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The 10 Best Video Conferencing Software Tools in 2018

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With more and more organisations now extending their business reach across the globe, it is becoming increasingly common for project teams to span across a variety of geographical borders. Yet, although such diversity is clearly beneficial, it can prove something of a barrier when it comes to communicating effectively – when things need to be really made clear, sometimes a simple email won’t suffice.

Of course, the tried and tested solution is simple: put your best people on an aeroplane and thrash out the details in person. But with the average business trip costing companies an average of $1,400 (£1,006) per person – as well as the environmental issues involved – many organisations are seeking an alternative. With video conferencing, it seems they have found it.

To help you pick the best, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 web conferencing solutions currently on the market, ensuring that your next online meeting runs as smoothly as possible – and without the hotel costs. This is what we found…

 


 

10. Zoho Meeting

Despite not offering as comprehensive a selection of features as its competitors, this is actually what makes Zoho Meeting a popular option: its simplicity. Whether by fault or design, it’s an easily accessible piece of software that offers the basic essentials and not much else – perfect, perhaps, for freelancers or simply those that don’t possess much in the way of technological know-how.

Best of all, though, is that it’s free. There is a professional version that begins at $12 (£9) per month, too (with a 20% annual discount), but if you just want to make unrestricted one-on-one video calls – as well as make use of additional screen sharing and remote desktop control features – then Zoho Meeting could be just the ticket.

Trial Version: 30 days

 

9. eVoice

eVoice is a teleconferencing tool that is primarily aimed at small businesses, with a variety of compact features on offer. Hosts can share their screen with up to 2,000 viewers, as well as video feeds with up to 25 participants. Its main strength is in its audio services, though; depending on your package, you can get access to a fully-functioning virtual phone service, including voicemail, call forwarding and faxing – convenient if you want to streamline all your communication capabilities into one tool.

eVoice’s pricing plans are tied in with their call tariffs. The basic $13 (£9) package will get you 2 extensions, 6 numbers and 300 minutes of talk-time, for example. Indeed, although the user interface is a bit more complicated, and most of the best features may be redundant if you have an existing phone plan, eVoice is a solid choice.

Trial Version: 30 days

 

8. Cisco WebEx Meeting Center

Designed to be customised alongside Cisco’s other WebEx tools – such as training resources and webinars – Meeting Center is a user-friendly conferencing solution that offers some really neat features, such as the ability of the meeting to call in other parties that are not present.

There is also a generous free version, although this doesn’t come with phone support from Cisco. It does, however, come with desktop sharing, a collaborative whiteboard and 250MB of cloud storage – not bad for the grand total of $0 per month. Although the paid versions are on the expensive side (packages range from $24/£17 to $69/£50 per month), you get extended video feeds, an app version and the ability to share the hosting role.

Although it loses points for only having a 14-day trial, Cisco WebEx is – as you would expect from such a reputable hardware company – a crisp, reliable and professional piece of equipment.

Trial Version: 14 days

 

7. Adobe Connect

Although on the pricier side, Adobe Connect is a tech-heavy conferencing tool designed for those who like to delve a little deeper. All the standard video features are present, as well as a few extra goodies, such as desktop and mobile access, customised URLs and the ability to record meetings.

The default audio setting is for Voice-over-IP (VoIP), so if you prefer to use dial-in, then you will be required to use a third-party tool; this can be easily integrated into your Connect account, though, allowing you greater flexibility. Indeed, the real kicker is the cost: there is only one plan and at $50 (£36) per month per host, it isn’t cheap.

If you want reliability, flexibility and an exhaustive variety of features, then Adobe Connect ticks all those boxes – just be prepared to pay top dollar for it.

Trial Version: 14 days

 

6. Amazon Chime

With it being 2018 and Amazon having their fingers in everything, from movie production to banking, it’s no surprise that they’re popping up here, too; their video conferencing app, Amazon Chime, has received mixed reviews.

As newcomers to the format, the general consensus is that Chime has the potential to rival the best – but it’s not quite there yet. As well as offering the standard video conferencing features, its aesthetic and user-friendly interface has converted many; it also translates seamlessly across operating systems, meaning Windows and Mac (as well as mobile Android and iOS) users are all catered for. However, it is still missing some crucial features – such as whiteboarding – as well as has a poor support network, which means that for now, at least, it just falls short.

There is a basic free package, while the two other paid plans are from as little as $2.50 (£1.80) to $15 (£11) per month; this, and the potential of the platform, cement its place in the top 10.

