Zoom has become one of the most used video conferencing apps in recent times. From allowing up to 100 participants to join a video conference using free account to enabling remote collaboration and cross-platform support, the app has something for everyone. However, the app has its downsides, too — for example, a time cap of up to 40 minutes on free accounts and privacy and security concerns raised by many critics lately with regard to how the app could possibly collect user data.
So, what should one use if not Zoom, especially as video-conferencing has become so essential amid the global coronavirus crisis and most companies asking their employees to work from home (WFH)? Business Standard lists five best alternatives to the Zoom app for video conferencing:
Skype Meet Now
This is a web-based service that allows video conferencing among up to 50 participants without requiring any app or client. Though minimalistic in features, the Meet Now can be your go-to service that allows instant video meetings without having to go through a long and tedious process. To start a meeting, you have to simply visit the Skype Meet Now web portal, enter meeting topic and generate link. This generated link can be shared with participants, who can join by simply clicking on the link. Importantly, the link does not expire. Therefore, you can plan a meeting in advance by generating the link and sharing it with participants.
If Meet Now seems limited in features, try Skype. It is a fully fledged service available in the form of a client for PCs and Macs, and app for smartphones, tablets, Xbox and Alexa devices. Besides allowing 50 participants in a video conferencing with no time limit, the Skype has some premium features like high-definition audio and video calls, call recording with live subtitles, instant messaging with emoticon support, screen sharing for collaboration and encrypted private conversations. What’s more, you can do background blur, share files, and call on mobile phones (charges apply).
This is a web-based service that works almost like Skype Meet Now. However, it requires a Google account to create or participate in a video meeting. The service allows up to 100 participants and there is no time limit on video meetings. The service supports live captions, chat, file sharing and the presentation mode. To start a video meeting, go to the Google Meet web portal, click on start a meeting button to get URL and share the URL with people to participate in video meeting. There is also an option to join the meeting using meeting code.
This is primarily a team management tool that also doubles up as collaboration tool. Part of Office 365, Microsoft Teams is an app-based service that allows up to 100 participants in a video conference. However, that is just one feature in the overall package. Microsoft Teams enables company-wide communication, file transfer, calendar integration, app support, and much more. Though the app is a paid service, there is a free version that is generous enough and includes free chat messages and search, video meetings, app integration, and 10GB of file storage.
Webex by Cisco
Webex is an enterprise-grade video-conferencing tool by Cisco that has been around for many years. Interestingly, it has a free version available that allows free video conferencing among up to 50 people for a time limit of 40 minutes. In view of the present coronavirus crisis, Cisco has enabled some of the paid features in its free version in select countries. These features include boosting participant limit to 100 per meeting and removing any time limit. Additionally, the free version also allows the call-in feature for voice-only meetings.