Best Video Conferencing apps (2020)

Best Video Conferencing apps (2020)
The current pandemic has been affecting the whole world for months. We were forced to learn new ways to work or study and start to use online services for more things than just to watch Netflix or post on Instagram. In order to successfully work and communicate from home, though, you need to have access to good software; for instance, video conferencing software to connect with colleagues or teachers. Therefore, we have compiled a list of several video conferencing apps below that might be helpful for you in the current climate.

Here are the best video conferencing apps in 2020:

Zoom Video Conferencing



First off, we start with Zoom Video Conferencing. Zoom rose to popularity with the start of the coronavirus pandemic and received a lot of criticism over some security and privacy issues. However, since then, the CEO of the company Eric Yuan and his developer team have been working relentlessly to assure Zoom users were as protected and secure as they could be.

The Zoom app offers great audio and video quality for online conferences with multiple participants. The service has a free version along with a paid one for companies that need more participants in one call. The free version has some limitations to the number of participants and meeting duration. There are three paid subscription types, each one focused on specific business needs. The most expensive subscription also offers unlimited cloud storage and improved security.

The app offers virtual backgrounds, whiteboard, screen sharing features, chat and individual meetings. You can either view only the speaker on your screen or you can use the gallery option, displaying all the participants in the call. Additionally, the host controls everything and if the host decides, he or she can limit the features you can use during a meeting (like unmuting yourself, or recording a meeting).

Pros

  • HD video is supported, even in the free version
  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Offers additional services: physical conference software Zoom Rooms and cloud-calling solution Zoom Phone
  • Free version allows up to 100 participants in a call
  • Premium version supports up to 1000 participants in video conference

Cons

  • Video conferences for the free version are limited to 40 minutes
  • There have been some controversies with Zoombombing and privacy issues for Zoom users

Availability:


Zoom Pricing:

Free basic subscription; Premium subscription plans from $14.99 per month

Google Meet (previously known as Google Hangouts)



Google Meet is a service from Google’s business-oriented service pack, G Suite. At the moment, Google is offering schools and businesses free access to this service because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, this offer is expiring on September 20, 2020. Usually, Google Meet is included in the G Suite subscription pack.

The interface of Google Meet is integrated with other Google services, such as Gmail and calendar, allowing you to seamlessly join a meeting directly from your calendar. Google Meet also offers virtual backgrounds and screen sharing.

Google Meet allows a maximum of 250 participants in a call and provides live streaming possibility of up to 100,000 viewers for a domain. Google has now introduced a gallery view, like Zoom, so if you wish, you can view all the participants in the conference call.

Pros

  • Integration with existing Google products, such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Voice
  • It’s currently free, because of the pandemic, you only need a free Google account
  • Once the free version expires, the paid one is included in the G Suite pack, the cheapest subscription pack is $6 per month

Cons

  • Allows a maximum of 250 participants and no way to have a call with more participants that that
  • Relatively more affected from network conditions (affects the video quality more) in comparison to Zoom Video Conferencing

Availability:


Google Meet pricing: 

Free basic subscription for a limited time; Paid subscription plans from $6 per user or per license

Microsoft Teams



Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s business-oriented team communications app, included in Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) subscription packs. It's more chat-focused compared to the aforementioned two options and it’s easy to use if your organization, business or school has Microsoft 365 licenses. MS Teams also offers virtual backgrounds. However, if your organization or business does not already use M365, you will not be able to benefit from some of MS Teams’ integration features, such as Outlook integration, the possibility to join meetings out of your Outlook calendar or to have all your colleagues email addresses easily accessible to you. MS Teams’ maximum number of participants in an online meeting is 250.

Pros

  • Integration with Microsoft Office 365 products and services
  • Great chat and instant messaging features
  • Possibility to create team channels for different teams in your company

Cons

  • Focused primarily on chat, rather than video conferencing
  • If you’re not a Microsoft Office 365 subscriber, MS Teams is not the easiest to setup and use with other platforms and services
  • MS Teams currently has a limit to the number of video streams shown (you cannot see all participants in a gallery view like in Zoom)
  • Doesn’t offer more than 250 participants in a video call no matter the subscription

Availability:


Microsoft Teams pricing:

Free basic subscription; Premium subscriptions included in Microsoft Office 365 plans from $5 per user per month

Slack




Slack was probably the most popular collaboration tool in the world before Zoom came into the picture. Slack currently still has a lot of possibilities for collaboration, and is integrated with a lot of useful apps, especially work-related ones such as Zendesk and Salesforce.  It offers persistent chat rooms, called channels, organized by topic and provides a great way to search for information in the system and in archives or older messages.

Pros

  • Offers possibility to search your database and archives easily
  • Slack API allows developers to add functionality to the application
  • Compatible with third-party video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet, so you can route the video conferencing from a Slack call to these applications too

Cons

  • Focused primarily on chat and collaboration, not too much on delivering a wide array of video-conferencing features
  • Video calls are only available on desktop and have a limit of 15 participants

Availability:


Slack pricing:

Free basic subscription; Premium subscription plans from $12.50 per month

Cisco WebEX Meetings



Cisco WebEX Meetings is also great for collaborative remote work. The service offers a free version and several subscription plans, depending on the needs of your organization. This application offers screen sharing, like the other ones in our list, along with meeting recording and whiteboard. Additionally, it also offers a virtual background option. It can also integrate with several popular productivity tools, such as Outlook, Microsoft Office 365 and calendar.

Pros

  • Offers both video conferencing and collaboration tools
  • Free service tier offering up to 100 participants in a meeting
  • No limit on meeting duration
  • HD video
  • Polls and raise-hand features

Cons

  • Limited customer support for the free version
  • The Call Me feature, meaning the possibility to join a meeting via phone, has a fee
  • Maximum online meeting participant count for the premium version is 200, no subscription plan that offers more than that

Availability:


Cisco WebEX pricing:

Free basic subscription; Premium subscription plans from $13.50 per month per host

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