Top 10 Free Video Conferencing Platforms For Agencies
Free video conferencing, is a hot topic. Why bother with the time and cost of travel for a meeting that could just as well be done where you are. Bringing together the essential players at a convenient time and in a convenient place makes sense- it’s cheap, environmentally friendly, comfortable, efficient and flexible. What’s not to like. All you need is the essential internet connection and the video conferencing software to go with it. There are many video conferencing platforms out there that are perfect for agencies collaboration and we’re going to take you through 10 of the very best with free versions. It’s worth bearing in mind that most of these have paid versions too, but if the free versions are good enough, it would be wrong not to try them. So let’s have a look at the pros and cons so you can decide what suits you best.
- TrueConf – Great video quality and high value on security
- Skype – Microsoft video conference for one on one meetings
- Slack – The ultimate tool for agencies collaboration and teamwork
- YouTube Live – Stream your conference to a large audience
- CyberLink – Browser-based conference tool for smaller agencies
- LifeSize – Free version allows numerous participants
- FreeConference – Popular, easy to use and packs the essentials
- Zoom.us – Cutting edge technology and great features
- Google Hangouts – Integrated with other Google products and growing in feature
- Rocket Chat – Open-source tool for small agencies
TrueConf has a downloadable free server software package, that is excellent for multipoint conferencing with remote teams. With great quality video, and other special features TrueConf free (only 3 participants) can also be upgraded to paid package versions. The free version contains access to the collaboration tool features such as video conference recording, chat, screen sharing, slideshow, reactions and much much more and also provides client applications for all popular platforms. It’s very usable, places a high value on security and has super scalable video coding, which adapts to the end-users individual device capability.
- Ultra 4K HD
- Easy to use interface
- Secure encryption
- Scalable video
- Collaboration Tool – exchange file, screen share, slide show, video recording, etc.
- Pro plan: $29.95 per month (other versions available)
- No camera controls
- The free version is highly limited -only 3 participants
- Dated interface
Microsoft’s Free Skype is well known and well used (a big advantage when trying to get other sets up on the same system). It is particularly suited to one on one meetings, interaction with remote workers, phone calls (charged but cheap rate). It may be less appropriate for larger video conferences where a leader allows many participants to speak, share documents, and interact using their cameras (PC or cell phones) all at the same time. However, it does have record functions and live subtitles options that work pretty well and can really help.
- Well known
- Easy to use
- Used for cheap phone calls -credit system
- Recordable and Live subtitles function
- Share Screen and send
- Can add during a meeting
- Can freeze particularly on low bandwidth -requires a restart
- No customization
- Can get slower with larger group chats
- Lack of flexibility for group chats
Slack is a chat room for your company that allows workers (including remote) and departments to share and communicate, in the public, group or by private messages and its growing. Importantly, it also has great integration with other apps such a google drive, dropbox, etc which allows easy file sharing, etc. For large scale video conferencing or online meetings, the free version is limited as it only supports one call. The paid versions offer greater integration, support and participants, etc but are a little pricey.
- 10,000 Message Search
- 10 Integrations
- One on One Voice and Video Calls
- 5GB of Total Storage
- Standard Support
- A limited free version (10,000 messages, 10 integrations)
- Paid versions $6.67 or $152.50 per person per month
- Primarily a messaging platform
- Lots to get your head around
You heard of youtube but probably not your first thought when it came to online meeting software, partly because youtube life is new. You’ll need a YouTube verified account that’s been enabled for live events. check your account and visit the “features” page through account settings. There are three types of meeting private streaming – for one to one meetings, unlisted – anyone you send a link to can view it but it doesn’t show on your youtube channel page or public -anyone who is subscribed to your channel can see it. It’s a great way for an audience to watch your conference but may not be the best for web meetings
- Good for broadcasting to an audience
- Wide range of settings
- Tricky to set up
- Professional video platform rather than the conferencing platform
- Not well known or used yet
Lifesize offer free video conferencing service for 6 months. Excellent video quality, secure and easy to use but lacking in some of the features of others especially regarding collaboration. It also gets high marks for use with numerous participants. But bear in mind the free version has a time limit.
- Unlimited meetings
- High-Quality Video
- Secure -automatic firewall, encryption
- Host up to 25 participants
- Personal meeting room
- Native desktop and mobile apps
- Online support
- Free version – 6 months limit
- Lacks features
- Paid versions up to $16.95 per host per month
FreeConference was one of the first video conference providers and we know why it’s still around. Good customer reviews and a pretty good free version with all the essential tools and features including document sharing, screen sharing, etc. Simple to set up and use, with decent quality audio and video, and a knowledgeable support system
- High capacity
- 5 participants
- Screen sharing
- File sharing
- $34.99 per month for Pro Version
- Up to 5 participants -free version
One of the most popular business conferencing sites is Zoom with its reputation for cutting edge technology and great features. Zoom has a well regarding free version that can host up to 100 participants and has specialist features for video and web conferencing and group collaboration. Although its one to one meetings is unlimited, group meetings have a maximum 40-minute limit, in the free version. Great customer reviews.
Google has its own chat tool, Google Hangouts which has video call functionality. It’s popular and growing to feature private messages or group discussion options. Needless to say, it works smoothly with other Google products such as Drive. Google Hangouts is available for free for receiving and making calls and video conferencing and has a familiar look that eases the new users in.
- Integration with other Google Suit
- Familiar social media look
- Paid for storage
- Not great for large groups
Rocket Chat is an open-source platform designed to enable small businesses, NGOs, startups, and governmental organizations to have their own chat tool. It’s highly customizable and can be hosted on your own server or cloud. It can be used for video or audio conferencing on a shared server and has private, public or broadcast options even on the free version. It also comes with tutorial docs and videos but it’s all pretty straightforward anyway.
- 1000 users
- Good integrations
- Cheap paid version $3 per month (includes more features)
- Shared server for conferences
- The mobile app has some negative feedback for slowness
Video Conferencing, online meeting and collaboration is sure to continue growing. The more people use it, the more they realize the obvious advantages; cost, ecological, flexibility, efficiency, and security. The increase in the global market of businesses and international partnerships plus the growth in remote workers means that for practical reasons it’s vital to have online communication. In addition, the rise in social media means that online communication is second nature to most. Add these reasons to the technological developments of reliability, security, and other technical features and it would be crazy not to explore the options.
We’ve briefly outlined 10 of the best possibilities, that all have free versions. It’s a great place to start and you’ll feel the benefits straight away. Embrace the new way, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.