Over the past few years, audio and video calls, messaging apps, and interactive tools have become popular among people. The demand and usage of video conferencing have drastically increased by 94%, especially in the business domain. Therefore, discussing some of the free video conferencing apps, software and tools is a timely requirement. So let’s see what the top 15 video conferencing tools apps/software.
Zoom is the top most used free video conferencing apps that has gained rapid popularity during the pandemic situation. It allows you to host meetings with a large number of participants. Zoom is developed targeting enterprise-level applications such as company conferences, academic activities, and more. Yet, it can also be used to have video calls with your friends and family for personal chats.
There is the flexibility to use a web app, a mobile app or even the browser extension as zoom is available for any device. Zoom provides high-quality communication with HD video & audio. Additionally, it provides many more essential features to conduct meetings, such as Screen-sharing, Polling and Q&A, and the ability to share content. Zoom also supports interactive conferences with a chat option, raise a hand and mute/unmute option. It allows you to live stream the session on Facebook and even to enable the cloud recording facility. Despite all these attractive features, Zoom also comes with a few downsides, such as the need for a fast internet connection, fewer features, and audio quality in the mobile app.
2. Google Meet
Google Meet is another free video conferencing tool that offers unlimited meetings. It is not only optimized for Chrome but also available in any major web browser. Since Google Meet collaborates with other Google apps such as Google workplace and Google calendar, hosting and scheduling meetings has become very convenient. Documentation and storage-related apps like Drive, Docs, and Sheets will make sharing documents during the meeting much easier.
3. Cisco Webex Meetings
Webex is a video conferencing app owned and developed by Cisco that has been used for about three decades. While this tool focuses on business applications, it provides a free version with fewer features. This free version became much more famous during the pandemic, and by now, it has increased features to support 50-minute meetings and accommodate 50-100 people in a meeting.
Webex is the best video conferencing solution for large enterprises and small businesses who are concerned about security, while Cisco is all about security.
GoToMeeting is known to be the most reliable low-cost video conferencing solution out there as it offers a 99.95% service uptime. Another important feature of GoToMeeting is that all meetings hosted annually are protected by top-notch security. This includes other security measures such as 256-bit encryption, password protection, risk-based authentication, meeting locks, and enterprise-grade SSO to ensure no eavesdroppers are allowed.
Custom backgrounds, real-time drawing tools, meeting transcriptions, and diagnostic reports are another set of features this platform offers. GoToMeeting can be initiated via Microsoft Office tools, shareable links as well as emails. This software tool is capable of working in collaboration with third-party apps such as Salesforce, Zoho, Slack, Okta, etc., improving the usability among the users.
Skype is one of the earliest video conferencing apps, which has kept their popularity and fame from then to now. The main advantage of using Skype is its popularity and the familiarity of users with the app. It offers a free version as well as some other packages designed for business applications. Users of office 365 can manage up to 250 participants with the business version of Skype. Some interesting features that come even with the free version of Skype are quality video, screen, document sharing, automatically blur or customize the background, record calls, and the ability to add live subtitles to real-time conversations. The free version of Skype can accommodate up to 50 participants. Skype makes using it more convenient by providing access through desktop apps, mobile apps, and web browsers.
6. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is also a popular app that has got its customer usage doubled within the last year. MS Teams is ideal for corporate use as it offers more in-app features and integrations with other apps. Using teams for conferencing is a piece of cake as it integrates with the calendar and email so that you can check the availability of the participants and send them invitation emails automatically. Teams can also be integrated with apps such as Trello, Lucidchart, Zoom, Asana, and Zoho Desk, making the management tasks more convenient. Newly introduced features such as customized background, blur backgrounds, auto-recording, and increased capacity have made Teams more attractive to users.
7. Zoho Meeting
Many users prefer Zoho Meeting because of the security and privacy measures they offer, making it one of the most secure web conferencing tools. It offers users the ability to hold an unlimited number of meetings with unlimited duration for free. Users can also record their screen-sharing sessions and use these recordings for future references. Moreover, it allows you to share the screen from Android and iOS. The free edition is limited to 2 participants with restricted characteristics. Still, this app comes at a lower price, enabling small businesses and startups to use the tool for their video conferencing needs.
