The best video conferencing software for 2022

November 23, 2021 · 9 min readTrends

Most of us have had to adapt to a new working environment recently, but not everyone was equally quick to conform to the reality of remote work. However, with global teams becoming increasingly crucial for all kinds of industries, it's quickly becoming apparent that the increase in remote work is not a temporary one.

Making the most of this new form of everyday business communication is essential. And there’s a reason why video conferencing software has risen in popularity so quickly since the pandemic began — scientific research clearly shows that communication is more effective with a visual component.

In other words, we respond better when we see the people that we’re talking to. And while it may seem that video calls are no more effective than an audio-only conversation, think about it; there’s a reason why companies aren’t run solely via phone.

Video calls made through virtual meeting platforms allow all participants to communicate more effectively because they relay more information.

When someone writes you a text message, it's easy to misinterpret it because you can't gauge someone's tone and the subtle cadence of their voice. Often enough, it's easy to mistake sarcasm for seriousness and vice versa.

Now scale that up, and you’ll notice that video calls and audio conversations are in an identical position. In other words: when you’re just hearing what someone is saying without seeing them, you’re missing their body language, facial expressions, and all the other tiny clues that help you understand where someone is coming from more clearly.

While that sort of misunderstanding may not be vital in casual conversation, virtual business meetings come with much higher stakes. And since the start of the pandemic, the most giant conglomerates in the world and mom-and-pop businesses shared that one common thread — suddenly, they were run through video conferencing software.

And it's not just companies either — the concept of e-learning has experienced the same meteoric rise as remote work, for obvious reasons. In both cases, online meeting software has become essential for the proper functioning of businesses and schools across the world. From young tech-savvy teachers to seasoned business executives set in their ways, everyone had to adapt to virtual meeting platforms.

This poses a simple question, though — which video conferencing solution should you use? The choice is more important than you might think. Sure, there are tons of screen sharing and video chat utilities out there — and most of them are available for free.
However, after almost two years of online meetings, you’ve probably been experiencing a solid dose of fatigue. Sure, being able to talk to team members anywhere in the world is great — but the transition from physical offices to scattered, remote teams have left a lot of gaps that are yet to be filled.

In the past, a lot of small details and significant issues alike could be solved by walking down the hall to your colleague's office or over a quick talk by the water cooler. Even a coffee break and a lunch could prove to be productive — but fast-forward to 2021, and we're working in an environment where every single discussion and meeting goes through a calendar invite and an official virtual meeting.

And that's why your choice of video conferencing software is so crucial to your team's productivity. In the long run, shoddy screen-sharing features or even more minor kinks in your virtual meeting platform are enough to seriously dampen morale.

Conversely, choosing the right software will result in more effortless communication — it's an essential but often overlooked investment. It's as vital to the remote work experience as a comfy chair or a decent computer.

With that in mind, we've put together a rundown of the leading video conferencing platforms — all of which come with high video quality and plenty of helpful collaboration tools. And while many of these platforms also come with webinar and live streaming features, we're mainly focusing on virtual meetings that you can enhance with grok here.

Also, it's worth noting that several software vendors from this list had provided free software licenses as a response to the pandemic — while most of those offers have expired by now, a couple of discounted and free options are still available, so make sure to check them out.

Zoom

Out of all the platforms on our list, Zoom is the one that needs the least introduction by far. It’s safe to say that it’s currently the most popular video conferencing brand in the world. Its successful 2019 IPO came at the most opportune time, positioning the young tech company to immediately capitalize on the global shift to remote work that was set in motion by the pandemic in early 2020.

Since then, Zoom has successfully solidified its status as a leader in the online video conferencing industry. And while it had its share of growing pains along the way, Zoom remains the most popular choice when it comes to online meetings to this day.
Zoom’s biggest advantage is the stability of its conferencing software. Whether you’re organizing a one-on-one session, a group call, or a huge video meeting with a thousand participants — the platform still comes through with a maximum of 49 HD videos simultaneously visible on screens.

The platform’s learning curve is also quite flat — you can easily get a Zoom session up and running from either a web browser or the Zoom app on every mobile and desktop platform. With intuitive screen-sharing tools, solid user security, and end-to-end encryption, it’s no wonder that Zoom has become the gold standard for video conferencing software.
Plus, it flawlessly integrates with mainstream calendar systems and grok — creating an all-around online collaboration package that serves your every need.

