Over the previous yr, entrepreneurs received a crash course in distant work.
As 2021 approached, many people had already invested in at-home desks, exercise tools, and different instruments meant to make work-from-home slightly simpler.
On the high of that listing? Video conferencing software program.
Video conferencing instruments noticed a 500% enhance in demand in 2020 because of the worldwide pandemic. And, because the workforce continues to shift to a extra versatile, hybrid mannequin, it’s vital your online business invests in tools designed to foster collaboration no matter an worker’s location.
However video conferencing software program is not all the time low-cost, and the flamboyant bells-and-whistles aren’t all the time mandatory 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 can assist you discover one of the best match in 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 a web-based face-to-face assembly that makes use of audio and video software program so individuals 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 clients however cannot meet in-person.
Video Conferencing Advantages
Video conferencing presents alternatives for collaboration, productiveness, and elevated engagement with colleagues, stakeholders, and clients — all with out the trouble (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 deal with 4:
- Video conferencing is a cheap alternative to have face-to-face interactions with colleagues, prospects, stakeholders, or clients. It is extra private and fascinating than a telephone 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 presents a possibility for extra private connection. Eye contact, facial expressions, and physique language are cues we use to successfully talk with each other every day — and people cues are all misplaced in a telephone or e mail dialog.
- Video conferencing can enhance your workforce’s productiveness, because it limits the period of time you spend operating to convention rooms in-between conferences, driving to fulfill a consumer, and many others.
- Video conferencing can foster elevated collaboration, versus e mail or Slack. For example, if I hear an fascinating challenge a colleague is engaged on, I will ask them to affix a fast Zoom name with me so we are able to focus on alternatives for collaboration — which is way more environment friendly than emailing about it.
Nevertheless, video conferencing software program might be costly, and should you work for a small enterprise with restricted sources, it may be tough to influence management that it is a worthwhile funding. Fortuitously, you do not have to interrupt the financial institution to check it out — actually, a couple of of the instruments on this listing are free endlessly, and others supply free trials.
Let’s dive into probably the most spectacular video conferencing instruments we have discovered for small companies.
10 Finest Video Conferencing Instruments for Small Companies
Professionals: If you happen to’re on a decent finances, you’ll be able to’t beat the free possibility you get with Zoom, one of many highest-rated video conferencing instruments obtainable. The device presents clear audio with background noise suppression, an choice to share your display screen, and a recording operate to avoid wasting 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’ll be able to schedule a Zoom assembly proper out of your Outlook, Gmail, or iCal e mail calendar.
Zoom can be a part of the HubSpot ecosystem and connects seamlessly together with your CRM.
Cons: Exterior of conferences, Zoom would not supply any collaboration instruments equivalent to file sharing or messaging to follow-up with colleagues — moreover, the hyperlinks you may’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. For example, you may get 100 contributors 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 contributors.
Worth: Free for Primary, which incorporates the flexibility to host as much as 100 contributors, as much as 40 minutes of group assembly time, and limitless one-on-one conferences. $149.90 per yr for Professional model, which is really useful for small groups, and $199.90 per yr for Small & Med Companies model.
Professionals: Jiminny presents a ton of distinctive, spectacular options that may be notably helpful should you’re hoping to make use of your video conferencing device in your gross sales workforce or for client-facing functions.
For example, the software program presents a “Themes” function, which suggests your assembly recording will probably be routinely damaged up into necessary elements 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 tremendously enhance effectivity with follow-up supplies.
The recording function can combine together with your CRM to routinely enter knowledge out of your recordings, enabling you to cut back the time-consuming process of handbook note-taking. The software program additionally presents metrics equivalent 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 may 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 may be pointless in your inside advertising and marketing workforce.
Worth: Professional plans beginning at $75/month per person should you join a full yr; that goes as much as $95/month per person if billed month-to-month.
3. Google Meet
Professionals: Google Meet is an extremely low-cost and easy-to-use video conferencing device for small groups. In actual fact, should you’re not taken with recording or storing conferences, the device is free endlessly for as much as 100 contributors.
Google Meet integrates with different apps and even permits you to construct a customized app utilizing Apps Script. The device additionally comes with limitless Google Drive storage.
Moreover, the device presents a speech-to-text real-time captioning function for video chats and conferences — excellent for listening to impaired contributors, non-native audio system, or contributors with noisy backgrounds.
Cons: The free model would not supply the flexibility to document or save your conferences, which suggests you may have to improve should you want both function.
Google would not supply personalised setup or coaching, and it would not supply the identical sturdy options as a few of the different choices on this listing. It can also’t help greater than 250 contributors, 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 contributors and a limiteless variety of conferences. Nevertheless, if you wish to document or retailer conferences, pricing begins at $8/month per person.
Professionals: Bluejeans, a video conferencing software program created by Verizon, presents spectacular options equivalent to the flexibility to make use of AI and voice recognition to routinely take notes, create motion gadgets, and determine key moments for later follow-up. Moreover, engagement is a breeze from throughout the device with options equivalent to display screen sharing, polling, Q&A, and chat.
Bluejeans integrates with messaging, scheduling, and productiveness instruments, and presents spectacular safety and scalability necessities.
