The way that your business interacts with employees, partners, customers, and others is changing. COVID-19 has moved us away from in-person meetings and traditional offices to virtual ones.
The question is, just what video conferencing solution should your small business use?
Zoom seems to be the most popular video platform right now, but are there better choices? We’re here to answer that question—exploring the most popular video conferencing platforms and helping you decide what’s best for your business.
Zoom Video Conferencing
Zoom exploded in popularity in the first half of 2020. The Zoom app combines ease-of-use, accessibility, and simple pricing.
Benefits of Zoom Video Conferencing for Small Businesses
Zoom provides many benefits including:
- Online meetings, training, support, webinars, conference rooms, phone systems, and chat.
- HD video and audio.
- Built-in collaboration tools and screen sharing.
- Recording and transcripts.
- A consistent experience across all devices and use cases.
- Up to 1,000 participants and 10,000 viewers for a video meeting.
- Integration with many other tools and calendar applications.
- Zoom software is quick and easy to download, install, and use.
- Join through dial-up or directly from a computer or mobile device.
Drawbacks of Zoom Video Conferencing for Small Businesses
- There have been issues with Zoom privacy and security.
- Some lawmakers have asked for an investigation and review of Zoom’s privacy and security practices.
- The interface can get confusing, especially with a large number of participants.
Pricing for Zoom Video Conferencing
Zoom offers four levels of pricing, from “Free” to “Enterprise.”
- The Free tier allows you to host up to 100 participants and limits a meeting’s duration to 40 minutes.
- The Pro tier costs $14.99 per month and allows for meetings of up to 24 hours and provides greater administrative and user controls, together with reporting and recording.
- The Business and Enterprise tiers cost $19.99 per month and provide several additional enterprise-level features.
Google Meet Video Conferencing
Google already provides a huge range of business applications through its popular G Suite apps. Although Google Meet used to only be available with a paid G Suite subscription, Google has now made the basic version free for everyone.
Benefits of Google Meet Video Conferencing for Small Businesses
- Secure video meetings across Google’s fast, distributed infrastructure.
- Counter-abuse measures like anti-meeting hijacking.
- Hold an unlimited number of meetings with up to 100 participants per meeting.
- Live captioning in meetings as people are speaking.
- Works on any device.
- Preview screening and screen sharing.
- Complete administration controls.
- Integration with Microsoft and Google apps like Gmail and Calendar.
Drawbacks of Google Meet Video Conferencing for Small Businesses
- No whiteboard tools or polling options.
- Participants will need to sign in with their Google accounts.
Pricing for Google Meet Video Conferencing
Google Meet has two standard tiers of pricing, “Free,” “G Suite Essentials,” and “G Suite Enterprise Essentials.”
- The Free tier lets you have up to 100 participants in a meeting and limits a meeting to 60 minutes.
- G Suite Essentials lets you have up to 150 participants in meetings up to 300 hours long. G Suite Essentials also provides all of the other Google apps like Drive, Docs, Gmail, Sheets, and more. It costs $10 per user, per month.
Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing for Small Businesses
As the biggest vendor of office software in the world, Microsoft has a robust sharing platform called Microsoft Teams that includes video conferencing.
Benefits of Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing for Small Businesses
- Chat, meet, call, and collaborate in one place.
- Works from any device.
- Unlimited numbers of participants.
- Join through dial-up or directly from a computer or mobile device.
- Collaborate on shared documents, spreadsheets, and other files while in a call.
- Team and personal file storage.
- Robust security and privacy.
- Screen sharing, file sharing, background blur, and guest access.
- Scheduling assistance and notes.
- Capture and record meetings, audio, video, and screen shares.
Drawbacks of Microsoft Office Teams Video Conferencing for Small Businesses
- The tool and interface can feel awkward to use.
- Skype may be a better option for smaller teams.
Pricing for Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing
Microsoft Teams is available for free or as part of a paid Microsoft 365 subscription.
- The free version includes unlimited chat, search, online meetings, video calling, team and personal file storage, and real-time collaboration.
- A paid Microsoft 365 subscription starts at $5 per user per month and provides access to popular Microsoft apps like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook.
Facebook Messenger Rooms Video Conferencing
You might not think of Facebook as a place for business meetings, but their recently launched Messenger “Rooms” feature makes video conferencing available to everyone, for free.
Benefits of Facebook Messenger Rooms for Small Business
- Messenger Rooms is completely free, no matter the length of the meeting or the number of participants.
- If people are already on Facebook, it’s quick and easy to invite them to Messenger Rooms.
- Create and share a Room quickly from Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Portal.
- Participants do not need to have a Facebook account to participate.
- Rooms runs completely in the browser, although there’s also a separate desktop app.
- Control and manage the participant list for any Messenger Room.
Drawbacks of Facebook Messenger Rooms for Small Business
- Rooms are limited to a maximum of 50 participants.
- Facebook may be “too casual” an environment for business meetings, and people may be distracted.
- Facebook does “collect data” from Rooms, but doesn’t explain what that data may be.
- The app is not encrypted from end-to-end, so it may not be suitable for sensitive discussions.
Pricing for Facebook Messenger Rooms Video Conferencing
Facebook Messenger Rooms are free to set up, use, and participate in.
Choosing the Right Video Conferencing Solution for Your Small Business
Which of these options is best for your small business? It depends on your needs:
- Zoom is the rising star at the moment, and offers a multitude of options and rapid development. There are legitimate concerns about privacy and security, and the time limit of 40-minute meetings for the free tier could be an issue.
- Google Meet offers a fairly comprehensive feature set but does set a limit of one hour on meetings. It is free, so that’s definitely to your advantage.
- Microsoft Teams is an obvious choice if you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription. It’s the tool best designed for collaboration outside video conferencing, and is very feature-rich.
- Facebook Messenger Rooms is still in its infancy, but it’s free and could be a good option for smaller meetings.
Since many of these tools are free to try, we recommend testing them out and finding the perfect one for your small business needs.