Zoho Meeting offers features such as recording and storage facilities, locking meetings, and more. It is a perfect app if you are more concerned about privacy.
8. Jitsi Meet
Jitsi Meet is a better option for people who prefer free open source video conference software. There are two options to use Jitsi. Users can either use the Jitsi video bridge or the web version to host a meeting quickly. Jitsi also offers basic features that other tools offer, with the flexibility in recording sessions into dropbox. This tool is more customizable and does not require logging to use it. The major drawback of Jitsi is its inability to schedule future events, as it supports only spontaneous meetings which can be started only by the host.
Slack was originally developed as an internal chat platform for small teams and eventually improved with video conferencing features to improve usability. Slack has almost all the basic features that a video conferencing tool has, as well as cross-platform compatibility. However, the major drawback of Slack is that the number of participants is limited to 15, which is insufficient in most conferencing use cases. Therefore this tool is ideal for small teams. Furthermore, Slack supports integration with other apps such as Zoom, Webex, etc., to manage work with them.
BigBlueButton is a video conferencing app specially designed for teachers and academic purposes. Its inbuilt tools such as whiteboard, raise hand, polling, and the flexibility in breaking into rooms offers users the experience of a virtual classroom. Moreover, users can share their notes while in the conference or write down notes collaboratively. BigBlueButton can be integrated with a few more platforms such as Canvas, Drupal, and Schoology to improve the availability. The unique advantage of this tool is that it supports over 65 languages, enabling users across the world to use it without any language barriers.
Join.me is a simple tool that even a beginner can use. All the functionalities of it are one click based. i.e., no lengthy flows or options, one-click for one feature. Join.me is not an open source tool that also comes with paid versions. The free plan can only provide conferencing with screen sharing. An exciting feature in this tool is the ability to collaborate with Google Calendar and Outlook to manage the scheduling and inviting people. You can save the meeting locations and participant addresses for future use. Apart from that, Join.me provides an online whiteboard to improve the experience in collaborative presentations.
The major advantage of FaceTime is the video quality it provides at a conference. It is undoubtedly capable of maintaining high-quality communication due to its integration with Apple devices.
FaceTime is an inbuilt tool in all Apple devices ( If FaceTime is not blocked in particular regions). Therefore, any user with a valid Apple ID can use FaceTime. FaceTime calls are similar to ordinary phone calls. The user can simply pick a person from his contact list and initiate a call.
Lifesize is ideal for small teams who work remotely and do not regularly deal with larger groups. The free version of this app supports around 20 participants, while the paid plans offer the flexibility to manage larger groups. It has a dashboard where the users can see a summary, favorites, notifications, and other essential things. Integration with Calendar and emails improves the importance of Lifesize in business.
14. EzTalks Meetings
EzTalks is also among the top few video conferencing apps by now. It offers features such as instant messages, emotions, quality audio, recording, and scheduling meetings apart from HD video conferencing through the web. This tool provides an online whiteboard tool that can be collaboratively used among the participants, allowing them to sketch on it with online pencils, markers and use the eraser and snapshots. ExTalks is capable of collaborating with over 100 people yet for 40-minute meetings.
15. RingCentral Meetings
RingCentral is at the topmost of the video conferencing industry. Like any other tool, RingCentral Meetings provides basic functionalities such as HD quality video, private / group chat availability, screen sharing, and session recording. This tool allows you to host a conference call for about 40 minutes with no time limitations for one-to-one meetings. RingCentral Meeting is compatible with multiple devices such as landlines, PC, Android, and iOS devices.
Free Video Conferencing Apps - Conclusion
Considering the current pandemic situation, most businesses and institutes have moved into video conferencing by now. Similar to the above apps, many other video conference software specialized for specific use cases, and applications are available for video conferencing. You can choose the best fit among them, considering their features and your budget.