The coronavirus has taken the world by storm. Almost all countries around the world started to take necessary precautions to alleviate the toll of the COVID-19. Strict quarantine measures forced millions of people to abandon their well-equipped workplaces and settle in cozy homes with laptops and PCs. Fortunately for many employers, there have been many web conference tools that have helped to transform kitchens, dining, and sitting rooms, bedrooms, balconies, and patios into home offices.
Everything seemed to be going fine with the new innovation — people have been having corporate meetings without leaving their homes and Zoom, the leading player in the web conferencing industry has been yielding spectacular results. The company reached 300 million users compared to 10 million users in December and its shares soared more than 12.5%. But there’s always that fly in the ointment that might kill all the fun.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has recently banned Zoom due to its security and privacy flaws. Indeed, Zoom has been experiencing major leakage and privacy law violations. Many companies are now concerned about the web-conference platform and are looking for solid Zoom alternatives that would protect their privacy and information.
In the age of the coronavirus, a lot of web conferencing companies provide their solutions. Since video calls have become a new black in the age of social distancing, new and old players are trying to get their cut of the take: Facebook adds free Messenger Rooms and extends the number of participants in video chats in WhatsApp and even Telegram promises to roll out a new video calling service by the end of 2020. Even though the tech giant launched Zoom 5.0 update to address security concerns, it is rather doubtful whether the company will stand the competition and retain the trust of its users. Here’s a list of platforms that you might consider instead of Zoom software.
WebEx is a web-conferencing tool provided by Cisco, a US multimillion technology behemoth. With this software, you can collaborate online with your coworkers from any part of the world — share your screens and files, group messages, whiteboard, and stay in touch around the clock with your peers.
There are various WebEx Plans that you can choose from. The company offers you a Free (Personal) plan where you can host meetings up to 100 participants and have a call up from 40 min limit. If you want to have more people on the web-conferencing line and have no time limit or enjoy other perks, you can alternate between the Starter, Plus, or Business Plans.
RingCentral is another alternative to Zoom and it’s a cloud-based provider of collaboration and communication tools for small, medium companies, and large enterprises. You can hold video and audio conferences with your colleagues using laptops, desktops, and mobile phones, that support Windows, iOS, or Android (by the way, Zoom does not support Windows) and other features like call reports, call forwarding and recording, etc.
Unfortunately, RingCentral does not provide any free plans to its users, but you can check out four different plans and see which one meets your needs.
GoToMeeting provides video conferencing on any device. Conduct webinars and conference calls with up to 250 participants, record them, share files, and your screen. You can also enable an automatic transcription to your meetings and other perks, like drawing tools, handling your conference to another participant at any time, or using a virtual whiteboard.
After a free 14-day trial, you’ll be able to choose between the Professional, Business, and Enterprise plans that vary in price.
Meet Google or Google Hangouts
You can hold real-time meetings using Google. All you need to do is to have your Google account, mic and headphones, and schedule a meeting with a person or group of people. You can also use the platform for video conferencing. But the solution is not free of charge, you need to purchase one of three plans — Basic, Business, or Enterprise. The cheapest one starts at $5.40 per month per user.
BlueJeans is video chat software launched by BlueJeans Network. Video conferencing and video calls, screen sharing are just a few of the features you’ll find here. It is a perfect platform for managing your face-to-face and group meeting or webinars. The company does not provide free plans or trials, but its plans start from $9.99 per host per month — BlueJeans Standard where you can host up to 50 participants at the same time and unlimited one-on-one meetings.
The conference tool offers three plans — Lite, Pro, and Business where you can have from 5 to 250 participants in a meeting simultaneously. You can schedule calls, share your screens, record meetings, and integrate it with different tools such as Salesforce.
Messenger Rooms by Facebook
Facebook doesn’t want to bring up the rear in this chase of video conferencing products. That’s why the company is launching its new tool— Messenger Rooms, where up to 50 people can “hang out” together during a video call. The creator of such a room will be able to decide who’ll join it, thus, everyone with a link to a room can enter it, or they can leave it open for everyone. And if you don’t have a Facebook account, you’ll be able to join a room anyway. Users can also use various AR filters to make their calls more playful and existing.
Taking into consideration the privacy issues with Zoom, Mark Zuckerberg points out that Messenger Rooms are safe, private, and secure users.
Facebook is also increasing the capacity of WhatsApp — the app now can have eight people on the call instead of four. The corporation is quickly adapting to the new environment and conditions focusing on quality one-on-one communication or small group calls.
Despite a wide variety of online web conferencing alternatives to Zoom, they all share similar features and cover all the basic needs of a company — face-to-face meetings, group meetings, webinars, screen sharing, etc. The only thing that visually differs them is pricing and plans. But to choose the best alternative, you need to test them first. You can also have your Zoom alternative by creating your own video call apps tailored to your specific needs and built by a seasoned app development agency. This way, the software you use will be 100% secure.