Conference call providers have the technology to support large conference calling sessions with thousands of participants. With that technology, conference call providers offer businesses hassle-free conference calling and collaboration. In turn, businesses can save money on travel costs and increase productivity. They also offer various value-added features that make outsourcing conferencing services a cost-effective solution for businesses.
Our short guide will prepare you to compare conference call providers on cost, integration & collaboration, and ease of use. Here are the 9 best free web conferencing software providers with video and screenshare:
1. ezTalks Meetings
ezTalks Meetings is definitely one of the best free web video conferencing services available right now. ezTalks Meetings not only provides free HD web video conferencing, but also provides powerful online whiteboard collaboration tools, so that team members can all see the notes and sketches of their colleagues on the online whiteboard. ezTalks Meetings can also support up to 100 people on one web conference!
2. Cisco WebEx
Hosted, owned, and developed by networking giant Cisco, WebEx is high on many of the lists that rank the best web conference software. It's one of the first conference solutions, but Cisco created a product that pretty effective. Like most other web conferencing systems; there is a free version of WebEx. WebEx's free version limits the number of conference participants to three. Users can share their screens. Anyone who uses Cisco Spark will appreciate the fact that the platform can be integrated with WebEx.
WebEx is an ideal choice for large enterprises and small businesses that are concerned with security. If there is anything Cisco knows, it's security. Spark has an insane level of encryption. It's important to note that WebEx's best features are limited by the app's paywall.
GoToMeeting is one of a few highly popular web conferencing services that people recognize by name. Even when using the free plan, this platform provides one of the easiest methods to host conference calls. GotoMeeting also has screen sharing capabilities. The one-click meeting solution makes it easy for beginners to figure out the software. Anyone who uses GoToMeeting can also start meetings using the app. Meetings can also be initiated using Microsoft Office programs, chat links, and email.
Anyone using GoToMeeting's free option is limited to only audio conferencing. Video conferencing is limited to paid plans. However, the web audio conferencing comes with the option for VoIP voice chat. Teams can configure their conference calls to whatever meets their needs. The only other problem with GoToMeeting is the fact that the free plan limits the number of people who can join a conference. This platform only allows three conference call participants. While this may seem limiting and possibly problematic for larger enterprises, it's ideal for smaller ones. Anyone seeking a quick web conferencing solution for a small team should consider this web conferencing software.
Most people have heard of Skype. Skype has a free, web conferencing solution that is also worth using. Even though this feature is not widely-known, Skype does allow screen sharing. What makes this feature even better is the fact that it is free. Skype is not as flexible as other apps that do not force participants to download any software. Anyone who wants to use Skype has to sign up. Users need to create a Skype name and download the program. In order to use the conferencing features, conference participants must be added to the contact list.
Skype for business is possible. However, this feature has different applications and It requires an Office 365 subscription. So, Skype for business may not be a good option for smaller teams looking to upgrade their service to a paid option. Skype allows users to host video and audio conferences that can host up to 25 participants. The number is participants is higher than most other solutions. Skype can also support desktop OS, Android, and iOS phone apps to allow on-the-go conferencing.
Zoom has a free plan and a paid one. The paid plan is actually cheaper than GoToMeeting. Zoom's free plan only offers 40 minutes of conferencing. It also limits the number of call participants to three people. With an upgraded plan, businesses can have as many users as it wants, unlimited meetings and video conferencing that includes many more features. Some of the advanced features include active speaker view, dual stream for dual screens, and full-screen views. Participants can even call in to join the conference.
The web conferencing feature also includes an MP4 recording of meetings, a personal meeting ID, application or desktop specific sharing, private and group chat, and a virtual whiteboard. Zoom also includes mouse and keyboard sharing free of charge. It is also possible to share the screen of an iPhone or iPad app. The downside to Zoom is that it only allows meetings up to 40 minutes in length. However, users can hold an unlimited number of meetings. 1 on 1 meetings is not limited to any particular time duration.
