With the COVID-19 pandemic prompting more workplaces than ever to shift towards working from home, video conferencing is more important than ever.
You want to find a conference call service that will operate smoothly and won’t get in the way of the meeting. The best app will make you forget it’s even there. It will function seamlessly at all times and will allow you to conduct a meeting with no interruptions.
Which app should you choose for your next conference? The answer depends on the needs of your team, and there are a lot of factors to consider.
What To Consider When Choosing a Conference Call Service
What should you be looking for when it comes to choosing the perfect conferencing app? There are many factors to consider – from the features the app offers to the compatibility to the integrations.
There’s no such thing as the perfect conference call service – your team just needs to decide on the right app for your needs. Here are some of the things to consider:
- Cost: The cost of your conferencing app will make a big difference. Some of the apps will be free or available for a very low monthly rate, but they may not include all the features you need.
- Number of Participants: Do you have a small remote team? Or do you need to be able to host large meetings with many participants.
- Usability: The right conferencing software will be incredibly easy for everyone on your team to use.
- “Share My Screen”: Do your team members need to be able to share their screen on occasion? This feature makes it easy to show everyone else what you have been working on or give a presentation to explain something visually.
- Security: What are the security features of the conferencing app? These are important to consider as well, so that you can ensure the security of your team.
- Calendar Integrations: Having a conferencing app that will sync with your calendar app makes planning meetings a lot easier. It will automatically create an event for the meeting and send out invitations to all participants – making sure no one missing the important meeting.
- Compatibility: Of course, another key factor is whether or not the conference call service is compatible with the equipment your team is using. If your team member isn’t able to use the app because it is only for a Mac and they are on a PC, it probably won’t work.
- Noise Cancelling: This is a very important feature for your conferencing app to be able to support. A noise cancelling add-on app such as Krisp will allow you to filter out all distracting noise and have clear, easy-to-understand conversations even if there is barking dogs, street noise or coffee-shop chatter in the background.
Which Noise Is Annoying You The Most?
These are just a few examples of the types of features and factors to consider when choosing the right conference call service for you.
9 Best Conferencing Call Services
There are several different options out there when it comes to conferencing apps. Each one has their own set of features, and distinct pros and cons. Here are 10 of the most popular options on the market right now.
Zoom is a cloud-based video and web conferencing software that is very well suited to online meetings. It is well suited to file sharing, group messaging, webinars and conference calls.
It’s a very reliable app – even if you don’t have a great internet connection. You can record any call as a full-length video and also download a transcript of the in-meeting chat during the meeting. Besides, there’s Zoom noise cancellation built into the app.
If you are mostly conducting one on one meetings, the free version of Zoom is more than suitable. It offers unlimited one on one meetings and group meetings of up to 40 minutes.
- Zoom offers high quality audio and video, which makes video calling feel very immersive.
- The app integrates with calendar apps such as Google calendar, which will help you to schedule meetings and coordinate participants.
- It’s very easy to quickly share the Zoom link to join the video conference.
- The screen sharing features of Zoom are excellent and they make it easy to present to your team.
- When team members enter the conference call, they cannot see anything posted in the chat prior to their arrival. So, if anyone arrives late to the meeting you have to catch them up on whatever was posted before.
- The Meeting Set-Up menu can be somewhat confusing and difficult to learn how to use.
- The free version of Zoom only allows meetings of up to 40 minutes. This is not practical if you want to be able to have a longer interaction.
The Free version of Zoom allows you to host unlimited one to one meetings. On group meetings you can host up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes.
The Pro version of Zoom is $14.99 per month per host, making it great for small teams. It also includes features that allow you to record your meetings and share them with participants.
If you want to have 10 or more hosts per account, you can opt for the Business version for $19.99 per month per host. This version also offers a lot more support and includes up to 300 participants.
Skype has been on the scene for years and is another one of the most popular apps for conferencing. Also, Skype for Business has merged with Microsoft Teams, which is a communication platform that has similar features to Slack.
Skype has a number of helpful features for video calls, allowing you to use instant messaging, make local and domestic calls to phones and conduct screen sharing.
The instant messaging feature of Skype is quite useful. It allows you to leave a message for others that they will be able to read at a later date. You can even record voice messages
- Skype is great for calling phones at a very affordable rate. You can even reroute calls, set up three-party calls and more.
- There are cute emojis available to use in the texting features, which can make conversations more fun and casual.
- Sometimes the video can lag on Skype, even when you have a good connection.
- Skype doesn’t have the capability to allow for call recordings. If you want to have recordings of your meetings, you’ll need to use a third party Skype recording software.
There are two different versions of Skype – the free version or Skype for business. As long as you keep your calls and messaging between fellow Skype users, you won’t pay a penny for the service. If you use the app to call a landline or a mobile phone, it will cost a small per-minute fee.
