As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, hundreds of businesses across the globe have had no choice but to cancel the conferences and conventions they had been planning on either hosting or attending.

From small business-focused conferences to large consumer-based events, a huge number of events have succumbed to the COVID-19 outbreak over the past few months, forcing them to move from their typical environments to virtual online chats.

While for now, at least, the days of conferences being held in stunning worldly locations, bespoke marquee tents and large business centres are over, having the flexibility to network online has proved incredibly beneficial in light of the pandemic.

But which are the best forms of video conferencing software to use? This article looks at answering this exact question, separating the best from the rest in the world of video calling platforms.

1. Zoom

While Zoom may have been around for a while now, its popularity has soared over recent weeks as more and more people have turned to it to arrange meetings, huddles and conference calls.

The free software originally came with a 40-minute time limit on all its video conversations, which was later scrapped to enable calls to last longer if required.

Now one of the most popular forms of video conferencing software out there, the free version of Zoom enables users to host up to 100 participants and access free one-to-one meetings whenever they need.

2. Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is another form of video conferencing software that has seen its popularity soar in recent weeks. While its free version has been available for a while now, this originally didn’t offer many of the enterprise-level tools that modern businesses typically demand.

In response to this though, the company announced that it was giving free access to the advanced features on its Hangouts Meet platform until the first of July. This, in turn, enables users to host meetings with up to 10,000 viewers, or 250 visitors, in a single domain for free.

As an added extra, using Google Hangouts also enables businesses to record and save meetings to their Google Drive, meaning they can listen back to anything they may have missed the first time around.

3. Microsoft Teams

After announcing back in 2018 that they were making Microsoft Teams free for smaller companies to use, Microsoft delighted SME business owners all around the globe.

Now, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the growing demand for remote working, they have extended that honour to larger companies as well, announcing a free six month trial for the premium tier of Teams.

Originally, this trial was only available to hospitals, businesses, and schools struggling in China, where the outbreak began. But, as the virus has grown and spread worldwide, Microsoft has now decided to make its technology available throughout the globe.

4. Whereby

Whereby is a video conferencing tool that has been designed with one thing in mind: ease of use. It appears they’ve delivered on that as well, providing smaller businesses with a highly effective form of video software that enables chats to be set up seamlessly and joined even easier.

The only downside with the system is the lack of participants it can handle; on the free plan, only four people can join at one time, while the Pro plan offers a still fairly limited capacity of 12.

These numbers are certainly a lot lower than the other forms of software listed here, suggesting Whereby aim for more of a quality over quantity approach.

5. Skype

No list of video conferencing software would be complete without one of the originals itself: Skype.

Formerly known as Lync, this software has been around forever and is much-loved by many business owners. However, over the years, its technical prowess has unfortunately been surpassed, and the software has gained a reputation for connectivity issues, freezing up and having a ‘clunky interface’.

It isn’t all bad though, as the software also offers a number of helpful additional features. Whether it be whiteboarding, posting polls, sharing documents, using instant messenger, making international calls or hosting Q&A sessions, Skype can certainly still hold its own in the world of video conferencing tools for business.

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