TeamViewer can compete with Cisco as far as security goes. TeamViewer's home page claims to have 1.3 billion protected devices that are operating using remote support and participate in online meetings. The platform places an emphasis on support and solutions. TeamViewer's features include the ability to run several remote sessions at the same time on Mac operating systems within browser tabs. Another feature is the sticky note feature. Users can leave a message to clients to inform them of any updates or just to leave a friendly message.
TeamViewer also has interesting add-ons, like TeamViewer QuickJoin. TeamViewer QuickJoin lets customers join meetings and presentations fast with little effort. The feature can be used without needing to have administrator rights or going through an installation process. It is also supported by Mac, Linux, Android, Windows, Chrome OS, and iOS. TeamViewer has most devices covered. There is also video and audio conferencing. Users can also use text-based chat. There are other good features, even though they are behind a paywall, includes Remote QuickSteps. Remote QuickSteps adds single-click shortcuts for their remote support actions. Anyone who upgrades to the paid plan will notice that TeamViewer offers great support and IT use.
7. Apache OpenMeetings
OpenMeetings has minimal design and UI. It's also not one of the best-looking solutions, but it's a free web conferencing solution. OpenMeetings solution has video conferencing, whiteboard capabilities, instant messaging, and collaborative document editing. This solution has everything that most of its competitors have. Because this app is an open source app, it's possible for teams to get a developer to customize the platform to suit the needs of the user.
Screen sharing and the ability to record the session's audio are a few of OpenMeetings' features. To make matters even better, users don't have to devote their entire screen to video conferencing. It's possible to select only a portion of the screen. Collaboration is effortless. People can create more than one whiteboard, if necessary, to discuss and edit files. Also, there is a chat feature built into the whiteboard. Again, the UI is not great, but the UX is solid and has drag and drop features.
This conference software was developed by the team that created the LogMeIN suite of tools for collaboration. Join.Me is easy to use, even for beginners, and its one-click functionality seems to be the motivation behind the tools. Join.Me expands the one-click functionality beyond basic interoffice communications. It adds a layer that extends conferences to prospects, clients, and customers.
The free plan is limited to conferencing and screen sharing. The free trial of the advanced plans includes free audio conferencing that comes with its own dedicated conference call number in the U.S.and more than 40 other countries. There is also video conferencing. The one-click scheduling can be integrated with Google Calendar and Outlook to maintain and organize your invitations. Another feature is the creation of a permanent meeting location. This lets clients save the address to stay in contact with the business. The online whiteboard feature provides an extra level of collaboration, screen sharing, and presentation.
9. Google Hangouts
Google has several solutions and apps, like Google Voice. Google has so many apps that keeping up with everything they offer can be hard. Google Voice and Hangouts have similar functions. However, Google Hangouts is able to do more than place phone calls. Like other Google apps, Hangout can be free to use. This platform allows users to receive and send instant messages, receive and send SMS messages, and video chats. Google Hangouts also hosts VoIP calls.
Many people overlook the fact that Google Hangout gives users the ability to use screen sharing feature. Google itself stated that it wants Hangouts to become the future of the company's telephony products. So, it's not shocking that there would a host of great features. It is similar to WebEx and Skype in that users will need to have a Google account to use it. Also, users must add each other in order to chat or meet online. This fact makes Hangouts and ideal, option for smaller teams that want to use a strong, free platform. There are limits to Hangouts. Users cannot group video chat with more than 10 people at a time.
Which Software Is the Best?
There aren't a lot of options out there for someone who is seeking a free web conferencing app that includes screen sharing. However, the ones that are available do a good job at meeting the needs of most teams. With options like Google Hangouts, Apache's OnlineMeeting, and TeamViewer, most companies may not have to spend any money on web conferencing.
