Video conferencing can truly maximize your productivity, connecting you in real-time to clients, potential clients, and team members around the world. But as the globe shrinks, new problems pop up such as buffering, bad connections, and that awkward digital stutter that gives your meeting a sci-fi horror flick feel.
For a “being there” experience without the hiccups, you need the best conference software with a clean connection and no-hassle interface.
The best video teleconference systems grant access to new income streams. A Stanford study found remote teams raise productivity by 20%
, and the top video conferencing packages can amplify that boost.
Want to take advantage? You’re in luck. We dug through opinions from end users and professional reviewers to compile our list of the 10 best conference software solutions for 2021.
Our choice for the best online conference platform is Cisco Webex Meetings for its quick setup and massive scalability. But if you’re looking for the fastest, easiest option, you should consider GoToMeeting.
What is video conferencing?
Video conferencing is a way for people in different locations to meet, talk, and collaborate with a face-to-face feel. True video teleconference goes beyond just video chat. The best video conferencing services let multiple people meet, share desktops, and keep remote stakeholders up to speed. Speaking of speed, as 5G
technology takes hold, it’ll become even easier to feel like you’re right there with your attendees.
What to look for in the best conference software
The top video conferencing systems are quick and easy to set up, allow meetings with multiple users, and let you mute everyone but the speaker to cut background noise. In-meeting timers and recording options are a big plus too.
Casual conferencers should look for free and no-download options, while serious business users need unshakable connections and scalability. Desktop sharing and IM features are nice teleconference meeting software options as well.
10 best video conferencing software solutions
1. Cisco Webex Meetings - the best video conferencing tool
Cisco Webex Meetings
is, bar none, the best video conferencing software for two reasons. First, it just works. You know that feeling when it looks good on paper, but you’re sweating while you try to make it happen? Meanwhile 50+ attendees are out there wondering? Yeah, that won’t happen with this conference software.
Second, there’s a plan to fit every type of user, from the casual one-off to the massive multinational. You can add up to 1,000 attendees, and you can set a meeting to call your people so they can skip the dial-in hassle. All around, this is a fantastic video teleconference tool no matter who you are.
- Free trial
- Paid plans $14 to $27 per month
- Minimal video/voice lag
- One presenter per license
- Training and support available
- Works in 45 countries
- Screen sharing
- Whiteboard feature
- Cloud storage
- HD video
- Electronic hand-raising
2. GoToMeeting - best browser-based video teleconference tool
”I don’t want to download anything. I just want it to work.
” If this sounds like you and you’re a one-off user who has to do a meeting now-now-now, GoToMeeting
is your huckleberry. This top video conference software gets best-of-breed ratings from business users.
It takes about 5 seconds to sign up for the free account (no credit card, no confirmation emails, no long forms), and 10 seconds later you’ll be chatting happily away. There’s a super-easy “create meeting” button in bright orange, and a handy “copy invitation” button so you can fire the link to that hot new potential client lead in seconds.
- Free trial
- Intuitive controls
- Paid plans under $15 per organizer
- Commuter mode
- Transcription available
- Up to 25 attendees
- Webinar support in separate app
3. Zoom - popular free conference software
Many business users have a love-hate relationship with Zoom
, but there’s a reason it’s one of the top-ranked video conferencing tools around. It’s a little tricky for first-time users to set up a meeting, so don’t use it if you need to do a quick one-off conference. For that, use GoToMeeting.
But Zoom provides a very stable video teleconference experience with a free plan that lasts forever. You’ll get an excellent connection and performance, and users don’t have to sign up for an account to join your meeting.
- Up to 100 participants with free plan
- Paid plans start below $15 per month
- Online support
- Cloud recording
- Great audio and HD video
- Call transcription
- Meeting timer
- VoIP phone option
- Download app or use web app
- Works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
- Sign in with Facebook or Google
4. Skype - best option you already have
Who knew Skype
works as a video conferencing tool? Okay, so they call it “group video chat,” but it connects up to 50 people at once. You can group screen share to showcase videos or present PowerPoint decks. There are a few hoops to jump through
to get started, and video quality may suffer with more than 5 attendees.
If you’re on the international junket, rejoice, because Skype offers real-time translation that works like a no-kidding babel fish. This isn’t a text translation on the bottom of your screen. It’s a spoken word translation in a cultured robot voice. The demo is astounding, though real-world reviews say the Bing-based translations are still in beta
- Works great internationally
- Not ideal for big companies
- Great for one-off users
- Works on phone or laptop
- AI-based background blur
- Attendees don’t need the app
- Easy to start
- Share files via drag & drop
5. Cisco Jabber - FAST video conferencing packages with IM
As if Webex wasn’t enough of a market buster, meet Cisco Jabber
. The twin video conferencing packages confuse a lot of people. Which one should you get and why does Cisco offer both? In a nutshell, Jabber is stripped-down, quick conference software for when you don’t want to “Set. Up. A. Meeting.”
What if you just want to ask a quick question of your graphic designer in Malaysia or get feedback from your client in Brazil? Jabber lets you pop in and out to create an on-demand virtual office. Chat eye-to-eye and share documents with an agile point-and-click interface.
- Best online conference platform for true video “chat” without the fanfare
- No dial-in numbers to memorize or punch in
- Screen sharing and presenting
- Video chat is great, but conference calling is tricky
- Supports text messaging
- Easy file sharing
- Clunky GUI
- Not easy to sign up
6. Microsoft Teams - chat-based teleconference meeting software
If you’re already using Microsoft Windows - and so is everyone you work with - then Microsoft Teams
is right for you. If not, consider our other options, because Teams doesn’t always play well outside its sandbox.
