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 somewhat simpler.
At the highest of that listing? Video conferencing software program.
Video conferencing instruments noticed a 500% increase in demand in 2020 on account of the worldwide pandemic. And, because the workforce continues to shift to a extra versatile, hybrid mannequin, it is vital your online business invests in tools designed to foster collaboration no matter an worker’s location.
But video conferencing software program is not all the time low cost, and the flamboyant bells-and-whistles aren’t all the time crucial for small companies wanting for a easy, efficient resolution.
Here, we have compiled 10 of the most effective video conferencing instruments for small companies, ranging in worth and options, that will help you discover the most effective match for your wants.
But first — what are the advantages of video conferencing software program, and do you want it, anyway?
What is video conferencing?
Video conferencing is a web-based 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 when you work with distributed groups, or if you wish to join with prospects or prospects however cannot meet in-person.
Video Conferencing Benefits
Video conferencing gives alternatives for collaboration, productiveness, and elevated engagement with colleagues, stakeholders, and prospects — all with out the effort (and value) of touring to an in-person location.
I might write an entire weblog submit about the advantages of video conferencing, however for our functions, let’s deal with 4:
- Video conferencing is an economical alternative to have face-to-face interactions with colleagues, prospects, stakeholders, or prospects. It’s 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 gives 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 improve your workforce’s productiveness, because it limits the period of time you spend operating 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. For occasion, if I hear an fascinating venture a colleague is engaged on, I’ll ask them to affix a fast Zoom name with me so we are able to focus on alternatives for collaboration — which is far more environment friendly than emailing about it.
However, video conferencing software program could be costly, and when you work for a small enterprise with restricted assets, it may be tough to steer management that it is a worthwhile funding. Fortunately, you do not have to interrupt the financial institution to try it out — actually, just a few of the instruments on this listing are free perpetually, and others provide free trials.
Let’s dive into probably the most spectacular video conferencing instruments we have discovered for small companies.
10 Best Video Conferencing Tools for Small Businesses
Pros: If you are on a good finances, you’ll be able to’t beat the free possibility you get with Zoom, one of many highest-rated video conferencing instruments accessible. The device gives clear audio with background noise suppression, an choice to share your display screen, and a recording perform to save lots of and ship the assembly to these unable to take part.
Additionally, Zoom has just a few 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 also be a part of the HubSpot ecosystem and connects seamlessly together with your CRM.
Cons: Outside of conferences, Zoom does not provide any collaboration instruments similar 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.
Overall, Zoom is a superb possibility for small groups, however as you scale, there are some rising pains. For occasion, you will get 100 contributors in a gathering for 40 minutes with the free model, however when you’ve got an organization of 100+, you will must pay extra to extend contributors.
Price: Free for Basic, which incorporates the power 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 Pro model, which is really useful for small groups, and $199.90 per yr for Small & Med Businesses model.
Pros: Jiminny gives a ton of distinctive, spectacular options that may be significantly helpful when you’re hoping to make use of your video conferencing device for your gross sales workforce or for client-facing functions.
For occasion, the software program gives a “Themes” characteristic, which suggests your assembly recording will probably be mechanically damaged up into essential elements like “Next Steps” — for anybody who’s ever scanned an hour-long assembly recording wanting for a two-minute dialog proper within the center, this will enormously improve effectivity with follow-up supplies.
The recording characteristic can combine together with your CRM to mechanically enter knowledge out of your recordings, enabling you to cut back the time-consuming job of guide note-taking. The software program additionally gives metrics similar to ratio of speaking versus listening to enhance your gross sales reps dialog (and listening) expertise.
Cons: The firm is within the early-stages, in order they proceed to iterate and enhance on their product, you may expertise some rising pains. Additionally, when you’re not planning on utilizing the video conferencing device for prospect/customer-facing functions, a few of these options could be pointless for your inner advertising workforce.
Price: Pro plans beginning at $75/month per consumer when you join for a full yr; that goes as much as $95/month per consumer if billed month-to-month.
3. Google Meet
Pros: Google Meet is an extremely low cost and easy-to-use video conferencing device for small groups. In reality, when you’re not fascinated with recording or storing conferences, the device is free perpetually 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.
Additionally, the device gives a speech-to-text real-time captioning characteristic for video chats and conferences — ultimate for listening to impaired contributors, non-native audio system, or contributors with noisy backgrounds.
Cons: The free model does not provide the power to document or save your conferences, which suggests you will must improve when you want both characteristic.
Google does not provide customized setup or coaching, and it does not provide the identical strong 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 when you plan on internet hosting bigger webinars or conferences.
Price: The app is free for as much as 100 contributors and a vast variety of conferences. However, if you wish to document or retailer conferences, pricing begins at $8/month per consumer.
Pros: Bluejeans, a video conferencing software program created by Verizon, gives spectacular options similar to the power to make use of AI and voice recognition to mechanically take notes, create motion objects, and determine key moments for later follow-up. Additionally, engagement is a breeze from inside the device with options similar to display screen sharing, polling, Q&A, and chat.
Bluejeans integrates with messaging, scheduling, and productiveness instruments, and gives spectacular safety and scalability necessities.