All of these options have their limitations and benefits that make them worth using. The best option for a team really comes down to which product has the features the team needs. Google Hangouts, WebEx, and Join.me are ideal products for teams that don't need to easily video chat with their clients and customers. However, these might not be ideal platforms for people who seek to utilize a web conferencing app to connect and meet people outside of their business. Teams need to do their research and assess what they really need in their video conferencing solution. Again, these apps have a variety of features that may or may not work. Also, it's important to note that some of these free options have paid plans with more features. No matter the case, there are free web conferencing options available that will meet the needs of your team.
The first thing you should figure out before selecting your conference call provider: how much do you want to spend?
There are three factors that will affect your decision:
How often you want to hold conference calls.
How long the conference calls will be.
How many participants you expect per call.
From there, conference call providers have two payment methods.
Pay only for the minutes your use. If you plan to have only a few meetings a month, this is the best option for you.
Most conference call providers charge between 3 and 18 cents per minute. The call-in numbers they provide are usually toll-free, so there are no long distance charges.
Unlimited Monthly Plan:
Unlimited, reservation-less conference calling for a fixed monthly fee. If you have regular team meetings from remote locations, this is the right option for you.
Conference call providers have different unlimited packages to suit different user and participant requirements. We try to list similar plans to give you a basis for comparison.
Integration and Collaboration
The purpose of a conference call is to make collaboration easier. This is the age of 'real-time' interaction and collaboration.
Most conference call providers offer audio, video, and web conferencing. Select the plan based around how you and your company collaborate best or how you need to collaborate.
Video conferencing is your best bet. It is more expensive.
Training and lectures:
Probably web conferencing. Typically works well with one-way conferencing.
Split the difference:
Audio conferencing is good middle ground for collaborative meetings and one-way training. Can be the most economical conferencing option.
Ease of use
What use is technology if no one can use it? Conference call providers understand how important time is for businesses. Don't waste 30 minutes trying to start an Earnings Report conference - again.
Conference call providers should offer some of the following services to make your conference call easier:
Conference call providers usually offer free, public-access tutorials on their website. So you can investigate how their service works before you try.
The conference moderator can access an online control panel that lists participants. You can mute, expel, or invite people with a click.
Conference call providers assign star commands (something like *69 with a traditional phone) for functions like muting, ‘locking’ the conference, or 'raising a hand '.
Exceptionally important. Pick a conference call provider that will always be there when you need them. You shouldn't have to postpone your meeting because of technical difficulties with the conference call provider's system.
An operator will facilitate your meeting and make sure everything goes smoothly. The operator schedules the meeting, greets each attendee, handles the Q&A session, and makes your meeting generally worry-free. You may need to pay extra for this service.
Make your conference call more interactive with web conferencing.
Web conferencing is now offered by many conference call providers as an added option to make your meetings more productive.
Many conference call providers offer web conferencing as an option to enhance productivity.
With any conference call, you can conduct live meetings or live training session with several different offices.
With a web conference, you can enhance your meeting with a PowerPoint presentation, an Excel spreadsheet, or something else. You control the enhancements and you control the presentation.
Each participant in a web conference needs to have the following:
An Internet connection
A web browser (like Internet Explorer or Firefox)
An email address
The URL for the web conference's browser-based portal
The downloadable application (think Skype)
What Web Conferencing can do
Web conferencing can occur simultaneously with audio conferencing. Web conferencing allows for real-time collaboration, in addition to just talking, with the following applications:
Slideshow Presentations: All conference attendees can view the slide show while the presenter discusses and explains it.
Video streaming: The moderator or present can show or share a video or other media file from his computer to everyone else.
Webinars: Conduct a seminar over the web. A presenter conducts a workshop or seminar from his office. The seminar attendees can listen to and view the presentation from their own offices or homes. They can participate in polls and Q&A sessions, too.
File, screen, and application sharing: Attendees gain access to files and use applications shared by the moderator. Attendees can also see what the presenter is looking at and doing during his presentation.
Text chat: Even when attendees are 'muted', they can chat questions for the moderator or comments and questions to other participants.
White board: A virtual (or real) white board allows for public comments, quick diagrams, and instant explanations.
Benefits of Web Conferencing
Web conferencing offers users many benefits, which include the following:
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