Covid has brought upon us the work from home generation and this culture is likely here to stay or get absorbed into the new working culture. With these current “do everything from home” circumstances, has come the rise of the new business productivity apps. If you are looking for the top video conferencing app for your business needs, our list and comparison below will point you in the right direction.
Zoom the web conferencing app has had a big exposure due to the current circumstances where a lot more people are using the internet to chat or meet online for personal or business reasons. It has not only multiples its user base in a very short span of time, but allowed itself to grow multifold in its market value due to the current circumstances.
WebEx and Microsoft teams are other such players in this field. Webex has been there for a while, but Microsoft teams is a new and fresh contender which his also gaining popularity for its ease of use in the business world. Below we have some software for business needs and also some for personal use like video chatting with family.
Let’s have a look at some of this apps/software and how they work
Top 5 Business Productivity Apps
Zoom is best-known for being the go-to choice for businesses that need access to quick and convenient video for internal and external audio or video conferencing.
- Offers high-quality HD video and audio.
- Simple and easy to use platform
- Offers collaboration facilities such as text chat and screen sharing
- You do not sign up for the app to join a Zoom meeting (hopefully this doesn’t change)
- To host a video conference, you need to create an account
- Can sign up using existing Facebook and Google accounts
- Works with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
- Desktop users can also begin a local recording
- There is extra functionality with plugins like integration with outlook , google chrome, Firefox to make using the app from within these software easier
Zoom app is offered in both free and paid versions. The paid version has some additional features like you can add up to 1000 participants, record calls, and much more.
WEBEX by cisco
WebEx is a flexible conferencing solution designed for businesses of any sizes you can think. Cisco owns the WebEx brand and has been around for a while with a high degree of reliability.
- High quality web and HD video meeting software
- It has Integrated application/file sharing(screen sharing)
- Integrated with Outlook – add WebEx to a meeting in my calendar and all invitees will have the information
- Cross platform – works with Windows, Mac, iPad and support mobile meetings for iPhones, Blackberries, Androids.
- With WebEx meetings you can also chat using your phone or home line and watching the video/ video conference or meeting using your internet connection.
- Supports immediate playback of multi-media content like flash and windows media player
- Great customer service
Webex makes a good reliable software/app for video and audio conferencing for business needs and integrates well with their most browsers and their other products like jabber.
Microsoft Teams by Microsoft
Microsoft Teams is a new player in the market that has rapidly taken over market share from webex and zoom.
With the competition heating up for video conferencing platforms like Google Meet and many other free video conferencing platforms, Microsoft has made it free to collaborate with your colleagues with some limitations.
- Multi-Platform support -You can use Microsoft Teams on most platforms including Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- Schedule video/audio meetings with one person or a team or make a call directly to your teammates.
- Features includes screen sharing and call recording, background blur and chat.
- Just share a link with your team to join the call or a meeting.
- Easy to use – The interface is clean and simple to understand. You can initiate an online meeting or can schedule one as per your requirement.
- Host a webinar or meeting with up to 10,000 participants.
- App is integrated with Microsoft 365
- If the other person is unable to answer, you can leave a voicemail-like message.
- With Microsoft Teams integrations with Outlook, you can schedule a video call in advance and you get an alert before it begins.
- The free account offers 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage per person
- It supports most Microsoft software. Teams let you collaborate in real-time with MS Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Let your teammates access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real-time
- You can communicate and collaborate with teams up to 500K users
- Microsoft keeps your data secure by using Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP) technology for video and audio data encryption.
How to set up Microsoft Teams:
You can download the app directly from the app store or Microsoft website and use your email account to log in. It can also be accessed via a web browser.
If you remember skype owned by Microsoft and still use it, MT has been built using some features “Skype for Business” that has been rolled into Teams. Teams support VoIP calling features where you can call anyone with a phone using Microsoft’s cloud-based PBX.
Microsoft Teams is ideal for businesses who already use or are familiar with Microsoft products and for others it could be an expensive option. It is however a perfect solution to collaborate with your team with plenty of features and third-party app integration options, which is not available with competitors.
How to use and set up Zoom Meeting:
First, you need to get the Zoom app on your device.
You will need the code and password for the meeting you wish to join.
At the time of the meeting, enter your Zoom app and type in the meeting code. After a short while, you will be prompted to put in the password. Type it on the password line. You will get a message telling you to wait to be invited into the meeting by the host.
Once you get the invitation, you will see the host (or some meeting participants) on your screen. If you want them to be able to see and hear you during the meeting, tap the video and audio icons at the bottom of the screen to join the meeting with visual and audio.
You can also press “mute” any time you want to remain silent to the host or other participants. Just remember to press “unmute” if you want to be heard again. [ These zoom instructions can be quite similar to use for most other video conferencing apps too ]
Most of these apps work by creating a meeting id or a URL that you can share with people to join your meeting or video chat.
Companies or organisations will have to take into account – companies licensing agreements, hardware, budget, communication needs before signing up with such providers.
Historically with these apps none has been truly web-based, as they require a download, only work on certain devices, and don’t always work on all browsers. But this has changed now with most of these being able to be used with web browsers using plugins as alternatives and some even in stand- alone browsers.
Zoom vs WebEx
Zoom is the hot new web conferencing toy in the industry, but is proving itself to be well received in the workplace due to its ease of use and nice video interface. Cisco is a bit pricier when compared to others, but Zoom costs can add on with charges for add-on charges for extra features.
Other Business Video conferencing & Productivity APPS
Below are some apps that have been used for business as well as popular with personal use for video chat and audio calling features
GoToMeeting (popular with business use)
Go TO Meeting has been popular as a video conferencing app prior to the launch of these new popular apps who have grabbed user share. With GoToMeeting, you can schedule conferences for any time or place you choose. Additionally, attendees can join from a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Google Meet (popular with personal use)
If you have heard of google hangouts, this had evolved into google meet. You can plan a video meeting in the Google calendar, Gmail, or Meet by signing in to the G Suite account. Enter https://meet.google.com in a web browser
It has features like real-time captions and support for up to 250 participants and 100,000 live stream viewers
Facebook Messenger & What’s app (popular with personal use)
Both are owned by Facebook.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular chats on the planet. It counts over 1 billion active users. It offers you voice calls, video calls, and many other features.
Slack (business and personal use)
Slack is a useful chat or conferencing app where you can create chats with different users, mention users via @ and view all team members files at one place. Slack allows you to make voice and video calls and show your work, you can share your screen just like in Skype.
Viber for Business (popular with personal use)
Viber for Business completes the Skype for Business alternatives when looking for a collaboration or team chat environment.
Most providers have different type of plans like Pro, Business or Enterprise which are quoted according to your needs. Pricing can also be calculated on per participant per meeting prices or then flat licensing deals. The typical lowest starting price is from $12/month to $15/ a month , however price can vary according to your business needs.
You can’t run a company without meetings and you cant video chat with friends without a video chat app. Video conferencing services make communicating with your entire team or your group of friends and family easy. Today its possible to video chat or conference with large number of people depending on which platform you are using.
Which video conferencing apps do you use? Let us know in the comments below!