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Best Video Conference Services 2016

Best Video Conference Services 2016
Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Choosing a video conference service takes more than just flipping a coin and hoping for the best. Partnering with the wrong service or trying to integrate multiple services that don't mix could end up costing you more down the road. To help you get it right the first time, Business News Daily selected the best video conference services for business. Here is a roundup of our best picks and an explanation of how we chose them.

  • ClickMeeting
    BUY
    Read Review
    • Key Features
      Screen-sharing, highly interoperable, audio and video recording, polls & surveys.
    • Ease of Use
      ClickMeeting is intuitive, simple, and offers good customer service.
    • Affordable
      A wide-variety of pricing to support both your needs and your budget.
  • Join.me
    BUY
    Read Review
    • Key Features
      Interoperability, screen-sharing, audio & video recording.
    • Affordable
      Join.me offers a variety of pricing packages with meeting rooms that support a large amount of participants.
    • Ease of Use
      Intuitive; exceptional customer service.
  • Skype for Business
    BUY
    Read Review
    • Key Features
      Polls & surveys, audio & video recording, screen-sharing, whiteboarding.
    • Affordable
      Skype for Business was one of the most inexpensive services we reviewed, without sacrificing quality.
    • Ease of Use
      Simple to learn; similar interface to Skype.

Already prepared to choose a video conference service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

ClickMeeting is our top choice for video conference systems for businesses because it blends a diversity of features, high-quality audio and video, and ease of use that best serves to enhance company operations without the headache of integrating a complex or unwieldy system. Because of this system's user-friendly interface, training for your employees should be minimal; there's also a 30-day free trial available, so your staff can take ClickMeeting out for a spin before you commit to buying.

Read our full review here.

Skype for Business is our pick for best inexpensive video conference service. Most video conference services either sacrifice cost for more robust features or vice versa. Skype for Business, while an affordable solution, remains an effective tool not gutted of its most valuable assets in order to force down the price. Although you'll be spending less each month on this service than you would on most others, you won't have to sacrifice reliability or the most essential features of video conferencing software.

Read our full review here.

Join.me, a LogMeIn product, is our best pick for a video conference service for multiple participants. It's neither the cheapest video conference system nor the one with the most available room for participants; however, join.me remains affordable while allowing up to 250 participants into a meeting at any given time, while also offering a powerful, easy-to-use system. Join.me struck the right balance between cost and maximum number of participants to earn the title of best video conference service for multiple participants.

Read our full review here.

Editor's Note: Looking for a video conference service for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from vendors for free:

To select the best video conference services for businesses, we created a list of more than 30 reputable video conference companies. Our selection was based on previous reviews, such as this one from our sister site Top Ten Reviews, as well as user feedback regarding each service. From there, we eliminated vendors that were either too narrow or that offered worse user experience than the median vendor.

After narrowing our initial list down, we examined the features of each service, the needs of the average small business owner and expert insight from members of the industry. We also took part in free trials when available. At the end, we were left with 10 candidates for our best picks: Adobe Connect, *ClickMeeting, GoToMeeting, *Join.Me, Lifesize, ooVoo, RingCentral, *Skype for Business, WebEx and Zoho Meeting.

We then analyzed each service based on the following factors:

  • Ease of use: How difficult is it to learn the system? Will this lead to headaches for staff and clients, or will they be able to easily adopt an intuitive, user-friendly format?
  • Features: This revolved around the many different features a video conference service could include. Does it allow for multiple participants, or is it exclusively one-on-one? Can different applications and services be integrated into the system? Is it scalable? Can you share images and files with other participants? Is screen sharing available? Can it interoperate with other services? Those services with more options for the end user scored more highly in our review.
  • Cost: This factor was based not only on whether the packages offered were reasonable compared to other services, but also if the companies were up front about their pricing information on their websites. This includes the need for hardware, annual maintenance, etc.
  • Transparency: This included how much information we could gather about the company from its website, how up front the business was about its system's initial and maintenance costs, and the quality of user experience (or our experience in the event of a free trial).
  • Customer service: We posed as prospective customers to get a sense of how the company handled customer service, both over the phone and online. Reviews and complaints from websites like Ripoff Report and the Better Business Bureau also informed our rating here.

Here is a full list of video conference services and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.

