The Best Video Conferencing Solutions for Small Businesses 2021

February 22, 2021

Zoom, Google Meet, Skype? Which video conferencing solutions do you use?

Since early last year, with the global pandemic and strict lockdown rules in the UK, the business community has had to adapt. Working from home and constant online meetings are the new normal. Both for personal and business use there has been a huge increase in demand for video conferencing solutions.

Some solutions are best for large meetings with lots of people and some are great for keeping up with clients or collaborating one on one with a team member. In this post, we take a closer look at some of the most popular solutions and explain their different features.

video-conference-apps-downloads

Source: statista.com

It’s crucial for businesses today to have a consistent platform they can connect into whether they’re joining from a phone, tablet, laptop, or any video calling dedicated equipment. Staying connected via video is now the main form of communication for most people and we all expect certain standard when it comes to features.

Several video conferencing solutions offer very similar features, such as:

  • Video conferencing.
  • High video resolution.
  • Digital audio calling.
  • High audio quality.
  • Instant messaging.
  • Virtual/blurred backgrounds.
  • File sharing.
  • Free trial versions

If you are not looking for a regular app to chat with your friends, but video conferencing solutions that actually help you to keep running your business in the distance, you’ve come to the right place!

The most important distinctions (and the ones you should keep an eye on) lie in call length, numbers of participants and security limitations. Let’s take a closer look at the most important features you have to look at when choosing a video conferencing solution for your small business.

Features of a video conferencing solution for small businesses need

Focus on encrypted video meeting solutions for your business

Security is increasingly important. It doesn’t matter what the size of your company, hackers will try to spy or steal the information you are sharing with your team. Passwords, plans, private conversations, budget discussions and anything that could bring value on the darknet.

You have to be concerned about web intruders stealing your trade secrets, that’s why finding a secure web conferencing software is so important to your business.

Look for solutions that give you:

  • End-to-end encryption.
  • Encrypted files in transit and at rest.
  • Adherence to TLS 1.2 encryption standards.
  • Single sign-on or two-factor authentication.
  • A way to screen new meeting attendees via virtual waiting room or permission settings and passwords.

Call length and number of participants

These are super important features that you have to keep an eye on, the call length and the number of participants. Because that’s what you are looking for – a video conferencing solution to actually speak with your entire team, easily give instructions, share screens, ideas and discus new projects.

For that you’ll need time and space… virtual space, to be more precise.

Focus on video conferencing solutions that give you a lot of time to discuss your ideas freely without worrying that the time is expiring. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a message saying that the time is over and you have to restart the meeting again and hope that the other participants will do the same promptly.

Also, focus on software that has the capacity to host several people at the same time. This way all your team can be in a general discussion for new projects and no one will have to stay out because of “lack of space”.

Screen sharing will make your meetings smoother

One of the most frustrating things when working with remote teams is trying to explain things back and forth with messages and not being able to point at what is being discussed! In real-time, being able to share your screen during a conversation makes life so much easier.

Keep in mind tools that include screen sharing features. In fact, some of these know how important it is and even include virtual pointers, annotations and virtual white boards that speakers can use in real-time while speaking.

Did you know you could translate your video call into multiple languages?

Remote working is a thing now, that’s why a great feature for businesses is live automatic translations and it could help teams around the globe to connect better with the personnel. Are you hiring a hispanic guy and his English is not good? Having a video conferencing software that translates your message will make communication easier on both sides.

Recording meetings can help you a lot!

This is a useful feature if someone is unable to attend a meeting, or if you are going to create a webinar.

Imagine you set a conference with all your team to discuss a clients’ project, but your designer or social media manager is unable to join the meeting. In this case, a recording feature can be helpful since you can record the meeting for the people who couldn’t join the meeting.

Additionally, you can use it for multiple purposes like recording your screen or yourself to publish it as a webinar. You won’t have to install another video nor voice recording app, it could be an all-in-one option for you.

