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Zoom Video Conferencing and Other Options for Your Meetings
Over the last two decades, companies have witnessed a revolution in communication efficiency. In the past, people had to travel for conferences or sit in boring office meetings. This often resulted in the business making losses as employees had to take time off their workplaces and also due to the incurred travel and accommodation costs.
With the Global Business Travel Association estimating that flight and hotel prices will rise by 2.6% and 3.7% respectively, it is no wonder that both large and small businesses are embracing digital solutions. Communication resources such as a free video conference call have enhanced convenience, improved productivity, and have even save organizations time and money.
What is video conferencing?
Just like teleconferencing, a video conference allows you to connect with multiple colleagues or even clients at once through visual and audio communication. This is normally carried out over a broadband network. Today, there are quite a number of software which offers free video conferencing solutions.
Advantages of video conferencing
Video conferencing has a host of advantages. It eliminates space and time barriers, thus allowing employees or clients in different geographical regions to meet and make decisions faster. Through free group video conferencing, teams can easily stay in sync, thus increasing productivity. Compared to audio calls, video conferencing offers the unique benefit of non-verbal communication, which is critical to effective communications.
How to incorporate video conferencing into your meetings
According to a market report by Transparency Market Research, the global video conferencing market is expected to reach $10.5 billion by 2016. This growth is attributed to the increased need to work remotely. When choosing a video conferencing solution, you need to consider such factors as:
- The number of participants in your video calls
- The ability to integrate third-party and shareable applications such as Docket
- How often you conduct video conference meetings
You need to balance these and other features as a free service might not have the features you need while a paid solution might have features you might never use.
Zoom is currently one of the most appealing video conferencing solutions in the market today. This is not only a video conferencing platform but also one that enables you to send messages and make audio calls to multiple systems and desktops. While you could opt for a paid version of the Zoom download if you want additional features, users who have meetings that last for less than 40 minutes can use the platform for free. The free version allows up to 100 participants, and you can use it as an Outlook or Chrome Plug-in.
One of the features that make this platform stand out is that only one person has to download Zoom for windows. Other participants only need to click on the unique or reoccurring meeting link and attend the video conference through their smartphone, tablet, personal computer, or desktop. You as the meeting’s host can also download zoom meeting for Mac or download zoom meeting for Windows free.
Download zoom meeting for windows and benefit from such features as screen and content sharing, messaging, and recording. To effectively use the Zoom cloud meeting app download, you only need a cloud connector as well as a video conferencing codec. This is unlike other solutions where you need such items as a telepresence management software and a VCS control.
What features do video conferencing solutions offer
There are quite a number of video conferencing options, all of which offer varying features. Some of the most popular options include:
- Telepresence systems – this is a widely used video conferencing option. The participants communicate over network or phone connections and place monitors on conference tables. This creates the illusion that they are in one room. The technology is quite expensive, but it offers a richer video conferencing experience.
- Desktop video conferencing – this is the easiest and most convenient video conferencing option. You only need to download a Zoom video conferencing platform, share Zoom login details with participants, and host your virtual meeting.
- Room-based systems – this is almost similar to desktop video conferencing, only that you need video conferencing equipment such as multiple control units and video conferencing endpoints.
Basic features of a video conferencing solution
Some of the key features you should look out for when purchasing a video conferencing platform are:
Quality video and voice
The minimum video display is normally 480p, while high-quality solutions offer 720p. When it comes to voice quality, avoid platforms have a grainy sound or where you’ll hear echoes or feedback. This way you can opt for Zoom audio conferencing.
Screen sharing enables participants to share demonstrations, visuals, and collaborative information. The excellent Zoom screen sharing feature makes it easy to host a Zoom meeting. Coupled with Docket, you can continue to view the agenda or take notes while sharing your screen with other guests.
Audio and video recording
This feature comes in handy as you can use the recordings for future reference or share them with people that did not take part in the meeting. Solutions such as Zoom audio allows you to record only the audio. And if you use your Zoom account for your Docket meetings, Zoom audio and video recording and transcriptions from your meetings can be automatically saved to your Docket meeting as a resource for future use.
