In 2020, the usage of video conferencing solutions or websites, for both companies and individual has been surged up because of health issues due to Covid19. Most to the people have lockdown themselves in their homes but still, we can’t just hands up and leave the work. The show must go on… if not where do we get money to survive. Amid such a situation, people started managing their meetings and work right from their home desk with the help internet and conference calls. Moreover, if you already hold conference calls over the Internet, video conferencing solutions could extend the options.
Although verbal communication is there, with the help of a webcam and a headset we can collaborate with our teammates in much better way while obeying the social distancing request of governments.
Video conferencing not only saves work time and travel costs, but they are sometimes also essential in order to be able to maintain business operations.
As a result, online meetings can take place almost as if everyone involved was actually sitting at a common conference table.
9 Best Free video conferencing software or website
Thus, if you don’t want to spend money on video conferencing software or solutions then there are quite a good number of software available on the web to implement meetings via video chat. In addition to video conferencing, some of them also provide other technologies such as instant messaging or screen sharing. Let’s have a look at the best available video conferencing tools given here in random order.
Skype- free video chat and video conference
I don’t think anybody needs an introduction to Skype, as it is already one of the popular software platforms for chatting, Call and Video-based interaction. As the most well-known VoIP service, Skype offers a range of video chat and video conference functions. However, Microsoft has replaced Skype for Business with the Teams platform.
The screen sharing function, which allows you to see the desktop of your call partner, is particularly practical. If you want, you can of course also use Skype to chat with friends.
So, those are looking for a free video conference software Skype is one of the reliable options to host a video or an audio conference with up to 50 people, recording calls; enable live captions & subtitles or just simply talk over smart chat. To add more people and business, one has to upgrade the free plan to premium. Video calls can also be used via mobile devices. It is available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Another best video conferencing tool in our list is the Zoom video conference solution. It is an enterprise-grade video-based interaction software that can cater to different businesses easily with the features it provides. The best part is the Zoom Meeting offers a free plan along with paid ones, which is enough for small scale businesses because it comes with an unlimited number of video conferences with up to 100 participants but limited to 40 minutes. Individual meetings are possible for an unlimited period.
In the free basic plan Zoom offers HD video & voice; Active speaker view, Fullscreen and gallery view, Simultaneous Screen Share, Join by telephone call-in, Virtual Background; Desktop and application sharing; Personal room or meeting ID, Instant or scheduled meetings, Chrome & Outlook plug-ins; Conference Scheduling, Chrome Extensions, MP4 or M4A local recording, Private and group chat, Host controls and Raise hand (Participants can alert the Host that they have a question when they are muted).
Furthermore, Group messaging and presence, Screen share any iPad/iPhone app, Co-annotation on shared screen; Keyboard/mouse control, Whiteboarding and Multi-share are possible as well.
For Security, the Zoom uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and AES 256 bits encryption.
Anyone who has the corresponding link can take part in zoom meetings. The Pro version offers additional features and costs $14.99 per month.
It is available Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android.
WebEx from Cisco
Well, WebEx was not always a part of Cisco, however, after 2007, it acquired and become officially a subsidiary of Cisco. It is another video conferencing veteran.
Currently, the Cisco offer WebEx free of charge as part of the coronavirus pandemic. Unlimited meetings with up to 100 participants, HD video, audio dial-in, personal conference room, screen sharing on desktop and mobile devices, as well as 1GB cloud storage and recordings are included.
In terms of security, this Cisco video conferencing solution armed with TLS 1.2 and AES 256-bit encryption along with the power of Cisco’ own network.
However, because of huge WebEx Video conferencing demands during COVID-19, we tried to signup for it and have to wait…
“Your Webex Account is Coming
Thank you for registering to get your free Webex account. Our team has begun to get your video conferencing account set up. Please bear with us as there might be a delay due to the increased demand being created by the impact of COVID-19. Our team will respond to you shortly as soon as they have it set up.
In the interim, please check out these resources to help you as you prepare for working from home and practicing social distancing. If we all do our part and work together, we can help slow the spread of the virus.”
Free Conference Calls & Online Meetings
Freeconference.com free video conferencing website is another platform that provides a freemium solution. It offers up to 1,000 Call and 5 participants meeting for a video conference in the free plan with unlimited conference calls on local numbers. Apart from this screen sharing, online whiteboard, SMS Msg & PINless Entry, mobile & desktop apps, document sharing, email and meeting chat are some other features of it in the free plan.
So, being a limitation of only 5 video conference participants the FreeConference is not a free video-conferencing tool for SMBs however if few people want to interact with each other it is not going to underestimate. It can be used in-browser for meeting thus no need to download any software.
There is also no limitation on International Dial-in Numbers; furthermore, we can schedule and manage meetings using Outlook, however, its free plan is not near to Zoom which comes with powerful security features.
RingCentral is already quite popular among the companies for its VIOP service, yet it is not limited to that only. It offers all-in-one cloud phone, video conferencing, team messaging, contact centre, and more.
If you want to have only one to one Video meeting, then RingCentral offers unlimited time for that however, it supports Group meetings with up to 100 participants in the free plans but with a limitation of 40 minutes just like ZOOM.
Apart from it, the free plan offers Desktop and application sharing; Simultaneous screen share, Whiteboarding, Annotation, Private and group in-meeting chat; Team messaging and collaboration features (include Unlimited posts, Unlimited storage & Unlimited integrations); User can integrate it with Outlook for one-click scheduling; Local recording in MP4 and M4A formats; Cross-platform support can make the users join meetings from computers, mobile, telephone, and room systems. In terms of security, secure web access (HTTPS) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption are there.
