Teams

Top 7 Video Chat Apps for Video Conferencing

Anyone who hosts meetings today knows that they need to constantly be on the lookout for solid video chat apps to help their conversations run smoother.

video chat appsJust a few decades ago, meetings were face-to-face—with in-person conversations and oftentimes groan-worthy Powerpoint presentations.

But, today?

The name of the game has changed. Meetings still often occur to face-to-face, but they rely on technology to make that happen.

This is partly due to the fact that location now matters less and less when it comes to getting quality work accomplished.

In 2016, 43% of Americans reported spending at least some of their work hours working remotely.

And, of course, there are some companies that are famously remote (like Toggl)—with employees spread out across the globe.

Add in the fact that freelance and contract workers are on the rise, and companies now have plenty of remote employees that still need to be included in conversations.

In fact, a study by BlueJeans found that 25% of meetings have at least one video participant on the call.

Needless to say, this shift in meetings has left plenty of businesses scrambling to find video conference software that meets their ever-changing needs and helps them involve all of the members of their workforce.

Are you one of those businesses?

You’re in luck.

We’ve rounded up seven of our favorite video conference call apps for you to peruse—and possibly even use.

Got meetings? Whether they’re in-person or virtual, use Toggl to track your hours and see just how much time those meetings are really taking up.

Why You Need Video Conferencing

As the working world becomes increasingly digital, it’s easy to think that video conferencing isn’t a necessity for your team.

From instant messages to emails to standard phone calls, you have plenty of other options and digital tools for streamlining communication with the people you work with.

But, rest assured, video conferencing is something that you absolutely need in your arsenal—especially as the workforce continues to change.

Here are a few reasons that you should start your search for a video conference app that works best for you:

  1. Video Conferencing is Efficient: While plenty of people complain about meetings, there’s no denying that they can be a convenient way to communicate. With video conferencing, you’re able to have live discussions and share materials immediately—regardless of where participants are located. This approach saves you from those endless email chains where things get lost in the shuffle anyway.
  2. Video Conferencing Helps to Build Culture: Company culture is important. But, when you work with freelancers and remote teams, it can be hard to establish and foster. Video conferencing gives all of the members of your team the ability to interact face-to-face, which prevents them from feeling like they aren’t truly connected to the company.
  3. Video Conferencing is Engaging: Sure, you can get things done with emails or just a telephone call. But, those types of exchanges are usually nowhere near as interesting as video conferences. By utilizing video to involve everybody in the meeting, people will be far more engaged in the conversation—and, as a result, far more likely to follow through on those action items.

Those are just a few of the reasons that modern businesses find themselves relying heavily on video conferencing software, and we think they’re plenty convincing.

Ready to find an app or solution that will meet your own video conferencing needs?

Here are seven video conference apps that we think are well worth checking out.

Exploring Your Options: 7 Best Video Chat Apps

1. Zoom

When it comes to communicating with teams, Zoom is a favorite amongst many businesses—and for good reason.

The tool has capabilities to host incredibly large video conferences. With the free version, calls can include up to 100 participants (provided you don’t chat for over 40 minutes).

A paid membership will give you the option to host video conferences with up to a whopping 500 participants.

Utilizing Zoom requires all participants to download the app on their end, so you’ll want to make sure that people know to do that before your scheduled call.

Within the tool, you’ll find all of the other features you’d expect—including the ability to screen share, record the call, and drop notes into the chat function.

But, if there’s one area where Zoom truly stands out, it’s with the platform’s reliability.

The video and audio are HD, and—even when your internet is a little shaky—you likely won’t have to deal with the headaches of frozen video or dropped calls.

For those reasons (and many more!), Zoom is a top-ranking choice for small businesses all the way up to enterprises.

Free for: 100 participants for a call up to 40 minutes

Price for more users: Start at $14.99 per month per host

2. Appear.in

When it comes to simple communication, Appear.in takes that concept pretty seriously.

Joining a video conference is totally intuitive and painless.

Unlike Zoom, your conference participants won’t need to worry about any downloads or plugins to join your conference.

As the host, you’ll create the “room” (Appear.in’s term for your specific meeting), grab the link to your meeting, and then share that with your participants.

When they click it, they’ll be brought to your meeting directly in their browser—no special downloads or software required.

The major difference between Appear.in and Zoom is that Appear.in is better for more intimate groups.

Even with a paid account, you can only host 12 participants at a time—which is far lower than Zoom’s capabilities. But, if you only need to host a smaller meeting, Appear.in is a super convenient and efficient choice.

Adding to that convenience, users can join Appear.in conferences from any sort of device—meaning it doesn’t matter if they’re seated at their desk or commuting on the train.

