In an age of Social Distancing and shelter in place orders, the video conferencing industry has become big business. Video conferencing has become the lifeline of connectivity between friends, family, and businesses during this amazing time. There are several different choices that are out there depending on your specific needs.
The Best Free Video Conferencing Tools
There are several free solutions for video conferencing, that almost everyone has access to. While a lot of people are using these tools, they each have their pluses and minuses. The most ubiquitous video conferencing tool is Google Hangouts. There are one and a half billion active Gmail users currently. This means that a large percentage of internet users have access to Google Hangouts which is included with your Gmail account. Hangouts allow up to ten people to chat with video and audio at a time. While chatting users can share audio or video that they are watching with the share screen feature. While some other services have a limited amount of time that calls could happen, Hangouts has unlimited time for calls. Users are also able to invite others to video conferences via email or a shareable link. Google Hangouts are also able to be used by Android and iPhones if it’s been accessed via cell phone.
Zoom is currently the most popular free video conferencing service. It is a solid service while It does have a few limitations. Zoom allows for one-hundred participants per call, however, the calls are limited to forty minutes. There are no limits to the number of calls that can be made, so once the forty-minute limit is reached, one can simply make another call. There are several ways to join Zoom calls, through web extensions, the Zoom app itself as well as calling in via phone.
The Best Video Conferencing Tool for Large Businesses
Microsoft Teams is the most used Video conferencing tool used by large businesses. At its core, it’s a business messaging app that has other tools to improve work performance. It is tied to Skype as part of the Office 365 network. Because it’s part of the Office 365 network, there are a few drawbacks. First, is that to get the most out of Teams, one could purchase Office 365. Most businesses have, so the average employee working for a company should see all of the features it has to offer. Second, it’s only usable within the Microsoft ecosystem. Lastly, we can create a free account to use Teams, however, everyone using teams has to have a Microsoft id.
While there are various tools on the market, these are just a few of the premier tools on the market for various means. You can also browse through coupon sites here to potentially find a deal that can save yourself a few bucks, if you want to opt in for the more premier versions (no guarantee that the coupons are actually valid, though). You have to try some out.