There are different subscriptions available for various rates, as well as packages that offer unlimited calls within a certain country. You can also pay a la carte for Skype credits in increments as low as $5.
Skype for Business is now built into Microsoft Teams. So, if you simply want to use the free features you can download Skype. However, if you want to upgrade you’ll need to switch to
Slack is a very useful app for communicating with your team, and it also features video-conferencing capabilities that allow you to share information and collaborate easily.
The app includes a number of useful functions, including screen sharing options and so much more. It’s incredibly easy to start a Slack call – you can go from communicating via messages to starting a video call with the click of a button.
In order to do this, you have to turn on the Calls feature for your team. Only the Team Owner or the Admin can do this, by going to the Team Settings page and clicking “Enable Calls for This Team.”
- Slack has an excellent search feature that allows you to search through previous conversations and find what you are looking for quickly and easily.
- If you have the Standard, Plus or Enterprise Grid plan, you can easily invite others to join in with a call that has already started.
- Sometimes the multiple channels available on Slack can be somewhat confusing and overwhelming.
- The Calls feature only supports one on one calls, or group calls for up to 15 participants in channels and group DMs for paid teams on the Standard Plan and above.
Slack has a Standard Plan that is designed for small and medium-sized businesses. It is $6.67 USD per person per month with yearly billing – or $8 USD per person per month when billed monthly. This plan includes unlimited messages, group video calls and unlimited apps.
There’s also a Plus option for large businesses or those needing advanced administration tools. It is $12.50 USD per person per month when billed yearly or $15 per person per month when billed monthly.
There’s also an Enterprise Grid version for very large businesses or those in strictly-regulated industries. Pricing is available on request.
Join.me is a conferencing app that allows you to claim your own personal URL to host a meeting. You can customize the meeting with your company branding, then invite anyone you want to attend. It is a cloud-based app, which makes it flexible and seamless to use.
The Join.me app is highly intuitive and the connectivity and setting up meetings is practically done for you. All you have to do is copy and paste the link into an email and your fellow participants can quickly click to join and connect.
The app features toll-free dialing, which offers you competitive rates as well as no hidden costs or overage fees. It even offers a screen-sharing features that is simply and can be activated with the click of a button.
- Join.me has high sound quality and very clear visuals.
- The app offers a choice of several dial-in locations.
- Join.me is very easy to use and there is no learning curve.
- The only way to pass the presenter role is for all parties to have the join.me app downloaded – which isn’t always realistic.
- Since it is not as widely used, everyone on your team may not be familiar with how it works.
Join.me offers a free trial option, or a LITE paid plan for $10 per month. The LITE plan allows up to 5 participants per meeting with no time limit, as well as unlimited toll and internet calls.
For $20 per month you can choose the PRO plan, which features up to 250 participants per meeting, up to 10 webcam streams, recording capabilities and 50 GB of cloud storage.
For larger organizations you can choose the $30 per month BUSINESS plan – with all the same features of the PRO plan plus more cloud storage, bulk user input, Enterprise authentication and Salesforce.com integration (so you can start meetings directly from your Salesforce) environment.
5. Google Meet
Google Meet is the professional video conference call service provided as part of Google’s G suite. It is reliable, intuitive and easy to use. Anyone with a Google Account can quickly create an online meeting with up to 100 participants and host for free for up to 60 minutes per meeting. There are paid options available for longer meetings with more participants.
Google Meet is quite versatile and will allow users to join pre-scheduled meetings from Calendar events, as well as dialing in from their phones.
- The app integrates seamlessly with Gmail and Google Calendar, making it easy to schedule meetings.
- The screen-sharing function is simple and easy to use.
- Since the price includes all the features of GSuite, this app offers great value for money.
- The desktop version of the app is not as seamless and easy to use as the mobile application.
- The 60 minute time limit for the free version is likely not enough time for most longer meetings.
If you are already a Gmail user, all you have to do is sign in to your existing Google Account to use Google Meet for free.
If you want to use the Business Version, you can sign up for a G Suite Account. At the moment there is a promotion offering GSuite Essentials for free through September 30th. After that, starting from October 1st 2020 it is $10 USD per active user per month.
The G-Suite Essentials Business version offers 300 hours of meetings for up to 150 meeting participants. There’s also a 24 hour support line if you need it.
BlueJeans is another option for secure video-conferencing for your workforce. It provides cloud-based meetings and large interactive events that are simple, secure and easy to scale. The HD video and audio within this app is powered by Dolby Voice, which means it is exceptionally clear.
The app is quite robust, with features including recording, screen-sharing, polling, Q&A and text chat. It is even possible to integrate it with an intelligent transcription app so you can have clear notes recorded from your every meeting.
