Over the previous 12 months, entrepreneurs obtained a crash course in distant work.
As 2021 approached, many people had already invested in at-home desks, exercise gear, and different instruments meant to make work-from-home just a little simpler.
On the high of that checklist? Video conferencing software program.
Video conferencing instruments noticed a 500% increase in demand in 2020 because of the worldwide pandemic. And, because the workforce continues to shift to a extra versatile, hybrid mannequin, it is important your online business invests in gear designed to foster collaboration no matter an worker’s location.
However video conferencing software program is not at all times low-cost, and the flamboyant bells-and-whistles aren’t at all times obligatory for small companies searching for a easy, efficient resolution.
Right here, we have compiled 10 of one of the best video conferencing instruments for small companies, ranging in value and options, that will help you discover one of the best match to your wants.
However first — what are the advantages of video conferencing software program, and do you want it, anyway?
What’s video conferencing?
Video conferencing is an internet face-to-face assembly that makes use of audio and video software program so folks can meet in real-time, no matter bodily location. Video conferencing is a well-liked possibility should you work with distributed groups, or if you wish to join with prospects or prospects however cannot meet in-person.
Video Conferencing Advantages
Video conferencing provides alternatives for collaboration, productiveness, and elevated engagement with colleagues, stakeholders, and prospects — all with out the effort (and price) of touring to an in-person location.
I may write a complete weblog submit about the advantages of video conferencing, however for our functions, let’s concentrate on 4:
- Video conferencing is a cheap alternative to have face-to-face interactions with colleagues, prospects, stakeholders, or prospects. It is extra private and fascinating than a cellphone name, and it is less expensive and extra environment friendly than paying to commute — or fly — to a bodily location to fulfill somebody for an in-person dialog.
- Like talked about above, video conferencing provides a chance for extra private connection. Eye contact, facial expressions, and physique language are cues we use to successfully talk with each other each day — and people cues are all misplaced in a cellphone or e mail dialog.
- Video conferencing can enhance your workforce’s productiveness, because it limits the period of time you spend working to convention rooms in-between conferences, driving to fulfill a shopper, and so forth.
- Video conferencing can foster elevated collaboration, versus e mail or Slack. As an example, if I hear an attention-grabbing undertaking a colleague is engaged on, I will ask them to hitch a fast Zoom name with me so we will talk about alternatives for collaboration — which is far more environment friendly than emailing about it.
Nevertheless, video conferencing software program will be costly, and should you work for a small enterprise with restricted sources, it may be tough to steer management that it is a worthwhile funding. Fortuitously, you do not have to interrupt the financial institution to try it out — in truth, a couple of of the instruments on this checklist are free ceaselessly, and others supply free trials.
Let’s dive into essentially the most spectacular video conferencing instruments we have discovered for small companies.
10 Greatest Video Conferencing Instruments for Small Companies
Execs: When you’re on a decent funds, you possibly can’t beat the free possibility you get with Zoom, one of many highest-rated video conferencing instruments out there. The device provides clear audio with background noise suppression, an choice to share your display screen, and a recording operate to save lots of and ship the assembly to these unable to take part.
Moreover, Zoom has a couple of enjoyable, participating instruments for elevated participation amongst attendees — together with filters, reactions, polls, hand elevating, and chat. Plus, you possibly can schedule a Zoom assembly proper out of your Outlook, Gmail, or iCal e mail calendar.
Zoom can also be a part of the HubSpot ecosystem and connects seamlessly together with your CRM.
Cons: Outdoors of conferences, Zoom does not supply any collaboration instruments corresponding to file sharing or messaging to follow-up with colleagues — moreover, the hyperlinks you would possibly’ve shared within the Zoom chat aren’t saved anyplace for later viewing. You can also’t add a gathering agenda to the invite from the app itself.
General, Zoom is a good possibility for small groups, however as you scale, there are some rising pains. As an example, you may get 100 members in a gathering for 40 minutes with the free model, however in case you have an organization of 100+, you may have to pay extra to extend members.
Worth: Free for Primary, which incorporates the flexibility to host as much as 100 members, as much as 40 minutes of group assembly time, and limitless one-on-one conferences. $149.90 per 12 months for Professional model, which is advisable for small groups, and $199.90 per 12 months for Small & Med Companies model.