Most video conferencing solutions’ calendar integration capabilities are limited to Outlook. As most organizations and individuals are using Google and Gmail calendars, it would be ideal to choose a solution which supports both like Zoom.
Real-time group and individual chat
Internal communication is extremely important to any organization, and a video conference is no substitute for such. As such, your preferred video conferencing solution should also have messaging capabilities.
The solution should give the administrator to monitor quality metrics and update the settings. Zoom admin login allows the host to check on user statuses, create new meeting rooms, add new user accounts, and show pictures in Zoom meeting. The admin can also tweak Zoom interview settings to show a profile picture in Zoom meeting rather than show the participants.
Personal computer and mobile applications
A good video conferencing solution should offer a streamlined service across multiple platforms. This allows for participants to access meetings via smartphones through mobile applications or PC using their Zoom credentials.
How to know which video conferencing tool is best
In this section, we discuss some of the most dynamic video conference platforms in the market today.
Founded in 2011, Zoom is a cutting-edge remote cloud conferencing platform which provides additional features such as mobile integration and chats collaboration. Noteworthy companies that have used Zoom include Uber, Slack, and GoDaddy. Zoom nonprofit pricing has four tiers. The Basic plan is ideal for light users while its most advanced tier, which is the Enterprise Plan allows for 1000 participants and a minimum of 50 hosts.
You may already have heard or used Skype, but did you know you can use it as a video conferencing tool? Apart from video conferencing, Skype offers a host of features including group chat, instant messaging, video chat, document and image sharing, and so on. When comparing Zoom vs Skype, the former carries the day when it comes to video and quality. Most Skype for Business users complain noises such as applauses obscure the speaker’s voice. Minor connection issues could also sign the meeting participants out.
Google Hangouts is another great and free video conferencing tool. Its integration with YouTube makes it fun to use. All you need to do is install the Google Voice and Video plugin, invite participants, and hold your video conference. One downside of using Hangouts is that you can only have 10 participants, which again, makes Zoom stand out if you are comparing Zoom vs Skype vs Hangouts. Hangouts is a good alternative to Skype if you are looking to hosting informal video chats.
GoToMeeting is another robust web conferencing tool that is quite similar to Zoom. If we compare Zoom vs GoToMeeting, the former offers a bespoke whiteboarding option along with better drawing tools. GoToMeeting is also costlier compared to Zoom when considering its most advanced package.
Cisco Webex is another popular video conferencing platform that offers such features as file sharing, webinars, multimedia content sharing, chat, and other brainstorming tools, among others. When it comes to Webex vs Zoom vs Skype for business pricing, Skype is the cheapest.
Free Video Conferencing Options
For a long time, video conferencing has been a reserve for large businesses due to the prohibitive costs associated with the equipment. Apart from the mentioned video conferencing tools, including Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Webex, and Gotomeeting that offer free as well as paid plans, there are other free video conferencing software.
AnyMeeting is a free video conferencing tool that has features that match those you would find in a paid video conferencing tool, including the screen sharing option, recording the meetings, and a follow-up functionality. It allows up to 200 participants and is web-based.
TokBox Video Chat is another great free video conference app that allows a maximum of 20 participants. Apart from being quite easy to use, it integrates with your social media pages such as Twitter and Facebook, which allows you to let people know of your planned video conference without sending emails. It is important to point out that even the best free video conferencing software sometimes miss out on pertinent features. With the vast number of industry players offering such solutions, your small start-up or business can benefit paid video conferencing solutions that do not cost an arm and a leg.
The bottom line
Video conferencing is an effective way of rallying a communication culture throughout the organization. Whether your employees are geographically dispersed or in one place, through a free video conferencing app, employees and teams can communicate effectively. This increases collaboration and speeds up decision making. It also helps you cut on costs related to traveling and accommodation. Unlike teleconferencing, video conferencing humanizes your conversations. Best free video conferencing 2017 improves meeting attendance as its flexibility allows participants to attend in spite of busy schedules or unforeseen circumstances. The meeting can be recorded for those who are unable to attend.