15 video conferencing products that are enterprise-ready

It can be hard to sort through the offerings in a burgeoning market. Here’s some information to get started.

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For many years, ubiquitous video conferencing was a technology firmly in the realm of science fiction — a video-phone almost defined “futuristic.” Later, such devices became technologically feasible, but only for those with dedicated high-bandwidth connections and expensive, specialized hardware. Over the last decade, however, on-demand video conferencing has increasingly become just a basic, normal expectation for almost anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone. The magical has become a commodity. Now the only question is, Which video conferencing offering to use?

The good news is that there are so many products to choose from. The bad news is that there are so many products to choose from. The overview that follows is not exhaustive, since the market is quickly evolving, with some well-established players, an ever-changing list of challengers, and also some industry-specific products — but this list should give you a jump-start in your search.

Especially for larger enterprises, video conferencing implementation needs to be part of the broader picture, involving both IT and communications strategic plans. Fundamental issues such as intended use cases (general communication, team collaboration, marketing, live streaming/presentations/lectures, tutorials, real-time product and technical support), as well as security, technology and communication standards, branding and organizational policies for use all need to be clearly and carefully thought out.

But the simple fact is that workers at all levels, as well as customers and vendors, have come to use and expect video conferencing. So if you don’t make it happen, it’s certain that your employees or team members will.

Video conferencing and messaging are areas that often have significant overlap. Some mobile apps, such as FaceTime, WhatsApp and Google Duo, enable video calling but are primarily one-to-one products. Some of the products and solutions covered here are also part of the larger unified communications (UC) market, which generally includes integrated packages of team-based messaging, workspace and collaboration tools. Some UC collaboration packages that also have video conferencing as a component (such as Slack) are not included in this roundup, which includes primarily tools that are historically more centrally focused on calling and multiperson-capable video conferencing. I also am not including a number of social media-oriented video chat apps (such as ooVoo), even though some enable multiperson video conferencing, since they tend to have little enterprise support, focus or appeal. The selection criteria are necessarily somewhat subjective, so apologies if your favorite tool is not among those we discuss, and feel free to make suggestions for any products you feel should be included in the future.

Here, then, are 15 products you might want to consider, ordered more or less by the amount of time they’ve been on the market (with some VoIP-focused products and one industry-vertical product rounding things out at the end).


The grand elder of the pack is certainly Skype. Founded in 2003, later bought by eBay, and now owned by Microsoft, Skype has the greatest overall market share, due both to its longevity and the fact that it is now distributed (as Skype for Business) in Office 365. Skype is so ubiquitous that the phrase “to Skype someone” is used as a generic term for video conferencing.

Skype clients are available (some still in preview/beta) for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, macOS and even Xbox, as well as most modern browsers, though support for a number of older platforms is being discontinued.

skype Richard Hoffman/IDG

Setting up a conversation in Skype

Skype video conferencing calls (group video chat) using a free account are capped at 10 participants, and the maximum number of video streams in general varies based on device, platform and bandwidth. Anecdotally, video call quality has sometimes lagged, especially on low-bandwidth connections, but recent releases seem to be addressing that criticism. Screen-sharing capability is included, but the “paid” version of Skype, Skype for Business, is not intended as a full-featured collaboration workspace package — Microsoft Teams (included with mid-range to higher-end versions of Office 365, such as the $5/user/month Business Essentials and $12.50/user/month Business Premium) fills that role, and there is currently some uncertainty how Teams and Skype will co-exist and integrate long term.

While it includes Skype with its Business and Enterprise plans, Microsoft also sells Skype for Business Online as a stand-alone package. The matrix of feature sets versus Skype licensing gets complicated fast, but the usual rule of thumb is that if you’re buying a bundle (such as a business or enterprise Office 365 product), you’ll get the best deal — à la carte can get expensive.

Skype also offers more traditional VoIP services, such as portable numbers and the ability to place both domestic and international calls to and from landlines, but it additionally has some unusual features, such as the ability to do real-time automated language translation between nine supported languages. It’s highly limited (think Google Translate-level), but like Google Translate, sometimes it’s adequate to the task.

Skype is a solid enterprise player, and if you already have Office 365, it may fill your needs without the necessity of purchasing additional software.

Cisco WebEx Meeting Center and Spark

Cisco’s WebEx is one of the heavier gorillas in this market, thanks to a long record of enterprise presence and support. The origins of WebEx go all the way back to 1996. Cisco acquired WebEx in 2007 and now offers a wide range of enterprise-focused collaboration products and services, covering areas including training, events and customer support, as well as video conferencing.

Mobile support in WebEx is provided for Android and iOS devices. Windows and macOS are supported using most modern browsers, via plugins/extensions. (While several Linux distributions have partial WebEx support, none are supported for video conferencing meetings.)

Like many of the other vendors, Cisco offers a free tier of service (WebEx Meetings Free), which allows a single host to set up a meeting with up to three participants, using VoIP audio. But Cisco offers more collaboration features than some other vendors provide through their free services, including whiteboards and screen sharing. Paid tiers of service begin with Premium 8 ($19/month, eight people per meeting), then expand to Premium 25 and Premium 200 ($29 and $39/month, respectively, for 25 and 200 maximum participants). All levels of paid service include a full package of enterprise features, including dial-in and VoIP audio, screen and app sharing, encryption, meeting recording, single sign-on, and integration with Exchange, Outlook and corporate directories.

