What are the Free Alternatives to Zoom for Video Conferencing?
Zoom is not the only free video conferencing platform on the internet. The company has become tremendously successful during the pandemic. Zoom continues to increase in popularity. It’s easy to use, full of free useful features, and safe. The company name is now a verb and is used interchangeably with video conferencing. However, some may be wondering as to free alternatives that could provide, for example, no time limit, break-out rooms, or better resolution. Limited as it may be, free subscriptions to most video conferencing platforms do get the job done. If you have only ever used Zoom for your video conferencing needs, you might want to try out these alternatives for future zooming.
Read on to find out…
Free Zoom Alternatives
As one of the two replacements for Google Hangouts (Google Chat would be the other), Google Meet was developed by Google to focus on video conferencing for enterprises. Like zoom, the platform offers both free and premium subscriptions. If you already have a google account in the form of Gmail, Google Analytics, etc., you can gain access to Google Meet for your day-to-day business meetings. Free meetings on this platform can last up to 60 minutes per meeting with up to 100 participants. However, in free subscriptions, attendees you invite to meetings should also have an existing Google Account and sign in to join. Unlike Zoom, however, users need not download an App to start a video conference with Google Meet. Simply start the meeting from the platform’s page.
Google Meet’s free features:
● Closed captioning for English
● Compatible with computers and smartphones (including iPads)
● Screen sharing
● Messaging with meeting participants
● Integration with Google and Microsoft Apps
Microsoft Teams is now what used to be other Microsoft collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Classroom and Skype for Business. It was originally available only as an inclusion to the Microsoft 365 bundles but since December 2021 a stand-alone version became available. Microsoft Teams Essentials (at USD 4 per month) primarily targets SMEs or SMBs to allow them to collaborate among their team. For the free version, interested users would have to sign up using their Microsoft Account and familiarize themselves with the layout. Not everyone who has come to love Zoom easily navigates Teams but once you figure out how you’ll love how organized and safe it is. Moreover, Microsoft Teams easily integrates with other useful collaboration apps and of course, it’s compatible with other Microsoft products.
Microsoft Teams free features:
● Unlimited group meetings for up to 60 minutes
● 100 maximum number of participants
● 5 GB of cloud storage
● Unlimited chat
● File sharing, tasks, and polling
Cisco WebEx has reached brand new horizons by sending video conferencing to space. But for those of us here on Earth, we can still avail of its free subscription. Registering would entail giving information about your company and other standard details. Similar to the above-mentioned freemium video collaboration platforms, WebEx allows up to 100 participants at a time. Users can have breakout rooms with free subscriptions to WebEx pretty much like Zoom. With new partnerships formed by the company, users have increasingly more programs to choose to integrate with WebEx. If you have not used WebEx after 2020, then you might need to familiarize yourself again with the platform’s new features.
WebEx free features:
● HD meetings
● Up to 100 meeting participants
● Screen sharing
● “Personal room”
● WebEx Assistant
360 Video Conference
Video conferencing quality is only as good as your equipment. You need to ensure your internet connection is stable and reaches the minimum requirement of your preferred zoom platform. Free or paid subscriptions to video conferencing solutions require at least one camera, one microphone, and a speaker or audio output. When people talk about zooming these days, they probably also mean hybrid meetings. Hybrid meetings are video conferences of several in-room participants with one or more remote attendees. It would be tricky to huddle around one laptop to see and be seen. That’s why 360 video conference devices are popular these days.
The Coolpo AI Huddle Pana is the perfect solution for hybrid meetings. Integrated into one sleek device is everything you need to accompany you and your laptop anywhere for hybrid meetings:
● 360 camera that captures the whole room but at the same time captures active participants in the video stream
● 4 smart microphones that locate the speaker
● An all-surround speaker that delivers clear sound
That’s right! The Pana has dual-positioning technology that identifies active meeting participants through visual and sound. By default, your hybrid meetings are shown at the bottom of the screen in a panoramic view of the room. On top will be the active participants who are highlighted clearly to allow remote participants to focus on them. It is meeting agnostic too. It can run on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, BlueJeans, and all other mainstream video conferencing platforms.
Zoom has definitely impacted the way we do meetings. As often as we use this video conferencing platform, it is still good to explore other options out there. Aspects that you may find interesting in others such as layout, interface, organization, and features might lead you to try and meet using other means. Zoom has the convenient layout, Google Meet’s web-based (no app download) capability, Microsoft Team’s multi-faceted collaboration possibilities, and WebEx’s clean interface are all great qualities in these video conferencing platforms. Together with innovative technologies like Coolpo AI Huddle Pana, you can maximize their free features. Your hybrid team can experience a 360 video conference anytime, anywhere.