This is a great feature you should keep an eye on.

Look for a user-friendly video conferencing solution

You should have in mind that a video conferencing solution for your business should be easy to use. Not everyone is a techie and some software could be quite complicated to use and thanks to the pandemic, your team members won’t get IT support immediately and they’ll need to often help themselves.

The main idea of getting a video conference software is getting everyone together in spite of the distance and not further widen the gap because the video conferencing software is too hard to use. Having a user-friendly solution will make meetings simpler and more productive for your entire team.

Now that you know which features to keep in mind, check some of the best video conferencing solutions for small businesses on the market right now.

The best video conferencing solutions for small businesses, free and paid

1. Zoom

zoom-interface-helpdesk-heroes

Zoom, the relatively new kid on the block, is a hugely popular video conferencing tool that most businesses use today. It is the number one video conferencing platform, at 40.49% market share. The stable version 2.5 of Zoom is available for free with basic features and the premium version can be obtained with some extended features.

The free plan comes with a whiteboard and instant meetings which is great for most small and medium-size businesses.

It has many options included in every plan, that combine HD video conferencing, webinars and online business meetings in one collaborative solution. This platform provides flawless video, instant sharing capabilities and a clear audio. It provides easy-to-use video communications that help small businesses achieve their goals and meet the constantly evolving customer needs.

At first, Zoom didn’t support end-to-end encryption. This caused some controversy in March 2020 thanks to “Zoombombing”. Focusing on push for added security they added an end-to-end encryption solution to keep users’ meetings more privates.

Zoom main features:

  • Screen sharing, content sharing
  • Zoom rooms
  • Shared whiteboards
  • Unlimited number of meetings per month
  • Chat and messaging (private and group)
  • Capable of hosting video conferences for up to 300 participants
  • 323/SIP Connectors allows the users to communicate with their tablets, mobiles and desktop devices with a single touch.
  • Chrome and Linux OS support
  • Call recording with 1GB limit recording per license
  • Meeting recording
  • Cloud storage for meetings
  • Encrypted conversations

Supported platforms

  • Windows (10, 8.1, 8, 7)
  • macOS (10.9 or later)
  • Linux (Ubuntu, Mint, Red Hat Enterprise, Oracle, CentOS, Fedora, OpenSUSE, ArchLinux, Surface PRO 2)
  • Web Browsers (Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Firefox)
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Blackberry devices

Zoom Pricing

Free option, Zoom Pro $14.99 (£11.79) per month; Zoom Business & Zoom Enterprise $19.99 (£15.73) per month

Call length and participants limit for Zoom

With Zoom you can get up to 300 participants in the same room, depending on the plan you choose. And the call length goes from 40 minutes to 30 hours per group call, and unlimited for one-to-one calls.

Pros

  • Screen sharing
  • Breakout rooms
  • Record meetings
  • End-to-end encryption

Cons

  • Not the simplest service to use
  • Time limit on free plan
  • Expensive

2. Skype

skype-interface

Source: skype.com

One of the best video conferencing solutions for small businesses is Skype, it was created by Microsoft and has several years in the market. Even though Zoom took top spot during the pandemic, Skype continues to be a favourite with both personal and business users.

Skype is free, has a bunch of great features, offers encrypted calls and is simple to use.

It has all the standard features including screen sharing, real-time chat, file sharing, voice calls and free cloud storage for recorded video calls.

In addition, you can have live video transcription, this live transcription feature in Skype will even translate calls in real time, essentially adding subtitles to Skype calls as they’re happening. The translation feature supports 10 languages for video conferencing and up to 60 languages for chat.

Skype does offer that extra security too. All Skype-to-Skype voice, video, file transfers and instant messages are encrypted, (unless you Skype call from a phone). This protects you from potential eavesdropping by malicious users.

If you need to have large team meetings, Skype offers unlimited calls for up to 50 people. This includes calls with three or more people. Offering a meeting length of four hours per session and a maximum participant size of 50 people.