And importantly for growth-oriented businesses — scaling with Zoom is quite easy. The free option comes with unlimited one-on-one meetings and limited 40-minute group sessions with a maximum of 100 participants. From that, the first paid plan sets you back $15 per month for each host, and it's easy to scale up to the larger Business and Enterprise plans.

Furthermore, Zoom comes with extensive recording features — both premium subscribers and free users can record audio and video calls and save the recordings on their hard drive, though Zoom is also compatible with Google Drive, Dropbox, and YouTube, so you can upload recorded sessions there as well.

If you need to revisit an important meeting, Zoom makes it easy by recording the shared screen, gallery view, and the active speaker separately. The UI also leaves little to be desired, with an easy-to-use interface that anyone can pick up and navigate through without much effort. For complete video conferencing beginners, being able to do it in just three clicks is basically a godsend.

BlueJeans Meetings

The pandemic has resulted in many large companies scrambling to come up with the next “Zoom-killer” — and BlueJeans is certainly a noteworthy contender. The platform aims to be the default online meetings platform for the new modern workplace.

This video conferencing solution has, rightly, focused on enabling instant connections — perfect for the dynamic reality of meetings in a remote working environment. Users can join a meeting through the desktop or mobile app or directly from their browser of choice — no download is required.

If you're thinking this is a bush-league startup, don't let the quirky name fool you — the company was acquired by Verizon in April 2020. And while the funny name the founders came up with still reflects their desire to make online meetings as casual and comfortable as a great pair of jeans — the input from the new owner is already visible.
Since the acquisition, Verizon has slashed prices and focused on the security aspect of the platform, most evident from their newly-added support for AES-256 GCM end-to-end encryption. In the future, Verizon plans to integrate BlueJeans even more deeply into its 5G-supported line of products.

As for the practical features, the Dolby-Voice-powered meeting tech comes with background noise cancellation, as well as excellent integration with conference room hardware systems and enterprise solutions like Facebook Workplace, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. There's also a wide array of screen sharing and whiteboard tools for added collaboration capabilities, though large-scale presentations and live streams require a separate software solution they call BlueJeans Events.

When it comes to the pricing scheme, BlueJeans Meetings does offer an initial free trial. Once you’ve tried out the software, you can subscribe to three different plans, all of which you can pay for monthly or annually. And the annual subscription for all three comes with a 20% discount.

Microsoft Teams

If your company is already committed to using Microsoft Office apps, Microsoft Teams is a logical solution for online collaboration. This successor to the discontinued Skype for Business is best viewed as a feature of the Microsoft 365 package.

From that, you can tell a lot about Microsoft Team’s features and design — as well as its target audience, which are companies and educational facilities.

Unlike BlueJeans Meetings, there's a free version of Microsoft Teams. And all you need to register for one is a valid personal email address. This free tier supports group and one-on-one audio and video calls, guest access, 300 meeting participants, and (limited) shared files, along with extensive compatibility with Office web apps for document collaboration.
If your organization is already running an Enterprise or Business version of Microsoft 365, Teams will truly begin to shine as a video conferencing solution. When integrated into its intended environment, Teams provides administrators with a wide range of management, compliance, and security tools.

With Microsoft 365, team members have access to file-sharing features with a huge 1TB limit, document collaboration via SharePoint Online and desktop office programs, as well as scheduling of meetings directly from Outlook. Plus, the paid plans support webinars and online training sessions.

However, organizations that aren’t already embedded in Microsoft products may find it harder to make full use of what Teams offers. Still, if your team practically lives in Outlook and Sharepoint, Microsoft’s own video conferencing software is the natural fit.

GoToMeeting

LogMeIn is a company that began its life by providing VPN and password management products — and their latest slew of acquisitions has broadened this mission to providing secure cloud-based tools for remote workers and virtual collaboration.

In 2016, the company bought GoToMeeting and a bunch of related online collaboration tools. And three years later, they would release the most major update to their GoToMeeting (or GoTo), virtual conferencing tool, just in time for the oncoming paradigm shift to remote work.

The features included in the 2019 version of GoToMeeting would soon become a standard for all market competitors — a browser-compatible video call app that doesn’t require additional downloads and installations, along with optional mobile and desktop apps.
There’s a 14-day free trial, followed by a paid plan of your choice. The first two (Professional and Business) tiers cost $12 and $16 per host and allow for up to 150 and 250 participants each — while the Enterprise plan allows for a maximum of 3,000 participants.