Execs: Jiminny provides a ton of distinctive, spectacular options that may be significantly helpful should you’re hoping to make use of your video conferencing device to your gross sales workforce or for client-facing functions.
As an example, the software program provides a “Themes” function, which implies your assembly recording might be robotically damaged up into necessary components like “Subsequent Steps” — for anybody who’s ever scanned an hour-long assembly recording searching for a two-minute dialog proper within the center, this will drastically enhance effectivity with follow-up supplies.
The recording function can combine together with your CRM to robotically enter information out of your recordings, enabling you to scale back the time-consuming activity of handbook note-taking. The software program additionally provides metrics corresponding to ratio of speaking versus listening to enhance your gross sales reps dialog (and listening) expertise.
Cons: The corporate is within the early-stages, in order they proceed to iterate and enhance on their product, you would possibly expertise some rising pains. Moreover, should you’re not planning on utilizing the video conferencing device for prospect/customer-facing functions, a few of these options could be pointless to your inside advertising workforce.
Worth: Professional plans beginning at $75/month per consumer should you join a full 12 months; that goes as much as $95/month per consumer if billed month-to-month.
3. Google Meet
Execs: Google Meet is an extremely low-cost and easy-to-use video conferencing device for small groups. In truth, should you’re not all for recording or storing conferences, the device is free ceaselessly for as much as 100 members.
Google Meet integrates with different apps and even helps you to construct a customized app utilizing Apps Script. The device additionally comes with limitless Google Drive storage.
Moreover, the device provides a speech-to-text real-time captioning function for video chats and conferences — perfect for listening to impaired members, non-native audio system, or members with noisy backgrounds.
Cons: The free model does not supply the flexibility to report or save your conferences, which implies you may have to improve should you want both function.
Google does not supply personalised setup or coaching, and it does not supply the identical strong options as a few of the different choices on this checklist. It can also’t assist greater than 250 members, so it will not work should you plan on internet hosting bigger webinars or conferences.
Worth: The app is free for as much as 100 members and a vast variety of conferences. Nevertheless, if you wish to report or retailer conferences, pricing begins at $8/month per consumer.
Execs: Bluejeans, a video conferencing software program created by Verizon, provides spectacular options corresponding to the flexibility to make use of AI and voice recognition to robotically take notes, create motion objects, and establish key moments for later follow-up. Moreover, engagement is a breeze from throughout the device with options corresponding to display screen sharing, polling, Q&A, and chat.
Bluejeans integrates with messaging, scheduling, and productiveness instruments, and provides spectacular safety and scalability necessities.
Cons: Bluejeans does not supply file sharing capabilities, and should you solely buy the Me plan, you are restricted to 25 hours of recordings. Moreover, assist is restricted.
Worth: $13.99/host monthly, as much as 75 members and 25 hours of recordings.
Execs: LogMeIn’s video conferencing software program has some spectacular options, together with a “Sensible Assembly Assistant” transcription service that robotically transcribes the assembly so you possibly can search via and share detailed notes with others.
You may report the assembly and retailer the recording domestically or within the cloud, and members can be part of the assembly on desktop or via a cellular app.
General, GotoMeeting’s HD video and audio software program is high-quality and integrates simply with Google Calendar or Chrome for elevated effectivity.
Cons: GoToMeeting requires an error-fee information connection to work nicely, and a few reviewers have famous the mobile app isn’t as user-friendly as they’d like. Moreover, the Skilled plan does not supply the transcription, be aware taking, or drawing options.
Worth: $16/consumer monthly, for as much as 250 members, for Marketing strategy.
Execs: When you’ve got a decent funds and also you’re usually calling folks from throughout the globe, Skype could possibly be an important possibility for you. The software program is free to make use of, and does not cost customers for calling anybody from anyplace on this planet. Video calls also can embrace as much as 50 members without delay. The device is straightforward to put in and use.
Cons: The audio high quality is not at all times nice with Skype, significantly since Skype’s audio high quality is predicated on bandwidth, so if customers have a gradual pace ISP, then audio high quality might be negatively affected. Moreover, since Skype calls happen over the web, there’s at all times a chance that information might be intercepted. This makes it a much less safe possibility than some others within the checklist.
