Video conferencing is increasingly present, whether for conversations with friends or business meetings. It is therefore important to choose the best tools. ZoneGtech has selected the most interesting software for you according to your needs.
With the increase in fixed and mobile 4G and soon 5G Internet speeds, it is becoming increasingly common to use video conferencing. But while some are satisfied with the solutions offered by mainstream communication tools like Facebook Messenger or Apple Facetime, there are many software with broader or more professional features. ZoneGtech therefore drew up a panel of the best solutions on the market, whatever the profile and the user’s need.
We cannot talk about video conferencing without mentioning Skype, the most famous software in the field. Launched in 2003, acquired in 2011 by Microsoft, it has expanded its features and compatible platforms. If Skype started on Windows only, allowing two speakers to communicate via their webcam and microphone, the latest versions have added some very interesting features. It is for example possible for users to share their screen, and thus to allow to present PowerPoint files or to make demonstrations of software uses. This is especially convenient as Skype allows group discussions of up to 10 people.
Another interesting option is the ability to record current conversations, convenient for both business and personal communications, since Skype is often used in a family environment, used for example by largeparents to watch their grandchildren grow up.
The advantage of Skype is that it is not limited to computer-to-computer or mobile-to-mobile communication; indeed, Skype offers two solutions to connect to the traditional telephone network. Thanks to Skype-to-Phone, it is possible to call telephone numbers, both geographical and mobile, anywhere in the world, for a fee, but whose cost is much lower than the normal cost of calls, especially when calling from or to foreign countries. And conversely, thanks to the Skype Number, the user can temporarily purchase a traditional phone number, French or not, which will be redirected to the Skype software without the caller knowing that it is a Skype number. An ideal solution for people who travel a lot and need to stay reachable, even when they are abroad.
The strength of Skype is being a cross-platform product. The software is available on computers (Windows, Mac and Linux), mobile devices (Android, iOS and Windows 10 mobile), Xbox One and even Amazon Alexa.
Google Hangouts is certainly not the most well-known product of the Mountain View company, yet it does not lack appeal. Hangouts is the instant chat companion of Gmail, the most popular e-mail service on the planet. Who has a Gmail account has a Hangouts account. Here is the first strength of this product.
Google Hangouts brings together three products under the same name for three distinct needs. Google Hangouts is the instant chat service found in the Gmail interface. It’s much more than that, and you just have to go to the Hangouts site to find out. In a simple and responsive interface, we find all our Gmail contacts, a chat system with instant messages, as well as a video conferencing system with a user or a group of interlocutors.Nothing to install on computer, you will have to download the mobile app to use it on Android or iOS. Google Hangouts therefore has features similar to Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, there too an invitation must be sent to the user before it can communicate in writing or by video.
But if Google Hangouts is part of this list, it is because it differs from these two other candidates by unique features. The first is Google Hangouts Phone, formerly Google Dialer. With this tool, the user can, in the way of Skype-to-phone, call physical phone numbers all over the world, and at a lower cost. The cost is even zero for calls to the United States and Canada in most cases. The feature called Google Voice also provides a virtual number connected to a physical number (American) and therefore receive calls to its number in +1. Google Voice also has an impressive feature since voice messages are automatically transcribed into text and sent by e-mail, or by notification in the application, very convenient at work or in meetings when one cannot listen to his message, We can still read it.
Finally, the least known version of Hangouts that should interest more than one manager, business manager or association manager is Hangouts Meet, part of G Suite by Google Cloud, Google’s professional part. G Suite is a set of services often free of charge for individuals that are improved and made available to businesses, by means of a subscription. Among the services of G Suite, we find a reworked Gmail that will replace the native messaging service of the company, and thus greatly simplify its administration. Similarly, Hangouts Meet is a boosted version of Hangouts allowing in particular to launch invitations to videoconferences by a simple entry in the calendar (Google Agenda) which will automatically send an e-mail (Gmail therefore), containing a hyperlink that will trigger the video conference without any software to install on PC (on iOS or Android, the installation of an application remains necessary). Google has pushed the integration of its services quite far, and even opened them to others since using the SIP and H.323 standards, Meet video conferences can be reached by Skype for Business users.
For the professional world, Zoom is positioned as a turnkey set for all that concerns collaborative work. Thus, Zoom has a very advanced video conferencing solution, allowing to communicate in duo, in group or even by conference room. Even better, it is possible to initiate or join a discussion directly from a hypertext link. If the user navigates with Chrome or Firefox, an extension will then install. However, it will be necessary to have installed the application if it is on mobile.Finally, if the user does not have a smartphone, tablet or computer, telephone numbers are available to join the meetings thanks to a unique code; in the case of a Premium subscription, the numbers are free and it is even possible to call each other. In addition, video conferences can be recorded in the cloud and viewed later.
Another strength of Zoom is its ability to create “webinars”. A mix of web and seminar, they represent the current trend in corporate communication, both internally and externally. This is a one-way video conference, with participants communicating to the facilitator via a chat room, often used in Q&A sessions at the end of the webinar. Other features offered by Zoom include advanced screen-sharing options and the Zoom Desktop app, which allows you to centralize all communication, with a system of channels very close to Slack. Zoom Voice replaces the company’s telephone system by switching it entirely to VoIP, including voice mail.
Zoom is therefore a professional software mainly intended for companies, and its cost is affected since the amount of the subscription varies from 15 to 20 dollars per month and per user, with specific rates for schools. But there is a free version, if you make some sacrifices, for example the duration of group video conferences limited to 40 minutes or the backup of videos only on the host’s computer and not on the cloud. However, this free plan remains a very good opportunity for individuals, small businesses or associations.