Last updated on August, 3
🏆 Best Video Conferencing Software for August 2021
Are you looking for a new way to collaborate with your team? Video conferencing software is the perfect solution. It’s easy to use and can be accessed from any device, so it doesn’t matter where you are or what time of day it is. With built-in capabilities like chat, screen sharing, and recording, video conferencing software allows for online communication for audio meetings, video meetings, and seminars.
What is video conferencing software?
Video conferencing software is a cheap, convenient, and efficient way to stay connected. These programs allow two or more participants to communicate via video or audio. Video conferencing software enables businesses with remote employees to conduct meetings, training, and conferences through the internet.
Why do you need video conferencing software?
Video conferencing software enables companies to communicate with employees who work remotely. A high-quality video conferencing software includes features that promote secure communication such as chat rooms. With video conferencing software, you can keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues wherever you are.
The video conferencing software list includes some that offer a basic, free account. All you need is a reasonable internet connection, and you can continue to enjoy video calls. Although this free software has limited features, you can always upgrade to a premium account.
Easy to Use
Scheduling meetings with open source video conferencing software is straightforward. After setting up an account, you can schedule a meeting and invite participants by sending a link. This simplicity saves time preparing for the meeting and allows managers to focus on the agenda at hand.
Video conferencing software removes the need for travel, which saves time. Managers, employees, and other personnel won’t have to leave their office to join a meeting. You can even use HD video conferencing software to schedule interviews for new hires and evaluate potential candidates through the call.
Higher Meeting Attendance
Using video conferencing software enables all in your team or company to attend meetings conveniently. For example, employees who would otherwise have been limited by location can join meetings effortlessly. This increased meeting attendance promotes productivity and provides a fast way to spread information.
Higher Employee Retention
Less travel to attend meetings helps employees maintain the right work-life balance. Even remote employees can feel part of a team with the face-to-face interaction that comes with video conferencing. When team members feel connected, they are more likely to stay with the company.
Video conferencing software promotes higher efficiency and productivity because attendees spend less time on travel and preparation. When the meeting is over, everyone can get back to work immediately. Sessions conducted using video conferencing software also focus on the agenda and leave less time for chit-chat, which also boosts productivity.
Core features of video conferencing software
You need the screen sharing feature if you are conducting an interactive meeting or webinar. Screen sharing allows you to share your screen so others can follow the discussion and better understand your explanation. Since this is a fundamental feature, most video conference software reviews include it.
HD video quality is vital to enhance the meeting experience. With high-quality videos, all participants can see each other and feel like they are in the same room. Although the video quality will also depend on the camera used, this feature is a must-have for a successful virtual meeting.
File transfer functionality allows users to send files to other participants. This crucial collaboration feature also lets others request needed files. Since file sharing comes with security risks, most video conferencing software use high-security features.
Some open-source video conference software allows participants to type or draw on a board or even upload an image or document that is visible to others. You can also find some Apps that let you highlight or draw on some regions of the uploaded image and use other features like zoom, pointers, and markers.
The top 10 video conferencing software allows alternative communication during video calls. This chat feature is especially useful in case of internet limitations. Most chat sessions within the video conference software are limited to two participants, which ensures security.
This feature is a must-have for collaborative meetings. Video conferencing software with remote control capabilities allows you to access and control other participants' computers, mouse, and keyboard. You can either request access or wait for access to be given to you. This feature is useful for screen sharing and allows you to let someone else control your screen, pull up the necessary documents while you focus on explaining
You can find video conferencing software for Mac and other operating systems that allows you to record meetings and store them in the cloud. Usually, video conferencing software has a recording feature, but not all offer unlimited cloud storage.
Complex presentations usually require a variety of files from PPTs, PDFs and MP4s. The best video conferencing software that offers dynamic presentation features, including note sharing. These features will help enrich your presentation.
This feature is especially crucial if you are hosting a webinar and want feedback. Video conferencing software over LAN usually has performance metrics to allow participants to evaluate your meeting. This information can provide insight to help you improve in the future.
Types of video conferencing
Desktop Video Conferencing
Desktop video conferencing uses software on your desktop that also acts as your computer monitor. All you have to do is install the software on your desktop or laptop and start a conference. Many desktop video conferencing software systems also have a mobile app as an alternative.
Pro #1: Easy installation
Installing desktop video conference software is straightforward. All you need to do is click the download link, run the download, and open the file afterward. If you need an immediate solution, this is a good option.
Pro #2: Little equipment required
Since your desktop or laptop probably also has a microphone and camera built-in, you’ll not need additional equipment. So you can save time and money on purchasing other equipment.
