Choosing the best video conferencing software for your business
If there’s one change that most of us have experienced during the Coronavirus lockdown, it’s the rise of the video call. Even most of those who had previously not embraced video technology as part of their working life are now likely to have had had some kind of visual chat – whether that’s with family over FaceTime, a quiz over Zoom or a work meeting through Microsoft Teams.
It’s highly likely that even as businesses return from lockdown, video conferencing will continue to be widely used as an alternative to meeting in person. Here are some of the reasons why, and a guide to the various video conferencing options that are available:
The benefits of video conferencing
- No need for travel
Reduced travel time and costs are among the main benefits of video calling. Having client meetings or solving IT issues without leaving your office (or home) can help improve employee productivity and efficiency – and it’s better for the environment too.
- Improved communication
This is one of the main reasons video conferencing is beneficial to businesses right now. Instead of frustrating email chains where messages might be missed or misinterpreted, you can chat face to face with your colleagues and are forced to be more productive, with set start and end times. Also, working from home during the current crisis can feel isolating. Video conferencing promotes inclusion and lets people enjoy the social interaction they normally get in the office.
For many businesses this has been a work from home trial, and video conferencing has made it easier for companies to benefit from the flexibility of remote teams. Screen sharing, chat functionalities and call recordings are available on some software, meaning staff can be just as productive as they would in the workplace. As lockdown restrictions ease, it’s no surprise that businesses choose to continue to use home and flexible working.
What video conferencing platforms should I be using?
There are many video conferencing tools out there and it can be confusing to weigh the options and choose which one to go for. Some have better picture quality, others can host larger groups and some are better for screensharing, sound quality and accessibility. We’ve looked at the best tools at a glance to help you make that decision.
Best for integration
If you already use Microsoft Office 365, Teams is ideal and easy to integrate into your current plan. Full integration with Microsoft 365 means that calls can be easily scheduled and invites shared among your staff, while external guests can join calls from their web browser without downloading the application.
Microsoft Teams also provides screen sharing and chat functionalities meaning you can have conversations around documents. And with up to 10,000 participants allowed on calls it’s ideal if you want to host webinars or online training sessions.
Zoom Meetings is easy and affordable to set up and supports desktop and mobile viewing. Meetings can be saved locally or to the cloud and collaboration is built in with the ability for participants to share their screens and work together. On top of this a team chat feature allows for file sharing, of which you can search and archive up to 10 years’ worth. The free tier can accommodate up to 100 people for up to 40-minutes – which many people have made the most of in lockdown, but if you need the additional features or longer group meetings, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee.
Best for mobile
GoToMeeting provides similar features to Teams and Zoom, but its mobile friendliness sets it apart from other video software. Set up a meeting from your smartphone or join a meeting with a one-tap invite – you can also maximise call and image quality through the mobile app. If you’re looking for a conferencing tool with lots of business orientated features, GoToMeeting is probably your best bet. Cloud recording and automatic transcription saves time taking meeting minutes and it also supports notetaking with drawing capabilities. You can even give your keyboard to another participant to run the meeting.
Best for client meetings
Google Meet, formally Google Hangouts, is perhaps the most user-friendly video conferencing tool, which is why it’s ideal when working with external clients. There’s no need to download software, you can use the fully functioning web app. Each meeting also provides a dedicated dial-in number, so employees and clients on the go can join a meeting and not lose connection on the high line quality.
Microsoft Teams and Google Meet are both highly effective and secure video conferencing tools. If you’re worried about privacy problems when starting a meeting, Microsoft Teams supports two-factor authentication security and data encryption making it near impossible for cyber criminals to gain access. Google Meet boast Google’s password security features that temporarily disable an account or force verification after new/failed login attempts. You can also set up pin access to calls for added security.
Video conferencing is quickly becoming the preferred communication tool for businesses at this time and it’s not hard to see why. We can assess your current situation and help you find a video conferencing tool best suited to your current IT infrastructure and way of working. Contact us today for more information.