The Lowdown: Pros and Cons of Top Video Conferencing Platforms
For millions of people across the UK, the past few weeks have been spent adapting to a new semi-permanent work environment – our homes.
A key part of staying connected to the office while remote working is getting to grips with video conferencing, or VoIP as it’s known in IT jargon.
In this article, we share our thoughts on some of the leading video conferencing platforms available to business users and we recommend our pick of the bunch.
Owned by Microsoft, Skype has become synonymous with video calling. It’s familiar to many, functional and free, offering messaging alongside voice and audio calls for up to 50 people. If you’re not already a user, however, some can find it awkward to set up, and it’s also starting to show its age in the face of newer competitors.
Zoom provides reliable, high-quality video conferencing through an advanced user interface. Meetings can be joined by up to 100 people for 40 minutes in the free version, and hosts have a range of user-friendly controls to keep things in order.
What it lacks in sophistication, Google Hangouts makes up for in the fact that it’s quick to set up and easy to use. Apps are available for mobile users but everything can be managed via your browser, call time is unlimited and up to 25 participants can join the conversation. It’s free in its basic form but for G Suite users there is also a paid-for option – Hangouts Meet – which Google has also made free until July 1.
Video conferencing is one of the functions available within Teams, Microsoft’s all-singing collaboration tool. It’s certainly not short of features and integrations but, arguably, that means it’s a bit overcomplicated. The paid-for version is included within Office 365 subscriptions but there is also a free option – and Microsoft has also relaxed pricing during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Most commonly used by gamers, Discord is a niche player in this list that merits an honourable mention. It’s particularly strong on chat functionality although some users may find the interface a little complex and it can also place quite a strain on your PC’s processing power.
Having been in the video conferencing game a long time, GoToMeeting has evolved to become a robust and accessible solution. It’s free for three people but paid-for options mean the GoToMeeting offering can scale up to enterprise level. With a family of connected products, it’s generally favoured by heavier business users but has failed to grab market share at the same rate as Zoom or Teams.
Zoom - Great quality video and packed with features, Zoom rightly rockets to the top of our video conferencing leaderboard.
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