Video conferencing BC (Before Corona) was rather an exception and used mainly for townhall sessions or webinars. Nowadays reality has changed and web VC calls are part of our daily routine.
Starting to work from home meant for all of us switching the face-to-face communication to a social-distancing-accepted type of a communication, which is the video chat. Not just the daily business conversations, one-to-one sessions and townhalls moved to the new norm, but also the personal face-to-face chats and coffee-time-discussions between colleagues migrated to the virtual rooms.
Which are the platforms mostly being used and preferred by companies and individuals?
Zoom has become the leading solution fairly quickly offering to its customers video conferencing, online meetings, chat and mobile collaboration. Apart from these functionalities you also get the ability to record the video call with the speaker in frame or with everyone being in the frame. The main reasons though why Zoom caught everyone’s attention are:
- The ease of use – just one link and it works;
- Number of participants – Zoom allows up to 100 participants in a video call. This was a “deal done” for small and large business meetings, online studies (learn-from-home) and webinar crowds. Zoom claims a huge jump in their meeting participants per day – from 10mil in Jan 2020 to 300mil daily meeting participants during the last month.
Zoom’s growth has been impressive even though the company faced some privacy and security challenges. On the funny side: there was even a joke around the fast-growing popularity of Zoom.
Main rivals like Skype, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex and Google Meet appear to be catching up fast.
Within the business world almost everyone uses Office 365. Microsoft Teams is the built-in video conferencing in Office 365, supporting up to 300 members. We would need to mention also that it’s not only for business usage. There is also a free version of Teams that users can take advantage of with a personal email. One-on-one and group video/audio calls, screen sharing&recording, and shared files up to 10GB per team are just some of the functionalities. Business plans, however, offer more: administors have access to security, management, and compliance tools. Teams is integrated with SharePoint online and files up to 1TB per user can be freely shared.
Meet the first platform that offered video conversations. With no time limitation on meetings for free makes Skype ideal for small gatherings. Owned by Microsoft it focuses now on private usage offering not more than 50 participants in a video call. It also supports video recording so users can save and share within a month. Have in mind that you would need to have the app installed to make a call.
Webex is another popular video conferencing platform, offering a free version with up to 100 participants for an unlimited number of time. It works great as an enterprise solution and is highly scalable. It offers HD video, screen-sharing and recording options. Webex could be also connected to Cisco Video Conferencing hardware if your company already has invested in it.
Google Meet replaced last year Google Hangouts and is now offering up to 100participants in a video call. Some of the new features are the tiled view for up to 16 people on one screen, presenting a single Chrome Tab rather than the whole desktop and a low light mode powered by an AI to make your video look better in bad lighting and noise cancellation. Recording option is not available in the free version and needs to be activated by a G Suite administrator for the organization.
Other options available on the market:
A cloud based video conferencing platform offering high-quality streaming for smaller teams (up to 100 participants based on a subscription model). Bluejeans also offers Dolby Audio and HD Video support with their BlueJeans Metings, BlueJeans Rooms and BlueJeans Events.
SayNamaste is a new Indian platform. It offers 50 participant video conferencing, screen and file sharing (recording is yet to be introduced), web based access & mobile phone apps, using industry standard encryption.
“10Times”, a business events discovery platform has introduced this product. It focuses on covering events, since this is the company’s main expertise. Floor comes with features such as audience polls, Q&A, social forum, user matching for networking, content sharing, etc. All these quite important to keep users engaged during a hosted live event.
A short summary of our findings: