With remote working becoming more and more popular video conferencing is becoming a must. It’s increasingly likely that not all of your team members will be in the office simultaneously. Getting everyone together for a staff meeting may not be as easy as it once was – unless you do it virtually.
Thankfully, there are plenty of video conferencing tools available to make team meetings possible, wherever your staff members happen to be. Are you looking for one that won’t blow the budget? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.
It’s hard to go past Zoom, which is probably the first service that comes to mind when you think about video conferencing.
Zoom’s free plan is extremely well-featured, allowing you to host an unlimited number of meetings with up to 100 attendees for a maximum of 40 minutes. It also allows you to screen share, record the meeting to your computer, and use custom backgrounds. Plus, you get the use of three Zoom whiteboards, which (as the name suggests) allow you to collaborate visually on a digital canvas.
If you need longer meetings, social media streaming, cloud recording, and branding, the Pro and Small Business plans come in at an affordable annual cost of $212.85 NZ and $283.85 NZ, respectively. Zoom is available for both desktop and mobile devices.
If you’re not interested in recording your meetings, then Google Meet could be a viable free video conferencing solution for your business.
Like Zoom, Google Meet offers an unlimited number of meetings, but the time limit is more generous. Groups of 3-100 can talk for a full hour, and 1:1 meetings can run for 24 hours. Screen sharing is included, and you can join a meeting from any device using your browser or the native app – there’s even the ability to join from your Google Nest hub. Google meet integrates with the other Google productivity apps, which is great for businesses already embedded in the Google Workspace ecosystem.
If you want the ability to save your meetings to Google Drive, intelligent noise cancellation, polls, or official technical support, you’ll need to upgrade to Google Workspace Individual, which costs $7.99 US per month per user.
If you don’t want to spend anything on video conferencing, Skype might be the app for you. As long as all participants join a meeting with their Skype account, this service is completely free.
Skype, like the other services we’ve looked at, also imposes a maximum of 100 virtual attendees for group meetings but has a generous time limit of up to 24 hours per day, every day. Purchased by Microsoft in 2011, Skype integrates well with the Microsoft Office suite of programmes, which is helpful if that’s your team’s main productivity tool. The group screen sharing feature lets you present PowerPoint slides, share videos, and more, and there’s a background blur feature to help reduce distractions during video calls. The Skype chat app is available for almost all computers and mobile devices. On the downside, Skype’s video quality is dependent on your internet bandwidth which can lead to a spotty connection.
Unlike Zoom and Google Meet, there is no longer a business upgrade option for Skype. Skype for Business Online was retired in July 2021 and has been replaced by Microsoft Teams.