Video conferencing has become commonplace in businesses of all sizes. With an increase in remote work, video conferencing services are great tools for businesses to keep their employees connected with one another.
With so many options available in 2020, it's important to choose the right video conferencing solution for your business. Choosing the wrong video conferencing software or trying to integrate incompatible services could end up costing you more down the road.
We researched dozens of video conferencing systems to find the best options for a range of businesses. Our top recommendations for video conference services are below, but if you want to take a step back and learn more about the ins and outs of video conferencing, read our guide to choosing a video conference service.
Our Best Picks
Here is a roundup of our 2019 best picks for video conferencing services and an explanation of how we chose them.
Unlimited meetings, screen sharing, dial-in lines, meeting locks, recording
Polls & surveys, screen-sharing, whiteboarding, text chat platform
HD voice & video, screen sharing, group messaging, whiteboard, recording
Access to WebEx Teams, HD video, web app, screen sharing, recording
Video Conference Service Features
When choosing a video conference service, a business should look for a number of features before making a buying decision. These features include:
- Meeting participants: You want conferencing software that can support the top number of users you'll have in a meeting at one time. Some services limit the number of attendees to under 10, while other providers have solutions that can accommodate several thousand at one time.
- Video stream: In addition to limiting the number of users in a virtual meeting room at one time, some services also cap how many video streams can be on simultaneously. If you want everyone in your meeting to be on camera, make sure the video conference service you choose can support that number of video feeds.
- Video and audio quality: Does the video service provide high-definition video feeds? You likely don't need production-grade video, but you also don't want a video feed that is grainy or blurry. The video quality should be good enough so it isn't a distraction to those on the other end of the line. In addition, you want a service that provides excellent audio quality. If those in the meeting can't hear you, the high-quality video won't make much of a difference. Make sure the audio and video feeds are in good working order when choosing conferencing systems.
- Dial-in: While you may prefer that everyone joins your meeting by video feed, there are times when that might not be possible. In those instances, you want a conference service that gives participants the option to join by phone so they can at least hear the audio.
- Screen sharing: A huge benefit of cloud-based video conferencing is the ability to share documents, spreadsheets, presentations or anything else you have stored on your computer. Most services allow the meeting's host to share their screen, and some services allow anyone in the meeting to share their screen, too.
- Integrations: A video conference service that integrates with your online calendar or email client makes scheduling video meetings simple. When a meeting is scheduled, directions for joining the meeting are automatically uploaded into an email, and details of the meeting are also placed on your calendar.
- Video conferencing apps: Being out of the office should no longer be an excuse to miss a video call. Most video conference solutions have mobile applications for iOS and Android devices so attendees, and even the host, can join a meeting from a smartphone or tablet.
- Room systems: While joining a meeting from a computer or mobile app is convenient, your business may need a video conference service that allows for an entire conference room to be used for video calls. Some services provide you with the video conferencing equipment, like cameras, microphones, speakers, monitors and software, needed to host these meetings in a video conferencing room.
- Recording: There are times when someone can't make an important meeting. Most conferencing systems can record meetings so they can be watched later. Some services store the video chat recordings in the cloud, while others require you to store them on your own devices.
- Messaging: Some conferencing software allows you to send written messages to those in the meeting. This can be helpful if you want to ask a question without interrupting whoever is speaking.
Other features businesses may want to look for in a video conference service are the ability to lock a meeting once it has started, whiteboarding tools to allow employees to collaborate with each other, remote access via mobile apps, group chat, custom branding, the ability to join a meeting via a web browser (without having to download special programs or software), and the option to let multiple people host a meeting at one time.