Let’s assume you’re all-in for Windows. You’ll love the different video conferencing packages with anywhere up to 10,000 attendees per meeting. You can call your team without join-links, and you’ll love how this tool integrates with Office 365 and all its many apps. The best part for Windows users? If you’ve got an Office 365 business account, the app is already installed.
- Free video teleconference plan lasts forever
- Paid plans $20 and under per month
- IM chat
- Easy and robust file sharing
- Can be hard to use outside of Windows
7. Google Hangouts Meet - best conference platform for overseas teams
Business champs who want robust international teleconference meeting software should look into Google Hangouts Meet
. This is a great option for international users because it’s based on Google’s fan-favorite G-Suite technology. It lets anyone join your meetings, with or without a Google account.
Far-flung team members can even dial into your video call via their mobile devices (or coffee-colored rotary phone) if there’s no other option. Hangouts allows screen sharing for collaboration, but its less-than-Slack-like IM feature makes teamwork a little wonky. The connection can be hitchy at times too.
- Free version allows video conferencing with up to 25 people
- Paid plans $6 to $25 per month
- Up to 250 attendees
- Ability to record meetings
- Gets mostly 4 and 5-star reviews from thousands of users
- Easy to start
- Integrates with Google calendar and Microsoft Outlook
8. BlueJeans - one of the top videoconferencing systems for shared desktops
teleconference meeting software aims to make video conferencing less techy and more productive. It offers live polling so you can take the pulse of your people as you interact. It dovetails nicely with Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other productivity apps for leading-edge collaboration. It also includes a dial-in from phone option for less-connected members in 40+ countries.
Want to stay connected with your teams in a text chat? BlueJeans has that covered. It’s also fast, allowing you to start a meeting in just 6 seconds. All that said, its quote-based top-tier pricing option rankles some consumers.
- Free trial available
- Paid plans start below $20 per month
- HD video
- Up to 150 participants
- Meeting recording
- No download needed
- Dolby Voice audio
- Real-time metrics
- Live polling
9. TeamViewer - video conferencing plus remote monitoring
Some business models require you to track and monitor the devices and activity of remote employees. There are some serious internet privacy
issues to consider here. That said, TeamViewer
is used by Siemens, Ford, iRobot, and Volkswagen, just to name a few.
Use it to teleconference and to protect remote assets like laptops, tablets, software, and data in the hands of off-site employees. As the internet of things
(IoT) gains traction, this is a unique solution that helps cut the risks, slash downtime, and get a handle on security.
- Free version is for non-commercial use
- Paid versions are pricey at around $50 to $200 per month
- Augmented reality customer support
- Multifactor security
- Supports multiple monitors
- Well-designed video teleconference interface
- Remote desktop access
10. UberConference - no-download, no-PIN conference software
isn’t the only no-download option on our list of the best online conference platforms (see GoToMeeting, Zoom, and BlueJeans). But it's a nice no-PIN, fast, free-to-start pick that gives you a full-featured version at just $15 a month.
UberConference scores high in user reviews for strong connection and good video quality. It has options for dial-in or dial-out to add participants. The paid version works in 50+ countries, and the mobile version works on iPhone and Android.
- Free plan lasts forever
- 2 to 100 attendees per meeting
- Screen sharing
- Meeting recording and transcription
- HD video and high-quality audio
We dialed-in on the top video conferencing systems by scouring the web for the highest consumer-rated conference software in thousands of user reviews. We test-drove the best online conference platforms to get a firsthand feel, plus got the rundown from trusted professional reviewers online. Aggregating data from all three sources gave us a clear window to strongly recommend the 10 top picks above.
Video conferencing best practices
Even the best video teleconference tools can be difficult to use without the right ground rules. For a smooth teleconference, lay out the guidelines before you start.
- Use a headset: Nothing jars the conference like screechy feedback or that psychedelic echo. Of course, if you’re using an HP® business laptop like the HP Spectre x360, your noise-canceling microphone has your back.
- Mute your mic: When you’re not talking, block the background noise by hitting mute. Machines built with conferencing in mind like the HP EliteBook put the mute button in easy reach.
- Raise your hand: Don’t all talk at once. Set up a signal for when you’d like the floor through electronic hand-raising. Top video conferencing systems like Cisco Webex Meetings come with this feature.
- Ditch the windows: Don’t sit in front of a bright light source like a window or it’ll look like Emperor Palpatine has joined the call.
- Have a backup plan: What if the meeting doesn’t work? Set up a voice-only conference call to avoid being stranded on the information superhighway.
- Test your connection: There’s no shame in having everyone call in for a quick “testing, one-two-three” before the call. Avoid that icky 10 minutes of silent-movie fun.
- Everyone shares video: Unless they’re dialing in by phone, everyone should show their face when using video conferencing packages. No lurking, please.
- Identify a facilitator: It should be someone’s job to decide who gets to talk and when, and for how long. A leader cuts that horrible meeting awkwardness.
The best conference software can 10x your productivity
There’s little doubt remote teams
and clients are the e-wave of the future. But the offsite world leans heavily on conference software to take the confusion out of being elsewhere.
To make the most of your newfound geo-freedom, look to Cisco Webex Meetings; our #1 pick for the best video conferencing solution in the universe. For the best video teleconference tool with no download requirement, check out GoToMeeting.
As your reach grows, you’ll be glad to have remote video chat, text chat, and desktop sharing in your corner of the globe.
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