Video conferencing apps have played a pivotal during the lockdown phase. Not only have they helped the world connect, but they also helped transform the work and education sector across the globe. Also Read - Google Meet introduces new features to make work-from-home easy: What's new
What has helped video conferencing apps grow exponentially during this period is the fact that they have provided their services for free to their customers with an option to upgrade for premium features. Even smartphones users on Android and iOS have been able to avail these services and that’s what has caused the boom. Also Read - Top 5 video calling apps you can use for work from home in 2021
The ubiquitous influence of virtual classrooms and remote workplaces gave the push to the industries and educational institutions to deploy these video conferencing solutions. Since these apps will be in use for a longer period are they here to stay, here’s a look at the top 5 free video conferencing apps you should definitely look out for. Also Read - Top 10 work from home apps to look at in 2021
What has been the go-to video conferencing app of 2020, Zoom shot to fame ever since the lockdown kicked in. The app is available for download for free on Android, iOS and Microsoft but you can always upgrade your app to avail the premium services that Zoom offers.
The app has been able to garner more than 300 million users over the course of the past couple of months and is one of the most-used apps today.
With the free version of the app, users get 40-minutes of uninterrupted video calling with an option to record the call. The company introduced paid subscription models for the app in October with the annual plans starting from Rs 13,200 all the ay up to Rs 17,700.
The paid version of the app offers features likes a maximum of 100 participants, unlimited group meetings, social media streaming and 1GB cloud recording (per account).
What makes Zoom an attractive proposition is the interface is relatively simple to use and it also offers different backgrounds and audio enhancement features.
Microsoft Teams is the first name that comes to your mind when one is talking about a video conferencing solution for an organisation. Since the platform is closely integrated with the rest of Microsoft’s suite of apps users do not have any trouble sharing work on the platform during meetings.
In terms of subscription plans, Microsoft offers its Microsoft 365 Business Basic subscription for Rs 125 per month where you also get Teams loaded with other Microsoft apps. The Business Standard plan costs Rs 660 while the complete Office 365 E3 plan costs Rs 1,320 per month.
With Teams, you get the ability to host up to 250 members with screen sharing and call recording bundled. You can also connect it the calendar which can help you schedule meetings in advance. In comparison to its competitors, it also offers an extensive array of exclusive features like Calls and Activity among others.
Before Zoom, Teams and other video apps, people usually turned to Skype as the default video conferencing app. What was a surprise for many is that Skype did not advertise itself more aggressively during the lockdown which is where it lost out on a userbase that found Zoom and Teams as a better option.
Initially, the app was created to make voice calls over the internet but later introduced a video conference feature. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems. The app can support up to 50 participants in a single call and also offers other features like screen sharing and also sharing documents. It also integrates other Microsoft apps like Word, OneDrive and Outlook as well.
The paid version of the Microsoft-owned platform is available for a starting price of Rs 147 per month.
Google Meet earlier known as Google Hangouts Meets is Google’s challenger in the video conferencing space. The app is available in Android and iOS devices and can also be accessed on the Chrome browser.
Like its competitors, it also presents its participants in a tiled format with up to 16 participants in a single window. It supports 2-step verification for security and also offers screen sharing and real-time captions to its users.
Since Meets is an integral part of the Google Ecosystem, the search giant has been pushing its video conferencing platform a lot. The best part about Meet is that it offers a minimum 60-minute limit for free and can accommodate up to 100 participants at a time.
For users who want to avail the premium features of the app like live streaming for more than 100,000 views, inviting 250 participants and option to record and save on Google, they have to pay a minimum of Rs 125 per month.
Not a very commonly known video conferencing platform but not one you’d want to count out of the equation. The Cisco Webex video conferencing app provides a comprehensive solution in terms of video and chat as well.
It comes with HD video conferencing features bundled with compatibility across various platforms like Windows, iOS and even Android. It also allows users to share documents across the platform which is a key feature when it comes to organizational needs.
You can use the service for free for a period of 30 days with limitations in terms of video conferencing duration among others. The premium subscription of the app starts at Rs 945 per month in which you can accommodate up to 50 participants, get 5GB of cloud storage and also get 24×7 customer support service.