The sudden increase in working from home has led to a significant number of businesses and employees looking at online video conferencing software as a way to keep up communications. With so many providers to choose from, we explore the benefits that each platform is able to offer to help you find the best possible video conferencing software for your requirements.
It’s comforting to know that there are methods out there that allow us to maintain professional relationships with our work colleagues and personal relationships with our loved ones, despite the prolonged periods of self-isolation and social distancing we’re having to endure as a result of the escalating coronavirus situation. Video conferencing software allows us to carry on face-to-face interactions as if everything in the world was completely normal.
As the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of slowing down, our reliance on video conferencing software will only continue to grow. And, with a number of employees working from home as some businesses carry on operating business as usual, web conferencing apps and online meetings have become an important way for managers and bosses to maintain communications with key accounts, clients, and all staff members.
It’s hard to disagree with the idea that video conferencing software has become an important part of keeping us all sane during these frankly insane times. If you haven’t already found yourself using video conferencing software for an online quiz with friends or as part of your communications with work colleagues, it’s only a matter of time until you join the rest of us.
There are lots of companies that offer and specialize in online meeting software but it’s only now that a growing number of these companies are finding that what was traditionally designed for small businesses and meetings is now being used as a way for friends and families to communicate in large groups.
We’ve got enough stress happening in our lives at the moment to fret over poor connection speeds and functionality. The last thing we’d want to do is invite even more stress into our lives by choosing a poor quality web conferencing app. That’s why we’ve created this website to help you find the best video meeting apps, no matter what your requirements are.
We’ve reviewed a list of the most popular video conferencing software that’s out there and drawn up a list of pros and cons for each provider, helping you realize the benefits of using a video software platform.
If you’ve used a video meeting app before, you’ve probably used a free provider such as Zoom or Skype, but platforms like these do have their limitations if you’re not paying for their services. Investing into a subscription package – many of which can start from as little as $5 a month – get rid of timed sessions (a lot of the free services only enable group calls for up to 40 minutes) and provide you with a superior service you can always rely on.
Long before the days of virtual meetings, managers and bosses used to spend thousands on expensive flights for their employees, traveling them all over the world for the sake of a couple of face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing software puts all of this hassle behind us, providing a way for people to instantly connect to anyone they want, anywhere in the world, and on any device they see fit. To do this, all you’ll need is the right software, a webcam and a microphone (the latter of which is usually built into your device).
Video conferencing software has come a long way since its inception over ten years ago. The quality has improved significantly. Many online video conference providers now support 1080p high quality audio and video content as standard, although this will reduce depending on the number of webcams that appear on the screen at once.
As well as saving businesses time and money, video conference meetings are also a fantastic way of building relationships between teams by introducing employees to colleagues across the world, helping to create a sense of community within a company.
Whether you’re taking part in a company meeting or being interviewed for a new dream role, it’s important to understand the basic etiquette of virtual meetings. Be aware that while you may not be in the same room as the person you’re connected to, in most cases, they can still hear and see everything that you’re doing.
It’s important to stay focus, pay attention and ensure you’re listening to the meeting host when they’re speaking. Otherwise, you may find yourself indulging in awkward and embarrassing habits, such as playing with your hair, stroking your face or even picking your nose. That’s the kind of behavior that you might get away with in the corner of a meeting room, but not when your live video feed is being displayed to a large group of people.
Use facial expressions as cues to know when it’s appropriate for you to start speaking or respond to any questions that have been asked by the host. This is an especially important skill in 1:1 meetings and interviews that take place over video conferencing software. You’ll want to avoid situations where you have groups of people talking over each other at once. We all know how annoying this can be in face-to-face meetings.
Let the host of the meeting know that you’re listening and paying attention to them by nodding along with what they’re saying and asking questions when you’re prompted to do so. You may also wish to communicate using the instant messaging features that come built into video conferencing software. This will allow you to communicate with your host and other guests in the meeting without interrupting or distracting anyone.
It helps to let your significant other or anyone else in your household know if you’re expecting or in the middle of an important video conferencing call. The last thing you’d want is for your children to burst into the room in the middle of an important media interview, or for one of your housemates to walk into focus half-naked.
You should conduct yourself in the same manner you would as any other face-to-face meeting you’d be required to take part in (as long as your typical conduct is decent, of course).
