Skype alternatives: The best video conferencing software

Video conferencing is an efficient way to hold meetings that include remote workers and colleagues across different geographies and departments.

You might want integration with on-premise infrastructure or a fully cloud-based product, or something to roll into existing collaboration platforms like Slack.

Read on for some of the best video conferencing solutions.

Read next: Best web analytics tools 2018.

Additional reporting by Hannah Williams.

Google Hangouts Meet
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Google Hangouts Meet

Google Hangoutsis a simple and easy-to-use web conferencing software that can be accessed by anyone with a Gmail account.

The Hangouts Meet feature allows users to host video meetings for teams within the organisation, a great tool for working remotely.

If you have G Suite enterprise edition, then every conference meeting will include its own dial-in details for all guests to quickly dial-in to the call.

It is also integrated with all G Suite platforms including Google Calendar, to enable meeting hosts to set up meetings when all participants are available.

It costs £4.60 per user per month for the basic G Suite edition with 30GB storage, £9.20 per user per month for the business edition and £20 per user per month for the enterprise edition with unlimited storage.

BlueJeans
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BlueJeans

BlueJeansis a cloud-based video meeting solution that allows users to communicate via a number of different devices, platforms and conferencing programmes.

Users who already have business conferencing solutions such as Cisco, StarLeaf or Polycom can use BlueJeans to set up private, online meetings with individuals without having to change their preferred video conferencing application.

Furthermore, it offers screen sharing, polling, Q&A, recording, and text chat capabilities alongside integrations with AI and voice recognition partners to help improve the user’s meeting experience.

Prices start from $12.49 a month for up to 50 users. Pricing for an enterprise grade version which allows you to meet with over 150 people is available on request.

Lifesize
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Lifesize

Lifesizeis a video conferencing and collaboration platform and is known for being the first video conferencing company to bring high definition video communication technology to market.

The company offers users a cloud-based software solution that connects via desktop, mobile device or a browser-based web application to facilitate video conferencing. Lifesize also provides a number of third-party integrations such as Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar and Slack, to name a few.

Lifesize has also become a player in the video conferencing hardware market, offering a range of 4K conference room systems alongside audio equipment, more basic cameras and a specially designed video-conferencing smart phone.

Currently, you can download a free version of Lifesize with which you can video chat with up to eight people at once. For businesses, pricing plans start at $16 per user per month for 25 users, up to $23 per user per month for up to 250 people.

HighFive
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HighFive

HighFiveprovides unlimited video conferencing meetings access, with access to all meeting features.

It includes easy access to meetings, with a personalised URL to avoid dialling-in from international locations. This is suitable for instantly accessing meetings from your PC, phone or laptop.

The software, which runs on the Dolby Conference Phone, means that users can easily start and manage meetings from anywhere in the world.

Pricing starts at £175 a month for up to 10 users, £275 a month for 25 users and £525 a month for 50 users.

TeamViewer
© TeamViewer

TeamViewer

TeamVieweris remote desktop software that offers online meetings, web conferencing and file transfer for easy online collaboration.

Its remote access and conferencing capabilities are embedded with HD quality voice over IP calling solutions. The video conferencing feature enables users to hold conference calls with up to 300 people, which is displayed in tile view but can be enlarged when required.

TeamViewer also includes session recording to record conference meetings while on call and quickly transfer to an AVI file.

Pricing starts from £31.90 a month for a single user, £59.90 a month for multi-user and £119.90 for the teams package.

Zoho Cliq
© Zoho

Zoho Cliq

Zoho Cliqis team communication software, which offers a range of features from messaging to file sharing, audio and video calling.

It includes a video conferencing feature that allows users to host group video calling, both remote and in-house for team collaboration.

Zoho Cliq also provides the ability to share files and send direct messages while on a video call, eliminating the need to switch between apps.

Zoho Cliq is available for free for unlimited users and 100GB storage for the enterprise. Pricing starts from $3 (£2.33) per user, a month for up to 10 users with a decrease in pricing per user for larger team deployment.

It is available on Windows, Mac and Linux desktops and iOS and Android devices.

Microsoft Teams
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft Teams

In response to the rise and rise of collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft launched Teams in March 2017. It’s more of a catch-all chat app for workspaces but it also includes a powerful video conferencing option. Users in a group can launch a video conference from their chat, there’s voice over IP (VoIP) support, as well as connectivity to phone networks.

