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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Another of the more recent entrants into the video conferencing space is Mountain View, Calif.-based BlueJeans. Founded in 2009, it has had as one primary focus the ability to tie together a wide variety of video conferencing hardware and software, from dedicated business conference tools from Polycom, Tandberg and Cisco to software and cloud-based systems and mobile devices.

But BlueJeans is not just about connecting other people’s systems — it has its own video meeting product, and the latest iteration is a solid offering. Ideally, BlueJeans scales all the way from being a standalone turnkey service to being the glue that integrates hardware-based products, consumer-level applications and collaboration products such as Slack, HipChat and Skype for Business.

The smallest tier of service, starting at $12.49/host/month, enables meetings of up to 50 participants with unlimited meeting duration and features including calendar integration (Outlook/Office, Google), screen and app sharing, remote keyboard/mouse control, single sign-on and end-to-end AES encryption. The next tier (“My Team”), at $16.66/host/month, raises the participant cap to 75, adds 10 hours/host of meeting recording storage, and offers analytics and integration with other collaboration tools. Higher tiers are available for meetings with up to 100 participants, further integration capabilities, unlimited meeting recording, and other enterprise-grade features. And a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) allows for trying before buying.

BlueJeans supports a wider range of endpoints than some of its competitors, with desktop apps on Windows, macOS and Linux; browser plugins for most modern browsers; and native support for Chrome and Chromebooks, as well as iOS and Android mobile apps.

Adobe Connect

Adobe has a long history of media-creation tools, including video, but it has nearly as long a history of creating collaborative tools. Acquired from Macromedia (and Presidia before that), the current iteration of Adobe Connect is split into three parts: Meetings, Learning and Webinars. The Adobe Connect Meetings product is where mainstream video conferencing and virtual office/meeting spaces exist, though there is certainly some functional overlap and integration between all three products.

The feature set is solid: screen sharing (for host and participants), file sharing, persistent virtual rooms, session recording, multiple hosts and numerous interactive features, such as polls, Q&A, whiteboard, comments and emoticons. The content creation focus in Adobe’s corporate DNA shows with the inclusion of a set of tools to help record, create and edit content. Unlimited video streams are a nice (and unusual) feature — other products have specific limits, though there are certainly technical (bandwidth) limitations in any case.

Adobe Connect is supported on Windows, macOS and Linux, as well as on most major browsers, and it has Android and iOS apps. The cost of Adobe Connect Meeting is higher than some of its competitors, but it does offer a rich feature set: $50/month allows creating meetings with up to 25 participants, with upgrades available for higher numbers of participants (up to 100). Larger presentations and webinars are handled through the separate Adobe Connect Webinar product, which can manage up to 1,000 participants (at $580/month). A free version of Adobe Connect Meeting is available that enables unlimited virtual meetings, but with a cap of three participants, and without the ability to record sessions. A 25-day free trial is also available that allows meetings of up to 25 participants.


(Note: in early 2017, the maker of join.me, LogMeIn, merged with Citrix Systems’ GoTo subsidiary, which offers a competing product, GoToMeeting. The combined company has announced its intention to maintain both products separately.)

One of the more recent additions to the video conferencing market, join.me was created by Boston-based LogMeIn, developing a niche for easy-to-use video-enabled meetings, and has quietly built up a solid feature set. The user interface is designed to look more casually friendly than some others, with participants’ video feeds inside round, draggable bubbles.

Originally a freemium product, join.me now has a fairly standard pricing model. Starting with a free tier that allows up to three meeting participants (each with a video feed), this level still includes screen sharing, file transfer, whiteboards (only supported on iOS, for some reason), and even product support (email only). The free plan used to allow 10 users, so the downgrade, while in line with some competitors’ offerings, makes the free tier rather more of a trial use. The Pro tier, at $20/user/month, allows up to 50 meeting participants, with a maximum of 10 video feeds (which is higher than most other products). It also adds numerous features, including meeting recording, reporting tools, API access, calendaring integration, optional toll-free call-in numbers and 5GB of storage, and it removes the ads from the free version (a legacy of the freemium model). The Business tier ($30/user/month) raises the participant cap to 250 and adds a number of enterprise management features, including single sign-on and Salesforce.com integration. There is also a 14-day free trial of the Pro version available, so you can test with a greater number of users.

Unfortunately, in raising its prices, join.me has gone from being one of the best deals available to being another product in a very competitive segment of the market. With the 14-day trial and free tier, you can try before you buy, and see if join.me’s feature set and ease of use make it a good fit for your needs.

Google Hangouts

Google’s Hangouts product is in transition, and it seems to be acquiring much more of an enterprise focus. Evolving out of a number of separate messaging products, Hangouts became a unified, consumer-focused product on Google+ (now sometimes called “classic Hangouts”), but while Hangouts is still available (see below), the latest iteration has Google splitting it back into two distinct products: Hangouts Meet, a video conferencing/virtual meeting service, and Hangouts Chat, a team collaboration tool that can create persistent virtual rooms — the split is perhaps conceptually similar to Cisco’s WebEx vs. Spark products, though a closer comparison might be that both Hangouts Chat and Cisco Spark are looking to compete with the Slack collaboration product. (For more info, see here.)

Hangouts Meet is supported on macOS, Windows, Chrome and Debian-based Linux distributions, but the browser-based interface is presently supported only on the Google Chrome browser. Android and iOS mobile apps are available, but at the moment, the iOS app works on Apple’s phones, but not on iPads.

Meeting creators must have an enterprise G Suite account, including Google’s office suite and cloud-based file storage, which is available in a Basic edition for $5/user/month, a Teams version for $10/user/month, a Business edition, also at $10/user/month, and a premium Enterprise package at $25/user/month. Anyone (whether or not they have a G Suite account) can join in virtual meetings, with a participant cap of 25 users for Basic and Business edition creators, and 30 for the Enterprise package. Incidentally, the classic Hangouts product still allows free group video calls with up to 10 participants, and it supports both iPads and iPhones, as well as Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers.

Clearly, Google Hangouts Meet and Chat are still very much works in progress, positioned as a value-add to the Google G Suite package. If you are an existing or prospective G Suite customer, however, keep an eye on developments, because you may get a reasonably good-quality video conferencing solution included with the cost of your G Suite package. Users of the existing “classic” Google Hangouts, however, lost their third-party app integration when Google discontinued the Hangouts API back in April, and nobody will be much surprised if the free service itself is further deprecated somewhere down the line.

Amazon Chime

Amazon Chime is a challenger, which is another way of saying it’s new to the game. Part of Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) family of offerings, Chime was launched in February 2017 as a competitor to both basic video conferencing products and more comprehensive meeting and presentation systems such as ClickMeeting and Cisco WebEx Meeting Center. Chime is supported on Android, iOS, macOS and Windows devices, with full support for video-enabled meetings on all of these platforms. But unlike some competitors, it has no web-based option — all users must download the Chime client on their particular platforms.

Pricing is on a pay-as-you-go model, per user per month, so one plus for Chime is that you’re not locked into a long-term licensing commitment. Like many other video conferencing products, Chime has a free (“Basic”) tier of service, but in this case, it provides a very limited feature set. Video calls (as well as voice and chat) for Basic users are restricted to one to one (for the meeting organizer — Basic tier users can still join in to larger meetings).

Plus plans ($2.50/user/month) are still limited to one-to-one meetings but add screen sharing and remote desktop control, as well as niceties such as reporting, user management and corporate directory integration. The Pro plan is where things get real for the enterprise — the ability to schedule, organize and initiate meetings of up to 100 participants, the ability to record meetings, and Outlook integration, for $15/user/month.

