Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks in large part to the rise of video conferencing technology. Video conferencing allows employees to collaborate and communicate effectively, regardless of their location.
But with so many different video conferencing tools available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. In this article, we'll discuss the key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a video conferencing tool, and we'll also review the 10 best video conferencing tools on the market today.
When selecting the most appropriate Video conferencing tool to work with, there are certain considerations to keep in mind. This includes the tool’s hosting capabilities and integration-related considerations. The 10 tools listed in this article have been selected after ensuring that they meet the considerations listed below:
Video conferencing tools should be able to scale to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, from small teams to large enterprises. They should be able to handle both small meetings and large webinars with ease. It is also important to consider the tool's ability to support different authentication methods, such as single sign-on (SSO), to ensure the security of meeting participants.
In today's hybrid work environment, it is essential for video conferencing tools to be accessible across a variety of devices and platforms. Users should be able to join meetings from their laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets, regardless of their operating system. The tool should also be easy to use on all devices, with a consistent user experience across platforms.
Video and audio quality
High-quality video and audio are essential for effective video conferencing. The tool should be able to deliver clear and crisp video and audio, even in low-bandwidth conditions. It should also have features to reduce noise and echo, and to adjust for different lighting conditions.
In addition to the core features of scalability, cross-platform integration, and video and audio quality, there are a number of other features that businesses should consider when choosing a video conferencing tool. These include:
- Security: The tool should have strong security features to protect meeting data from unauthorized access. This includes features such as end-to-end encryption, meeting passwords, and waiting rooms.
- Screen sharing: The ability to share screens is essential for collaboration and presentations. The tool should make it easy to share screens with meeting participants, and should allow for both full-screen and partial screen sharing.
- Recording: The ability to record meetings is useful for training, documentation, and sharing with absent participants. The tool should allow for easy recording of meetings, and should provide options for downloading and sharing recordings.
- Chat feature: A chat feature allows meeting participants to communicate with each other without interrupting the speaker. This can be useful for asking questions, sharing links, and collaborating on documents.
- Moderator controls: Moderator controls allow meeting hosts to manage the meeting and ensure that it runs smoothly. This includes features such as muting participants, removing participants, and ending the meeting.
- Customizable backgrounds: Customizable backgrounds allow meeting participants to create a professional and distraction-free environment for their meetings. The tool should provide a variety of background images and videos, and should also allow participants to upload their own custom backgrounds.
By considering the factors listed above, businesses can choose the best video conferencing tool for their needs.
A combination of the above features as well as the other considerations discussed provide the most accessible and effective video conferencing tools for use in a variety of fields. 10 such tools are discussed in detail below:
Top 10 Best Video Conferencing Tools - Free & Secure
Google Meet is a video conferencing tool integrated with Google Workspace and was first launched in 2017 as a ‘better’ alternative to Hangouts, a previously developed chat and video conferencing application also created by Google. Meet is considered a user-friendly and highly adaptable tool, especially useful for workplaces where other Google tools are used regularly.
- Meet while using Docs or Jamboard
- Breakout rooms
- Hand Raising
- Easy collaboration: Google Meet conferences can be held on Google Docs as well as Jamboard so teams working on projects can edit together on call which shortens the process and is an effective way to carry out group tasks.
- Automated recording: the recording capabilities of Meet are extensive as it offers both automated recordings as well as manual, editable recordings for easier access and sharing.
- Integration with Google Workspace: as Google Meets is a product of Google Workspace, it is easy to use adjacently and is facilitated by other components of the workspace. For example, Google Meet recordings can be saved in the Google Drive and meetings can be accessed easily via the chat feature on Gmail.
- The time limit on larger meetings: while one-on-one meetings can go on up to 24 hours, any meetings with more than 3 members are limited to 1 hour in the free version. Work accounts and those that are premium have varying time limitations in place.
- Participant limit: The free version of Meet allows a maximum of 100 users to be in the same meeting space at any given time, which can be quite limiting for companies that have a larger workforce or need a tool that facilitates the hosting of webinars.
- No waiting room: unlike most tools listed in this article, Meet does not provide a waiting room for users. Hosts can restrict access, but most often this results in users ‘waiting’ in a perpetual ‘loading’ screen rather than a configured waiting space.
Google Meet still stands as one of the most favoured conferencing tools on this list and in the market for its easy-to-use interface as well as integration capabilities. Although the free version has its fair share of limitations, companies seeking these specific features can consider this tool a worthwhile investment and subscribe to the premium versions available.
