These days freelancers and small companies use various online tools to improve their business capabilities, from social media platforms for marketing purposes to sites such as Indy Invoices to optimize their payment options.
Similarly, around the globe, businesses and individuals rely on video conferencing apps more than ever for collaboration and communicating with a remote workforce, so it’s crucial that you know what each app offers and how it could work for you. Let’s take a closer look at four of the best apps available.
- Best for Large Groups: Zoom
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent shift to working from home, Zoom has become perhaps the most popular video conferencing app. Zoom offers reliable calls that can be used with up to 1,000 guests on the web, iOS, and Android.
Zoom has various pricing plans, but for many small businesses and freelancers, the free plan which allows you to host meetings of up to 100 people for 40 minutes or unlimited one-to-one meetings is sufficient.
Zoom also has many functions that help the host run a video conference smoothly. For instance, you can activate a waiting room that allows you to let people into the meeting when you’re ready. You can also put guests in break-out rooms to allow for group work and control the text chat section to allow guests to talk to each other or just the host. Zoom also has fantastic screen sharing options that even allow guests to add annotations.
Another useful thing about Zoom is that it allows you to schedule meetings in advance and even set up recurring meetings.
- Best for Google Integration: Google Meet
Sometimes freelancers and businesses need tools designed specifically for them, such as Indy, the platform for freelancers’ networking and administrative needs. Google Meet -the rebranded version of Google Hangouts Meet- is one such tool specifically created for business video conferencing.
This app’s biggest selling point is how it integrates with other Google apps such as Google Drive and Google Calendar. You can access many of these apps directly within the call and even start a call from your Gmail inbox.
Depending on the plan, Google Meet offers meetings of up to 24 hours long with up to 250 attendees. You can reach more people (up to 100,000) using the live stream feature. Interestingly, the free Google Meet plan offers group meetings of up to one hour, twenty minutes longer than Zoom.
Google Meet also offers real-time captioning. They have only been available in English until recently, but in December 2020, Google started rolling them out in French, Brazilian Portuguese, German, and both Castilian and Latin American Spanish. This helps improve accessibility in video conferencing.
- Best for Corporate Meetings: GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting is a smart choice for professionals, small businesses, and larger enterprises. It offers HD video conferencing with high functionality over multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets.
Like many video conferencing apps, GoToMeeting lets you record your meeting, but it also generates an automatic transcription, which is very useful if you need to review what was said in a meeting. GoToMeeting also includes many of the typical video conferencing app features, such as screen sharing, but more unusually, it allows you to switch from a chat box to a video call with just one click.
Although GoToMeeting doesn’t offer a free option, its lowest price package, at $14 a month, allows 150 participants in a call. GoToMeeting is also included in other LetMeIn packages, such as GoToConnect, a business VoIP solution. Combining these solutions streamlines your software and reduces the overall price.
- Best for Education: BigBlueButton
BigBlueButton is a piece of open-source software explicitly designed with educational purposes in mind, so it’s great for online webinars. This app has many collaborative functions, such as a multi-user whiteboard, polls, and shared notes.
BigBlueButton allows for the sharing of audio, and the screen and sessions can be recorded. It also has the option for breakout rooms, which are ideal for large classes, meetings, or even social gatherings. Because BigBlueButton is an open-source tool, many add-ons and integrations are available that allow you to personalize your video conferences.
The vast array of video conferencing apps on the market can make it challenging to decide which one to choose. Each app has distinct features that suit different situations, so the best thing to do is look at what functions they offer and how they line up with your business’ needs. And, if you still can’t decide, give each one a try on the free plan and see which one is more intuitive for you.