video chats. Along with video and audio conferences, you can use Zoom for training sessions, town hall meetings, and webinars.
You can set up a “basic” Zoom plan for personal meetings free of charge. Of course, if you want to step up your Zoom game, you can always go with a Pro, Business, or Enterprise plan. There is also the Zoom Phone cloud phone solution and Zoom Rooms software-defined video conferencing system you can pick up from Zoom. In some instances, you may need an H.323 Room Connector to connect all of your company’s legacy conference room systems to Zoom, too.
2. RingCentral Video
RingCentral Video is a terrific video conferencing platform if your business is operating on a tight budget. Available free of charge, RingCentral Video enables you to host up to 100 participants at once in a video meeting. The platform also provides screen sharing, team messaging, and other features that help foster communication and collaboration.
The free version of RingCentral Video offers unlimited one-on-one meetings, but group meetings can last only up to 40 minutes. If you want to host longer group meetings or an unlimited number of group meetings, paid RingCentral Video plans are available, with costs starting at $14.99 per user, per month.
3. Google Meet
Google Meet – previously known as Google Hangouts – is a popular video conferencing platform for businesses, due in large part to the fact that it is tied to G Suite. It takes only a few seconds to set up a Google Meet, and you can join the meeting directly from your Google Calendar. Also, Google Meet makes it simple to video chat on your iOS or Android device, even if no WiFi or data is available.
Google has plans offering various features to accommodate companies of all sizes. In fact, Google is giving companies the opportunity to try G Suite Essentials – including Google Meet – for free until September 2020.
4. Microsoft Teams
Much in the way that Google Hangouts works in conjunction with G Suite, Microsoft Teams connects to the Office 365 suite. Teams promotes anywhere, anytime video communication and collaboration, and it works seamlessly in combination with Outlook, Word, and other Microsoft programs.
You can try Teams free of charge if you sign up for the Office 365 Business Premium package. The free trial lasts one month, and afterward, you are charged $12.50 per user, per month, with an annual commitment.
How to Choose the Right Video Conferencing Platform for Your Business
You cannot go wrong with any of the aforementioned video conferencing platforms for your business. Each platform provides crisp, clear video conferencing capabilities, so you can stay connected to your employees and customers from any location, at any time. But, you want to get the biggest ROI on your video conferencing investment. To do that, here are factors you need to consider as you evaluate video conferencing platforms:
- Number of Participants: Think about whether your company will use your video conferencing platform exclusively for one-on-one video chats, small and large group meetings, or a combination of the two.
- Video Feeds: Some video conferencing platforms limit the number of video streams you can run at once. So, find out how many video streams a video conferencing platform can provide before you make your purchase.
- Ease of Use: What good is a video conferencing platform if your employees and customers find it too difficult to use? Find a video conferencing platform that makes it easy to connect for video chats.
- Mobile: If possible, try out a video conferencing platform on both a desktop or laptop computer and a mobile device. This gives you a good idea about what to expect when you use a platform on different devices and helps you determine if the platform matches your expectations.
- Recording: If you want to record video meetings, you’ll need a video conferencing platform that offers video and audio recording capabilities.
- Screen Sharing: Screen sharing is beneficial in that it allows you to share your screen with one or more video conference participants. It’s a must-have feature if you plan to host training sessions via video conference.
- Webinar Capabilities: If you do large webinars, there are add-ons that allow you to go beyond the regular video conferencing limits if you’re sharing just one stream of content to dozens, even hundreds of participants.
- Conference Room System: Identify a video conferencing platform that can be integrated into your existing business phone and conference room system. Or, if you plan to upgrade your business phone and conference room system, you can search for a video conference platform at the same time. Our recommendation? Either Zoom Rooms or RingCentral Rooms for your AV systems, just like we’ve put in for our clients.
TSP has found that enterprise-grade video conferencing platforms deliver superior audio quality, video performance, and sharing capabilities in comparison to free options. We’ve also handled many conference room installations over the years, and our team is happy to provide you with insights into different video chat solutions for your business.