Since GoToMeeting was acquired by LogMeIn, the software has been molded into a decent video conferencing solution — one that provides a consistent experience across all supported platforms and a wide range of integrations with everything from Slack and grok to G Suite and Office 365.

Each video call on GoToMeeting has a notepad feature that allows you to take relevant notes in real-time. Then, the notes are embedded in the meeting transcript. Furthermore, you can use the software to capture presentation slides during the meeting and save them to a PDF file for later use.

Intermedia AnyMeeting

While AnyMeeting has never been the biggest name on the block, they’ve been around for a long time — nearly a decade, in fact. And in that time, the user base of this video conferencing platform has grown to more than a respectable million people. This is also the main reason the company was acquired by Intermedia in 2017.

Today, AnyMeeting is just a single part of Intermedia Unite — a wider collaboration and online communication platform with chat, video conferencing, and screen sharing features bundled into a cloud-based service. Notably, the platform also includes an enterprise-grade business phone system with VOIP capabilities.

If this sounds like overkill for the video conferencing needs of a small business, don’t worry; AnyMeeting is still available separately as well. You can get it in the form of a Lite and a Pro plan, with a monthly cost of $10 and $13 per user. Take note, though, that this is per every user — not just per host.

Of course, you’re mainly interested in the platform’s video conferencing features — and they’re pretty much identical between both plans. You have a handy custom meeting URL feature, the ability to schedule recurring meetings, as well as integration options for all major productivity tools.

And there’s no need to worry about security either, as end-to-end encryption and HIPAA compliance are there as well. Apart from a larger number of potential participants (12 in Full HD and 10 to 30 regular ones), the Pro plan also differs by having unlimited cloud storage for recordings, as well as the option to transcribe meetings automatically.

Zoho Meeting

If you’re looking for an exclusively web-based alternative to the video conferencing solutions above, Zoho Meeting is certainly a worthy contender. In various forms, Zoho has existed for almost 25 years — and they’ve amassed 50 million users in that time. Right now, their flagship offer is packaged as “Zoho One”; we’re talking about an entirely web-based software suite with complementary mobile apps.

Zoho One is designed as an all-around enterprise solution, tying together HR, marketing, accounting, operations, and sales — certainly a lofty goal. However, the part we’re interested in here is the Zoho Meetings tool, used for online meetings, staff training, and webinars.
The cheapest plan costs $10 per month for each host, with a 2-dollar discount for those who pay annually. For that price, you get a full-fledged video conferencing solution that supports 10 recorded meetings and 100 simultaneous participants.
It’s the perfect solution for a smaller company that won’t see more than a hundred people in a single meeting — and its learning curve is nothing to fear, considering it’s entirely browser-based.

According to Zoho, their products are Privacy Shield Frameworks certified and GDPR-compliant. There’s a lot to be said for the in-meeting privacy tools, which allow moderators to eject or mute any participant or lock the meeting in an instant.
While Zoho Meetings supports Google Calendar integration, it’s still at its best when used in tandem with other solutions from Zoho’s CRM tool palette.

Cisco Webex

If you thought Zoho was an ancient company by today's standards, wait till you take a closer look at Webex — one of the true graybeards among video conferencing software providers. The company was founded all the way back in 1995, before being bought by Cisco in 2007.

Today, the Cisco Webex conferencing software provides a free plan for a maximum of 3 hosts and a surprisingly wide range of features for zero dollars — (limited) recording options, screen sharing on both mobile and desktop devices, HD video, and 50 in each meeting. Though, online storage is capped at 1GB, which is really low for today's HD video — as well as 40 minutes of meeting time.

That’s where the three paid plans come in:

  • Starter — 50 attendees, $13.50 each month per host

  • Plus — 100 attendees, $17.95 each month per host

  • Business — 200 attendees, $26.95 per host, and a minimum of five hosts

There’s also an Enterprise plan, and each tier comes with more management features and additional cloud storage. For instance, the Business plan is the only one that comes with support for Active Directory and Exchange, as well as single sign-on.

Webex has also developed the Call-Me addon, which allows you to start a meeting via phone call. This feature costs an additional $4 per host for domestic calls and $35.75 for international calls.

