Being the tool and gadget aficionado that I am, I have tried so many of the tools out there for videoconferencing. Some of my favorites include zoom.us, join.me, and appear.in. One nice thing about all these tools is that they all include a free package or free trial for you can get started and test out their services.
A few other ones that you may not think about as obvious include FaceTime video, Facebook video in the Messages app and Google talk or Google video which are also all free if you have the right device.
Months ago when I wrote this post I thought I would be purchasing a version of Zoom when the time came that I needed it. Instead, I made a one time purchase of Vectera and couldn’t be more excited. Vectera is able to combine the best features of all the video conferencing apps at a special startup price. They have straight-forward pricing and add-ons as needed. $9 / month when paid annually and $10 / month when paid monthly.
Vectera has amazing features as well.
- Virtual persistent meeting rooms
- Powerful whiteboard with document annotation support and infinite canvas
- Screenshare & co-browse without downloads
- Unlimited recordings
- 2 GB of Storage
- Presenter mode
- Integrations with CRM & storage (Google cloud + Dropbox)
- Private notes during the meeting
- Custom branding (email, logo & greet screen)
- No downloads or installations to join a meeting
For a limited time though they are on App Sumo which means you get a lifetime plan for just $69 that is less than the cost of a year for a lifetime!
Zoom is a newer player in this arena and has gained a ton of popularity. They have been adopted by big companies for their primary video conferencing needs. They have a completely free plan that they advertise and that plan is fairly flexible for being free. One great thing about Zoom is that one on one calls are completely free and offer advanced features like scheduling, recording and full-screen sharing. You can host up to 100 participants if you can keep your session under 40 minutes. Quick webinar anybody?! It is a really awesome tool. It comes with a lot of integration and apps across all platforms. You can even screen share on your iPhone or iPad!
LogMeIn is a long-time standard in the tech industry. They made tech support from far away super easy. They started a little brother company called Join Me which was for video conferencing and screen sharing. They also offer a free account but it is not as well advertised and is hidden in their pricing lineup. See the little text at the very bottom that I circled to highlight?
Their pricing is also quite a bit heftier than Zoom. It starts at $10 but you only get 5 participants and you get no webcam streams. The free version is very minimal. You do not get a custom link, or scheduling or recording. It is stable and easy to use and if your clients have join.me it may be a great option but there are several limitations. They do have some cool resources including an infographic about Video Taboos.
The last officially marketed video conferencing app that I like is appear.in. Like Zoom, appear.in is a little newer to the video conferencing arena. Like, join.me, appear.in has features like a custom URL that you can always be reached at and excels at in-browser conferencing instead of having to download an app to your computer. Like the others, it offers apps for mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad. I LOVE that I have a simple URL https://appear.in/techiemamma and immediately you are connected with me. I can have it open in a tab all day long and clients could potentially pop in any time they needed a quick chat. The free account supports up to 4 simultaneous users and you get one “room” or custom URL. You can share your screen and have basic video conferencing functionality. The recording is an add-on even to the pro plan which is unfortunate if you have to record everything you do. That is definitely a bonus of Zoom that you get for free. I love the idea of a branded room (custom background like you are relaxing in a coffee shop anyone?!) that comes with the Pro plan. I wish I could afford the completely custom URL, http://tech.mom/meet would be so cool.
Your Everyday Apps
My friend and amazing graphic designer, Nancy Santillan, helped me realize that many of the apps that I use on a daily basis have screen sharing capabilities!! We were chatting one day via Apple Messages and I clicked on details and saw an option that said “share screen”! Now, whenever we need to connect real quick we just do this and there is no need for extra software or accounts. These include FaceTime, FaceBook messenger, and Google Hangouts. All for free. It is pretty sweet if all you need is some screen sharing and voice connections. Here are the guides for these three common apps.
What is your favorite screen sharing video conferencing app? Do you use something that is easy for yourself and your clients or collaboration partners?