Microsoft Teams is a component of Microsoft 365. It was incepted around the same time as Meet but is considered more holistic as it touches on areas such as productivity and teamwork. With an extensive list of features such as conversational channels and Outlook integration, it is considered a tool that specializes in increasing productivity in the workplace, especially where most of the workers may be remote.
- Conversation channels
- Internal and External Collaboration
- Instant Chat
- Outlook and Teams integration
- Collaborative Annotations
- Easy Meeting Schedules: scheduling meetings on Teams is a fairly simple process as you can make them recurrent and assign the meetings to specific conversation channels.
- Customizable space: The majority of the meetings are highly customizable, as is the Teams UI look. Users can pick colours that correspond to their company and rename segments accordingly.
- Real-time messaging history: the messages shared within a video conferencing chat are stored such that you can trace them back to their origins. This way, a record of the real-time chats is maintained without the need for manual interpretation.
- Steep Learning Curve: Given its unique set of features and rather complex file formatting, Microsoft Teams can be harder to navigate for new users and may present a steeper learning curve to employees.
- A limited number of channels (200 public/30 private): The number of channels per workplace may be quite limiting. Although 200 channels may appear to be a big number, larger corporations often require channels for every endeavour and may quickly reach this number.
- Meeting Recording Length: The length of meeting recordings only runs up to 4 hours, after which the recording stops automatically. This can be rather disadvantageous as certain meetings and webinars may last a lot longer than 4 hours.
While Teams provides video conferencing capabilities, users are reminded that it is a virtual workplace of sorts and does not necessarily specialize in video conferencing. However, it is quite capable and is the host of many unique and timely features to enhance effective communication.
Jitsi Meet is a video conferencing tool built on open-source software, making it a user-friendly and community-oriented platform to conduct video conferencing. It is equipped with a set of features that allow it to be used on multiple devices, across many platforms and in any area of the world. In particular, it employs Jitsi architecture and is known for its highly secure nature.
- Presentation sharing
- Audio/Video recordings
- Reports and Statistics
- Video Streaming
- Private chat
- Open-source: as a platform that is open-source, Jitsi Meet is constantly advancing to cater to the specific needs of users. This flexible nature allows it to meet the standards of a wide variety of industries.
- Highly secure nature: It is integrated with JWT, and is equipped with varying levels of authentication which allows it to be a highly secure video conferencing tool
- No registration required: it is one of the only tools in this list that does not require specific registration, which makes it rather easy to use across a spectrum of devices and browsers even when workers may be on the move.
- No virtual whiteboard: unlike most tools on this list, Jitsi Meet does not offer annotation capabilities through a whiteboard, which can be quite difficult for users to work around.
- Multiple Moderators: in Jitsi Meet conferences, there can be multiple moderators, which can make things more complicated than necessary.
- No file sharing option: Since Jitsi Meet is primarily focused on video conferencing, it does not facilitate much else. It has a chat feature and interactive polls, but file sharing can only be done via backlinks.
One of the most well-known video conferencing tools on the market is Zoom, especially given its resurgence in popularity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Zoom is a refreshing platform with an intuitive infrastructure and an easy-to-navigate interface. It is especially useful for educators and remote workers.
- Focus Mode
- Gallery View
- Screen sharing
- Scheduled meetings
- Highly customizable: Zoom provides customizable virtual backgrounds, blur effects as well as other features that allow companies and users to make the experience more personalized.
- Recording capabilities: Zoom allows the recording of meetings such that the recorded files are saved directly onto the device being used.
- Intuitive UI: Its interface is intuitive and easy to interact with even for first-time users.
- Time limitations: free zoom meetings only run for around 40 minutes, which can be quite a short time compared to most other tools mentioned in this article.
- Security Concerns: In the recent past, Zoom has acquired quite a few allegations regarding the security of information shared within its meeting rooms given that it does not incorporate end-to-end encryption.
- Resource-intensive: As it is a fairly complex tool with a streamlined infrastructure, it is quite resource-intensive and can often take up a large space within the devices it is installed in.
Zoom may be among one of the most well-known video conferencing tools, but it is still good to advise caution when using it. Especially if the nature of the meetings being held is sensitive. On the other hand, not many tools provide the ease of convenience that can be found in Zoom.
EzTalk is an engagement platform that combines SMS, video conferencing and fax capabilities in one tool to provide the most well-rounded communication experience. It is known for its user-friendly interface and simple design, which is convenient for users regardless of their technical expertise.