Cisco is now bundling the Cisco Spark product with WebEx Meeting Center. Capped at 25 participants for all three Premium WebEx packages (8/25/200), Spark is oriented more toward ongoing team collaboration use cases, as opposed to large meetings, events or presentations, but does include video conferencing, screen sharing and whiteboarding, so there is definite functional overlap. WebEx is a more mature product than Spark, so, for example, it has more advanced video codecs. But Cisco seems to be putting significant development effort into Spark, so both products are worth keeping an eye on, depending on your use cases.

spark Richard Hoffman/IDG

Spark is oriented more toward ongoing team collaboration.

For those more interested in Spark than WebEx, there are also several levels of Spark-only bundles, both at a free tier (Spark Free), and Spark Plus M1, at $12/user/month, but both of these packages are currently capped at three participants for video conferencing. Advanced/M2 and Premium/M3 plans offer a boost to 25-person video calls.


Another venerable product in this space is GoToMeeting, which first appeared in 2004 and remains a major player. (Note: in early 2017, GoToMeeting was separated from Citrix Systems and merged with LogMeIn, the maker of another video conferencing product, join.me, which is described below.)

GoToMeeting organizers and attendees can use a desktop app (for Windows and macOS) or apps for iOS, Android or Windows Phone, but most modern browsers support the service on Windows, macOS, Linux or Chrome OS.

Packages start at $19/month, with 10 participants, including screen sharing. The $29/month Pro package has a 50-participant cap and adds features including drawing tools, session recording, mobile apps and keyboard/mouse sharing. For $49/month you can increase the maximum number of participants to 100 and get some higher-end enterprise capabilities, such as integration with conference room systems, Active Directory and whiteboards. All packages, however, cap the maximum number of video streams at six. A 14-day free trial is available to try before you buy.

GoToMeeting doesn’t have a lot of extra bells and whistles and has distinctly not joined the rush toward team collaboration toolsets, but for solid, reliable video conferencing at a reasonable price, it’s a capable contender.


One of the newcomers to this space, ClickMeeting is also one of the better services currently available. A “meeting-centric” service, as opposed to a team/collaborative tool, it lets meeting presenters set up scheduled or permanent (reusable) virtual meeting rooms.

ClickMeeting has a number of nice-to-have features that not all of its competitors offer, including some that are useful for interactive presentations, such as simple real-time polls and surveys, “hand-raising” and “agree/disagree” symbols for participants, as well as must-have features such as meeting recording, desktop/screen sharing and whiteboards.

Support is provided for mobile users (Android and iOS app) and for major browsers on Windows and macOS, as well as Chrome and Office plug-ins for calendar/scheduling integration.

There’s a wide range of pricing options: the standard (“MyWebinars”) package allows for up to two presenters with a maximum of four video streams, and includes four hours of reusable session recording; 25 attendees cost $25, with discounts for more ($30 for 50, and $55 for 100). The Pro package increases the number of presenters to four; boosts the recording time to six hours, with 24 hours of total storage; and offers HD-quality streaming; 50 participants cost $35, 100 cost $65, and 500 cost $145. For much larger needs, there is an Enterprise tier covering webinars of up to 5,000 participants. Add-ons are available for up to three extra video streams, four additional presenters, parallel session hosting, and additional file and recording storage. A 30-day free trial (no credit card required) is a nice feature, so you can try before you buy.

If your use cases center on presentations and video-enabled virtual meeting rooms, ClickMeeting is well worth a look.


Zoom, founded in 2011, is one of the newcomers here, but it was founded by veterans from Cisco/WebEx, and has had substantial success over a short period of time. Having achieved a $100 million round of funding in 2017, Zoom is officially a unicorn (a startup valued at over $1 billion).

And for good reason — Zoom is hot. Anecdotally, Zoom seems to be attracting ad hoc users at a high rate, and there is some data to support this observation. For instance, at present it is Okta’s fourth-fastest-growing app in its Businesses @ Work dashboard.

Zoom has a significant enterprise footprint. It brags that more than 750,000 companies worldwide are using Zoom, and that number, too, seems to be growing at a quick rate. Zoom is diving more deeply into industry-specific applications, such as education and healthcare, than some of its competitors, and it is one of the few to have a HIPAA-compliant tele-health product (also see VSee, below). Some other teleconferencing products, including some covered here, use Zoom technology under the covers.

zoom Richard Hoffman/IDG

Setting up preferences in Zoom

For its core Zoom Video Conferencing offering, Zoom has a range of flexible plan options that offer the opportunity for customers to try out and use its basic services without making a substantial investment. The Basic plan is free to use and allows a host to create a videoconference with up to 100 members, with a 40-minute limit on meeting duration. An impressive range of enterprise-ready features is included in the free Basic tier as well. Upgrading to the Pro package for $14.99/month/host removes the meeting duration limit and adds more options, including paying for a higher participant cap. Business and Enterprise plans ($19.99/month/host, with a 10- and 100-host minimum, respectively) provide a further range of options, including branding , single sign-on, dedicated support and discounts on add-on features such as webinars (full details here).

Zoom supports macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android clients, and we’ve done some testing here — quality is quite good under a range of conditions. Bottom line: If you’re looking at video conferencing, Zoom should probably be on your short list.

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