2020 has been the year of Zoom. It has become the most widely used video conferencing application worldwide, experiencing explosive growth marked by the COVID-19 health crisis. However, it has not been without controversy and problems that have put the privacy of our data back on the table. If these controversies keep you restless and you prefer to look for other options, we have selected better alternatives to Zoom for your video conferences.
Our favorite alternative
Now more than ever, people need to know that their virtual conversations are private and secure. And at Microsoft, privacy and security are not light things to do.
Microsoft Teams offers a variety of privacy and security controls. For example, participants decide who from outside their organization can join their direct meetings, and who should wait in the lobby for someone to let them in. They can also remove participants during a meeting, designate “presenters” and “attendees,” and control which meeting participants can present content. And with guest access, they can add people outside their organization and still maintain control over their data.
When a meeting is to be recorded, all participants are notified. The recordings are only available to people on the call or to people invited to the meeting, and are stored in a controlled repository that is protected by permissions and encryption.
Microsoft is strongly committed to providing transparency about the collection, use, and distribution of data from those who participate in a Teams video conference. They have also promised never to use the data to send advertising.
All the power of Microsoft’s packaging, from editing Word documents to PowerPoint presentations, and various interactive tools, such as group chats and video calls with dozens or hundreds of participants, are some of the features of Teams.
In fact, the company defines these tools as the center for Office 365 teamwork. It is available for the desktop (Windows) and for the cell phone (iOS and Android).
If you are challenged to meet with your team or classmates, and present your progress on an important project, Skype is a more than attractive tool, especially due to its easy operation.
“Group video calling allows up to 50 people to meet and collaborate at the same time with ease. With the group shared screen, you can present PowerPoint slides, video recordings and much more to the entire team, ”says the service belonging to Microsoft.
Webex is a video conferencing application that has existed for more than 20 years, and was acquired by Cisco in 2007. Popularized as a commercial application (you can see it in many CNN interviews these days) and mainly focused on companies, it has a very good free version that, without a doubt, you should consider as an alternative to Zoom. In these weeks, it has expanded the features of the freemium version from 50 to 100 participants, in addition to removing the 40-minute limit on meetings and adding the possibility of making calls.
The Californian company ensures that video calls are encrypted from end to end, to ensure the privacy of the participants, and it is only necessary to have the support of iOS 12.1.4 or iPadOS on the equipment.
This Google service, originally reserved for companies that use the G-Suite , is the perfect complement to easily meet from a distance. From May 2020 it began to be delivered free of charge to any user with a Gmail account. Among its features, it is possible to join video calls with a simple link or via cell phone (iOS and Android) with just the press of a button; and encrypted audio and video broadcasts for those who are concerned about their privacy. In April 2020 , it also incorporated mosaic design with a maximum of 16 participants, among other features.
On some Android phones, this platform is already installed by default, so you can quickly make group calls with up to eight of your contacts or colleagues.
Like most of Google’s products, this one is distinguished by not being anything complicated, in addition to “your calls will be encrypted, which means that they will be private to you and the person you call,” says the Californian firm.
The platform provides various online conference services directly to companies, however, it also has a complete free plan, which allows up to 100 participants in meetings of up to 40 minutes (those that only involve two people are unlimited).
Chats, annotations and whiteboards are some of the specifications that all the plans share. In addition, the modalities integrate with Outlook to have everything scheduled. RingCentral Meetings is a path for the quick transition to work from home or remotely.
It is an easy-to-use, adaptive and perfect technology for a diverse workforce that needs to communicate for important projects, and it integrates with all types of platforms, including browsers. It allows screen sharing and recording, and the administration options are diverse, allowing from assigning actions to playing highlights to newcomers.
There is a free trial, however you have to pay to use the service long term; the most basic plan allows up to 50 people and costs $ 10 per month.
Also with a simple and easy-to-learn interface for newcomers, both its mobile and desktop versions work together seamlessly. The platform also integrates with applications such as Outlook, Gmail, Slack and Microsoft Teams, making it ideal for teams with different productivity features.
Like other services of its kind, it has a free modality, limited to four web participants. Your basic payment plan allows up to 10 participants and a complete feature package.
