Calendly, May 19, 2020
Web conferencing tools have been getting a lot of attention lately. Virtual meetings have become the rule rather than the exception. Teams that have never used video-conferencing (or online meeting platforms) before are learning how it works, and all of a sudden it really matters what web conferencing tools give you the most for your money.
To get you started, here are eight amazing web conferencing tools. Some are household names and others aren't, but they all help teams meet face-to-face when they can’t be in the same room.
Zoom is one of those platforms that’s become a household name. It offers free and paid options as well as paid plans for companies of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises. It scales well and is highly user-friendly, a quality that accounts for its widespread popularity.
Zoom works on any device, from your work computer to your personal smartphone. The quality of audio and video is reliably high. There are plenty of user-friendly features, including a chat window, reaction emoticons and optional meeting recording.
Customer support testifies to the company’s user focus. An extensive support library is available to all users, free and paid, with or without a sign-in. Zoom also offers live training webinars and a prioritized support ticket system. Issues involving service interruption get priority consideration.
Zoom has earned thousands of positive reviews from customers online. Its ratings-based awards include:
With the spotlight on Zoom, some security vulnerabilities were brought to Zoom's attention. They addressed the issues with a major investigation into security safeguards. The company has since dedicated more development activities to solve for potential security risks and continue to be proactive. They quickly addressed specific security concerns and continue to deliver safe and secure virtual meeting environments when used with the appropriate safeguards to protect meetings. Zoom meetings continue to have Secure Socket layer encryption and AE6 256-bit encryption. It's still the gold standard for webinars; check out this article if you'd like to learn how to host a webinar.
Zoom has four pricing tiers. Here are some of each tier’s key features:
Group meetings of up to 40 minutes for up to 100 people
Unlimited one-on-one meetings
Unlimited number of meetings
$14.99 per month per host
Group meetings of up to 24 hours
Advanced meeting and user controls for admins
Option to record and save meetings in the cloud
$19.99 per month per host, starting at 10 hosts
Up to 300 participants
Users automatically added through your domain
Transcripts automatically generated from recordings
$19.99 per month per host, starting at 100 hosts
Up to 500 participants or 1,000 with Enterprise Plus
Unlimited storage for recordings
In addition to these subscription-based plans, Zoom offers cloud phone services, video conferencing for conference rooms and video webinar hosting. Check out our latest post on the best Zoom backgrounds.
ClickMeeting primarily markets itself as a webinar solution, but it works for video conferencing as well. It offers a satisfying user experience according to PC Magazine, and its webinar structure provides meeting controls that many competing video conferencing tools lack.
One of ClickMeeting’s top features is a new webinar room, which uses WebRTC technology to optimize audio and video quality. This is in addition to a full set of meeting enhancement features, such as:
Document sharing and markups
Customizable feedback surveys
Chat and Q&A
Using the chat function, webinar moderators or video conference hosts can screen comments, choose which to present and switch to private chat if necessary. You get the interactive element of chat without losing the trajectory of the conversation.
One of the most interesting parts of ClickMeeting is its Automatic Webinar feature. This feature makes it easy for even inexperienced webinar hosts to create a professional-looking event. Simply select the type of webinar and chat settings, then upload a recording and add extras like call-to-action buttons and audience surveys.
With Automatic Webinar, you can drag-and-drop the elements of your presentation to change the order or make any element longer or shorter. When the day of the webinar comes, the event will run automatically according to your plan.
As you can see, ClickMeeting isn’t just for webinars. It's also well-suited to:
You can use ClickMeeting for any virtual event, though the price tag is a bit high for most casual users.
Like Zoom, ClickMeeting is a multi-award-winning web conferencing tool. Recent honors include:
PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for webinars and presentations.
Rated by PC Magazine as best for small businesses
Gold Stevie winner for sales and customer service, 2019
Five-Star Excellent Service 2019, verified by LiveChat
ClickMeeting has three options for paid accounts:
Live: $30 monthly for live webinars and video conferencing, four video feeds and 25 audio feeds
Automated: $45 monthly for automated, live and on-demand webinars, four video feeds and 25 audio feeds
Enterprise: Custom pricing for scalable solutions
ClickMeeting allows you to have more than 25 attendees, but you’ll pay more per month. The cost depends on your attendee numbers, increasing to $309 per month for the Live plan or $359 per month for Automated. That level of support accepts up to 1,000 attendees.
At any pricing level, you can save up to 20% by paying annually.
GoToMeeting also appears on PC Magazine’s list of top web conferencing tools. It calls GoToMeeting “best for small businesses and consumers” and “one of the easiest conferencing services to use.”
There are no menus to navigate, and controls are visible on the main screen. Share your screen, keyboard or mouse with selected attendees, change the presenter and adjust your audio or video—all without leaving the call.
