Telecommuting is becoming the new normal, which means remote team communication and collaboration are more important now than ever before. Luckily, video conferencing and chat software services make it possible for you to have employees scattered across the country (or even around the globe) and still keep everyone connected.
Best Video Conferencing Software
RingCentral Meetings: Best features
- Robust features for company-wide communication and organization
- Extensive integration with other apps
- No collaboration with outside users
Think of any feature you need for team communication and collaboration, and RingCentral probably has it. RingCentral’s full-service software suite, RingCentral Office, offers messaging, analytics, screen sharing, meeting recordings, and more. Plus, its app works across all devices, including smartphones and tablets.
RingCentral recently released a service focused exclusively on video conferencing called RingCentral Video. If you need video capabilities without all the other bells and whistles, RingCentral still has you covered.
GoToMeeting: Best standalone service
- Affordable pricing
- Options for large and small businesses
- No free tier
GoToMeeting has excellent video conferencing features, including screen sharing, HD video, and downloadable reports and recordings. You can access the GoToMeeting interface on desktop as well as iOS and Android devices.
You can use GoToMeeting as a standalone service or as part of a suite of services from its parent company, LogMeIn. LogMeIn’s other services include GoToWebinar and GoToRoom.
Nextiva Cospace: Best add-on service
Price: Free to use
- Free to use
- Useful collaboration features
- Not a standalone product
Nextiva’s Cospace goes beyond just video conferencing. It also offers teamwide messaging, file sharing, task management, and project tracking. Best of all, Cospace is free to use and also comes as an add-on to any Nextiva service plan.
Microsoft Teams: Best team collaboration
Price: $5–$8 user/month
- Advanced security and data protection
- Included with Office 365 business accounts
- Only convenient to use in a Microsoft-centric environment
Microsoft Teams is ideal for businesses who already use Microsoft 365, or who are looking to reinvent their organization’s digital communication and collaboration workspace.
The nice thing about Microsoft's video conferencing is it that rather than being offered as a standalone product, Microsoft Teams comes packaged with Microsoft 365 business and enterprise plans. Within one application, Microsoft Teams enables users to schedule video or audio meetings with a single person or a team. Administrators can also organize webinars and large meetings with up to 10,000 participants.
Zoom: Best value
- Free tier supports up to 100 participants
- Scalable for businesses both large and small
- Time restriction on free plans
Zoom is among the most popular video conferencing systems out there, and it offers a lot of features at an affordable price. In fact, you can have up to 100 participants at a time and hold meetings for up to 40 minutes for free.
The downside is that Zoom doesn’t offer its own messaging tools outside of the basic chat function during video meetings. Plus, Zoom has gotten some criticism lately for security flaws. The media has coined the term “Zoombombing” for malicious hackers who invade private Zoom meetings. You can make your Zoom meetings more secure by enabling passwords.
What is video conferencing software?
Chat and video conferencing software are communication tools that let you see and speak to colleagues no matter where they are. You can live states or countries apart and still see each other face-to-face (so to speak), and communicate in real time.
Video conferencing makes it easier to manage tasks and encourage collaboration among team members who can’t be in the same room. Most video conferencing systems include extra features like chat tools, analytics, and recording.
How to choose the right video conferencing software
Which video conferencing software you need depends on the size of your company and what features are important to you. Some conferencing systems may limit your participants or give you a time limit unless you subscribe to a particular plan. Other services might not offer some high-end features in all plans, such as meeting recordings and transcripts.
Keep in mind that most video conferencing systems charge a monthly price based on the number of users you have. If you’re part of a big company, you may need to invest in a comprehensive enterprise solution that can support a large number of people. Smaller businesses can benefit from video conferencing systems that offer free plans (like Zoom and 8x8).