Alternatives to Zoom (if You’re All Zoomed Out)
By Jena Kroeker
Are you all Zoomed out? Since the global pandemic hit, Zoom has emerged as a clear winner in the race to provide video conferencing software. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the only choice for freelancers and virtual assistants. For various reasons, you may be looking for alternatives to Zoom.
In a Statista article titled “Zoom Tops Weekly Download Charts,” Katharina Buchholz explains that many users are worried about data becoming insecure, personal devices being hacked, or meetings being hijacked by uninvited guests because of problems with Zoom’s software encryption.
So, to help provide some options, we’ve compiled a list of seven other rising stars you can choose from in the video conferencing space. As we said in a previous FreeU blog post, “How to Look Your Best on Video Conference Calls,” these tools and apps have now become our virtual coffee shops, living rooms, and even fitness studios. Now that we’re settling into a routine of conducting more activities from home, it’s the perfect time to check whether another tool or app could suit your business needs better.
Seven Alternatives to Zoom
1. Google Meet
You may have noticed a Google Meet option appearing on the left-hand side of the Gmail inbox recently.
According to the Google Meet website, as of June 2020, this option is also being added to the Gmail app in iOS and Android. This will allow you to easily join meetings with a single tap where you see them scheduled in Google Calendar.
Some new features are the ability to filter out background noises like outside distractions and keyboard typing. You can also choose a layout (Tiled, Spotlight, or Sidebar), and share it as your preferred layout for future meetings.
Price: Free with a Google account, and until September 30, 2020, advanced features are free for G Suite customers (i.e. meetings up to 250 participants, recording, and live streaming). After September 30, feature availability will be determined by your G Suite license agreement.
Many of us are familiar with Skype. It’s been around for years. But if you haven’t already tried it, you may want to check out its free conference call option as one of the alternatives to Zoom. You can host an unlimited number of meetings for up to 50 people with no time limits. It’s a simple option that doesn’t require any sign-ups or downloads. After creating a meeting link, you simply share it with participants, and Skype will open up on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers if you don’t have the app installed.
Some useful features include the ability to record and save your calls for 30 days, share your screen, and blur your background before you enter the call. The Skype app can be installed on all your devices, and you can join calls whether or not you’re signed in to an account.
Price: Free with no sign-ups or downloads required
This option can be used on any device with the Webex mobile app. It offers an interesting feature where you can access your participants’ company and background information so you can learn more about them before you meet them. You can also message them publicly or privately during the meeting.
Cisco Webex boasts “unmatched video conferencing quality” with different layouts you can choose from to optimize your view. Screen sharing is available, and online meeting recordings include automatic transcriptions.
Price: Free for 50-minute meetings with up to 100 participants. Paid plans start at CAD $19.95 per host/month for unlimited meeting lengths with up to 100 participants (discounts with annual billing).
BlueJeans emphasizes its “security toolkit” as an advantage. This makes it another one of the best alternatives to Zoom as it protects meeting privacy.
Some other important features are the ability to produce “meeting highlight reels” and tag “critical meeting moments.”
Like other tools mentioned above, participants can join meetings on the “BlueJeans award-winning browser-based experience” without downloading an app. But the BlueJeans Mobile app for iOS and Android can be downloaded if you’d like to use it on your devices.
Price: Paid plans starting at $12.49 per host/month, including up to 50 participants for meetings of unlimited length (discounts with annual billing). A free 7-day trial is available.
Right now is a good time to try Intermedia AnyMeeting because the Pro plan is free until 2021! This allows you to try out extra features like meeting transcripts and insights, meeting recordings with unlimited cloud storage, custom branding, and meeting notes.
All free and paid plans are HIPAA enabled and include unlimited meetings, screen annotation, screen sharing, and meeting chat. Paid plans include integration with applications like G Suite, MS Team, and Outlook.
Price: Starter plan for 4 web participants is free. Paid plans start at $7.99 per user/month for 10 web participants. Pro plan usually starts at $9.99 per user/month, but until 2021 is now being offered for free.
6. Zoho Meeting
Zoho Meeting is an interesting option because it directly promotes itself as an alternative to Zoom. Its web page titled “Looking for a Zoom alternative?” shows charts and descriptions illustrating the unique benefits of “Zoho Meeting vs Zoom.” Here are some examples:
• Meetings can be browser-based with no downloads required.
• Hosts and administrators are unable to monitor activity on participants’ screens.
• There is no limit on the length of meetings in any edition of Zoho Meeting.
• Participants can be sent automated email invitations and follow-up reminders.
• An RSVP feature lets you know who will be attending your meeting.
• Users can easily switch from one device to another, with the UI remaining consistent.
• Zoho Meeting encrypts all Personal Identification Information (PII).
• You can lock meetings to prevent intruders, so all participants require the meeting host’s permission to enter.
Price: Free plan (1 presenter and 2 meeting participants) includes limited features. Paid plans start at $10 per host/month for up to 100 participants and storage for 10 recordings (discounts with annual billing). A 14-day free trial is available.
This option is intriguing because of its alignment with our values here at FreeU. As you can see in the photo above, Whereby promotes itself as a way of enjoying “the freedom to live and work where you thrive with easy video meetings.” The website also says it’s “ranked as easiest to use on G2 Crowd.”
Like other alternatives to Zoom, Whereby doesn’t require a software or app download. Instead, you simply choose a personalized URL and, with one click, use a mobile or desktop internet browser. Important features include custom branding, screen sharing, meeting recordings, and calendar integration. You can also lock rooms to prevent intrusions.
A particularly interesting feature, in addition to silent chat, is the ability to react with floating emojis during a meeting.
Price: Free plan includes up to 4 meeting participants. Paid plans start at $9.99/month for up to 12 meeting participants.
These are a few alternatives to Zoom if you are feeling a bit Zoomed out and looking to try some new technology. Video conferencing shows no signs of slowing down, so it’s in your best interest to find a tool that works best for your business and your clients. And even better if it helps us avoid unnecessary frustration.
If you’ve tried other video conferencing software, let us know what you’d recommend. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!