The disruption to normal office working over the last couple of years has resulted in more of us working remotely than ever before. In addition to staff choosing to work from home, companies are benefiting from working with remote teams around the globe to improve their operations. With that in mind, meeting apps for video calling are more important than ever. In this post, we’ll cover some of the best free online meeting apps and paid alternatives for a successful business.
Zoom’s popularity surged in 2020, with 300 million daily participants at its peak. The meeting app has a robust free version with HD video and audio for up to 100 participants. The only catch is that (unless you’re hosting a one-on-one meeting), there is a 40 minute time limit per meeting. Zoom also offers three paid subscription plans from $149.90 per year/license to $240 per year/license. These include features such as additional participants, recording meetings, and cloud storage.
Google Meet features free video calls for up to 30 participants. One of the great things about this meeting app is that it’s integrated with Google Workspace, allowing you to join meetings from Gmail invites and calendar events. You can use it on desktop and mobile, and teams using Skype or other meeting systems like Cisco WebEx and Poly can seamlessly join a Meet video call.
Owned by Microsoft, Skype offers free video calling for up to 100 people. While features such as customised emoticons and virtual environments are aimed at social video calls, the app works well for business meetings too. You can use it straight from your browser or download it on desktop or mobile. Like Zoom and Google Meet, Skype features screen sharing and call recording. One impressive feature is its live subtitles that caption spoken words during your calls.
Slack is a popular collaboration tool that a lot of businesses use for internal communications and project management. While not the sole focus of the app, it features a video calling add-on for up to 15 people (or more with a custom enterprise version). If your company already uses Slack for other forms of communication, it makes sense to use it for video meetings with your remote teams as well.
Cisco’s meeting app WebEx is a good choice for larger enterprises where calls between multiple departments are frequent. The subscription service is a hybrid between web conferencing and video calling, with VoIP business numbers that work on multiple devices. It has cloud calling features such as call waiting, holding, forwarding, do not disturb, and voicemail. In one tap, you can switch from a call to a video meeting with advanced features such as virtual presentations, noise removal and automatic transcription. Pricing starts at $13.50 per host/month with additional business and enterprise tiers.
Priced at $14 per month for up to 10 participants or $29 per month for 150 participants, GoToMeeting is considered one of the best meeting apps due to features like its Smart Meeting Assistant, which records meetings and automatically generates a transcript. The app has HD video conferencing on mobile and desktop, with the ability to share your screen on any device.
Whereby is a meeting app that’s well-suited to smaller businesses. There’s no app to download here; video calls can be started quickly on desktop or mobile by sharing a browser link to participants. Designed for up to 100 people per meeting, its features include screen sharing, recording and live reactions. Similar to Zoom, the free version allows meetings up to 45 minutes and unlimited one-on-one meeting times, whereas the Pro ($6.99 per license/month) and Business ($9.99 per license/month) plans offer unlimited meeting times and extras such as custom subdomains and company branding.
GlobalMeet Collaboration is a useful meeting app for businesses with international teams, with over 160 points of presence in 60 countries around the globe. Up to 125 participants can connect to meetings through VoIP or by calling in on their phone. GlobalMeet Collaboration also features screen sharing, recording with cloud storage and seamless Microsoft 365 integration, allowing you to easily send out calendar invitations. GlobalMeet offers paid plans and a free basic package that allows unlimited meetings.
The successor to Skype For Business, Microsoft Teams is a powerful meeting app that allows staff to work together with screen sharing, whiteboard functionality and real-time collaboration on Office apps. The ‘raise your hand’ feature makes it easy to identify participants with questions, especially considering that 300 people can join a meeting with the two premium plans (starting at $5.00 per user/month). The free version allows 100 participants for up to 60 minute meetings. Other Microsoft Teams features include recording and live captions.
RingCentral Video is a great choice for companies that use third-party collaboration platforms due to its seamless integration with Google Workspace, Slack and Microsoft 365. Meetings can be scheduled with your calendar and there are several advanced features like screen sharing, annotation and recording built-in. You’ll also find some powerful analytics for pinpointing any issues in ISP, network and endpoint. Only 20 participants may join on the app’s Essentials plan ($19.99 per user/month) but that bumps up to 100 with the Standard plan ($24.99 per user/month).
Before you decide which of these meeting apps you want to use, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, you’ll want to bear in mind the size of your teams and how many people will need to meet at once. You’ll also want to think about the costs involved and whether you’re ready to pay for a meeting app with advanced features or make do with the time restrictions usually found with a free one. Finally, consider whether you’ll need to record or transcribe meetings to refer to them later.
In the age of remote working, the success of your teams depends on the software they have at their fingertips. Textr is a tool designed for start-ups and small businesses with staff all over the world. Its collaborative platform lets your team members respond to customers together through texts and calls. With Textr, you can text through your existing business landline or purchase local and toll-free phone numbers from across the USA and Canada for your remote teams.
Several meeting apps feature free versions with limited features. Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Whereby, GlobalMeet Collaboration and Microsoft Teams all have free versions.
100 maximum participants is the norm when it comes to meeting apps, however Zoom’s Business and Enterprise packages allow for 300-500 participants (1,000 with the large meetings add-on). With Google Workspace Essentials and Enterprise packages, Google Meet lets 150-250 participants join. Ringcentral Premium allows 200 participants, GlobalMeet Collaboration allows 125 participants, GoToMeeting allows 150 participants, and Microsoft Teams’ Business plans allow 300 participants.