8x8 8x8 video conferencing excels on mobile devices. The system also boasts high-definition audio and video, and can deliver multiple video streams at once. However, you will have to obtain a quote from a salesperson, as the pricing packages are not immediately available on the company's website. https://www.8x8.com/web-conferencing

Adobe Connect Adobe Connect, which begins at $55 per month, covers all of the major features, including video chat, screen sharing, broad app integrations and reliable service. https://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect/

AT&T Collaborate – Collaborate is a highly customizable service offered by AT&T that can be as limited or as expansive as you choose. Some features of collaborate include video conferencing, web meetings, screen sharing and even the ability to track employee availability. However, the customizable nature of Collaborate means you'll need to obtain a quote from the company. https://www.business.att.com/enterprise/Family/collaboration/collaborate/

AVer –  AVer specializes in conference room systems, which include cameras, microphones and monitors for your office. If you're happy with your cloud-based video conference service, AVer can augment that system to create a more official conference room experience; it works with most every video conference solution out there. http://communication.aver.com/lines/video-conferencing

BlueJeans by Arkadin – BlueJeans offers a fully interoperable system that works across desktop, mobile and room systems. It also streams video and audio in high definition and allows for key features like screen sharing. Interoperability with other systems is where BlueJeans excels. https://www.arkadin.com/solutions/video-conferencing/blue-jeans-powered-by-arkadin

Cenero – Cenero's video conference service operates across multiple platforms, be they mobile, desktop or conference room systems, and offers high-definition audio and video streaming. As a customizable solution tailored to your business, Cenero's pricing varies based on the specific build-out you choose. http://www.cenero.com/

*ClickMeeting – ClickMeeting is our best overall pick because of its strong suite of services, affordable price, reliable quality and very user-friendly interface. ClickMeeting was an all-around system that required both minimal cost and effort to use. Read our review of ClickMeeting to learn more, or visit https://clickmeeting.com/.

eVoice – eVoice is geared toward smaller companies, allowing up to 25 participants to join a meeting at once and share four video feeds simultaneously on screen. Overall, eVoice is a relatively basic service, but it offers a 30-day free trial so you can see if it's enough to support your business's needs. https://www.evoice.com/feature/premium/video-conferencing

Google Hangouts – Google Hangouts offers a basic, free solution, which lacks some of the more advanced features we looked for. However, if your video conference needs are minimal, Hangouts has decent-quality video and audio feeds and could save you some money. https://hangouts.google.com/

Google Video Conferencing – When the free version of Hangouts isn't enough, Google offers its G-Suite video conference services powered by the very same platform. This is also a very low-cost solution, so don't expect this service to have all the bells and whistles; still, it's a reliable video conference solution for any business on a tight budget. https://enterprise.google.com/chrome/video-conferencing/

GoToMeeting GoToMeeting is a solution with a simple interface and good quality. The company also offers a free version. However, more advanced options, such as surveys and polls, are conspicuously absent. https://www.gotomeeting.com/

Huawei – Huawei offers a service that can interoperate with many other systems and that delivers video and audio in high definition. Huawei takes great pains to ensure its system is redundant and reliable, so you won't have to fear dropped calls or laggy reception. http://e.huawei.com/us/solutions/business-needs/collaboration/video-conference/video-conference

Highfive – Highfive video conferencing prides itself on ease of use and simplicity. Highfive includes cloud-based software and hardware for a conference meeting room, as well as an application that works across all devices. Highfive also boasts unlimited meetings and unlimited presenters. https://highfive.com/offers/video-conferencing/

iMeet by PGi iMeet is an affordable video conference solution that retains the major key features we looked for in a system. Its most basic service includes up to five participants, screen sharing and recording, but the Plus and XL tiers expand on those features while still remaining reasonably priced. https://www.pgi.com/imeet/

Interactive Intelligence PureCloud Collaborate – PureCloud Collaborate is focused on unifying collaboration tools so your employees aren't using a number of different applications to connect with one another. PureCloud allows you to share and edit documents as well, through a built-in content management system. https://www.inin.com/unified-collaboration

*Join.me – Join.me is our best pick for multiple participants because of its ability to display 10 video streams at once and its relatively high volume of participant seats at a low cost. Join.me also won big points for its easy-to-use and aesthetically pleasing interface, as well as its audio and video quality. Read our review of join.me to learn more, or visit https://www.join.me/.

