Which Video Meeting Platform Is Right For You?
Video conferencing has become an essential capability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Have you found the right video conferencing solution for your business?
There is a long list of options to choose from when you need to have a video meeting with your staff. Are you sure you’ve been using the right one so far?
It’s not too late to change — you can expect to be working remotely for the foreseeable future, so you would be smart to take your time and choose the right video meeting platform.
We’re here to help. Check out this webinar featuring our very own Mike Shelah and Russell Smith, exploring the many video meeting solutions available today:
What Are The Benefits Of Remote Work?
The remote work model offers a number of benefits that you’ve likely taken notice of over the course of the pandemic. Remote workers have seen the benefits as well:
- 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from home
- 76% of employees prefer to avoid their office completely when they need to concentrate on a project
- 98% of remote workers want to continue to work remotely (at least some of the time) for the rest of their careers
This is why, even when it’s no longer necessary, many organizations plan to continue with remote work in some form long-term. According to 317 CFOs recently surveyed by Gartner, 74% say they expect to move previously on-site employees to remote post-COVID-19.
In fact, some of the biggest names in tech have also announced plans to continue with remote work as well, including Facebook, Twitter and Slack. This is all an example of digital transformation.
A Brief Rundown Of Your Video Conferencing Solution Options
Zoom is a video conferencing solution that has become widely popular over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, both for professional purposes as well as social ones.
- Price: Zoom offers a basic plan for free with unlimited meetings, but it comes with a 40-minute time limit on conferences with three or more people. Premium plans cost between $20 to $27 each month.
- Capacity: The basic and pro plans allow up to 100 people to video chat at the same time. The business plan allows up to 300 people, and up to 500 people on the enterprise plan.
- Benefits: With Wi-Fi and a webcam, Zoom supports most browsers including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows and Mac, among others.
- Price: Microsoft is currently offering a free 6-month trial of Microsoft Office 365 E1, including Microsoft Teams, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Capacity: Teams allows up to 250 people in a meeting, and up to 10,000 spectating a live event, for up to 4 hours.
- Benefits: Using Teams means you’ll have access to the full integrated benefits of Microsoft 365, making it that much easier to work seamlessly between other Office-based apps (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint).
- Price: Free (100 participants, unlimited one-on-one meetings, 40-minute group meetings, and desktop and application sharing); Meeting Essentials ($14.99/month per user, which allows for unlimited group meetings and 1,000 Call Me minutes); Office Premium ($34.99/month per user combines calling, messaging and meeting into one, facilitating team collaboration with unlimited video conferences and audio meetings).
- Capacity: RingCentral only allows for up to 100 participants, across available plans.
- Benefits: When compared to other free options, Ring Central’s is feature-rich and useful for smaller businesses.
8×8 Video Meetings
- Price: In response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic and the increased need for remote meeting capabilities, 8×8 has released a free, stand-alone version of their video meeting platform.
- Capacity: 8×8 Video Meetings offers unlimited meetings, unlimited minutes, and dial-in capabilities with toll-free numbers for free.
- Benefits: One-click, no downloads (with WebRTC-compatible browsers like Chrome), making it simple to connect with contacts that haven’t used 8×8 Video Meetings before.
- Price: While the plans range from $20 – $30 per month and user, like other options on this list, UberConference is now being offered free to users during the pandemic. Furthermore, their 45-minute limit on meetings was increased to a max of five hours.
- Capacity: The standard meeting capacity on the smallest plan was 10, but in light of the pandemic, it has been increased to 50 participants.
- Benefits: As with RingCentral, Dialpad offers VoIP options in addition to video conferencing, all of which are free for two months during the pandemic.
- Price: Cisco offers a free plan, as well as Starter ($13.50/host per month with 50 attendees); Plus ($17.95/month with 100 attendees); Business ($26.95/month, five-license minimum, up to 200 attendees); and Enterprise (pricing available upon request).
- Capacity: The Free plan offers up to 100 participants with one host, and the paid plans add on to that, with additional hosts and attendee capacity.
- Benefits: The Free tier is a good option, with a large capacity, HD video, screen sharing, and recording options. Paid plans also offer cloud storage and management features.
- Price: Standard version (150 members, $14/month or $12/month annually); Business version (250 members, $19/month); Enterprise version (3,000 users, pricing available upon request).
- Capacity: 150 – 3000 members, depending on the plan.
- Benefits: Standard audio and video capabilities, along with screen sharing features.
- Price: Free version offers audio-only with screen sharing for up to three members; Lite (5 members, $10/host per month); Pro (250 members, video streaming, recording and scheduling, $20/month); Business (all pro features, plus 1TB of cloud storage, enterprise authentication, and Salesforce integration, pricing available upon request).
- Capacity: 3 – 250 members.
- Benefits: Designed for smaller businesses, the free and lower-paid tiers do not require organizations to pay for a long list of features they don’t need.
- Price: Cost is based on subscription to G Suite — Basic ($6/user/month and comes with 30GB of Google Drive storage); Business ($12/user/month and provides unlimited storage and extra security and admin controls); Enterprise (unlimited storage and advanced controls, $25/user/month).
- Capacity: G Suite Basic is limited to 100, but it goes up to 150 for Business, and 250 for Enterprise
- Benefits: On the Enterprise plan, you can livestream for up to 100,000 audience members.
10 Questions To Answer About Your Video Platform Of Choice
Is It On My OS Of Choice?
- Mobile (Apple, Android)
Is It Compliant?
- DoD CMMC
Does It Integrate With My Software Platform Of Choice?
- Microsoft 365
- Google Business
Does It Provide Analytics?
- Call analytics
- Service Diagnostics
Does It Offer Calling Plans?
- Many services include VOIP call plans and phones as an option
How Does It Facilitate Public Meetings?
- Ease of scheduling
- Meeting security
- Moderator controls
Can It Handle Large Meetings?
- How many attendees at each service plan
Can You Test It Without Paying?
- Is there a free version?
- Is there a free trial?
Does It Facilitate Record Keeping?
- Record Meetings
- Transcribe meetings
What Does It Cost?
- What’s Included with the software platform?
- Cost of add-ons
- Per-user or company-wide pricing?
- Contract terms-month-by-month to molt-year
What Should You Consider?
- What Are You Currently Using? If you are already using Microsoft 365, Google Business, or Slack, start your evaluation with their video conference system as it’s fully integrated with the software your staff already uses.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Test The Water. Since this is an easy to scale and easy to implement cloud service, you’re not committing to anything forever. Don’t be afraid to try something out and then switch when your contract is up. Your hardware will work with a new service.
- Use More Than One. Since this is still a developing market, many organizations are using multiple platforms — Teams for internal and B2B communication and Zoom for outside public events, for example.
- Follow Your Peers. If most of your peer organizations are on a particular platform, it may be beneficial to be on the same one. Zoom and Teams are now accounting for over 50% of the market.
Looking For An Expert Second Opinion?
It’s OK if you’re still not sure which option is right for you.
Advantage Industries will help you figure out which video meeting solution is right for your business. We’ll assess your organization’s needs and match them with the solution that will work best for your purposes.
Advantage Industries is a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) providing practical networking and software solutions, as well as web site and application creation services. For nearly two decades, Advantage has worked collaboratively with hundreds of clients in understanding complex business processes, identifying needs, and providing recommendations tied with sound technology solutions custom-tailored to their business.