- BlueJeans integrates seamlessly with some of the most popular productivity, messaging and scheduling tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello, Splunk and more. This means you can easily join the meeting from any of these other apps with one touch.
- The app has a “safe driving” mode to use while on the road for distraction-free meetings.
- Video meetings are encrypted by default, offering excellent security.
- The client software has a heavy interface that can take quite some time to install.
- It doesn’t always run as quickly as other competitors such as Zoom or Cisco Webex.
- There are not as many customization options for the user interface.
The BlueJeans standard option allows you to host up to 50 participants, as well as unlimited 1:1 meetings, for $9.99 per host per month. You’ll have access to 5 hours of recording, as well as smart meeting features.
The BlueJeans Pro option offers up to 75 participants and 25 hours of meeting recordings for $13.99 per host per month. It also features integrations with sales apps such as Zoho and Gong, as well as Workstream Collaboration and Integration features for Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Another popular choice when it comes to conferencing apps is GoToMeeting. The main benefits of this particular aoo are affordability, ease of use, user flexibility and great security.
GoToMeeting makes it very easy for meeting presenters to set up an event, as well as for participants to join.
The app even offers a drawing features that allows you to highlight important thoughts on the screen. There’s also a transcriptions feature that is surprisingly accurate and will allow you to keep notes and records of meetings for when you want to refer back to what was said.
- The app will easily integrate with Outlook in order to send meeting invites as calendar appointments.
- This app allows for very easy sharing of documents in real-time.
- It’s quite easy to record the meeting and share it with others who may have missed it.
- The GoToMeeting screen on mobile is not ideal, as it is difficult to see the other attendees.
- The control panel can get in the way of viewing the screen. You can close it, but then you lose the ability to see chats and other information.
GoToMeeting offers a Professional Plan for only $12 per organizer per month, which includes up to 150 participants, HD video, screen sharing, Web Audio and a lot more.
Besides, there is also a Business Plan, which costs $16 per organizer per month and allows up to 250 participants and extra features like Unlimited Cloud Recording, Transcription, Drawing Tools, Note Taking and Keyboard and Mouse Sharing.
Pricing for the Enterprise Plan, which allows up to 3,000 participants and can be used to host webinars, is available upon request.
8. Cisco WebEx
WebEx, created by Cisco Systems, is one of the most commonly used online meeting tools in the world. It is a robust software that includes many features and works on Mac, Windows, smartphones and tablets.
The app makes it incredibly easy to both create and join meetings. There’s only one button to push and everything magically works. Hosts can invite attendees to a meeting via email, instant message or even chat – with no download necessary.
- The calendar integration with Microsoft Outlook is very convenient.
- The app offers high quality audio and video, so you can be heard and seen loud and clear.
- The recordings of meetings are only available for five days. If you fail to download them, you will have lost the recording forever.
- Only a host can choose to record the meeting, which could be a restriction.
Cisco WebEx offers a free 30 day trial, with up to 200 participants and unlimited HD video meetings. This includes screen-sharing and a personal meeting room.
There’s no official information online about the pricing of Cisco WebEx. The pricing page of their website simply asks customers to contact them for more information.
Cisco WebEx Pricing mentioned elsewhere on the web states that the Starter Plan costs $13.50 per host per month, the Plus plan costs $17.95 per host per month and the Business Plan costs $26.95 per host per month. (However, this information is not from the official website so may be incorrect or outdated.)
Another great video conferencing app, RingCentral offers all the features you need – including messaging, integrated video conferencing and screen sharing.
This app is very agile and allows you to connect to the meeting via any device – and even switch live meetings between your phone or desktop with one tap.
RingCentral is also known for its security features. It is built with externally verified controls and certified by McAfee, HiTrust CSF and more.
- RingCentral boasts 99.999% uptime, which is incredibly high and means there is very little chance of the app crashing.
- The app also features the ability to start meetings directly from GSuite and Office 365.
- Some users have mentioned getting spam calls to their RingCentral number.
- It can be somewhat difficult to figure out how to configure the different groups.
The pricing plans at RingCentral are outlined here. They feature an essentials plan for $19.99 per user per month, which includes up to 20 users. The Standard Plan includes everything in Essentials Plus for $24.99, plus no limits on the number of users and business phone numbers in over 100 countries.
There’s also a Premium Plan option that includes everything in Standard Plus, plus automatic call recording, advanced call handling and more for $34.99 per month.
What’s Most Important To Your Team?
A video conference can be a great way to communicate with your team and be productive. In order to ensure that your conferences are as efficient as possible, it’s important to choose the right app to suit your team.
Remember – there’s no one perfect conference call service. There’s only the app that works best for you.