Tired of Zoom — Use These Tools Instead
Despite the fact that Zoom has been around for years, the video conferencing platform became ingrained in our daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. It became so popular that researchers...
This story originally appeared on Calendar
Despite the fact that Zoom has been around for years, the video conferencing platform became ingrained in our daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. It became so popular that researchers at Stanford University dubbed the phenomenon of video calls tiring us out as "Zoom Fatigue."
While the paper discussed how video conferencing had exhausted us all, there are valid reasons why people are fed up with Zoom. Critics have stated that Zoom collects and shares too much data. There are also security concerns, like Zoombombing, that have resulted in an FTC settlement.
That's not to say that Zoom is all bad. On the contrary, it's free, easy-to-use, supports large audiences, and connects with other tools like Google Calendar.
Whether you're a fan of Zoom or not, just because life is returning to somewhat normalcy doesn't mean that we're done with video conferencing. After all, remote and hybrid work are most likely here to stay. So, if you're tired of Zoom, you might want to explore the following tools instead.
1. Cisco Webex
The Cisco Webex solution allows you to host HD video meetings and communicate with one another via instant messaging. Furthermore, it offers many other collaborative features that make it a viable Zoom alternative. These include screen sharing, file sharing, recording, and whiteboarding.
The video conferencing software also includes a variety of pre-designed meeting invites, which can be used for brainstorming sessions and quick updates. Additionally, you can personalize your screen or presentation and isolate distracting background noise. Webex also integrates with popular business apps like Salesforce, Zendsk, and Microsoft Dynamics.
Its unique feature is its AI-powered assistant that takes notes during meetings for future use. This technology can also translate into ten languages in real-time and place essential messages at the top.
The Webex toolkit also includes two significant devices, namely the Webex Desk Camera and the Cisco Webex Board. Webex Board serves for hosting video conferences, whiteboarding, and annotating content wirelessly, while the Desk connects to monitors, laptops, or the Webex Desk Hub.
As for pricing, Cisco Webex offers four plans;
- Free: $0 per host, per month
- Starter: $13.50 per host, per month
- Business: $26.95 per host, per month
- Enterprise Plan: Quote-based
Meeting attendees are limited to 100 in the free plan, 150 in the Starter plan, 200 in the Business, and 100,000 in the Enterprise plan.
2. Google Meet
One of the most popular and widely used Zoom alternatives is Google Meet. Previously, the company only offered Meet to G-Suite paying customers, but it has added a free tier. Users with a Google Account can create a free video meeting with up to 100 participants for up to 60 minutes.
However, with the paid plans, video conferences can be held with up to 250 participants, and presentations can be recorded and saved to Drive. You can also interact with Jamboard if you want an interactive whiteboard during the meeting.
Both Android and iOS devices are compatible with Google Meet, regardless of the plan. Also included in the mobile app are features for viewing and controlling participants in the meeting, details on the conference, and chat rooms.
Perhaps one favorite feature is that you can also invite attendees directly from the Google Calendar via email after creating the event.
Additionally, all of the usual features you expect from a virtual meeting tool are included. This includes screen-sharing, call recording, video conferencing, and live caption during meetings.
3. Zoho Meeting
Yet another Zoom alternative for online meetings is Zoho Meeting. But, it's also an excellent tool for facilitating webinars and broadcasting demos. Also, I like that participants can join or start meetings without installing any software.
Even though you can only host meetings on iOS, you can join them via Android or iOS. Additionally, there are Firefox and Chrome extensions.
Some other features worth mentioning are;
- No meeting time limits.
- The ability to record and share the session
- Meetings can be conducted online through audio, video, and screen sharing.
- Remind participants, get RSVPs, and embed links to meetings.
- Scheduling meetings automatically and syncing them with your Google calendar or Zoho calendar.
- The moderator can change the presenter, mute the microphone, or remove attendees.
- The ability to insert polls and Q&A to keep the audience engaged.
There are four payment plans offered by Zoho Meetings, with plans starting at $8 per month. You can also try the product for 14 days for free and host webinars and online meetings for free with limited features.
4. RingCentral MVP
Using RingCentral MVP as a business communication platform, 200 users can communicate simultaneously without downloading any software. In addition, users can switch between video meetings, chat messaging, and business phone systems in one click via this unified platform.
As you would expect, also included are your standard video meeting functionalities. I'm talking about screen sharing, whiteboarding, and drag-and-drop file sharing/editing. It also offers automated, real-time meeting transcription and can suppress background noise.
Among the unique features RingCentral MVP offers is a Meeting Summary Tool, a real-time task management tool, and the option to assign recurring tasks.
You can join pre-planned meetings on any device by dialing in, receiving a call, using the Android or iOS app, or by clicking on the link containing the invite. You can also instantly convert any chat or email conversation into a video call by clicking a button. And it also plays nice with Google Drive, Outlook, Slack, and Dropbox.
RingCentral MVP offers four plans priced between $19.99 for ten users and $59.99 for unlimited users. However, there is no free RingCentral MVP version.
With GoToMeeting, it is possible to host, attend or manage web meetings with one click. Among all the Zoom alternatives in this list, GoToMeeting is a favorite.
Up to 150 attendees can be hosted on the entry-level plan, while customers on the enterprise plan can host up to 3000. The program works on all devices, including PC, Mac, and mobile devices, and supports Cisco, Lifesize, and Polycom devices. You can also add up to 25 webcam feeds using a video conference room system that supports H.323.
GoToMeeting comes packed with run-of-the-mill features, such;
- Screen sharing.
- Conference, video, and mobile calling.
- Meeting recording & transcriptions.
- Virtual whiteboard and drawing tools.