- HD quality
- Screen sharing
- Content sharing
- Activity Dashboard
- Easy-to-use UI: the interface is an important aspect to consider when choosing a video conferencing tool and EzTalk has a fairly easy-to-use interface.
- Seamless integration: It is easily integrated with existing platforms and can be used across multiple devices.
- SMS services: Its integration is further strengthened by its ability to provide SMS services, which helps enhance communication between workers in a team.
- Lack of customization: its simple design means it isn’t open to personalization, which can make the experience quite rigid and make users feel less at home in the platform.
- Can be laggy: unlike other tools mentioned above, EzTalk is fairly limited in its technical capabilities and does not receive as many upgrades. This can cause it to have bugs and experience lags more often than other platforms.
- Stable and Fast internet required: for EzTalk to run at its optimal level, it requires a steady flow of higher bandwidth Internet which may not be available to all users at all times.
EzTalk is a fairly reasonable solution for users looking for a simple and easy video conferencing solution, especially as it does not have many limitations on the timing and participant front. However, it must be used with the existing limitations in mind.
Zoho Meeting offers webinar and video conferencing solutions to remote workers as well as institutions looking to host meetings for a large number of users. It is a unique platform that emphasizes secure information sharing and round-the-clock support. Given that it belongs to the Zoho ecosystem, it is easily integrated into many other platforms and workplaces as well.
- RSVP and reminders
- Sync to Calendar
- Embedded meeting links
- Add co-host
- Live polls
- Low bandwidth requirement: Zoho Meeting functions well even under low bandwidth as its reliance on the internet is much less than other video conferencing platforms.
- Intuitive and easy-to-use UI: It has an appealing interface and is quite interactive, making the experience a pleasant one even for first-time users.
- Secure: its emphasis on security stems from the many authentication factors in place such as end-to-end encryption and password protection.
- Susceptible to lags: Much like EzTalk, Zoho Meeting is a platform that is fairly stiff and can run into lags if overwhelmed.
- Lack of annotation tools: It is quite interactive but not equipped with many annotation tools which can reduce its appeal.
- Lack of advanced customization: Given its fairly simple format, it isn’t as personalizable as most platforms designed especially for video conferencing.
Zoho meeting is a unique take on video conferencing even though it is fairly new to the market and may be less technologically advanced than some other well-known platforms. Its intuitive interface and minimal bandwidth requirement make it a great platform for new users to engage with.
Not many video conferencing platforms have reached the heights that Skype has, with its easy-to-use interface and long history of withstanding the tides of time. It has uniquely captured the essence of human interactions over the internet and stands as a testimony of effective communication over the past few decades.
- Text messaging
- Live Subtitles
- Chat history
- Strong security: Skype is easily considered a pioneer in secure video conferencing given its highly encrypted nature and password-protected interface.
- File sharing: It allows for the sharing of files and media within the platform and aids enhanced discussions in real time.
- Easy instalment: It is fairly easy to download and takes up minimal space in the user’s device.
- Technical hiccups: Skype was once considered the most advanced video conferencing platform in the market, but as of late it has faced some critical technical issues which make it slightly less reliable than before.
- Network-intensive: Skype takes up quite a lot of bandwidth which can be quite a difficult hurdle for remote workers who aren’t compensated for network use.
- Vulnerable to Spam and Phishing: In recent years, Skype has had to send out several warnings regarding phishing that occurs within the platform. Despite its secure nature, users are still cautioned to be wary of strangers’ Direct Messages.
Skype is a well-loved and reliable video conferencing tool often heralded as the first of its kind. It is still used today with just as much fervour despite certain circumstantial issues.
Livestorm is a webinar software that takes pride in providing video conferencing capabilities to a large number of people and has a focus on marketing. It is uniquely equipped with customizations that allow companies to showcase their branding through the platform.
- Branding capabilities
- Easy scheduling
- Social Media Integration
- Polls & Surveys
- Custom landing pages: Livestorm is dedicated to representing companies in a personalized light and allows for the customization of landing pages among other things.
- Interactive meetings: it hosts interactive meetings by providing polls and surveys which allow participants to provide their feedback without having to speak up.
- Statistical Analysis: After meetings, Livestorm provides statistical feedback and analysis of the events held to help further improve the quality of webinars held and facilitate the company’s growth.
- Time limitations: Unlike other platforms, Livestorm only enables 20-minute sessions for free users, which is hardly any time in retrospect.