It’s important to note that unless the host has disabled the audio of everyone in the meeting, the noises you’re making will be much louder to others listening in. While tapping on your computer desk or clicking your pen against your laptop may not seem loud to you, you should consider how close your computer or laptop’s microphone is to the noise that you’re making. You’ll be surprised at how loud some of your actions can be. Make sure you’ve got any background music you’re listening to turned off before any meetings are due to take place.
Video conferencing software may seem like a completely alien idea to anyone who’s not great with computers, but using it couldn’t be any simpler. Most software providers will require users to download and install an app onto their desktop or mobile phone, but others offer web-based solutions that can be accessed through browsers. Regardless of which provider you use to host online meetings, it should never be difficult to get your head around.
There are a number of different ways you can record your virtual meetings, although some providers offer no way to do this directly through their software unless you’re the host of the meeting. In cases such as these, you can always kindly ask the host of your meeting to send across the recorded version of that meeting, as long as the software you’re using supports this feature.
If it doesn’t, you can use a screen recorder or buy special software to directly record the video and audio output of your device.
Surprisingly, one of the main things that most people struggle with when they first start using video conferencing software is actually making it into the video conference they’ve been invited to. This is often due to the fact that the host of that meeting hasn’t adequately explained how to accept their invitation.
Usually, all you’ll need to join a video conference meeting is the original email via which your meeting invitation was sent. This should contain a link that’ll automatically open up the meeting and begin it when it’s due to take place. Alternatively, you may be provided with a custom URL address and a password to enter into your browser. While most video conferencing software doesn’t require you to install anything to accept invitations, some providers do. If you’ve been sent a virtual meeting invite for software you’ve never used before, it’s worth checking what’s required to join the meeting so you can install any programs in advance instead of minutes before the meeting is due to take place.
Video conference software offers a variety of different services, ranging from the ability to host face-to-face virtual meetings with hundreds of guests and live stream events to real-time private and group chat complete with instant messaging, You can even screen share your devices with other people in the meeting.
While you may commonly associate video conferencing software with just hosting meetings, there are lots of different options available depending on the conferencing tools that are used. Desktop video conferencing is one of the most widely recognized ways of communicating virtually via video and from the comfort of your desktop computer or Mac. Calls can also be held on mobile and tablet devices.
Telepresence video conferencing systems are where multiple screens and monitors are set up in a single room to give the impression that everyone has joined the meeting in the same room, while room-based video conferencing systems use multiple control units and video conferencing equipment to deliver high-quality calls.
Some of the most commonly used features offered by web conferencing apps include 1:1 meetings and mobile video conferencing, allowing users to connect to meetings no matter where they currently are in the world (as long as they have access to cellular data or an internet connection, of course).
Video conferencing software also allows people to host webinars, also known as educational video presentations, workshops or lectures, to thousands of viewers. Providers that specialize in offering webinars will often let the creators of these webinars host their online webinars for public viewing via a unique URL, or provide them with a way to edit their videos and later upload them onto social media platforms.
The types of services offered by video conferencing providers will also differ from company to company. Some companies offer their video conferencing directly through your web browser. There are pros and cons to this method. Ultimately, it’s a simple way to accept meeting requests and join meetings without having to install the program onto your computer. Unfortunately, these methods can sometimes result in a lack of care and attention being given to their app-based counterparts.
The majority of web conferencing apps are directly compatible with your Google or Outlook calendars. This makes it easy to keep track of any upcoming meetings and send reminders for meetings if you’re the host.
As more of us turn to using online meetings as a way of communicating, services that support additional activities such as quiz building and drawing are becoming an increasingly popular option with new users.
Whether you’re looking for a software provider that allows you to connect with hundreds of people or simply a way to catch up with a close friend, it’s important to consider the unique features that each platform is able to offer you as a user, especially if you’re considering paying for a subscription plan. This is something we’d always recommend, as the quality of service you receive as part of paid subscription plans is usually a significant improvement in comparison to the service offered by providers of free video conferencing software.
Before you make a decision on which provider you wish to choose, make sure it works across all of your devices and is fully compatible with your mobile too. For many people, the ability to record and listen back to calls is an important factor in their final decision, so look out for providers that offer this feature, which is often a paid-for benefit. It helps to know that if you ever have any problems, you won’t have to wait days to get the answers you need from a member of the customer service team, so try and prioritize providers that have a focus on taking great care of their customers.