- Voice commands, such as asking Siri to join meetings
- Split-screen feature
You can also schedule, manage, and join online meetings through the video conferencing platform's integration with Office 365.
What makes GoToMeeting stand out, though, is that it's fast, secure, reliable, and easy-to-use. Further, there are unique features like a "commute mode" that allows you to host or attend meetings on low-bandwidth devices. You also get an option to pick between VoIP and toll-based voice options.
Additionally, the tool also provides the helpful "call me" feature, where you are notified by phone when a meeting is about to begin. And it also lets you join the meeting via phone call — without a code or PIN.
After a 14-day free trial, plans start at $12 per month.
6. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams' free version includes some pretty awesome features. These include unlimited chat messages, unlimited storage for teams and individuals, and integration with Trello, Adobe, and Evernote. You also have the power to invite people from outside your organization to join your conference.
Premium plans include even more amazing features, such as up to 1 TB of additional storage and integration with 365. However, due to its dedicated Google Chrome extension, one of the main benefits of the free version, you might not need to upgrade. Team's user interface is also intuitive, simple, and user-friendly.
A paid Microsoft Teams account allows users to host up to 300 video meetings. Unlike Microsoft-owned Skype, teams offers standard features such as screen sharing and recording meetings as a video conferencing tool.
You can conduct virtual meetings and events in HD video quality with BlueJeans' video conferencing tool. In addition to holding town halls, interactive events, and webcasts, you can also host an event for a large audience. Incredibly, participants can join browser-based meetings without any installation and participate in up to 50,000 meetings with 150 presenters.
With Smart Meetings, you can tag business-critical moments, highlight event highlights, and assign team-based actions. During presentations, you can interact with attendees with collaboration features like file sharing and whiteboarding. In addition, the system has other interactive features such as polling, moderator controls, Q&A, event chat, and raising hands to spice up your virtual events.
You can also take complete control of your network, meeting performance, and ROI with the Command Center. You can avoid costly downtime by monitoring and resolving issues before they become a significant problem.
There are four paid plans to choose from, starting at $9.99 per month.
8. Dialpad Meetings
A simple, intuitive interface makes Dialpad Meetings the perfect tool for smooth team meetings. Besides advanced web conferencing features, it also offers screen sharing and voice intelligence to transcribe meetings and capture critical information. There's even an option to send a summary post-call. And, of course, all video conferencing is in HD quality.
I also like that the layout, background, hold music, and the URL of the meeting room are all customizable. You can also collaborate on files and integrate with Slack and Google Calendar tools. And, you can meet with just one-click from the app or your browser. In other words, there are no PINS or downloads to worry about.
You can sign-up for free unlimited as well.
I've used Join.me for years. However, with hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses struggling to stay afloat due to the pandemic, Join.me was one of the first to recognize the importance of businesses to keep productivity and collaboration flowing. How so? They provide an easy-to-use yet reliable video conferencing platform. One-click is all it takes to invite your team to join your meeting when you have a customized URL.
There is no doubt that Join.me's audio and video conferencing interface is easy to use. The collaboration tool lets you start or join a collaboration, schedule meetings from Outlook or Google Calendar, and jump into the meeting with one click from any device. There are also plans offered by Join.me that provide tons of premium features that make it even easier to use.
With the advanced audio and video features offered by Join.me, such as numbers for local conferences, audio controls for hosts, live video bubbles, background options, no time limits, and cloud storage (Business plan exclusive), there is no way Join.me has not simplified meetings. And, even better, Join.me works across all devices.
Chanty was launched in 2017 as an all-in-one collaboration tool that includes audio and video calls and Kanban board task management, explains Mia Naumoska, Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty.
"As a collaboration platform, it combines communication and management," adds Mia. "You can share your screen while presenting, share documents, and send text messages, set tasks, and use Teambook to access all your content."
You can go back and view the messages and files you have shared. Conversations can be private, public, or one-to-one. Additionally, you don't have a limit on the number of messages you can search through.
"Similar to Zoom, Chanty is quite easy to use, so kiss goodbye to that learning curve and reading the guides on how to get started," she says.
Besides Google Drive, Chanty offers integration with Asana, Giphy, Trello, Github, Zapier, OneDrive, Mailchimp, Gitlab, Bitbucket, Dropbox, and many other apps.
With Fuze, organizations can streamline their business voice communications, hold flexible video conferencing, and constantly collaborate via an integrated cloud-based communications platform. Fuze, formerly ThinkingPhones, enables modern, mobile workforces to communicate seamlessly via almost any device at any time and anywhere.
Video conferencing software Eyeson provides businesses of all sizes with cloud-based video conferencing. Eyeson does not require download or installation, unlike most other video conferencing services. Instead, simply share the link with participants, and they can join directly in their browsers.
13. Jitsi Meet
With Jitsi Meet, you can encrypt your video calls for end-to-end security while enjoying HD video quality. You can add as many as 50 participants to a meeting using this free service. These participants may be invited by sharing the meeting link with them or by telephoning them. Jitsi Meet offers the advantage of allowing participants to attend your meeting without signing up for Jitsi.
You can host and attend unlimited meetings with Lifesize's cloud video meeting and team chat software with no download required for up to 10,000 guests (including 500 participants).
Among its many features are a 4K high-definition screen sharing resolution and multiple options for virtual background display. There's also a handy built-in microphone and speaker test to guarantee optimal audio/video quality.
You may want to check out Discord as an alternative to Zoom. Popularized among gamers, everyone who wants encrypted chats, messages, and video calls can use it. Each user sets up a "server," which hosts a video and text chat (similar to Slack).
Discord recently raised the limit for Go Live video calls from 10 users to 50. And the app is available on most web browsers and Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!
The post Tired of Zoom — Use These Tools Instead appeared first on Calendar.