As a host, you can choose your personal meeting room URL, so there’s no need to find an access code and password like you would need to with Zoom. Starting the meeting is easy too—simply send out an invitation or click “Meet Now” to start a meeting immediately.
Like ClickMeeting, GoToMeeting released an updated interface in late 2019. The new version features several advanced features that keep this platform competitive with the others in its space. Those features include:
Multistream HD video
Live screen sharing
Free call recording
Real-time note-taking (saved in the transcript)
The new version of GoToMeeting features a consistent experience across platforms and integrations with business collaboration apps like Slack and Salesforce.
GoToMeeting also has plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar, so you can add your meeting link to the connected calendar event. You’ll then have one source where your contacts can find the meeting invitation.
GoToMeeting currently offers a 14-day free trial with no credit card required. Once your trial expires, you can continue with one of three subscription options:
Professional: $12 per organizer per month, up to 150 participants
Business: $16 per organizer per month, up to 250 participants
Enterprise: Up to 3,000 participants
All subscribers receive a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.
Google Meet is the business version of the Google Hangouts you may have used in the past with friends and family. To host on Meet, you need a G Suite account, but participants don’t need one. You don’t need any plugins or software either because everything happens through your browser.
Joining a Google Meet meeting is easy, particularly if you use Gmail and/or Google Calendar. All event details are included as part of the invite. And if you’re using the Enterprise edition of G Suite, your attendees even get dial-in phone numbers so they can join without using data or having to find WiFi.
Google Meet takes privacy seriously. Every meeting has a changeable 10-character code in the event invite. Changing the code changes the PIN, so you can safely un-invite someone if necessary.
External participants can only join if they have an invite code or submit a request that a member of the host organization approves. In-domain participants also have the freedom to remove attendees while the meeting is in progress.
All data is encrypted during transmission and while in storage, except for voice data transmitted via telephone lines. Google’s encryption protocol complies with several global standards, including SOC1, ISO/IEC 27018 and HIPAA.
Google Meet is a Gartner Peer Insights Customer’s Choice for 2018 and currently has a 4.5 out of 5 rating from more than 1,440 customers on that platform. Meet also has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Capterra, where more than 8,000 customers have reviewed the product.
Service tiers for Google Meet connect directly to your G Suite subscription type:
Basic: $6 per user per month, 100 participants
Business: $12 per user per month, 150 participants
Enterprise: $25 per user per month, 250 participants
Enterprise clients also have the option to live-stream videos and save their recorded meetings to Google Drive.
If you’re a new G Suite customer, you can try the entire suite, including Meet, free for 14 days.
Lifesize has been involved in video conferencing for almost 20 years, but it’s still making top-ten lists. One of its main points of appeal is its ease of use. Your guests don’t have to download any special software or even sign up for an account. They just click on the link you send them and they’re ready to go.
Lifesize is compatible with almost all devices including PC, Mac, tablet and smartphone. It’s accessible, but it’s still secure. Every call and recording is fully encrypted.
Lifesize integrates easily with your Microsoft Teams and Outlook systems. You can schedule and even place calls within Microsoft Teams, allowing external contacts to participate in video conferencing.
The Teams integration also benefits your internal team by adding higher-quality video and audio to the Teams interface. You’ll get similar benefits with Lifesize’s Skype for Business connection, great news for groups who aren’t yet on Microsoft Teams.
With the Outlook integration, you can schedule video conferences and launch meetings with click-to-call. Lifesize also offers integration with Office 365 and the Microsoft Exchange calendar. With these tools, you can log in and schedule meetings directly from the calendar interface.
Lifesize also offers another useful integration with Microsoft Edge. The browser will automatically launch the Lifesize app when you join a meeting.
Lifesize has received numerous honors from all over the world. Recent accolades include:
Top Rated Web Conferencing Software by TrustRadius users in 2018 and 2019
India Cloud Video Conferencing Vendor of the year by Frost & Sullivan in 2018
German Stevie Gold Award for 2018
Best in Show Award 2018 from AV Technology Europe
As of the time of this writing, Lifesize offers a six-month subscription for free. That brings the total number of subscription levels up to four, which are:
Up to 25 participants
Personal meeting room
Desktop and mobile apps
$16.95 per host per month
Up to 100 participants
Meeting duration of up to 24 hours
Central management console
Online and chat support
$14.95 per host per month, 15-host minimum
Up to 300 participants
1-hour recording storage per host
Real-time meeting insights
Integrations with Microsoft products
$12.95 per host per month, 50-host minimum
Live-streaming for up to 1,000 viewers
Unlimited audio calling
Lifesize also offers a la carte tools including unlimited audio conferencing and subscription-based conference and huddle room solutions. Yet another option is Lifesize's "rooms-as-a-service," which bundles meeting room hardware with cloud service, support and maintenance for a fixed price.
Cisco Webex targets large organizations and existing Cisco users. It offers user-friendly hosting and a one-click meeting entry with no downloads necessary. Audio is high-quality thanks to HD and voice over IP (VoIP).