Skype main features:

  • Screen sharing
  • Content sharing
  • Encrypted video calling
  • Call recording
  • Live subtitles
  • Phone calls
  • Chrome and Linux OS support

Supported platforms

  • Windows (10, 8.1, 8, 7, Server)
  • macOS (10.8 or later)
  • Web Browsers (Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome)
  • Android
  • iOS

Skype Pricing

Skype is totally free for Skype-to-Skype calls. If you want to use premium features like calling a number outside Skype or sending a text message, you will have to add credit to your account.

Call length and participants limit for Skype

You can make a group call up to 50 people, with a fair limit of 100 hours per month (like 10 hours per day in groups call) and 4 hours per day for individual video calls.

Pros

  • Screen sharing
  • Security
  • Translator
  • Call recording
  • Phone calls
  • Easy to use
  • Free

Cons

  • Skype can feel a bit old fashioned.
  • You must have Skype downloaded onto your computer or your phone to join a video call.
  • Everyone in the meeting needs to have a Skype account to participate.
  • You can’t host more than 50 participants.

3. Microsoft Teams

microsoft-teams-interface-helpdesk-heroes

Microsoft teams is replacing Skype for business, the deadline is July 2021. There is plenty of documentation on switching to Microsoft Teams.

Get started on your upgrade from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams
FAQ — Upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

For businesses planning to upgrade Microsoft encourages you “to plan the journey from Skype for Business to Teams leveraging the guidance and resources and attend a free upgrade planning workshop to identify and implement the upgrade path that best meets the needs of your organization.”

Microsoft Teams is great a choice for enterprise level businesses, it offers document sharing, online meetings, audio conferencing as well as robust security. It’s fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365 PowerPoint, Word, Excel, One Note, SharePoint and Outlook – the apps you use everyday in your workplace and now at home. This tool also supports third-party apps like Zendesk, which integrate Teams in other areas of your business for a more organised communication. Standard channels are available to all team members and a private channel if you prefer a smaller audience.

Small businesses will benefit from Microsoft Teams. Since it’s a full-cloud based solution, your employees can easily access information anytime, anywhere, on any device.

This platform is free, user-friendly and can facilitate a work environment between remote users.

Microsoft Teams main features:

  • Screen sharing, content sharing
  • Encrypted video calling
  • Team and channels
  • Chat function
  • Audio conferencing
  • Recording meetings
  • Compatible with multiple devices
  • Chrome and Linux OS support

Supported platforms

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Web Browsers

Microsoft Teams Pricing

Free with Microsoft Office 365 subscription | Microsoft Teams
Like other tools we have mentioned, Microsoft offers a free plan to compete against other video conferencing software for small businesses.
Besides that, if you need more features you can subscribe to its basic plan for £ 3.80 per user, or pay £ 17.60 and join the E3 plan to get all its features.

Call length and participants limit for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams calls goes from 20 participants to 300 and the times limits go from 24 hours to 60 days. Everything will depend on the plan you choose.

This solution also provides some cool features like creating teams, setting team leaders and adding tags to projects.

Pros

It has several integrations with Skype, SharePoint, Office and OneDrive
Build with the latest security standards
Recording automatic transcriptions

Cons

The interface can be too complex for some users
It has too many integrations and some of them could be unnecessary
The file storage is confusing

4. Google Meet

google-meet-interface-helpdesk-heroes

Google rebranded its videoconferencing service in April 2020 when Google’s Hangouts became just Google Meet

Google Meet is aimed at businesses of all sizes for teamwork, collaboration, networking and communication needs. It offers free access to a limited version of its service. To unlock more features, you’ll need to pay $12 per month, per user for business and $25 per month, per user for enterprises.

According to the CNBC 6 million companies and organisations use GSuite to power remote productivity, suitable for businesses in any industry who always host meetings, remotely manage teams, or regularly work from home. GSuite also allows users to store and share in the cloud and synchronises files across all your devices.