Join.Me

Still, you won’t get far without video conferencing in the long run. And the paid plans start with $10 per month for each host, with no time limits and five meeting participants — though this Lite plan still doesn’t support webcam streams.

The Pro $20 per month package includes that crucial feature, along with 50GB of cloud storage for the newly added recording features and a maximum of 250 meeting participants. If that's not enough, the last Business tier gives you Salesforce integration, single sign-on support, and 1TB of storage for $30 per month.

Google Hangouts Meet

While we've presented a couple of different options for browser-based video conferencing, if you want something specifically designed for Chrome, there's no better choice than Google's very own Hangouts Meet.

Stemming from Google's traditionally convoluted lineup of (sometimes mutually competing) apps, this collaboration, and communications solution was split in 2017. Then, the classic Google Hangouts app for video conferencing was discontinued, and the business version was rebranded as Google Hangouts Meet.
While Google Chat is the regular consumer version, Google Hangouts Meet is intended for business users that rely on G Suite apps in the workplace, though other participants are just as free to connect.

As we’ve mentioned in the beginning, the app runs natively in the Google Chrome browser, along with Android and iOS apps. The features you have access to depend on your G Suite level — G Suite Basic nets you 100 participants, Business gets you 150, and Enterprise allows a maximum of 250.

Live streaming is available with G Suite Enterprise as well, delivering your address to a maximum audience of 100,000 people. However, people using the app for remote collaboration will find the record meetings feature more useful — along with its direct integration into Google Drive.

If you’re using Google Workspace productivity and email apps in your company, Google Hangouts Meet will probably make your shortlist of video conferencing solutions.

Slack

Our final pick is another globally popular collaboration tool — Slack. Plenty of organizations have set up their digital workspaces using Slack, and that means you’ve already got some limited video conferencing capabilities. Considering its easy integration with third-party collaboration solutions like grok, this just might be good enough for basic team meetings.
While Slack was one of the last players on this list to add mobile video call capabilities, that feature is now available as well. And though Slack can be used in the browser without any downloads, the full range of collaboration and screen sharing features will require that you download the dedicated Slack app.

How To Choose Your Next Video Conferencing Solution

With the wide range of options we've showcased above, you may have still not decided which video conferencing platform to use. Don't worry, though — we'll give you a crash course on choosing the best remote collaboration and video conferencing solution right here, at least if you're after a basic feature set for a post-pandemic remote workplace.
You’re probably wondering what kind of criteria we’ve used while choosing which video conferencing solutions would find their way onto our list.

First and foremost, we've gone with reputation. None of us have the time to try every single obscure video conferencing app out there, no matter how great it might potentially be. That's why we've gone with the tools that (for a good reason) have the biggest market share.

As you may have noticed, we’ve taken the companies behind the tools into consideration as well — heavy hitters like Microsoft and other vendors that have been around for decades are simply more reliable.

Naturally, integration options with other collaboration tools like grok were equally important — in today’s virtual workspace, no company is likely to be using just one or two software solutions. Almost always, it’s either an all-encompassing enterprise solution or a carefully put-together patchwork of different software suites.

From a business standpoint, it’s important to keep in mind that companies evolve, grow, and shrink. That’s why video conferencing and collaboration solutions need to accommodate a wide range of companies in terms of size, industry, and culture — and their solutions should be easily scalable through different plans.

In the end, it all comes down to what your company is expecting from its video conferencing solution. If you’re a small business, you’re not likely to need software that has you paying extra for live streams for huge audiences and company-wide training sessions. As you can see, the number of managers that will be organizing meetings and the number of potential attendees was a huge deciding factor.

Of course, today’s popularity of remote work means screen sharing and team collaboration features are much more important than they were two years ago. And though a lot of that can be solved through grok, generating PDF slides from the meeting and being able to record it in full is always nice.

Essentially, if you just need some basic whiteboarding and screen-sharing features combined with a simple one-on-one call — almost every solution on this list will fit that bill. More advanced options will, however, require you to pay for the premium tiers — as will storing your recordings on popular cloud storage services.

Another important factor was the services and subscriptions your company is already paying for — like the Office in the Cloud from Intermedia or the more popular contenders such as Google's G Suite or Microsoft 365. Some video conferencing tools were created to be compatible with specific enterprise solutions, and that's something to take into account.

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