It is another intuitive solution that has a tool called Lifesize Go, which allows you to have a meeting with up to eight people on your computer or cell phone without the need to download any program. Your other free option is on a more traditional level because it allows up to 25 participants with unlimited meetings, albeit without chat. Payment methods add features such as chats, more administration functions and better security.
The platform stands out for its excellent administration and management options for businesses that need to make it as easy as possible for workers to join and obtain recordings. It is possible to link to the conferences in the email and create reminders so that the team has all the details, in addition to having specifications such as screen sharing and internal chat.
If you use Office 365 at work, you probably already know Microsoft Teams, where all your conversations, files, meetings and applications live in the same space that you can easily access from your mobile device. Teams allows you to manage projects remotely, including the ability to edit and share files. You can connect face-to-face with HD video and audio and participate in meetings from anywhere. You can also chat, privately or in a group, and communicate through designated channels, save conversations, customize notifications, search within chats and conversations, all with security at the business level. This application requires a paid commercial subscription to Office 365 or a subscription to Microsoft Teams.
Cisco Webex Meetings
Cisco Webex Meetings helps make remote meetings more enjoyable by helping you create productive audio and video conferences. You can join and make presentations from your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, operating with voice commands through Siri. You can join meetings with a simple touch and schedule meetings directly from your application. You can also customize the video, share content or your screen, and if you use iOS, you can easily enter with Face ID or Touch ID.
Through Skype, you can meet up to 25 colleagues in an HD video call on your phone. You can also send text messages, voice calls to cell phones or landlines, send GIF files, chat, share photos and videos or share the screen for your business presentations. This application also allows you to read and reply to text messages from your phone on your desktop computer. Skype offers a lot of variety, although this application is constantly changing, always looking for user feedback. Although Skype to Skype calls are free, you may have to pay for your data, so Skype recommends using an unlimited data plan or a Wi-Fi connection. The latest versions allow you to schedule group calls, conversations with translation, and more.
Free Conference Call
Do you need to schedule a meeting? Free Conference Call, a simple collaboration tool, offers the flexibility to conduct online meetings with HD audio, video conferencing, and shared screens. Organize or join a meeting, share content or chat with participants anywhere, anytime. The app offers free audio conferences with up to a thousand participants and online meetings with shared screens. Just click the invitation link from your email or the FreeConferenceCall.com icon and enter the meeting credentials.
The Google Hangouts for casual meetings may have been forgotten, but Hangouts Meet for Business is still here, offering an easy way to video conference and keep teams together no matter where their members are. This app offers HD video conferencing with up to 100 participants (for G Suite Enterprise customers), easy one-click access via a shared link, and the ability to make phone calls to a meeting. It’s designed to work with Google Calendar, so it’s easy to schedule, check meeting details, and join. You must give Google permission to access your camera, your microphone, and your photos.
You may already know GoToMeeting, a popular desktop application. Its mobile version offers accessible and reliable meetings from anywhere on the planet. Entering a meeting without having to register is easy. You can also create a meeting from a phone or tablet for free, and you can enjoy clear audio in VoIP, face-to-face video conferencing, the ability to share your screen with other participants, give control of the presentation to others and the ability to view presentations. You can also check your scheduled meetings and receive alerts when a meeting is about to start, as well as chat with other participants. If you were already using GoToMeeting at the office, you can sync your calendar with your mobile device to join meetings and use a special mode with which you can save up to 90 percent of your data when you join a mobile meeting. If you add GoToMeeting to your iPhone or iPad as widget, you can see the next meetings and join with one click. The latest versions feature some improvements, an easier way to share screens (especially on iOS devices) and more.
BlueJeans offers business video conferencing via Wi-Fi or 4G LTE, making it a simple and affordable way to organize or participate in video conferencing from anywhere. The application works in conjunction with the BlueJeans service to provide group video calls with a variety of conference systems such as Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize and Microsoft Lync. You can hold meetings through the BlueJeans app with an existing BlueJeans account, although you don’t need an account to participate in a meeting, which can have up to 25 participants, or 100 with the premium service. Recent versions offer three types of video conferencing: standard, which includes audio, video, and content; low data, with only audio and content; and an audio-only in-transit meeting mode.