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video-conferencing-01

A top 5 guide to video conferencing solutions

When the call came on 20th March to put the UK into lock down, there was very little time to prepare for the entire workforce to work remotely. Video conferencing became the main platform for communication. Clients and friends in the market tell us they have access to conferencing solutions but they are not always meeting up to the requirements of the business.

To help with this, we have reviewed the top 5 video conferencing tools on the market. It’s important to pick a tool that meets your organisation's needs; as requirements will vary widely dependent on the size and nature of the business.

Blue Jeans

The Blue Jeans cloud-based video conferencing service provides a scalable solution based on a robust distributed architecture that enables workers a way to collaborate within the enterprise and beyond.

Pricing

No Free option.
Need to purchase meetings, events and Microsoft Teams gateway separately.

Meeting Plan prices

Business standard – £8.94/month/host
Blue Jeans pro – £12.52/month/host
Blue Jeans enterprise – A quote will be provided on request

Maximum capacity

  • Standard Meeting: Up to 50 people
  • Pro Meeting: Up to 75 people
  • Enterprise Meeting: Up to 100 people
  • One time Event: 500 attendees 
  • Unlimited Event: 500,000 attendees 

Key benefits of Blue Jeans

  • Blue Jeans does a great job of handling active speakers and bringing their video to the forefront while they are speaking
  • Direct integration support with your Google or Outlook calendar
  • Low bandwidth connection feature
  • It's easy for anyone to join a meeting regardless of their tech setups
  • Brand customisation capabilities
  • Historical meeting analytics available for users
  • Encrypt Meeting add on option

Drawbacks

Limited to 9 video windows for larger groups.
Reports state the app can shut down during a meeting when screen sharing in enabled.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams evolved out of Skype for Business. It offers VoIP calls, video and audio conferencing and chat.

Teams as a ‘chat-based workspace in Office 365’ allowing teams to work together within one window to enhance teamwork. It works great for any organisation which uses Office 365 suite. Teams is fully integrated with Office 365 Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve as well as its cloud storage and sharing services such as SharePoint. The platform enforces team-wide and organization-wide two-factor authentication, single sign-on through Active Directory, and encryption of data in transit and at rest.

The programme works well for small-medium size teams that collaborate closely on specific projects. Even if team members are geographically dispersed, they can manage everything smoothly and efficiently within the Microsoft Teams digital space.

Microsoft Teams is likely not a good fit for a large team that reports to the same supervisor or manager but doesn't work specifically on projects together.

Pricing plans

Free option available during the Covid-19 period.
Microsoft teams are included in all Office 365 Business and enterprise packages.

- Microsoft 365 Business Basic – £3.80/month/host

- Microsoft 365 Business Standard – £9.40/month/host

-Microsoft 365 Business Premium - £15.10/month/host

Office 365 E3 – £17.60/month/host

Capacity

  • Meeting capacity: 250 people
  • Events: 10,000 attendees
  • Maximum number of team users 300 – unlimited

Key benefits of Teams

  • One centralised hub
  • No extra cost to Office 365 users
  • Office 365 integration
  • Microsoft enterprise security & compliance set up
  • Azure Active Directory integration capability
  • Teams will prioritise audio quality over video quality, when bandwidth is insufficient

Drawbacks

  • Internet explorer, Safari and Firefox are not fully supported
  • There is a learning curve, there are many different functions to get familiar with
  • The app limits screen displaying to a maximum of four screens at once

Zoom

Zoom is designed exclusively for virtual meetings, hosting webinars and video conferences. It represents an easy to use online video conferencing and meeting software that integrates video conferencing, simple online meetings, and group messaging into a single cloud-based platform. Helpful for small to medium businesses, enterprises; Zoom is built to host and broadcast online meetings and webinars that can cater to up to 500 interactive video participants and 10,000 view-only attendees.

Pricing plans

  • Free option available
  • Pro - £11.99/month/host
  • Business - £15.99/month/host – minimum of 10 hosts
  • Enterprise- £15.99/month/host – minimum of 100 hosts
  • Need to purchase meetings, events and Microsoft teams gateway separately
Meeting Capacity
  • Basic: Up to 100 people 
  • Pro: Up to 100 people
  • Business: Up to 300 people
  • Enterprise: Up to 500 people
  • Enterprise Plus: Up to 1,000 people
  • Webinar Events:  100 - 10,000 attendees

Key benefits of Zoom

  • Generous free account
  • Competitively priced paid plans
  • Rich and easy to use features for hosts and participants
  • The ability to record meetings on the cloud or a local computer
  • Feature to present with the white board
  • End to end encryption

Drawbacks

  • Requires a desktop app to use
  • Can be expensive for larger teams
  • Unpredictable video quality

Google Hang outs

Google Hangouts Meet is a web-based video conferencing service and is fully integrated with G Suite. Users can join Hangouts Meet meetings using third-party systems, such as Skype, or meeting systems based on SIP and H.323 standards.

Google Hangouts is a brilliant tool for businesses looking to conference online informally. With group chats of up to 100 people and video calling with up to 250, it’s the perfect platform to soundboard your latest idea with colleagues.

Pricing plans

Free app available

Google hang outs for business is included in all G-suite packages.

  • Basic - £4.60/month/host
  • Business - £9.20/month/host
  • Enterprise - £20/month/host

Maximum capacity

  • Basic: Up to 100 people
  • Business: Up to 150 people 
  • Enterprise: Up to 250 people 

Key Benefits of Google Hang Outs

  • User friendly interface
  • Fully supported on most any internet server
  • It's very easy to set up and use, with a clean and intuitive interface

Drawbacks

  • Primarily an informal tool
  • It requires a stable and relatively high bandwidth
  • There are minor bugs from time to time

WebEx

Cisco WebEx is often described as a flexible audio and video conferencing solution designed for businesses of all sizes and represents a popular web conferencing software that integrates the primary tools that enable users to instantly conduct meetings online which are data, voice and video.

This web conferencing software is also highly recommended for large scale product launches and educational sessions. Its broadcast-quality audio,  conference calls and teleconferencing system allows users to set up an effective team workspace that enhances group collaboration and brainstorming.

Cisco WebEx is also described as a stable platform to hold meetings and works with multiple productivity tools.

Pricing

Free option for individuals
Need to purchase Events and Webinar packages separately

Meeting Plan prices

Starter – £11.25/month/host
Plus– £14.85/month/host
Business – £22.50/month/host

Maximum capacity

  • Free: Up to 100 people
  • Starter: Up to 50 people
  • Plus: Up to 100 people 
  • Bunnies: Up to 200 people
  • Webinars: 3,000 attendees
  • Events: 40,000 attendees

Key benefits of WebEx

  • Feature to present with the white board
  • Nice user interface
  • Managing and scheduling meetings are very simple
  • Available on almost all operating systems
  • Technical support

Drawbacks

  • Display names for video conferencing system users are not visible in the WebEx meeting video window
  • No customisable/ branding capabilities

Video conferencing calls offer a great way to increase communication and productivity. Even if you have a lot of experience with video conferencing, it is important to remember that it will take the time to familiarise yourself with any system that you decide to use. Below is a table summarising and comparing the main points in the article.

Product Blue
Jeans
Teams Zoom Google
Hang Outs
WebEx
Meetings
Free version offered No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Screen sharing ability Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Low bandwidth capability Yes Yes No No No
End to end encryption option Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Maximum neeting capacity 100 people 250 people 500 people 250 people 200 people
No download/browser based meetings Yes No No Yes Yes
Training centre Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Reassure the market. Motivate your employees. Communicate effectively during Covid-19. Contact us to find out more.

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