There was a time when video conferencing platforms were a dream of the future, much like light sabers, droids, and flying cars. As we inch closer to the technology of Star Wars, Terminator, and The Jetsons, video conferencing has almost become old news. With a wealth of competitors all offering similar functionality and various features making each one unique for different circumstances, VOIP and video conferencing software is here to stay. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular platforms, including a few that Falcon Events use for various large scale webinars and conferences.
Not only do we use Zoom as our go-to platform, it has quickly become the standard for most companies on the planet during the time of Covid. With a huge gallery display of 49 participants, you can include everyone at the company meeting. Are you worried about bags under your eyes? No problem. With Zoom, you can touch up your appearance for a smoother image. Also, if your attendees can’t download the app due to their office’s firewall, Zoom allows for in browser connectivity. On top of that, Zoom offers mobile screen sharing with audio, dual screen mode to allow an interchange between the speaker and their screen share, webinars for up to 10,000 participants, and it can be integrated with various social media streams.
However, Zoom has its downsides as well. There is a lack of comment control in the chat settings and special feature add-ons can cost a lot of extra money. Zoom also created some negative publicity by claiming to have true end-to-end encryption when, in fact, the did not. This security risk is something that Zoom is currently addressing and plans to fix in the coming months.
A newer player in the video conferencing platforms universe, Jitsi packs a punch for those familiar with coding. It is open source, so you can preview the code and make changes before implementing it into your event. This is great for security reasons and functionality, allowing for true customization. The security features make it excellent as an educational resource as it provides password protection, the ability to remove users, and you can keep tabs on underage users. Its rapidly growing user base means that it will keep improving and it already offers true end-to-end encryption.
Jitsi may not be the best platform for those who are less than savvy when it comes to coding. It requires a little know-how before it can reach its true potential and the company doesn’t make it easy on the users because support and training options are few-and-far between.
3. Google Workspace
If price point is what you are looking for in video conferencing platforms, Google Workspace (which includes Google Meet and Google Voice) might be your best option because, like most things Google, it is free. Not only can you get your own phone number, but it can easily integrate with the rest of G Suite as well. These features make it great for intra-office communication.
G Suite is not best suited for large conferences and webinars because it only allows for 100 participants at a time and only 10 are viewable. After October 21st, it will also no longer be free.
4. Cisco Webex
Cisco has been a giant in the corporate solutions business for years. They figured out security a long time ago. With Webex, they’ll have the ability to remove users from password protected meetings. Companies who already use Cisco products will find themselves in a position for easy integration.
For those working with Cisco for the first time, Webex is ranked high as user-friendly software. It’s also slow to log-in and with the enterprise pricing being kept a secret, one can only imagine that it is an expensive addition to the office.
5. Microsoft Teams/Skype
Microsoft has recently acquired Skype to make it apart of the 365 package, which included Microsoft’s own Teams software. Skype was known to have the best resolution out of all the video conferencing platforms. Being integrated into Office 365 makes it a great resource for businesses who are already using Word, Excel, and Power Point. With an allowance of 10,000 participants, Teams/Skype makes for a strong competitor against any of the VOIP or conferencing platforms.
However, Office 365 can cost a pretty penny when you are purchasing it for an entire office. Since it is not available as a stand-alone product and must be downloaded by each participant, this drawback could prove to be a difficult selling point. Skype has often received criticism for its use of bandwidth and constant glitches. Will Microsoft be able to remedy this problem?
What grew to be a popular solution in business conferencing, GoToMeeting keeps growing even after the lock-down is nearing its end and for good reason too. Its cheaper pricing model, which includes unlimited cloud recording, breaks down to $12 per user. Its video settings features are extremely precise and makes for a formidable rival against Zoom.
GoToMeeting still has a ways to go before overpowering its most major competitors. The platform only allows 3,000 users at once and the gallery only allows for 25 people, which is great for smaller conferences and webinars, but not enough for the larger events. Users also gave it lower ratings for intuitiveness, support, and the white board option.
Comparing Remo to these other programs is kind of unfair because it is so different. Consider this more of a bonus addition and less of a direct competitor. Remo is best used as a networking tool within a conference, but it is a powerful one. Remo is set-up like a lounge.
Each table has a limited amount of seats and users can move from table to table. This allows for multiple small meetings to take place at once. There is also a presentation mode that spotlights specific speakers and works beautifully for award ceremonies. The support service is also rapid and top-notch.
On the downside, Remo has a history of camera and microphone glitches. Since the design is so unique, event planners have had a hard time conveying just how useful it can be. These are a few limitations that Remo must overcome for it to be a major-player in the conferencing game.