The urgent need for video conferencing may have taken the world by surprise, but fortunately, there are several excellent options from which to choose in the tools you use. Which one is best for your team will naturally depend on your specific needs, and there are several factors that you will want to keep in mind when making your decision.

Ordinarily, you would expect price to be a major consideration, but when it comes to video conferencing, the pricing for plans surprisingly range from free to extremely affordable. Other factors you will probably consider most important are:

  • Participant limits – Obviously, everyone has to be able to attend.
  • Existing software – The programs you are already using could be a significant factor in which program you choose for video conferencing.
  • Security – Exactly what will you be discussing in these video meetings? If it is just normal everyday administrative business, then security may not be an issue. But if you plan to talk about confidential projects or details, this should be at the top of your list of requirement.

There are 5 programs which provide the best video conferencing performance, all of which offer varying features according to the plan you choose. There should be one that offers everything that your specific needs require. Here is an overview of each one that will hopefully give you the information you need to make an informed decision.


This is one of the oldest and most respected programs created for this purpose. It has everything even the largest companies could need, including hardware bundles to turn your conference room into a professional virtual meeting place. Its security is top of the industry, including end-to-end encryption.

The basic plan allows up to 150 users, 25 of whom can use their webcams simultaneously, and only a 1Mbps connection is required for high-definition calls. The most expensive plan is only $19 a month, only $16 if you pay annually, and it gives you 250 participants. You can also get a custom quote for Enterprise versions with up to 3,000 users.

One of the biggest advantages of GoToMeeting is its recording and transcribing feature. Just clicking the record button will capture the presenter’s screen and everyone else’s audio, which will be automatically transcribed by the Smart Meeting Assistant. The recordings can then be stored locally or in the cloud, which is useful for on-demand viewing by those who couldn’t attend the live meeting.

Features, some of which are only available in the highest level plans include:

  • Screen sharing
  • File sharing
  • Keyboard and mouse sharing
  • Whiteboard
  • Cloud storage

GoToMeeting is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, but can also be used with just a web browser, so users don’t have to download any software for either desktop or mobile. Users can also call in by phone.

The only downsides to GoToMeeting are no Linux app and no free plan. However, you can get a 14 day free trial without providing a credit card.


Zoom almost certainly profited most from the sudden need for video conferencing, probably because so many people needed no more than what the free plan offers, which is unlimited 1 to 1 meetings and up to 100 participants for meetings up to 40 minutes long. Here, too, the most expensive plan is only $19.99 a month for up to 300 participants and recording transcripts stored in the cloud, with custom quotes for enterprise versions of 1,000 users.

Zoom offers much the same in the way of features as GoToMeeting, again with some only on higher priced plans:

  • Screen sharing
  • File sharing
  • Keyboard and mouse sharing
  • Whiteboard
  • Cloud storage

It is also compatible with all the same platforms:  Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and web browsers. You can have up to 100 participants for meetings up to 40 minutes long. However, Zoom does differ from GoToMeeting in a few notable ways: the whiteboarding capability is more robust, you can utilize screen sharing with multiple screens and you can use virtual backgrounds, which is a crowd favorite.

The biggest downside of using Zoom is its security failures. While the company has taken care of a lot of issues, there are apparently still some serious problems, as noted by a recent report by Tom’s Guide.   It suggested that Zoom be restricted to “…after-work get-togethers, or even workplace meetings that stick to routine business…”

Google Hangouts/Google Meet

If you are already using Google apps then Google Hangouts is easily integrated, and offers high-definition video conferencing for up to 15 people, including screen sharing. Depending on what G-Suite subscription your team has, the cost could be just $6 a month.

Google Meet is already part of the G-Suite package and, although it doesn’t offer anywhere near what other platforms do, it does allow you to take advantage of other Google apps for scheduling, file sharing and more. Enterprise plans also offer recording and cloud storage, plus live-stream viewing for 100,000 viewers. There is also hardware available that can be used anywhere. In the last few months, there have been more than 100 million active users daily and growing by 3 million new users every day.

Skype for Business

If you are already using Microsoft apps, particularly Microsoft 365, then Skype for business may be all that you need. It allows 250 participants and offers video/audio recording. Unfortunately, the hardware phones can’t be used with online plans. There are a number of different plans that can be difficult to figure out, but the bottom line is that Skype for Business falls far short of the other platforms covered here.

The Future of Video Conferencing

It is now obvious that the combination of remote work and video conferencing accomplishes more than most business and government entities had imagined. In fact, it’s altogether possible that, had these practices been adopted sooner, world economies might not have taken nearly as big of a hit as they did.

There will always be jobs that cannot be done remotely, and people who work better with other live humans. As The Guardian notes, “More virtual business meetings, and fewer flights, would reduce carbon emissions. Remote and flexible employment suits some jobs and people.”

But there should be no doubt that video conferencing is here to stay, and will only become more prevalent as time goes on.

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