Pro #3: Stable connection
Using a desktop or laptop during a video conference usually means having a better internet connection. Unlike wireless connections on Mobile devices that are unstable and can cause interruptions, a wired connection offers better stability.
Pro #4: Easy access
Desktop video conferencing enables you to take your business calls anywhere you are. As long as you have your laptop, you can conduct meetings wherever you are.
Con #1: Limited mobility
Using video conferencing software on your desktop, for example, limits the location where you can hold video calls. If you need to attend a meeting in an awkward place, you will need a more mobile App.
Telepresence Video Conferencing
Telepresence video conferencing is usually done using large screens and cameras positioned at eye-level. This set-up gives the appearance that all participants are sitting in the same room around the same table.
Pro #1: Life-like meeting
The set-up of a telepresence video conferencing allows participants to feel like there are in a real-life meeting. With monitors or screens placed around the desk, participants can even make eye-contact with each other.
Pro #2: Uses HD audio and video
Telepresence transmits the presence of each participant using high tech audio and visual to remove the spatial divides between people. This type of video conferencing also uses interior design and furnishings and other media technology to enhance the experience.
Pro#3: Promotes easy collaboration
Businesses that require regular in-person meetings will appreciate the realistic approach of this type of video conferencing. Telepresence video conferencing gives you that ‘realistic’ feel while still being accessible and efficient.
Con #1: Complex set-up
Compared to traditional video conferencing, telepresence requires reasonable set-up time and equipment. This complexity may be a challenge if you are on a budget.
Integrated Video Conferencing
This type of video conferencing is ideal for group conferencing using a centralized location. Classrooms and boardroom conferences usually use this type of video conferencing. In this set-up, the displays, primary camera, and other equipment are mounted in the central location.
Pro #1: Ideal for classrooms
Integrated video conferencing is an ideal solution if you are handling a class or holding a board meeting. You can set-up the system so that everyone can tie-in to your presentation. This classroom-like set-up may be more comfortable for your students.
Pro #2: Useful for large meetings
Meetings that usually take place in massive places like auditoriums can be done using integrated video conferencing. With this system, all employees can be kept up-to-date on important events without being in the same location.
Pro #3: Less complicated
Since all the equipment is set-up in a single location, integrated video conferencing uses fewer resources. You won’t need to hire assistants to maintain order- you can control the flow of the meeting in the comfort of your home or office.
Pro #4: Affordable
Renting an auditorium or gym to hold large meetings is costly. With integrated video conferencing, all you need is a central location to keep your equipment, and you can host your gathering.
Con #1: Limited interaction
Users have less interaction with each other, which is not ideal for collaborative meetings.
Room-Based Video Conferencing
Room-based video conferencing usually takes place in one room that has screens and projectors set-up. Typically, this type of video conferencing is ideal for those who have a few employees working away from the office who need to join meetings.
Pro #1: Less equipment needed
Since room-based conferences take place in the same location, participants don’t need to use their equipment. Only those tied in will need video conferencing software.
Pro #2: Convenient
Instead of having your remote employees travel to the office, they can join meetings, conferences, and other essential events via video call. This convenience makes gathering the team easier.
Pro #3: Cost-effective
You will only need video conferencing installed on the equipment used. Since video conferencing software open source often comes with a monthly cost, installing it on less hardware saves money.
Con #1: Less mobility
Since a permanent room is used for the video conference, those working in the office won’t be able to join virtually.
Service-Based Video Conferencing
This type of video conferencing system uses a provider, which is often a telecom carrier. This provider sets-up the network, and you only pay a fee.
Pro #1: Less work
The service provider handles all the technicalities regarding network set-up. You don’t have to worry about any technical problems, and you can focus on your meeting.
Pro #2: Efficient and convenient
If you don't have an IT department, service-based video conferencing offers a provider that is available to solve any issues that arise. You can contact their customer service for any issues.
Con #1: Recurring fees
Service-based video conferencing systems require monthly payments that can pile-up.
Who needs online video conferencing software
Video conferencing technology has made online learning more interactive. Using this software to facilitate online lessons is convenient and efficient. You can hold large classrooms with free multiple video conferencing software and use various devices for a better experience.
This software offers a cost-efficient way to stay connected with your team and partners. You can connect with your staff and workers instantly and create healthy relationships along the way. Government agencies can also benefit from the security of video conferencing.
Physicians handling multiple clinics can use video conferencing software to conduct one-on-one appointments with their patients. With the help of videotelephony video conferencing software, doctors can take care of patients who live remotely.
