As people’s daily lives have changed in the wake of the pandemic, the number of people working from home has exploded. There is no doubt that the convenience of this mode of work has made many rethink their routine more permanently, and having a useful tool for video-conferencing is crucial (Best Alternatives to Zoom).
With popularity boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom became the most widely used video conferencing application worldwide. However, this platform has not been without controversy and inconveniences that have put our data privacy on the table again.
It is also unnecessary to spend a fortune: there are platforms for every type of need and budget for any user or company. Without further ado, we present you with some of the best apps for making video calls or online meetings.
Zoom is one of the most flexible at the moment since participants do not need to register to be part of a video conference or virtual meeting, in addition to being able to follow it through their computer or mobile devices.
Although it has various payment plans, its free mode is also very complete. It allows up to 100 participants and unlimited meetings per day, but with a maximum duration of 40 minutes each, among other alternatives. Also, its screen sharing option is ideal in work meetings.
If the controversy keeps you restless and you prefer to explore other options, here you can find the best alternatives to Zoom for your video conferences or video calls, or online meetings.
Now more than ever, people need to know that their virtual conversations are private and secure. And at Microsoft, privacy and security are not things to be taken lightly.
Microsoft Teams offers a variety of privacy and security controls. For example, participants decide who from outside their organization can join their meetings directly and who should wait in the lobby before letting them in.
They can also remove participants during a meeting, designate “presenters” and “attendees,” and control which meeting participants can present content. And with guest access, they can add people outside of their organization and maintain control over their data.
When a meeting is about to be recorded, all participants are notified. The recordings are only available to people on the call or people invited to the meeting and are stored in a controlled repository protected by permissions and encryption.
Microsoft is strongly committed to providing transparency about the data collection, use, and distribution of those who participate in a Teams video conference. They have also agreed never to use the data to send advertising.
All the power of Microsoft’s packaging, from editing Word documents to PowerPoint presentations, and various interactive tools, such as group chats and video calls with dozens or hundreds of participants, are some of Teams’ features.
The company defines this tool as the centre for Office 365 teamwork. It is available for the desktop (Windows) and the mobile (iOS and Android).
If you use Office 365 at work, you probably already know Microsoft Teams, where all your conversations, files, meetings, and applications live in the same space that you can easily access from your mobile device.
Teams let you manage projects remotely, including the ability to edit and share files. You can connect face-to-face with HD video and audio and participate in meetings from anywhere.
You can also chat, privately or in a group, and communicate through designated channels, save conversations, customize notifications, search within chats and conversations, all with enterprise-level security. This application requires a paid Office 365 commercial subscription or Microsoft Teams subscription.
If you have the challenge of meeting with your work team or classmates and presenting your progress on an important project, Skype is a more than an attractive tool, especially for its easy operation.
“Group video calling allows up to 50 people to meet and collaborate at the same time with ease. With group screen sharing, you can present PowerPoint slides, video recordings, and much more to the entire team, ”says the Microsoft service.
Through Skype, you can meet up to 25 colleagues for an HD video call on your phone. You can also send text messages, voice calls to cell phones or landlines, send GIF files, chat, share photos and videos, or share the screen for your business presentations.
This application also allows you to read and reply to your phone’s text messages on your desktop computer. Skype offers various variety, although this application is constantly changing, always looking for feedback from users.
Although Skype to Skype calls is free, you may have to pay for your data, which is why Skype recommends using an unlimited data plan or Wi-Fi connection. The latest versions allow you to schedule group calls, conversations with translation, and more.
3. Google Meet
Initially reserved for companies using the G-Suite, this Google service is the perfect complement to meet remotely quickly. Since May 2020, it began to be delivered free of charge to any user with a Gmail account.
Among the features of Google Meet, it is possible to join video calls with a simple link or via cell phone (iOS and Android) with the press of a button; and encrypted audio and video streams for those concerned about their privacy.
In April 2020, it also incorporated mosaic design with a maximum of 16 participants, among other characteristics.
The Google Hangouts that served as casual meetings may have been lost to oblivion, but replaced by Google Meet, it offers an easy way to video conference. It keeps teams together, no matter where your members are.
This app offers high definition video conferencing with up to 100 participants (for G Suite Enterprise customers), easy one-click access via a shared link, and the ability to make phone calls to a meeting.
It’s designed to work with Google Calendar, so it’s easy to schedule, check meeting details, and join. You must give Google permission to access your camera, your microphone, and your photos.
4. Cisco Webex
Webex is a video-conferencing application that has existed for more than 20 years and was acquired by Cisco in 2007. Popularized as a commercial application (you can see it in many CNN interviews these days) and mainly focused on companies, it has a perfect free version that, without a doubt, you should consider as an alternative to Zoom.
These weeks have expanded the freemium version features from 50 to 100 participants, removed the 40-minute limit on meetings, and added the ability to make calls.
Cisco Webex Meetings helps make remote meetings more enjoyable by helping you create productive conferences with audio and video. You can join and make presentations from your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, operating with voice commands through Siri.
You can join meetings with a simple touch and schedule meetings directly from your application. You can also customize the video, share content, or screen, and if you use iOS, you can quickly login with Face ID or Touch ID.
If your work team is small and they are all users of Apple products, the most immediate tool for you is Group FaceTime, in which up to 32 people can participate through their iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
The Californian company ensures that video calls are end-to-end encrypted to provide the participants’ privacy. It is only necessary to have the support of iOS 12.1.4 or iPadOS on the computers.
6. Google Duo
On some Android phones, this platform is already installed by default, so you can quickly make group calls with up to eight of your contacts or coworkers.
Like most of Google’s products, this one is distinguished by not being complicated at all, in addition to the fact that “your calls will be encrypted, which means that they will be private for you and the person you call,” says the Californian firm.
It is an easy-to-use, adaptive technology perfect for a diverse workforce that needs to communicate for essential projects, and it integrates with all types of platforms, including browsers.
It supports screen sharing and recording, and the management options are diverse, from assigning actions to playing highlights to newcomers.
There is a free trial; however, you have to pay to use the long-term service; the most basic plan allows up to 50 people and costs $10 per month.
BlueJeans offers businesses video conferencing via Wi-Fi or 4G LTE, making it an easy and affordable way to host or participate in video conferences from anywhere.
The application works in conjunction with the BlueJeans service to provide group video calls with various conferencing systems such as Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, and Microsoft Lync.
You can hold meetings through the BlueJeans app with an existing BlueJeans account, although you don’t need an account to participate in a meeting, which can have up to 25 participants or 100 with the premium service.
Recent versions offer three types of video conferencing:
- Standard, which includes audio, video, and content.
- Little data, with only audio and content.
- An audio-only meeting mode in transit.
The platform provides various online conferencing services directly to companies. However, it also has a full free plan, which allows up to 100 participants in meetings of up to 40 minutes (those involving only two people are unlimited).
Chats, annotations, and whiteboards are some of the specifications that all plans share. Also, the modalities are integrated with Outlook to have everything scheduled. RingCentral Meetings is a way to transition to work from home or remote quickly.
With a simple and easy-to-learn interface for newcomers, mobile and desktop versions work with each other without problems. The platform also integrates with Outlook, Gmail, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, making it ideal for teams with different productivity characteristics.
Like other services of its kind, it has a free mode, limited to four web participants. Its basic payment plan allows up to 10 participants and a full feature package.
The platform stands out for its excellent administration and management options for businesses that need to make it as easy as possible for workers to join and get recordings. You can put links to the conferences in the email and create reminders so that the team has all the details, plus there are specifications such as screen sharing and internal chat.