Lifesize – Lifesize is a highly interoperable system that brings together a wide array of features and high-quality streaming to create a very positive user experience. Lifesize is also able to directly integrate services like Skype for Business. https://www.lifesize.com/

Logitech – Logitech is primarily focused on creating conference room hardware to enhance your office's video conference experience. While Logitech doesn't offer video conference software itself, the company's products integrate with those of a number of leading software companies. https://www.logitech.com/en-us/video-collaboration

Microsoft Office 365 Microsoft Office 365 video conferencing allows you to bring up to 250 participants to a meeting across desktop or mobile, or from the conference room. As a Microsoft Office product, it's already integrated with Office software like PowerPoint, Word and Excel. The service includes features like note taking, screen sharing and multiple simultaneous video feeds at several pricing tiers, all of which are inexpensive. https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-video-conferencing

ooVoo – ooVoo is an inexpensive service that offers high -quality video but lacks some of the major features we looked for. The service aims for simple, quality video calls and is best when used for small groups or one-on-one conversations. http://www.oovoo.com/

Pinnaca – Pinnaca offers a cloud-based video conferencing solution that connects mobile devices and desktops, as well as full conference-room systems. It allows for 25 participants to sit in on a meeting, and it offers robust technical support. https://www.pinnaca.com/solutions/cloud-services/video-conferencing-as-a-service

Polycom – Polycom is focused primarily on video conferencing hardware for conference rooms, rather than cloud-based software. Overall, these enterprise solutions are geared toward larger companies, rather than small businesses. http://www.pinnacleinfo.net/video-conferencing.html

ReadyTalk – ReadyTalk is a video conferencing solution that allows you to select how much capacity you really need. With plans that span from one to 100 participants, to the largest plan, which allows more than 3,000, ReadyTalk can be tailored to suit small and large organizations alike. Starting at $24 per month for the smallest package and topping out at more than $1,000 per month, ReadyTalk has packages for every kind of business. https://www.readytalk.com/

RingCentral RingCentral is a high-quality service with a wide variety of features useful for business. However, signing up for Ring Central comes with some caveats; instead of a free trial, the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you'll have to put up some cash to begin using the service. Still, RingCentral's user interface is intuitive, and the video conferencing application itself is effective. The company also offers VoIP calling and online faxing through its video platform, and it was our best pick in both of those categories in the past. https://www.ringcentral.com/

Skype – Skype operates much like our best pick, Skype for Business, but without some of the more robust features. As a free option, Skype excels for those businesses who don't often rely on video conferencing, but still occasionally need to connect with clients or employees over high-definition video. https://www.skype.com/en/

*Skype for Business – Skype for Business is an extremely affordable video conference solution with strong features and good-quality video and audio. For that reason, it is our best pick for inexpensive video conference services. The low cost means you'll sacrifice a few features here and there, but overall, Skype for Business does a good job of connecting your team.  https://www.skype.com/en/business/skype-for-business/

Vidyo – Vidyo offers a high-quality video conferencing system that works across all major platforms and is highly interoperable with other conferencing systems. The platform is, by nature, highly customizable, which allows you to tailor Vidyo to your organization's specific needs. http://www.vidyo.com/

Viju – What sets Viju apart is its superb customer and technical support. The company will work with you to create a system that serves your specific needs, including what kinds of hardware to select for your conference room. If you're looking for an expert partner to help walk you through the process, Viju is a strong choice. http://www.vijugroup.com/video-conferencing/

WebEx WebEx offers a two-week free trial without requiring your credit card information, as well as a free version that gives you access to many of the service's most important features. However, upgrading gets expensive quickly and has limited space for participants. https://www.webex.com/

Zoho Meeting – Zoho Meeting is a basic video conference service that gets the job done and includes a fairly complete free version. The paid versions begin at $12 per month, making Zoho highly affordable, but the service does lack some of the more advanced features we looked for, like whiteboarding. https://www.zoho.com/meeting/

Zoom – Zoom is a highly interoperable, high-definition video conference service that remains affordable and scalable for small and medium-size organizations. A limited free plan allows for timed meetings with up to 50 participants, but the largest package accommodates 100 participants at just $17.99 per month per host. https://zoom.us/

Adam C. Uzialko

Adam received his Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. He worked for a local newspaper and freelanced for several publications after graduating college. He can be reached by email, or follow him on Twitter.