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May 19, 2020
Web Conferencing

8 Best Web Conferencing Tools

zoom interface

By Calendly

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 video-conferenced 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.

1. Zoom

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.

Customer Reviews and Responses

Zoom has earned thousands of positive reviews from customers online. Its ratings-based awards include:

Security Concerns

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.

Pricing

Zoom has four pricing tiers. Here are some of each tier’s key features:

Free
  • Group meetings of up to 40 minutes for up to 100 people

  • Unlimited one-on-one meetings

  • Unlimited number of meetings

Pro
  • $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

Business
  • $19.99 per month per host, starting at 10 hosts

  • Up to 300 participants

  • Admin dashboard

  • Users automatically added through your domain

  • Transcripts automatically generated from recordings

Enterprise
  • $19.99 per month per host, starting at 100 hosts

  • Up to 500 participants or 1,000 with Enterprise Plus

  • Unlimited storage for recordings

  • Results analysis

In addition to these subscription-based plans, Zoom offers cloud phone services, video conferencing for conference rooms and video webinar hosting.

2. ClickMeeting

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. 

Special Features

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:

  • Screen sharing

  • Whiteboards

  • 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.

Featured Use Cases

As you can see, ClickMeeting isn’t just for webinars. It's also well-suited to: 

  • Product demos

  • Sales pitches

  • Online courses

  • Employee training

  • Virtual meetings

  • Collaboration sessions

  • Large-scale events

You can use ClickMeeting for any virtual event, though the price tag is a bit high for most casual users.

Customer Reviews

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 also boasts high star ratings on sites like Capterra and G2.

Pricing

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. 

3. GoToMeeting

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.

Updated Features

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)

Integrations

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.

Pricing

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.

4. Google Meet

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.

Security

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.

Customer Feedback

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.

Pricing

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. 

5. Lifesize

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.

Integrations

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.

Awards

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

Pricing

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:

Free
  • Unlimited meetings

  • Up to 25 participants

  • Personal meeting room

  • Desktop and mobile apps

Standard
  • $16.95 per host per month

  • Up to 100 participants

  • Meeting duration of up to 24 hours

  • Central management console

  • Online and chat support

  • Single sign-on

Plus
  • $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

Enterprise
  • $12.95 per host per month, 50-host minimum

  • Live-streaming for up to 1,000 viewers

  • Unlimited recording

  • Unlimited audio calling

  • Customized branding

  • Premium support

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.   

6. Cisco Webex Meetings

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

  • Direct-play video

  • One-click meeting recording (MP4 file delivered after the meeting)

  • Convenient toolbar shortcuts

Integrations

Paid subscribers of Cisco Webex Meetings can integrate the software with a variety of apps, including:

  • Facebook Live 

  • Vbrick Rev

  • Slack

  • Zoom.ai

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.

Pricing

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:

Free Plan
  • 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

Starter
  • $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

  • Administrative controls

  • Encrypted meetings

Plus
  • $17.95 per month per host

  • Assign alternate hosts on request

  • Up to 100 participants

  • Customizable site URL

  • Administrator portal

  • 24/7 support

Business
  • $26.95 per month per host, minimum 5 hosts per month

  • Up to 200 participants

  • 10 GB of cloud storage

  • Single sign-on

  • Add users from your company domain

Cisco Webex also offers an Enterprise plan with custom options and pricing.  

7. BlueJeans Meetings

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.

Smart Meetings

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.

Integrations

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.

Pricing

BlueJeans Meetings offers a free seven-day trial. After that, you can choose one of three subscription options:

Standard
  • $12.49 per host per month

  • Up to 50 participants

  • Unlimited meetings

  • Unlimited meeting durations

  • 5 hours of recording per host

Pro
  • $17.49 per host per month

  • Up to 75 participants

  • 24 hours of recording per host

  • Advanced analytics

  • Security integrations

Enterprise
  • Custom quotes

  • Up to 100 participants

  • Unlimited recordings

  • Dedicated support

  • Live "command center" for administrators

You can save 20% on any plan by paying annually.

8. Calendly

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, 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.

Integrations

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.

Pricing

Calendly users have three subscription options, one of which is always free.

Basic
  • Free

  • One calendar per user

  • One event type

  • Personalized Calendly link and Calendly integrations

Premium
  • $10 per user per month

  • 2 calendars per user

  • Unlimited events and event types

  • Pooled team availability

  • Group events

  • Automated event notifications

  • Links to event pages

Pro
  • $15 per user per month

  • 6 calendars per user

  • SMS notifications

  • 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.

Benefits
  • 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.

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About the Author

Calendly LLC.

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Here are eight amazing web conferencing tools. Some are household names and others aren't.

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