An excellent video conferencing solution for small businesses, with Google Meet you can join meetings directly from your Calendar or Gmail and you can join meetings on the go too. You can also customise your team’s business name to create a strong branding and company culture, whether between you and your team, or your customers.

Google Meet main features:

  • Screen sharing
  • Multiple screen layouts
  • Real-time captions
  • Noise cancellation
  • Encryption
  • Meeting recording

Supported platforms

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Chrome OS
  • Android
  • iOS

Google Meet Pricing

There is a free plan with Google Meets as well as the Workplace essentials and Workplace Enterprise. The Workplace Essential plan costs $8 per user per month, while in the Enterprise plan you’ll have to contact the team to get a quote.

Call length and participants limit for Google Meets

Just like Zoom, Google meets offers different plans going from free to Enterprise. They offer a 24 hour limit for one-to-one meetings and groups meetings. The numbers of participants may vary going from 100 to 250.

Pros

  • It is part of the GSuite
  • Easy to use
  • Noice control
  • Control for hosts

Cons

  • It could be expensive too depending on the number of your team members

5. ezTalks Cloud Meeting

eztalks-interface-video-conference-solutions-for-small-businesses

Source: eztalks.com

EzTalks Cloud Meeting allows businesses to book meetings or conduct immediate business meetings, adeptly. It offers a free trial version. This free software can host up to 100 participants. EzTalks Meetings is the most secure video conferencing software that offers you up to 100-participant online meetings safely with no costs. It also has powerful cloud support for frictionless online collaboration.

EzTalks main features:

  • Live broadcasting possible via a browser
  • Screen sharing, HD video, clear audio
  • Full control of online meetings
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Instant messaging
  • Unlimited cyclical meetings

Enjoy great video meetings across any Mac, Windows, iOs, Android device with anyone. Hassle-free for you, your team and your clients too.

Supported platforms

  • Windows (10, 8.1, 8, 7)
  • mac OS (10.10 and higher)
  • Android
  • iOS

EzTalks Pricing

EzTalks offer four types of plan, going from free to business. Prices may vary according to the plan, you can get a standard version for $10 per month, or the business one per $50 per month.

Call length and participants limit for EzTalks Cloud Meeting

This service offers several plans, its free plan is super basic just to test the platform properly. It offers up to two participants per groups call, with a 10 minutes limit and the opportunity to cloud record in mp4.

The other plans go from 100 to 300 participants per call and are unlimited. They also offer cloud storage for the meeting going from 2GB to 10GB.

Pros

  • Provides secure encrypted video conference
  • Interactive whiteboard on all the plans
  • MP4 recordings for meetings
  • Calendar feature

Cons

  • Free plan gives you only 10 minutes per conference
  • Free plan lets you host only two participants

6. GoTo Meeting

go-to-meet-interface-helpdesk-heroes

This is a well tested good video conferencing solution for small businesses as it’s robust and affordable. It improves businesses’ coordinated efforts, and enables you to talk to a really large group of people. And it’s free. GoTo Meeting also lets you and your workforce team up virtually on reports, perform product demos, share presentations, and exchange private data from anywhere, anytime. No download needed.

GoTo Meeting main features:

  • Virtual whiteboard
  • One-click recording
  • One-click meetings
  • Join via mobile options
  • Join via desktop options

Supported platforms

  • Windows (10, 8.1, 8, 7)
  • macOS X 10.9
  • Linux (Ubuntu)
  • Chrome OS
  • Web Browsers (Chrome, Edge)
  • Android
  • iOS

GoTo Meeting Pricing

This video conferencing solution is available free but you can always join paid plans to get more features, like adding more participants or transcription options, just to name a few. Their plans go from £9 to £12 per organizer per month.