Chime as a product does not yet stand out from the competition, but it is certainly worth watching, especially if you already use features of AWS — Amazon has the deep pockets to make Chime a top-tier contender if it chooses to make that happen.


eVoice is a special case among these products — primarily a VoIP-based business phone system with a full suite of voice calling features, the eVoice plans also have browser-based web conference and video conferencing capabilities as a premium option. Up to 25 users can share video feeds, or 95+ participants can hear audio and view shared desktops. Standard eVoice plans run between $12.99/month (300 minutes, two extensions, six numbers), up to $79.99/month (4,000 minutes, 15 extensions, 45 numbers). The web conference and video conferencing features add roughly another $10 to $50/month, ranging from 100 minutes on up to unlimited use.

If you are looking for a full-featured virtual phone system and also have a need for video conferencing capability, eVoice is worth a look. For stand-alone video conferencing, other products are better options.

RingCentral Office and Glip

Like eVoice, RingCentral is a VoIP-based business phone service provider that includes video meetings, screen sharing and other collaboration tools as a part of an integrated package. The Standard package for RingCentral Office ($24.99/month/user) enables video meetings with screen sharing for up to four people, Premium ($34.99/month/user) bumps that to a 50-person cap, and the Enterprise package ($44.99/month/user) has a maximum of 75 people per meeting (a Large Meeting annual license add-on can increase the participant cap to either 100 or 200 people). The RingCentral Meetings app (supported for macOS, Windows, Android and iOS) enables HD video conferencing, including screen sharing and recording, for up to 25 video streams (see here).

All RingCentral packages include the Glip team collaboration package (Glip was acquired by RingCentral in 2015), enabling Slack-like features such as messaging, calendaring, basic task scheduling and shared filespaces, as well as video conferencing. Glip is supported for macOS, Windows, iOS and Android devices, and Glip teams can include external users as well as RingCentral Office subscribers.

However, Glip, like Cisco Spark, is also available as a standalone product. A generous free tier allows unlimited use (with no maximum number of users) for team chat and shared file storage, with 500 minutes of shared video chat. The Basic tier ($5/user/month) includes 24/7 support and 1,000 minutes of video chat, and the Pro package ($10/user/month) adds management and compliance features and bumps the video chat allotment to 3,000 minutes/month. RingCentral Meeting and Glip make use of Zoom’s highly regarded video conferencing technology (see Zoom, above). If you are looking for a team collaboration package, Glip is worth a look, especially given the availability of the free tier to setup a pilot or hands-on test without financial commitment.

glip Richard Hoffman/IDG

Glip is a team collaboration tool.


VSee is an excellent example of an industry-focused video conferencing platform — in this case, one that specifically targets video telemedicine and medical collaboration. VSee starts with HIPAA-compliant video conferencing, which is a must for any medical application, assuring a necessary level of security and privacy (such as end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption). VSee points out that its offering is currently being used for video conferencing/telemedicine with the International Space Station, no doubt in part because of data privacy issues (and reliable telemedicine to ISS is a must).

VSee handles one-on-one and group video conferencing and by design is one of the better video conferencing products for maintaining good quality under low-bandwidth conditions. Standard collaboration features such as session recording, file sharing and screen sharing become essential medical tools for these specialized use cases. Support in VSee is included for all the usual suspects: macOS, Windows, Android and iOS, and the VSee HIPAA Messenger product has a free “Basic Messenger” offering that includes group video, chat and file sharing. The Pro package ($49/provider/month) adds unlimited screen sharing, business hours support, and a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement, and the highest pricing tier ($299/account/month) enables real-time peripheral streaming (for medical devices), and remote PTV (pan-tilt-zoom) camera control.

This kind of specialized platform isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great highlight of some of the ways video conferencing is broadening the capability of businesses and areas of practice such as medicine, and creating entirely new possibilities. Sometimes, science fiction becomes science fact — welcome to the future.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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