Many modern businesses rely on video conferencing to meet with geographically dispersed colleagues and business partners. That's why it's so important to choose the right video conference service for your business needs. 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 for 2018 and an explanation of how we chose them.
Best Video Conference Services
- Key Features
- Screen-sharing, highly interoperable, audio and video recording, polls & surveys.
- Ease of Use
- ClickMeeting is intuitive, simple, and offers good customer service.
- A wide-variety of pricing to support both your needs and your budget.
- Key Features
- Interoperability, screen-sharing, audio & video recording.
- 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.
- Key Features
- Polls & surveys, audio & video recording, screen-sharing, whiteboarding.
- 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.
Best Overall Video Conference Service: ClickMeeting
ClickMeeting is our top choice for video conference systems for businesses because it blends diverse features, high-quality audio and video, and ease of use 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.
Best Inexpensive Video Conference Service: Skype for Business
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 to force down the price. Although you'll spend 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.
*In September 2017, Microsoft announced that it will replace Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams, though it has not given a timeline for the transition at this time.
Best Video Conference Service for Multiple Participants: Join.me
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, 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.
To select the best video conference services for businesses, we created a list of more than 30 reputable companies based on other reviews, as well as user feedback on each service. From there, we eliminated vendors that emphasize video conferencing hardware rather than a solid mobile experience, since hardware is typically more expensive and becomes outdated quickly. We also eliminated vendors that don't provide pricing online, don't offer free trials or have higher prices than average.
At the end, we were left with 11 candidates for our best picks: Adobe Connect, *ClickMeeting, GoToMeeting, iMeet by PGi, Interactive Intelligence PureCloud Collaborate, *join.Me, ReadyTalk, RingCentral, *Skype for Business, WebEx and Zoho Meeting.
We analyzed each service based on the following factors to determine our final choices:
- 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 adapt to an intuitive, user-friendly format?
- Features: This revolved around the many different features a video conference service could include. Does it allow 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 were reasonable compared to other services, but also if the companies were upfront about their pricing information on their websites. This includes the prices for hardware and annual maintenance.
- Transparency: This included how much information we could gather about the company from its website, how upfront the business is about its initial and maintenance costs, and the quality of user experience (including our own experience with free trials where applicable).
- Customer service: We posed as prospective customers to get a sense of how the company handles customer service, both over the phone and online. Reviews and complaints from websites like Ripoff Report and the Better Business Bureau also informed our ratings here.
8x8 – 8x8 video conferencing excels on mobile devices. The system also boasts high-definition audio and video, and it 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 $50 per month, covers all major video conferencing 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 from AT&T that can be as limited or as expansive as you choose. Some features of Collaborate are 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 almost 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, including 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 buildout 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 is an all-around system that requires minimal cost and effort to use. Read our review of ClickMeeting to learn more, or visit ClickMeeting's website. 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. 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 that 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 – For 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 it 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, 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 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. It 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 remaining reasonably priced. https://www.pgi.com/imeet/
Interactive Intelligence PureCloud Collaborate – PureCloud Collaborate, now called PureCloud by Genesys, 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.genesys.com/inin
*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
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 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, as opposed to cloud-based software. Overall, these enterprise solutions are geared toward large 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 100 participants to 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 RingCentral 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 advanced features. As a free option, Skype excels for those businesses that 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. Read our review of Skype for Business to learn more. 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 works 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 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 advanced features we looked for, such as 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 midsize organizations. A limited free plan allows 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/
If you’d like your company to be added to this list and possibly considered as a best pick for our next round of reviews, please email your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional reporting by Adam C. Uzialko.