Cons: Bluejeans would not supply file sharing capabilities, and should you solely buy the Me plan, you are restricted to 25 hours of recordings. Moreover, help is restricted.
Worth: $13.99/host per thirty days, as much as 75 contributors and 25 hours of recordings.
Professionals: LogMeIn’s video conferencing software program has some spectacular options, together with a “Sensible Assembly Assistant” transcription service that routinely transcribes the assembly so you’ll be able to search by and share detailed notes with others.
You possibly can document the assembly and retailer the recording regionally or within the cloud, and contributors can be part of the assembly on desktop or by 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 knowledge connection to work properly, and a few reviewers have famous the cellular app is not as user-friendly as they’d like. Moreover, the Skilled plan would not supply the transcription, notice taking, or drawing options.
Worth: $16/person per thirty days, for as much as 250 contributors, for Marketing strategy.
Professionals: You probably have a decent finances and also you’re typically calling individuals from throughout the globe, Skype might be an awesome possibility for you. The software program is free to make use of, and would not cost customers for calling anybody from anyplace on the earth. Video calls can even embrace as much as 50 contributors without delay. The device is straightforward to put in and use.
Cons: The audio high quality is not all the time nice with Skype, notably since Skype’s audio high quality is predicated on bandwidth, so if customers have a sluggish velocity ISP, then audio high quality will probably be negatively affected. Moreover, since Skype calls happen over the web, there’s all the time a risk that knowledge will probably be intercepted. This makes it a much less safe possibility than some others within the listing.
Professionals: If you happen to’re planning on internet hosting massive webinars or conferences with over 250+ attendees, Microsoft Groups is an effective device so that you can contemplate. The software program permits as much as 10,000 contributors to fulfill without delay, and allows you to host with anybody inside or exterior your group.
Moreover, Microsoft Groups allows you to set up completely different departments or teams into “Groups” (which might be up to a couple thousand individuals) — inside these Groups, you’ll be able to have separate channels of conversations and deal with completely different initiatives.
Microsoft Groups gives 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 presents superior security measures.
Cons: Microsoft Groups is an inclusive possibility for making certain everybody inside a given “Workforce” routinely has entry to all of the information, notes, and channels within the Workforce. Sadly, which means you do not have permission settings to inhibit sure customers from accessing information inside a bunch, and you can also’t invite visitor customers to chose channels.
Worth: Microsoft 365 Enterprise Primary is $5/person per thirty days (annual dedication) and permits for 300 contributors, however would not embrace the superior safety and compliance options, administration, or help. Microsoft 365 Enterprise Normal is $12.50/person per thirty days (annual dedication), and Workplace 365 E3 is $20/person per thirty days (annual dedication) and consists of the whole lot Microsoft Groups has to supply.
Professionals: RingCentral presents HD video and high-quality audio, and it is a cost-effective possibility for a limiteless variety of customers, video conferences with as much as 100 contributors, and as much as 24-hour assembly length. The software program allows you to hop simply between cellular and desktop gadgets, and gives seven layers of safety.
Moreover, RingCentral gives personalised onboarding coaching and 24/7 reside help, so should you really feel your workforce may want help getting arrange or sooner or later, this can be a good possibility to contemplate.
Cons: RingCentral presents a recording function nevertheless it’s solely obtainable as an offline possibility, which means you should obtain the recording as a neighborhood arduous disk reasonably than a publicly obtainable folder like Dropbox. The software program additionally would not include its personal calendar and process 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/person per thirty days for the usual model.
Professionals: One of the crucial cost-effective choices within the listing, this can be 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 presents 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 affix from completely different nations. Better of all, the interface is straightforward to navigate and use.
Cons: Zoho Assembly limits attendees to 100. If you happen to want extra contributors 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 would not supply a few of the fancy options we have seen elsewhere on this listing, together with a sensible assistant or cloud video recording. Nonetheless, this can be a good possibility for smaller groups who do not want all of the bells and whistles.
Worth: $2.50/host per thirty days for 10 contributors, $5/host per thirty days for 25 contributors, and $10/host per thirty days for 100 contributors.
Professionals: Intermedia AnyMeeting has a clear, easy-to-use interface and presents a formidable array of options — together with an AI-powered good assistant for assembly transcriptions, and display screen annotations so contributors can direct consideration to key factors on a shared display screen — for a comparatively low price.
The software program integrates with loads of standard workplace instruments together with Outlook, G-Suite, and Slack, and presents limitless recording storage and sharing capabilities. With the Professional model, you are additionally in a position to create customized branded conferences with an organization emblem and personalised background.
Cons: Intermedia AnyMeeting would not have end-to-end encryption of ongoing calls, which may elevate privateness and safety issues. Moreover, some G2 reviewers have talked about the audio high quality might be higher.
Worth: $9.99/person per thirty days for the Lite model, which allows as much as 10 contributors. $12.99/person per thirty days for the Professional model, which allows as much as 100 contributors.
Keep in mind — when selecting video conferencing software program, it’s vital you retain your individual workforce’s wants, sources, and necessities in-mind. If you happen to’re nonetheless uncertain after studying by this listing, contemplate testing out a couple of demos or trial variations to see which feels best-suited in your model.