Manufacturers managing global operations can use video conferencing software to conduct real-time virtual product reviews. From procurement to engineering, video conferencing software can make your process efficient every step of the way.
Video conferencing software removes the need to travel to meet with clients. All you need is the right software, and you can continue helping more clients make wise financial decisions. Wherever you are, your clients can always have access to your services.
Virtual employees can use video conferencing software to keep in touch with teammates. Whether you are collaborating with partners or customers, video conferencing software can cut travel costs and make working more efficient.
Efficient collaboration is the key to success in the legal world. Video conferencing software can let attorneys meet together virtually and converse with clients and witnesses. You can stay in the comfort of your own office and conduct executive briefings in real-time.
Video conferencing gives entertainers like singers the chance to do auditions and collaborations conveniently. Potential actors can even meet interviewers over a conference call and also record the interview for future playback.
Collaborating with field personnel is made easy with video conferencing software. For example, businesses in the gas and energy industry can effectively communicate with and manage field teams instantly. This smooth communication can help streamline operations and reduce costs.
Step-by-step guide on how to make the most of a video conference
Step1: Follow proper etiquette.
You need the discipline to create a formal yet simple means to hand over conversation to the next person. Most video conferencing software has a ‘raise hand’ option that allows participants to raise their hands and wait to be selected before they speak. Before calling a meeting, set clear rules for turn-taking to ensure everyone gets a chance to talk, and nobody speaks at the same time.
Step 2: Provide meeting agenda beforehand.
If the video conference is to last more than 15 minutes, an agenda is necessary. Make sure you provide all participants with the meeting agenda so everyone can plan their contributions. Having a plan also helps balance-out participation, so nobody spends too much time speaking.
Step 3: Invest in the right camera.
The quality of your video call will largely depend on the quality of your camera. Traditional web cameras often have small viewing areas and are of poor quality. So, invest in a specialized meeting camera that has a broader lens and high-quality video.
Step 4: Always do an audio-visual check.
Before each meeting, establish an audio-visual check with all the participants to detect any local issues that may affect the call later. This check is especially important if you are working from different time zones and have different internet capacity.
Step 5: Elect a video call facilitator.
Selecting a facilitator will help the call run smoothly and ensure all participants feel heard. The facilitator keeps track of the discussion and ensures the meeting agenda is discussed. Facilitators are also responsible for summarizing main points, taking notes, and acknowledging people’s viewpoints.
Step 6: Rotate duties.
Managers can give their team members the chance to facilitate the call instead of handling every meeting. As long as you provide clear guidelines, anyone on the team can lead the call. Switching duties up also keeps the call engaging and helps build confidence.
Step 7: Use icebreakers.
A productive video conference should not be focused only on work. Make sure you give time for the team to share something personal and get to know each other virtually. Icebreakers allow teammates to build relationships, which promotes teamwork and productivity.
Step 8: Ask for solutions.
One of the most effective ways to keep your team engaged is to ask them to help you solve problems. During these brainstorming sessions, allow everyone to express their opinions without judgment. This healthy interaction promotes team collaboration and lets team members feel more at ease with one another.
Step 9: Pay attention to your appearance.
Always treat video conferences as a formal meeting and dress accordingly. The ideal attire for a video conference call is something solid colored that can be seen clearly on camera. Stay away from distracting designs or colorful tops that divert attention.
Step 10: Select the right venue.
The venue you select can give a more professional setting. Before you present yourself, find a location that offers proper lighting and highlights your face. Adequate lighting can also solve resolution issues, and glares on cameras so have a dedicated spot for video conferencing. You can also use lighting features to balance natural and artificial light.
Step 11: Optimize your background.
Make sure your backdrop is blank such as a solid-colored wall. Try and stay away from walls that have too many decorations and fixtures. You want to keep your background clean and simple to appear professional. Remove anything in your environment that may distract other participants and make sure family members don’t pass behind you during the call.
Step 12: Know your video conferencing software features.
Video conferencing features may include screen sharing, file sharing, and chat software. Make sure you know how to use each of these features effectively before hosting a video conference. Also, make sure that all participants know how to use essential elements like mute/unmute, so the call runs smoothly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
An H. 323 is one of the oldest standards used for VOIP and video conferencing. This standard is composed of different elements that allow data transfer. One of the advantages of H. 323 software is that it enables packages produced by different vendors to operate with each other.
The quality of the video conference depends on the connection between the conferencing sites. An H.323 video conference software requires approximately 768 kbps. If your internet bandwidth is 128Kbps, you get a choppy video and unclear audio. For 256Kbps bandwidth, the sound is clear, but the video is barely moving. To make the most of video conferencing software, make sure you have sufficient bandwidth.