Execs: When you’re planning on internet hosting giant webinars or conferences with over 250+ attendees, Microsoft Groups is an effective device so that you can take into account. The software program permits as much as 10,000 members to fulfill without delay, and allows you to host with anybody inside or outdoors your group.
Moreover, Microsoft Groups allows you to arrange completely different departments or teams into “Groups” (which will be up to a couple thousand folks) — inside these Groups, you possibly can have separate channels of conversations and concentrate on completely different tasks.
Microsoft Groups supplies a couple of spectacular options for elevated engagement, together with notifications, mentions, feedback, GIFs and emojis in chats, and the flexibility to speak one-on-one or in teams. The software program additionally provides superior security measures.
Cons: Microsoft Groups is an inclusive possibility for guaranteeing everybody inside a given “Group” robotically has entry to all of the recordsdata, notes, and channels within the Group. Sadly, meaning you do not have permission settings to inhibit sure customers from accessing recordsdata inside a bunch, and you can also’t invite visitor customers to chose channels.
Worth: Microsoft 365 Enterprise Primary is $5/consumer monthly (annual dedication) and permits for 300 members, however does not embrace the superior safety and compliance options, administration, or assist. Microsoft 365 Enterprise Commonplace is $12.50/consumer monthly (annual dedication), and Workplace 365 E3 is $20/consumer monthly (annual dedication) and consists of every little thing Microsoft Groups has to supply.
Execs: RingCentral provides HD video and high-quality audio, and it is a cost-effective possibility for a vast variety of customers, video conferences with as much as 100 members, and as much as 24-hour assembly length. The software program allows you to hop simply between cellular and desktop gadgets, and supplies seven layers of safety.
Moreover, RingCentral supplies personalised onboarding coaching and 24/7 stay assist, so should you really feel your workforce would possibly want assist getting arrange or sooner or later, it is a good possibility to contemplate.
Cons: RingCentral provides a recording function but it surely’s solely out there as an offline possibility, which means you have to obtain the recording as an area exhausting disk moderately than a publicly out there folder like Dropbox. The software program additionally does not include its personal calendar and activity administration operate to combine video conferences together with your calendar occasions — for that, you may have to obtain the corporate’s Glip app.
Worth: $24.99/consumer monthly for the usual model.
9. Zoho Meeting
Execs: Some of the cost-effective choices within the checklist, it is a good, user-friendly video conferencing software program for small companies. Customers needn’t obtain and set up any software program, since Zoho is hosted on an online browser, and the software program provides all the essential options you’d want in a video conferencing device, together with display screen sharing and assembly recordings.
Aditionally, you should utilize 100+ native dial-in numbers and 55+ toll-free numbers to hitch from completely different international locations. Better of all, the interface is straightforward to navigate and use.
Cons: Zoho Assembly limits attendees to 100. When you want extra members than that, you may want to modify to Zoho Webinar. You additionally have to buy an add-on should you plan on storing over 10 recordings.
The device does not supply a few of the fancy options we have seen elsewhere on this checklist, together with a sensible assistant or cloud video recording. Nonetheless, it is a good possibility for smaller groups who do not want all of the bells and whistles.
Worth: $2.50/host monthly for 10 members, $5/host monthly for 25 members, and $10/host monthly for 100 members.
Execs: Intermedia AnyMeeting has a clear, easy-to-use interface and provides a formidable array of options — together with an AI-powered good assistant for assembly transcriptions, and display screen annotations so members can direct consideration to key factors on a shared display screen — for a comparatively low value.
The software program integrates with loads of in style workplace instruments together with Outlook, G-Suite, and Slack, and provides limitless recording storage and sharing capabilities. With the Professional model, you are additionally capable of create customized branded conferences with an organization brand and personalised background.
Cons: Intermedia AnyMeeting does not have end-to-end encryption of ongoing calls, which may elevate privateness and safety issues. Moreover, some G2 reviewers have mentioned the audio high quality could possibly be higher.
Worth: $9.99/consumer monthly for the Lite model, which permits as much as 10 members. $12.99/consumer monthly for the Professional model, which permits as much as 100 members.
Keep in mind — when selecting video conferencing software program, it is important you retain your individual workforce’s wants, sources, and necessities in-mind. When you’re nonetheless uncertain after studying via this checklist, take into account testing out a couple of demos or trial variations to see which feels best-suited to your model.