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Business has changed quite dramatically over the last two months, mine included. I have a feeling that a lot of organisations may have changed permanently during these lockdowns and restrictions, and I think we will see more and more employees working remotely in the future – WFH may become the new normal.

Of course, working from home doesn’t mean that you never need to talk to people face to face again. In fact, you could argue that it’s more important now than it’s ever been before. Whether it is talking to clients or chatting with colleagues, there is no better way to quickly defuse potential misunderstandings or just to hang out and strengthen social bonds.

There are many software companies who are promising to deliver the best video conferencing experience. Here are our favourites…

  • Zoom

While software like Skype and Hangouts had a solid head start, Zoom has very quickly become the lingua franca of video conferencing, and for good reason.

Zoom is super easy to set up and use. They offer four tiers – Free, Pro, Business, and Enterprise – but even the free tier should be plenty for most people: high definition video and audio conferencing for up to 100 people for 40 minutes, or unlimited video conferencing one on one.

  • Skype

Skype is the grandfather of video conferencing. Released all the way back in 2003, it has since been acquired by Microsoft and is now ever present across Windows computers, Xbox video game consoles, smartphones, and even smart watches.

Skype is no longer the market leader in conferencing, but it does offer a solid free tier. The fact that it is available to so many people means that it remains an alternative. You don’t even need the app anymore – an email invite is enough for you to join via your browser.

Paid tiers with more bells and whistles are available, but the free tier offers video calls for up to 50 people and screen sharing capabilities. What more could you want?

  • Slack

As far as internal communications and productivity tools go, Slack is pretty much cream of the crop at the moment. While video conferencing is definitely not a focal point of the Slack platform – and is therefore slightly half-baked – it is still an option you could explore.

One-on-one calls are supported across the board, but group and channel calls are only available on one of Slack’s paid plans. While it won’t stand up to Zoom and other software platforms, Slack could be worth a look if you already use it for internal communication and don’t want to dive into other programs.

Slack also has integrations with numerous apps, allowing you to check your calendar and Google Drive in Slack. Among our favourites is a unique rewards system called Hey Taco, where teams can reward each other for great work. Keeping the culture alive one taco at a time!

  • Microsoft Teams

Teams is Microsoft’s spiritual successor to Skype For Business, and it comes with a highly impressive set of features. Available for anyone who signs up, Teams supports up to 300 members, additional guest access, screen sharing, and file sharing.

The Business or Enterprise version of Windows 365 grants administrators additional management, security, and compliance tools, as well as file sharing up to 1 TB per user. Teams is incredibly impressive as a free option, but it is a must-use for businesses who are big users of Windows 365.

  • Google Meet

Meet is Google’s entry into the video conferencing fray, and is their new and improved version of the old Google Hangouts system. Where Hangouts is more focused on hanging out with friends, Meet is solely a professional video call service for businesses.

Meet does not have a free tier, but, like Microsoft Teams above, Meet isn’t really a program that you pay for directly – it’s part of a larger jigsaw puzzle. Meet is one of many services that are part of Google’s G Suite

For $8.40 per user per month, you get access to Gmail Business email, 30 gigs of Drive storage, shared Calendars and many other tools, including Google Meet. So it truly is a one-stop shop for small businesses, where you can over most (or all) of your software needs in one place.

Meet itself is a sleek web app, which means that there is no software to download and install. Meet apps on iOS and Android, and a dedicated dial-in number assures that you can connect with staff and clients, no matter where they are in the world.

  • Which one should I choose?

We’re barely even scratching the surface here, and there are dozens of competitors that we could have included on this list. The options listed above are some of the most popular options, and being free or cheap means that they are well suited for small and medium businesses out there.

In the end, the software you end up choosing isn’t terribly important. They all have unique pros and cons, and in the end there are only three things that matter: how well you like it, how it integrates into your business, and how easy your clients find it to use.

It may serve you well to shop around, so to speak. Try a new program for each of your next couple of calls, even if it is just to check the video quality on an internal catch-up call.

Want some help choosing the right software for your current and future needs? We can help cut through the confusion to match the right technology with your business through our Technology Tetris service.
Contact us to set up a non-committal chat at your convenience.