An ISDN internet service is a telephone-based system that uses a dedicated line. An IP connection, on the other hand, is a wireless connection that uses a fixed IP address. Although both can be used for video conferencing, an ISDN connection ensures consistent video and audio quality. Using an IP connection doesn’t give you any guaranteed bandwidth, which implies you will not have guaranteed video quality. In terms of cost, an ISDN connection is more expensive than an IP connection.
A firewall is a virtual wall between your computer and the internet. This virtual wall allows you to access information on the internet but ensures that people on the internet cannot access anything on your computer. If you have a firewall, you will have to initiate video conferencing using the IP address of the remote video conferencing system. You will have difficulty using multipoint video conferencing and may need to open specific ports in your firewall to use video conferencing software.
Transrating is one of the functions available on video conferencing software that allows conferences among sites with different bandwidths. For example, those with Internet2 connections can participate at 2 Mbps rate while other sites with lower bandwidth can join at a lower 384 Kbps rate.
Transcoding is an option that allows conferences with participants using different video conferencing formats. For example, those using IP or internet connection can communicate with those using ISDN connections.
Continuous presence is a valuable feature during video conferences that allows all participants to be visible on the screen during the entire call. For example, if there are 10 participants, everyone will see ten windows of different sizes with each participant in their window.
No. Most video conferencing software allows you to join meetings or webinars without a webcam. However, you will not be able to show a video of yourself, although you will be able to listen and speak. Even without a webcam, you can enjoy other features like screen sharing.
Codec is a type of platform used by video conferencing software. This type of video conferencing uses a codec or a tool that receives an encoded transmission and decodes it. There are two types of codecs:
This is the type of system used by the standard video conferencing Apps. A soft codec system can smoothly run from a mobile phone; however, additional hardware may be needed for businesses. The soft codec system may be less expensive, but it also has a higher risk of interruptions.
A hard codec is a hardware system specially designed for video conferencing. This hardware runs on a dedicated device and is more reliable that a soft codec.
Projecting a comfortable, confident appearance on video is essential. Here are some tips to help you become more comfortable on a video call:
Good posture sends positive non-verbal signals of health and enthusiasm. On the other hand, lousy posture makes you appear uninterested. During a video conference, place both feet on the floor, take a deep breath, and relax your neck and throat. In addition to sitting up straight, you want to lean forward near the camera to show you are fully involved.
Smiling makes people more comfortable with your presence, even on camera. Look directly into the camera and smile genuinely when greeting team members or sharing thoughts. Smiling will generate positive feelings and help the meeting run smoothly.
-Position the camera properly
A camera positioned too high or too low is distracting. Not only that, but the wrong angle can also be unflattering. Make sure you place the camera on a stable surface and keep it focused on the eye-level. The right camera positioning ensures you look your best and also helps promote direct engagement with others.
Although a video conference is not the same as a face-to-face meeting, the same etiquette rules apply. Here are some things to avoid during a video conference.
-Unnecessary body movements
If you are someone who likes to talk with their hands, try and keep them on your lap during a video conference. Hand movements distract your audience. Also, try and minimize fidgeting on your seat and moving your head back and forth.
-Interrupting other speakers
The basic etiquette of wait for your turn to speak also applies to video conferences. Never interrupt while someone is speaking. If you have something essential to say, make use of the instant message box and post your idea there instead.
-Carrying on side conversations
Make sure you press “mute” before talking to anyone around you, or on the phone. Having a side conversation with a family member or workmate during the meeting is rude
-Wearing noisy jewelry
Big jewelry is distracting and can also bump against your microphone, causing unnecessary noise. Dangling earrings can get entangled with your microphone wires, distracting you from the meeting. If you decide to wear jewelry, keep it small and straightforward.
-Making unnecessary sounds
Remember that everyone on the call can hear things like typing on the keyboard, phone notifications, and other background sounds. Make sure you have your phone on silent and avoid multitasking during the call. Your focus should be on the person speaking.
-Speaking too loud
Instead of increasing your voice, increase the volume of your microphone. If you speak too loud, listeners will turn down their volumes and possibly miss what you say.
Punctuality is equally essential when it comes to video conferences. Not only does being late give you a wrong impression, but it also distracts the host who has to let you in after the meeting has started.
No matter how ‘minor’ your multi-task is, such as checking your email or phone, everyone can see you. Eliminate all distractions, close all running apps and documents, and focus on the meeting.