Before the coronavirus pandemic, only 17% of workers in the U.S. worked from the comfort of their homes for 5 or more days a week. During the outbreak, this number increased to 44% as lockdowns and quarantines were set in place to contain the spread of Covid-19. Businesses had to quickly pivot and arrange a new and safe way for their employees to work from home.
A work-from-home setup is made possible with the use of a wired or wireless internet connection and a computer or smartphone with a video service app or software. A video app helps employees connect with their managers and teams to work on projects, meet as groups to share ideas, and fulfill and meet their core job responsibilities.
Video conferencing apps also help employees meet with clients, talk to customers, present projects, and communicate with their colleagues. Most popular video conferencing apps also have convenient features that allow users to share files, media, stickers, emoticons, and share screens.
Mobile apps are changing the way people do business. Mobile apps like video apps have limitless rewards when used properly. Let’s find out about the popular video services available and see which one suits your office video conferencing needs in this article.
The following are the most popular video conferencing apps and chat programs that offices and groups are using today.
Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing apps. It is available for free with its Basic plan and also has plans for small teams, small businesses, and large enterprises. Zoom also allows you to create a plan that’s right for your business by taking advantage of Zoom add-ons. You can add features like audio conferencing, large meetings, cloud storage, premiere support, and many more.
Skype is one of the most popular video calling and chat services. It’s free for up to 50 users and works with Windows, Mac, Android, Web, and Xbox platforms. Skype also lets you call landline phones and smartphones and supports international calls and texts.
This video service app has many impressive features like screen sharing, real-time translation, and live transcription. However, subscribing to a Skype business account is costly.
Google Duo is a free video chat app for Android users but will also work with iOS and Windows devices. You can use Google Duo on Mac through the web. Duo is mostly pre-installed on new Android smartphones with a 32-person limit. This video chatting app is easy to use and supports features like video recording, video messaging, and many more.
Discord is a video chat service developed for gamers. It connects players over text but can also hold video chats. Discord also allows streaming so you can play games with your gamer friends and stream your screen to the group.
This video chatting app is free but if you want to stream with high-quality video (from 720p/30 fps to maximum 1080p/60 fps), go for Discord Nitro at $10 a month.
FaceTime is exclusive to Mac and iOS devices with up to 32 free users. Just like Google Duo, FaceTime comes pre-installed on all iOS and Mac devices. It has many useful and fun features like emojis, stickers, and many more. Use FaceTime Audio to route your calls over your Wi-Fi or data network.
Facebook Messenger works with Android, iOS, and Windows. It also works on Mac but through the web. As long as you have Facebook, you’re automatically signed up with Messenger mobile or web. All you need to do is to tap the call icon or video icon on the screen and you’re set. A maximum of 50 people can join a video call which is more than FaceTime and Google Duo allow.
WhatsApp is a cross-platform video conferencing and chatting app. It’s very popular because you can join by just using your mobile number. Additionally, all WhatsApp calls and chats are encrypted. You can use it on any device plus it allows up to 50 people to join a video call.
Microsoft Teams is a more professional version of Skype. This app works on Windows, iOS, Android, and web platforms. It is free to use but allows only 100 people to join a call. Microsoft Teams is aimed at professionals and businesses and provides business-friendly tools like screen sharing, noise suppression, background blur, and many more. This app also connects to Microsoft Office and is part of the Office 365 subscription.
Let’s look at two of the most popular apps on our list: Zoom Meetings and Skype video call and chatting app. Zoom is widely used in many businesses thanks to its robust platform. It is very reliable and secure which is why many companies use it for meetings, seminars, product launches, and company events. Zoom works with all kinds of devices and has comprehensive features.
Zoom has four plans: the Basic plan, Pro plan, Business plan, and the Enterprise plan. The Basic is also known as the “Free” plan which can host up to 100 participants. This plan offers unlimited group meetings with a time limit of 40 minutes. You’ll also get unlimited one-to-one meetings but with a 30-hour time limit for every session. The free plan also has private and group chat features.
For small teams, there’s the Pro plan for $149.90/year with additional features like social media streaming, cloud recording, and more participants with the Large Meetings add-on.
The Business plan is for $199.90/year, recommended for small businesses. It has additional features like recording transcripts, managed domains, company branding, and much more.
The most comprehensive Zoom plan is the Enterprise plan for large enterprises for $240/year. This plan has all the works plus unlimited cloud storage, transcript recording, and the ability to host up to 500 participants.
- Comprehensive features
- Different plans to choose from
- Available on all platforms (Android, Windows, iOS, Mac, and Web)
- Can be used for work or personal calls
- Safe and secure
- Free version has a time limit
Meanwhile, Skype is free to use and can accommodate up to 50 people in one call. It works with all devices and offers many features that you can’t find in other apps, like real-time translation and live transcription.
Skype is popular for work and for personal use because it’s completely free. But if you want to take full advantage of its business features, you must subscribe to Skype for Business to get a Skype number and call landline phones and basic mobile phones.
- Supports all platforms (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Web, and Xbox)
- Works with landlines and basic mobile phones
- Supports local and international calling and texting
- Allows up to 50 people to connect on a video call
- Has no time limit
- Skype for Business is very expensive
In addition to using Skype or Zoom for video conferencing and chatting, businesses can use these applications to promote their businesses. They can add their Skype ID to their company contact details so customers can call them for free. Businesses can arrange for a Zoom meet-up with clients or customers too. They simply include their Zoom ID and password to invitations sent to clients.
A video service must handle the number of users, have features that a company uses, and must be cost-efficient. To find the best service, weigh the pros and cons and compare features and rates. Keep these factors in mind when looking for the right video service app for your office or business.
Pranjal Bora works as Head of Product Development at Digital Authority Partners.