When you look at Cisco Webex's productivity tools and advanced features, it's clear that this platform was designed for business users. It has:
Screen sharing from desktop or mobile (Android and iOS)
Single document sharing
One-click meeting recording (MP4 file delivered after the meeting)
Convenient toolbar shortcuts
Paid subscribers of Cisco Webex Meetings can integrate the software with a variety of apps, including:
Cisco Webex integrates with most major business calendar apps including Google Calendar, Outlook and Office 365. Connect to even more apps—more than 1,500—through Cisco Webex on Zapier.
Cisco Webex is currently offering an upgraded free plan as well as a month free for paid monthly subscribers and four months free for paid annual subscribers. Here's what's available:
Up to 100 participants per meeting (normally 50)
Unlimited meeting duration
Unlimited number of meetings
Dial-in audio option
Whiteboard, file, application and desktop sharing
$13.50 per month per host
Unlimited meeting duration
Up to 50 participants per meeting
MP4 meeting recordings with available transcriptions
5 GB cloud storage
Customizable room link
$17.95 per month per host
Assign alternate hosts on request
Up to 100 participants
Customizable site URL
$26.95 per month per host, minimum 5 hosts per month
Up to 200 participants
10 GB of cloud storage
Add users from your company domain
Cisco Webex also offers an Enterprise plan with custom options and pricing.
BlueJeans Meetings promotes itself as an easy and accessible web conferencing tool for the modern workplace. This is another option that lets you connect directly from your browser with no downloads or installs.
HD video and Dolby sound make for an impressive user experience. The interface is simple and straightforward, and the features are robust. You get a full range of whiteboard and screen sharing tools as well as some pretty impressive collaboration tech.
BlueJeans’s Smart Meeting technology helps you to optimize your productivity before, during and after the meeting.
While you’re in the room together, your team can tag important points for discussion. Add commentary from the group and/or automated transcription text. Every tagged highlight includes a screen capture so the team can review it more easily.
BlueJeans knows that following up after a meeting can be difficult. That’s why SmartMeeting gives users consistent methods for assigning action items including tags and email notifications so everyone stays accountable.
Reviewing the content of a meeting is easy, too. Unlike most web conferencing platforms, BlueJeans offers quick recaps and dynamic summaries so team members can review the highlights. Recaps are even shareable with co-workers, allowing everyone in the office to benefit from shared learning.
BlueJeans has a long list of app integrations, from calendar apps like Outlook and Google Calendar to productivity apps like Facebook Workplace, Slack and Trello.
BlueJeans Meetings offers a free seven-day trial. After that, you can choose one of three subscription options:
$12.49 per host per month
Up to 50 participants
Unlimited meeting durations
5 hours of recording per host
$17.49 per host per month
Up to 75 participants
24 hours of recording per host
Up to 100 participants
Live "command center" for administrators
You can save 20% on any plan by paying annually.
Though not a traditional web conferencing tool, it has proven a necessity for people scheduling remorse meetings, so we decided we’d pat ourselves on the back here and include it. Scheduling a virtual meeting can be one of the most difficult parts of hosting. How many people need to be on the call? What are their schedules?
Calendly makes it easy to schedule web conferences of all sizes, from one-on-ones to large team meetings. Send a scheduling link almost any way that makes sense to your team, whether that means embedding it into your website or integrating it into your group calendar. If you use GoToMeeting, you can even embed a scheduling link there.
The Calendly interface is intuitive and provides you with all the tools you need to schedule virtual or in-person meetings easily. Show options in invitees’ local areas with time zone detection, easily schedule office hours, and add buffers and limits to your events so you don’t over-schedule your teams.
Say goodbye to email threads that take longer to read than a webinar transcript. Calendly can get your team on the same page quickly, with notifications sent before the meeting to make sure everyone gets there.
Calendly connects to most widely used calendars including Outlook, iCloud and Google Calendar. Paid plan subscribers can also access integrations with popular video conference tools, including Zoom and GoToMeeting, through the Zapier connector.
Calendly users have three subscription options, one of which is always free.
One calendar per user
One event type
Personalized Calendly link and Calendly integrations
$10 per user per month
2 calendars per user
Unlimited events and event types
Pooled team availability
Automated event notifications
Links to event pages
$15 per user per month
6 calendars per user
More integration availability
If you opt for annual billing, you can save $2 per month on a premium plan or $3 per month on a pro plan.
Automated event notifications
Links to meeting confirmation pages
Connections to multiple calendar apps
Integrations with several web conferencing tools
Nobody’s perfect, but we think Calendly is pretty great--obviously. You don’t have to take our word for it, though—learn more today and find out how Calendly can enhance your web conferencing experience.
Our guide helps you understand the features of each so you can pick the right one for your business.
If you only need one scheduling event type, use these tips to make the most of our free basic plan.