Communication and collaboration will still be easy.

With screen sharing and a flexible layout that allows you to drag and drop different elements of your screen, Appear.in is packed with helpful features that will make your video conference calls that much simpler to manage.

Free for: Four participants and one room

Price for more users: $9.99 per month for 12 participants and 10 rooms

3. Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is another incredibly popular app for video conference calls that your entire team is likely already equipped to use.

This is one of the features that separates Google Hangouts from the rest—its integration with the Google apps and solutions your team is already using on a daily basis.

When someone creates a calendar event, for example, a Google Hangouts link will already be included with that calendar invite.

Participants can then just click that link and join the video conference—without needing to look for additional information or invites.

Because Google Hangouts runs through your browser rather than an external app or software, people do occasionally struggle with call quality—particularly when you’re packing in a lot of participants.

But, if you’re looking for something that’s well-integrated and easy for all of your team members to use, it’s a great option for video conferences with smaller groups!

Free for: 10 participants

Price for more users: To host a call with up to 25 participants, you’ll need to have a G Suite plan. Those begin at $5 per user per month.

4. Slack Video Chat

If your team relies heavily on instant messaging, then you’re likely already familiar with the beauty of Slack.

But, did you know that you can use that same tool for video calls?

Here’s the good news: You can!

If you have a free account, you’ll be able to have one-on-one video conferences.

Need more participants?

Upgrading to a paid plan will give you the opportunity to host voice and video calls with up to 15 participants.

This is another solution that has all of the standard features you’ve come to expect.

But, one cool quirk that your team is sure to love? The ability to respond with emojis.

When a team member replies with an emoji (think a round of applause for a job well done, for example), that emoji will temporarily float over the user’s video and play a sound.

Those emoji responses are a fun and effective way to portray a message, without actually having to interject and potentially throw the conversation off track.

Free for: One-on-one video calls

Price for more users: $6.67 per month per active user when billed annually

5. BlueJeans

BlueJeans might be an option you’ve heard less about, but it’s well worth exploring when considering what video conferencing solution will work best for your own business.

BlueJeans believes in making collaboration seamless, which means that participants can join phone calls from any sort of device.

Another big convenience factor that BlueJeans has going for it?

Its integrations with many of the apps that you’re already using at work.

This means that you can join a BlueJeans meeting without leaving apps like Slack, Hipchat, or Microsoft Skype for Business.

The customer support is another big check in the “pro” column for BlueJeans.

The solution’s dedicated customer success managers are there to ensure you’re able to successfully implement and utilize BlueJeans on your own team—with no headaches required.

Free for: BlueJeans does not offer a free plan

Price for more users: Plans start at $12.49 per host per month

6. GoToMeeting

As a comprehensive meeting solution, GoToMeeting is well worth a look when considering video conferencing for your own business.

GoToMeeting’s video conferencing features offer HD video, live screen sharing, mobile apps for increased convenience, call recording, and support for up to 25 different webcams at one time.

GoToMeeting can also integrate with many different calendar and email apps to deliver a seamless and simple experience for you and your entire team.

The platform is chock full of features that you can use to make all of your meetings far less painless and far more productive.

Free for: GoToMeeting offers a 14-day free trial, but no free plans

Price for more users: Plans start at $19 per user per month when billed annually

7. Amazon Chime

In its effort to seemingly take over the world, Amazon has released Amazon Chime—an online meeting solution that (as you likely suspected) includes video conferencing.

There aren’t too many unique features that we haven’t already touched on with other video chat apps.

With Amazon Chime, you’ll get screen sharing, recording, chat functions, file sharing, and plenty of other handy tools you’ve come to expect.

But, there is one standout thing that’s worthy of specific mention: If you’re an Alexa for Business user, you can use Alexa to start your meetings using only your voice. Pretty neat, right?

Another great thing?

Amazon Chime will work to automatically reconnect you if you get dropped from the conference.

Needless to say, it’s well worth your consideration as you’re weighing your video conferencing options!

Free for: Up to two people

Price for more users: $15 per user per month for video meetings up to 100 people

Choosing the Best Video Conference Call App for You

When it comes to landing on what video chat app is best for your own unique business, there’s no shortage of choices out there.

So, how can you know which option is best for you?

Start by evaluating your own needs.

  • How many participants do you want to be able to host?
  • What additional features do you need?
  • What level of customer support will you require?

With those sorts of things in mind, you’ll be able to better evaluate the apps and solutions we’ve included above and zero in on the ones that will best benefit your company and your team.

Good lucky, and happy video chatting!

By On January 5, 2018