- Participant Limitations: The free version also limits the number of participants allowed to be in a meeting, capping it off at 10, and forces companies to purchase subscription packages to host larger groups.
- Complicated UI: given its highly customizable nature, it has a complex interface that can take some learning to get used to.
Livestorm is ideal for companies that don’t mind spending a pretty penny to run highly customizable and very efficient meetings in the long run. It is complicated, but only because it strives to provide the best services to its users.
Slack is a productivity platform that focuses on connecting workers across geographies to enhance collaboration and foster a sense of community within the team. It is highly efficient and is equipped with a video conferencing feature that allows interaction between users in a fun and stress-free environment.
- Project planning
- Multi-person screen-sharing
- Direct messaging
- File and media sharing
- Easy integration: Slack is fairly easy to use and install. It works across multiple devices and is fairly easy to integrate into existing workflows.
- Flexible and Easy-to-use interface: It has an interface that allows even new users to feel at home and is uncomplicated even to those who may be novices to technology.
- Shared Channels: The existence of shared channels allows for inter-team collaboration and cross-project communication such that everyone in the workplace is kept updated on the other’s progress.
- Security concerns: Slack is fairly lax when it comes to security and information shared within its platform is not secured by encryption, which can make communication limited to impersonal exchanges.
- Conversation deletion: As it hosts and encourages a steady flow of communication, it does not store the chats for longer than 14 days unless specifically saved, which can be a nuisance to work around especially when reports are to be made.
- Not specialized: Slack is a comprehensive platform with multiple capacities, therefore it is quite limited in specialized video conferencing capabilities in comparison to other platforms.
It is widely used across the globe as a key communication platform especially because it taps into several areas of communication and not just video conferencing. This may be useful for all companies but those seeking only video conferencing capabilities may do better with other platforms mentioned above.
Ring Central is a cloud-based communication platform that strives to normalize video conferencing as a form of communication in the modern age. It is a trusted platform of many leading companies and is equipped with features such as team huddles and participant reactions to enhance collaboration between members of a team.
- Live transcriptions
- Breakout rooms
- Participant Reactions
- AI-powered: Ring Central is a pioneer in software that uses AI to enhance its capabilities. In particular, it provides live translations during video conferencing by using AI.
- Video recording and playback: It captures the essence of meetings by recording them and enabling users to play them back.
- HD quality: Ring Central is equipped with high-quality video and audio to enhance user experience and imitate real-life conversations.
- App-focused: Although Ring Central is quite multi-faceted, it is only available as an application and not via browser, which reduces its accessibility for many users reliant on browser extensions.
- Steeper Learning Curve: Its complicated interface can be hard to navigate for new users and may take some time to get used to.
- Customer Service issues: Ring Central as a platform is fairly great but users have had concerns regarding the customer service of the platform whenever they had issues with the interface.
Ring Central is a platform that focuses on providing holistic communication capabilities to users and is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve its infrastructure to be more accessible for users. Although its customer service is quite concerning, it is still a fairly dependable platform to work with.
Chances are your company is already equipped with a video conferencing platform, likely one from this list, but it isn’t a terrible idea to consider other options. Especially given the constant rise in competition and technological advancements arising daily. Video conferencing may seem like a straightforward process but there are many layers to it that most workers don’t consider until an issue arises.
When it comes to ensuring security, platforms like Jitsi and LiveStorm are great choices. If you like to stick to the classics, Skype and Zoom may be better options. If it is something novel and on a smaller scale that you seek, EzTalk and Zoho Meeting are at your service. Platforms like Teams and Slack are specially designed to meet the requirements of companies that value holistic communication and stick to one platform to meet many needs. Ring Central is a good option for those seeking an app-based platform and Google Meet is ideal for those who may already be working with Google Workspace.
Regardless of which platform you do choose, you must keep the considerations mentioned in this article in mind. Scalability is something companies must not take lightly as they may be subjected to unwarranted payments if the platform they choose does not enable more than a set number of participants in the free version. Security of data and integration with multiple devices is equally important to ensure that workers can discuss their ideas regardless of their device and without fear of their data being pirated. Additional features such as quality of video and audio, as well as recording and annotation, enhance user experience.
Your experience as a user is of utmost importance at the end of the day and if you do not feel comfortable with the interface of a platform or cannot justify the resources being spent on it, then it is not for you. These platforms exist to facilitate connection and add to the human experience but they cannot replace face-to-face interactions and must be treated with great care. Your company’s reliance on video conferencing must be one that adds to its value and not one that depletes it.