Trial Version: 30 days

 

 

5. GoToMeeting

There was a time when GoToMeeting was the go-to software of choice; in recent times, however, it has seen itself slip behind its competitors and is no longer the dominant platform it once was.

It is still a highly polished and user-friendly piece of software, though, with much of the features that are now standard fare adapted from GoToMeeting’s original platform. Where it struggles is in its failure to keep up with its competitors, who have since moved on to offer more advanced features such as video recording, ‘raise a hand’ and polling.

There are three packages, though, with Starter beginning at $19 (£14) per month, Pro at $29 (£21) per month and Plus at $49 (£35) per month. For small business owners, there is also a free version that has limited features and a maximum of three call participants – all in all, this could be a viable option for those just starting out.

Trial Version: 30 days (no credit card details required)

 

4. Skype for Business

When it comes to personal video calling, Skype for Business is the biggest, baddest alligator in the swamp; their transition into the business conferencing side of things is also an impressive monster, even if it doesn’t quite crack the top three.

As a Microsoft product, there is plenty of integration with Outlook and all other associated Windows programs – perfect if your business already uses these tools. And, of course, if – like most people – you’re already familiar with the consumer version of Skype, then the transition will be painless.

Unfortunately, it just falls short with its lack of audio features. To utilise dial-up, you are required to set up a specific Office 365 plan using third-party software; simultaneously, if you want to take advantage of all the VoIP features, you need to install your own host via Microsoft Business Server 2015, almost creating something of an audio limbo. Luckily, the costs are less ambiguous; Skype for Business’s two payment plans are set at just $2 (£1.40) and $5.50 (£3.95), respectively.

Trial Version: 30 days

 

3. join.me

Targeted mainly at small businesses, join.me’s greatest strength is arguably its cost-effective pricing structure. The free plan quite generously offers standard video conferencing features for up to 10 participants, with subsequent price plans designed to scale. This makes it a perfect match for start-ups and entrepreneurs who are looking to minimise expenditure.

There are some minor technical issues that seem to persist in the interface and, frustratingly, hosts can only share whiteboard presentations on iOS devices, but on the whole, the design of the software and the value it provides against what you pay ultimately make it a highly recommended solution.

Aside from the free Basic plan, join.me also offers a Pro plan at $20 (£14) per month and a Business plan at $25 (£18) per month. There is also a discount for non-profit organisations, such as charities and educational institutions.

Trial Version: 14 days

 

2. ClickMeeting

Although it might not have the brand muscle of some of its competitors further up this list, what ClickMeeting does have is the interface, the features and the technology that you would hope for from a dedicated niche product; in fact, it delivers it in spades.

Probably the coolest feature on offer is the ability to finetune your audio-visual experience by blocking out external noises and distractions, although this is just one of the many convenient facets of the interface. Perhaps even more impressive is that the software remains so simple and easy to use, despite the density and multitude of features available. If language is a barrier, for example, ClickMeeting can translate text into 52 languages in real-time, meaning your desperate attempts at remembering your high school French won’t offend your new potential business partners.

Although there’s no free version – or phone support of any kind – the pricing structure is fair; plans begin at $25 (£18) per month, with a variety of packages to suit every size business.

Trial Version: 30 days

 

1. RingCentral Office

Despite being another lesser well-known name, RingCentral Office takes the crown as the king of the video conferencing tools. For both smaller businesses and larger entities, it offers the perfect, all-inclusive package.

Although you’ll physically need SIP phones to connect – and a robust internet connection to support them – RingCentral has its own servers across Europe, Asia and the US, meaning it is certainly the most reliable platform on the market and quite possibly the most advanced in terms of infrastructure. The company is focused on developing these capabilities further, too, meaning you’ll benefit from new features on a regular basis. You can even tailor the software to meet your own needs, with the provision of a software development tool that allows you to build your own custom app integrations.

Essentially, where RingCentral truly succeeds is in its ability to deliver wide-ranging communications solutions to their clients, all built upon the aforementioned foundations. Plans start at $20 (£14) per month, with a Premium offering at $35 (£25) (this includes the potential for SIP phone rental). A generously fair pricing structure that delivers top-tier performance!

Trial Version: 30 days

 


 

As you can see, there’s plenty of choice to be had – the important thing is to ensure you focus on choosing the software that is right for your business. Luckily, every tool on this list has a free trial version, so always try before you buy.

Do you have any preference for any of the tools on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Make sure you’re dressed for success at your next business meeting, and find how you can make team meetings more effective!