In January 2018 Microsoft introduced Skype for Business integration in Microsoft Teams. But Microsoft will continue to support existing Skype for Business customers.

Microsoft has also recently introduced a feature to invite any guest – not just those within your company’s Azure Active Directory – to a chatroom, and that includes video conferencing too.

The mobile flavour of Teams now has support for voicemail across iOS and Android plus the ability to join meetings anonymously.

A freemium version of Teams might be in the works.

Teams is part of Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business, which are £3.80 per user per year and £9.40 per user per year respectively.

Cisco WebEx
Image: Cisco

Cisco WebEx

A heavy hitter in video conferencing, Cisco WebEx is a reliable option for enterprises that has all the features you’d expect – so video meetings, collaboration chats and personalised meeting rooms with customisation options for webinars, training, and remote support. It’s ideal for enterprises that are concerned about security with WebEx Meeting featuring transport-layer security, secure scheduling options, single sign-on, as well as third party accreditations, firewall compatibility and encryption (see here for more via PDF)

Aside from a free tier that allows meetings two participants, it is otherwise a fairly expensive option. The ‘Premium 8’ tear costs £15 per month for up to eight people per meeting, £30 per month for up to 25 people per meeting, and £49 per month for the Premium 100 option of up to 100 people per meeting.

The good news is that although the plans are slightly stingy for how many participants are allowed, full features are available across the board, including video conferencing, application and screen sharing, VoIP or phone call-in, markup tools and whiteboard, the option to record meetings including video, and complementary mobile apps on iOS and Android.

Zoom
Image: Zoom

Zoom

California-based Zoom offers a generous free tier for video conferencing with the ability to host up to 100 participants, and unlimited numbers of one-to-one meetings, online support, and HD video. You’ll be limited to 40 minutes on group meetings but if this is something you might be able to work around then it is worth a look.

Paid tiers start from £11.99 per month per host with the ‘Pro’ tier, which also includes user management features and custom personal meeting IDs, as well as interoperability with Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync).

The £15.99 per month per host ‘Business’ option also has dedicated phone support, enhanced admin dashboard features and managed domains. You’ll need a minimum of 10 hosts to get the Business tier. The £15.99 per month per host enterprise option requires a minimum of 100 hosts, but can support 200 participants plus comes with unlimited cloud storage and bundle discounts on webinars.

StarLeaf
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StarLeaf

British relative newcomer StarLeaf pulled in $40 million in funding in May 2017. StarLeaf OpenCloud comes with its own API so you can integrate its conferencing into your applications. The company also offers a wide range of upgrades and integrations including for Skype for Business and Slack, plus a complementary app for the Windows, iOS and Android platforms.

You’ll have to request a demo and contact the business for pricing.

While it’s arguably at upstart status right now, Starleaf plans to expand worldwide and says it has a “rapidly growing enterprise client base” in Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, and will be investing in APAC.

According to the company: “Starleaf’s unique architecture enables its clients to deliver enterprise-wide video connectivity, avoiding the limitations of virtual meeting room-based solutions. StarLeaf’s platform enables capabilities seamlessly from the cloud that have otherwise been the reserve of those investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in expensive on-premise video infrastructure.”

GoToMeeting
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GoToMeeting

Developed by cloud-based remote connectivity business LogMeIn, GoToMeeting offers a range of connectivity options for businesses. The basic £12 per month option allows for 10 participants and includes web audio, screen sharing, one-click meetings, dial in conference lines, and HD video conferencing, as well as the Call Me feature, where participants can join by picking up their phone (for a cost).

The £19 per month Pro tier has all the above plus drawing tools, recording, mobile apps, keyboard and mouse sharing, plus a ‘personal meeting room’ URL that participants can point their browser to if they want to join a meeting with you.

Pro users get all of that plus the InRoom Link feature that integrates with H.323 conference room systems from providers such as Polycom and Cisco.

Join.Me
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Join.Me

For individuals Join.Me is a simple freemium cloud-based screensharing, online meeting and video conferencing package that is no-frills but effective. There is a business option available that counts Fortune 500 companies as its customers, and the business tier integrates into various calendar, productivity and organisation apps including Outlook, Office 365 and Google Calendar. It’s owned by LogMeIn, which also runs GoToMeeting.

Contact the sales team for business plans. SMEs wanting a quick solution can sign up for free immediately here with a LogMeIn ID.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.