Although other video conferencing services we already have mentioned that offer free group conferencing of 40 to 45 minutes, the dialpad is not much different. The video conferencing service of dialpad is available for up to 10 participants simultaneously for 45 minutes duration with no limitation on the number of conferences. However, if you can spend a little amount of 15 dollars per month then you can opt for Uberconference business plan that comes with 100 participants support with a duration of 5 hours which I think enough for medium-size businesses.
Other features available in the free plan are Pin enabled Phone and VoIP audio meetings; Screen & Document Sharing, Call Recording, HD Quality Audio and HD Video. Apps are available for Android, iOS (iPhone & iPad), Chrome Extension, Mac and Windows.
Note: Because of Covid-19 crisis the DialpadTalk and UberConference PRO versions to any business in North America and Japan, regardless of size, for free for a limited time with longer duration for up to 50 participants… Official blog on this to know more…
8×8 Video Meetings
Last year in 2019, the 8×8 launches free and unlimited video meeting solution for businesses which includes free HD Audio & Video Conferencing, Team Collaboration, Unlimited meetings, No meeting duration limits and Free dial-in with toll-free numbers.
Yes, unlike other free offerings in the market, there is no limit or free trial by this free standalone 8×8 Video Meetings solution with multi-user screen file-sharing capabilities at no charge. Furthermore, the users do not need any kind registration to avail the service, just simply visit the main page of the service click on start or join a meeting button.
8×8 Video Meetings is optimised for use with Google Chrome, Firefox, and other WebRTC-enabled browsers. Also available as desktop apps, mobile apps and calendar plug-ins for any OS and device.
We can easily use Google Hangouts in our Gmail or directly through its web service which always been a part of free service, however with a limited number of participants. This communication environment of Google is available to every logged-in Google account user. In addition to video calls and video conferences, Hangouts also offers text-based messaging, the exchange of photos, collaborative work on documents and screen sharing, i.e. access to the screen of other participants.
Google Hangouts can be used on the PC via all common browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. This means you can run it on Windows (8, 7, Vista and XP), Mac OS X, Ubuntu and other Linux distributions and of course Chrome OS as well. It is also available as an Android and iOS app along with an extension for Chrome. It allows having video conferences in HD quality (720p).
Video conferences along with other feature mentioned above are available free of charge, however, the number of participants is limited to 10. To add more participants and advance features, the users have to upgrade plan from free to business i.e Hangouts Meet, Google’s enterprise-class video-conferencing tool, part of G Suite.
Note: Since the Corona Virus compelled schools to be shut down, Google has decided to avail the advance features of Hangouts Meet for all G-Suite and Education customers until the first of July. This implies that, one can now host meetings with up to 10,000 viewers, or 250 visitors in a single domain, for free. Plus, there’s the option to record and save meetings to Google Drive too.
Yet it is not near to any tool mentioned above still could be a handy one. Google Duo is a free app for video telephony tool designed for personal use, however, it offers videos call in a group for up to eight people, thus if you have a small team working on some same project they can go for Google Duo; since it is available as a mobile app for both Android and iOS along with web application.
Google Duo allows users to have video interaction at 720 HD with optimization for low bandwidth network through WebRTC and uses QUIC over UDP. Furthermore, it automatically detects the slow network and reduces video quality to prevent the lag. monitoring network quality.
To give a user feeling of an invitation rather privacy intrusion, the Google Duo shows the live preview of the caller. However, it is not link-based video calling instead it see the phone numbers of the people available in the caller contact list. Furthermore, Google Duo app can switch between Wi-Fi and Cellular networks automatically as per the requirements.
Other companies those are offering their paid video conferencing solutions free of cost for some period of time because of Covid19…
Due to Covid19 outbreak in China, the Avaya has donated audio and video equipment to workers in China and also offering its cloud meeting and team collaboration solution free of cost; so that people and organization could connect each other remotely for chat, voice, video, online meetings and content sharing. Currently, the free service of the Avaya offers the voice and video conferencing for up to 200 participants along with all other essential meeting and team collaboration tools.
It is completely free for Education and Non-profit sectors while for Neterpises it is giving 60 days free service.
Enreach / Centile
Just like Avaya, the Centile offering its Enreach Meetings which is a web-based video meeting solution that uses the same technology used by their other solution called ISTRA Collab Business. Being a web solution there is no need to install any software just browser will be enough. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Centile offers you free access to this service until September 1st 2020. The number of active Video conference participants simultaneously with this tool in free usage is 10.
The Zoho also announced its full virtual collaboration platform named Remotely will remain free till July 1, 2020, to show a humanitarian gesture during this world crisis of COVID-19.
ZOHO is well known for its wide range of enterprise-grade services. It Remotely platform also includes other Zoho tools such as Zoho ShowTime, Writer, Sheet, Cliq, Show, Meeting, Sprints, Lens and Assist, WorkDrive and Projects. It comes with 100 user licenses and those want to add more, they can directly contact to company’s support.
Another popular name in the best-paid video conferencing tool is Lifesize that also has shown a nice gesture and came forward to help those in need. It offers free licenses to any organization, business, NGO or government agency in more than 100 countries affected by the coronavirus epidemic for a period of six months. Meetings and call duration are unlimited – the Lifesize solution is available for desktops as well as for mobile devices. The free plan allows to host up to 25 participants.
So, these were few best but free Video conferencing software, website services or tools available online to save the businesses, education institute, health and other sectors, however, there are few more with either trial period or to be used as free during COVID-19. Nevertheless, I thought what I have mentioned will be enough to full fill the needs of quick web meetings, chats and other online collaboration without spending a single penny amid this lockdown period in many countries. Well, if you still want to recommend some other free video meeting service then please feel free to comment for other users’ benefits. Till then stay safe and healthy!!
- 4 Best Opensource Video conferencing software
- How to download audios from YouTube videos using 4K Video Downloader
- 6 Best open source video editor in 2020