Cons: Bluejeans does not provide file sharing capabilities, and when you solely buy the Me plan, you are restricted to 25 hours of recordings. Additionally, help is restricted.
Price: $13.99/host per thirty days, as much as 75 contributors and 25 hours of recordings.
Pros: LogMeIn’s video conferencing software program has some spectacular options, together with a “Smart Meeting Assistant” transcription service that mechanically transcribes the assembly so you’ll be able to search by and share detailed notes with others.
You can document the assembly and retailer the recording domestically or within the cloud, and contributors can be part of the assembly on desktop or by a cellular app.
Overall, 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 effectively, and a few reviewers have famous the mobile app isn’t as user-friendly as they’d like. Additionally, the Professional plan does not provide the transcription, be aware taking, or drawing options.
Price: $16/consumer per thirty days, for as much as 250 contributors, for Business plan.
Pros: If you’ve got a good finances and also you’re usually calling folks from throughout the globe, Skype might be a fantastic possibility for you. The software program is free to make use of, and does not cost customers for calling anybody from anyplace on the earth. Video calls also can embody as much as 50 contributors directly. The device is straightforward to put in and use.
Cons: The audio high quality is not all the time nice with Skype, significantly since Skype’s audio high quality relies on bandwidth, so if customers have a sluggish velocity ISP, then audio high quality will probably be negatively affected. Additionally, since Skype calls happen over the web, there’s all the time a chance that knowledge will probably be intercepted. This makes it a much less safe possibility than some others within the listing.
Pros: If you are planning on internet hosting giant webinars or conferences with over 250+ attendees, Microsoft Teams is an efficient device for you to contemplate. The software program permits as much as 10,000 contributors to fulfill directly, and allows you to host with anybody inside or outdoors your group.
Additionally, Microsoft Teams allows you to set up totally different departments or teams into “Teams” (which could be up to a couple thousand folks) — inside these Teams, you’ll be able to have separate channels of conversations and deal with totally different initiatives.
Microsoft Teams gives just a few spectacular options for elevated engagement, together with notifications, mentions, feedback, GIFs and emojis in chats, and the power to speak one-on-one or in teams. The software program additionally gives superior security measures.
Cons: Microsoft Teams is an inclusive possibility for making certain everybody inside a given “Team” mechanically has entry to all of the information, notes, and channels within the Team. Unfortunately, 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.
Price: Microsoft 365 Business Basic is $5/consumer per thirty days (annual dedication) and permits for 300 contributors, however does not embody the superior safety and compliance options, administration, or help. Microsoft 365 Business Standard is $12.50/consumer per thirty days (annual dedication), and Office 365 E3 is $20/consumer per thirty days (annual dedication) and consists of all the things Microsoft Teams has to supply.
Pros: RingCentral gives 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 contributors, and as much as 24-hour assembly period. The software program allows you to hop simply between cellular and desktop units, and gives seven layers of safety.
Additionally, RingCentral gives customized onboarding coaching and 24/7 stay help, so when you really feel your workforce may want help getting arrange or sooner or later, this can be a good possibility to contemplate.
Cons: RingCentral gives a recording characteristic however it’s solely accessible as an offline possibility, that means it’s essential to obtain the recording as an area laborious disk slightly than a publicly accessible folder like Dropbox. The software program additionally does not include its personal calendar and job administration perform to combine video conferences together with your calendar occasions — for that, you will must obtain the corporate’s Glip app.
Price: $24.99/consumer per thirty days for the usual model.
9. Zoho Meeting
Pros: One of probably the most cost-effective choices within the listing, this can be a good, user-friendly video conferencing software program for small companies. Users need not obtain and set up any software program, since Zoho is hosted on an internet browser, and the software program gives all the fundamental 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 totally different international locations. Best of all, the interface is straightforward to navigate and use.
Cons: Zoho Meeting limits attendees to 100. If you want extra contributors than that, you will want to change to Zoho Webinar. You additionally must buy an add-on when you plan on storing over 10 recordings.
The device does not provide a few of the fancy options we have seen elsewhere on this listing, together with a sensible assistant or cloud video recording. Still, this can be a good possibility for smaller groups who do not want all of the bells and whistles.
Price: $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.
Pros: Intermedia AnyMeeting has a clear, easy-to-use interface and gives a powerful 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 fashionable workplace instruments together with Outlook, G-Suite, and Slack, and gives limitless recording storage and sharing capabilities. With the Pro model, you are additionally in a position to create customized branded conferences with an organization emblem and customized background.
Cons: Intermedia AnyMeeting does not have end-to-end encryption of ongoing calls, which might increase privateness and safety issues. Additionally, some G2 reviewers have mentioned the audio high quality might be higher.
Price: $9.99/consumer per thirty days for the Lite model, which allows as much as 10 contributors. $12.99/consumer per thirty days for the Pro model, which allows as much as 100 contributors.
Remember — when selecting video conferencing software program, it is vital you retain your personal workforce’s wants, assets, and necessities in-mind. If you are still uncertain after studying by this listing, think about testing out just a few demos or trial variations to see which feels best-suited for your model.