Call length and participants limit for GoTo Meeting

You can go from 150 to 3000 participants depending on the plan. It has no limit in time and all communications are encrypted.

Pros

  • No download needed to use
  • Secure
  • Meeting recording and transcription

Cons

  • Its free plan is limmited
  • It could be expensive if you add a lot of organizers to the plan.

7. Cisco WebEx Meetings

Cisco-WebEx-Meetings-interface

Cisco WebEx Meetings provide a cost-effective enterprise solutions for virtual meetings. Host highly secure and scalable web meetings. Small businesses can run fully featured phone systems in the cloud without the cost and complexity of managing a PBX.

Host highly secure and scalable web meetings. This video conferencing solution for small businesses supports productive real-time collaboration from any location. This results in better business productivity overall.

Cisco WebEX main features:

  • Flexible device compatibility
  • Call Me functionality
  • Seamless integrations with various solutions like Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook
  • Launch meetings from inside tools such as Slack, or Salesforce

Supported platforms

  • Windows (10, 8.1, 8, 7, Server)
  • macOS X
  • Linux (Ubutuntu, OpenSuSE, Fedora, Red Hat, Debian)
  • Web Browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox)
  • Android
  • iOS

Cisco WebEX Pricing

To get the prices you will have to ask for a quote directly on their website.

Call length and participants limit for Cisco WebEx Meetings

Cisco offers from 100 to 3000 attendants per meeting, with a time limit of 24 hours, don’t matter the plan you have.

Pros

  • Secure
  • Integrations with other productivity apps, e.g. Slack
  • Screen sharing

Cons

  • WebEX is mainly an enterprise solution and can be quite pricey, you have to ask for a quote specific to your business

Your employees, customers, clients and other stakeholders need the ability to connect to your business and collaborate at any time, from any location, most especially now that everyone is staying at home.

So…

What is the best video conferencing solutions for small businesses?

Choosing the best video conferencing solution for your business increases productivity, reduces costs and improves engagement. 41% of users believe that companies who use these video conferencing solutions have more engaged team members.

Other factors to keep in mind when choosing the best video conferencing solution for your small business:

  • Easy user interface so everybody can use this
  • File storage option to share files easily
  • The capability of sharing the screen
  • The capability of recording the meeting
  • Chatting space for people who can’t speak
  • Compatible with several devices
  • Support time and billing

Choosing the video conferencing solution that is right for you?

The right video call solution for you will depend on your main needs. Are you using it to collaborate one on one with your remote team and having small weekly meetings. Bigger companies who need to host large groups with added security and HR considerations will need different features.

For most small to medium size businesses, it is fine to take advantage of the free plans for web conferencing software. Test them out and see if the one you like does what you need. You can start using the most basic ones like Zoom or Skype, that are super easy to use and then move to more advanced ones as GoToMeeting if you need a more complex solution.

Leveraging these video conferencing solutions for your small businesses is vital. Legacy technology will always be something to deal with in all businesses, particularly in larger enterprises and organisations. Integrating your video conferencing software with your existing legacy systems can easily be one of the biggest challenges.

Here a HelpDesk Heroes, we are experienced solution architects and we diligently assess your communications system as a whole, whether it’s looking at traditional telephone systems or PBXs, VoIP or cloud based platforms. We develop a bespoke strategy for integrating video conferencing solutions with your existing hardware and systems seamlessly.

Need help with your setting up your office network?

Our team will keep your systems running smoothly.

Tell us about your technical needs and we will recommend the ideal solution for you.

    Read more from our blog

    Professional Outsourced IT Support London

    We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and effective IT solutions. Working with clients in London and around the UK, across a range of industries, our expert IT support services offer a perfect solution for businesses of all sizes.

    If you need to outsource your IT support or reviewing your existing IT services arrangements contact our technical HelpDesk support team today.

    If you need expert IT help now, Call us today on 0208 064 2150

    0 0 vote
    Article Rating
    Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest
    0 Comments
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments