Video conferencing gives businesses a way to bring teams together outside of the traditional office meeting. It also allows a regional business to expand nationally or even internationally with "in person" meetings online. This technology is growing in use and features, and small businesses would be wise to brush up on the potential tools available!
Here are 3 free video conferencing tools to consider for your next virtual business meeting:
If a company is using Google Apps or Gmail, using Google Hangouts is an easy addition. Hangouts integrates with all of Google's services, so it's accessible and easy to use for free.
This video conferencing application supports up to 15 people in a video chat. Whenever someone speaks, the primary display switches to show that person. Muting features help cut down on extraneous noise.
Hangout is a multi-platform app, so it's available on most mobile devices and computers. Screen sharing is particularly useful for business meetings, as the attendees can share media and presentations. It's also integrated with Google Calendar.
Skype has been in the video chat arena since its inception, leading it to be one of the most polished video conferencing tools available. While it may commonly be associated with personal video calling, Skype is quite flexible for the business market.
Its biggest advantage is the 25 person call support. Participants don't even need to have the Skype app to join in. They can go through their mobile or landline phones, which helps when dealing with less tech-savvy attendees. Available as both a conference call or group video conference, Skype is versatile. Like Google's Hangouts, it offers a chat feature and the ability to screenshare and fileshare.
Join.me is designed specifically around videoconferencing, making it perhaps the most robust app option out of the three. It supports up to 250 participants in the chat, which can often cover an entire large company or a large presentation to an audience.
This app is multi-platform and supports iOS and Android devices. It provides presenter control with ease, allowing the meeting to switch from presenter to presenter without a break in between.
It integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar for scheduling, records meetings and has screen sharing, Salesforce integration, and cloud-based storage. When a company needs a heavy duty video conferencing tool, this is one to consider!
Video conferencing is much more of a "must-try" tool in today's business environment. Each of these free video conferencing options has their own advantages and limitations, so finding the right one for an organization may take some testing but at a price point of free, there's nothing to lose!
I personally use Hangouts daily and Skype weekly for team and client meetings and find them both more than adequate. It's a new day and "face-to-face" doesn't have to mean extensive business travel!
Ready to try or already using? Let me know!