Open lines of communication are vital to business success. It’s vital to stay connected with your teams and have the ability to conveniently connect.
This is made even more challenging when your teams are spread across the globe. With the right communication tools, anything is possible. With these seven top video conferencing tools, staying connected and keeping teams productive is easier than ever.
Build a great foundation
Doing a quick 15-minute video conference each morning is a great way to keep everyone connected – no matter where they are. It’s a chance to discuss the day’s tasks and any required actions, while also developing team cohesion that would otherwise might be difficult to establish.
While team conference calls can be useful, we recommend always using video conferencing wherever possible. With up to 70% of communication being non-verbal, being able to see the people with whom you are speaking makes the communication process far more effective, especially for cross-cultural communication.
There are a wide variety of online video conferencing tools that you can use to stay connected face-to-face with a distributed workforce, and best of all, most of them are free. Here are our top seven video conferencing tools:
Skype is one of the most well established and well known video communication tools on the market. It is widely used by consumers and businesses and helps users connect with your team. Skype can be used to share files, make video calls or send direct messages.
Skype is very user-friendly. Its features include good video quality, a simple interface and clear sound. It works on a variety of devices and makes setting up meetings and producing business plans efficient.
Pricing: Free; though there are paid-for plans available for additional features
Developer: Microsoft Corporation
Learn more: skype.com/en/get-skype/
2. Skype for Business
Skype for Business is designed for corporate use and offers expanded capabilities, including adding up to 250 people to a meeting..
Additional features include:
- Enterprise-grade technical support and security
- Employee account management
- Microsoft Office integration
- Enhanced 911 (an emergency dispatch feature mandated by the US FCC)
Like standard Skype, Skype for Business provides exceptional video and audio quality and built-in chat.
Developer: Microsoft CorporationLearn more: skype.com/en/business/
Zoom is a cloud-based platform where you can easily set up online meetings and lectures, share content and video conferences with a distributed workforce. One Zoom’s unique feature is being able to join meetings without an account. The host can just send you a link invitation for scheduled meetings and users without an account can join via a browser-based platform.
This application supports hosting video webinars with cloud and local recording options and has collaboration tools, such as remote control and screen sharing.
- Use as a browser-based platform or through a standalone app
- Available for mobile, desktop and tablet
Developer: Zoom Video Communications IncLearn more: zoom.us
4. Microsoft Teams
Widely used by global organizations, Microsoft Teams enables easy video conferencing and provides many additional benefits, including:
- Integration with all Microsoft products, including Outlook for easy meeting scheduling
- Breakout rooms for separate conversations during a meeting
- File sharing
- Meeting recording features
- Enhanced security and ability to control features through corporate IT policies
- Data encryption
- Webinar hosting
- Attendance and reporting tools
- Cloud storage up to 1TB
Microsoft Teams is available for mobile, tablet and desktop usage with easy switching between devices. Plans begin with a free version and offer additional functionality for each level of its pricing structure.
Learn more: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/free
Popular with software developers, rocket.chat empowers team creativity and collaboration. For developers who want to build and evolve their chat platforms and for companies that want to host a private chat service, this is an ideal alternative to more traditional video conferencing tools.
RocketChat is easy to customise and can be deployed on your own server. It works on different platforms, including Windows, Linux, macOS and FreeBSD. You can also sign-in from third-party apps, like Google or Facebook, and it allows chats, voice and video calling.
RocketChat Community is a free service, though there is an enterprise option that provides the highest levels of security, regulatory compliance and offers enhanced performance and scalability.
Developer: Rocket.Chat Technologies Corp
Learn more: rocket.chat
6. Google Chat
Google Chat has come a long way since the initial introduction of Google Hangouts. It has built-in integration with other Google products, such as Sheets and Docs and easy access to your Google Drive.
Additionally, Google Chat offers ‘Spaces’ which are breakout areas for team collaboration where you can share files and keep up to date on projects.
- Enhanced collaboration through ‘Spaces’
- Improve productivity with Google Workspace
- Bots to help with smart suggestions and performance
- Security and management controls, including Vault, DLP, data regions and enterprise endpoint management
- Storage begins at 30GB and goes up to unlimited cloud-based storage
- Up to 500 participants in video conferences
- Custom and secure business email
Google Chat is part of a paid enterprise service which includes access to all Google’s business products.
Developer: GoogleLearn more: https://workspace.google.com/intl/en_uk/products/chat/
Used by some of the largest global corporations, Slack is a streamlined productivity tool that enables collaboration and keeps everyone connected effortlessly.
While there is a free version of Slack, the paid-for versions offer much more functionality, including:
- Full organization message history
- Unlimited integrations
- Audio and video conferencing
- Secure collaboration with outside organizations or guests
- Advanced identity management through SAML-based SSO and real-time directory sync
- Large scale collaboration for up to 500k users
- Enterprise-grade security and compliance, including HIPAA support
- Centralized administration and controls with customizable policies
Developer: Slack TechnologiesLearn more: slack.com
Custom technology when outsourcing with Cloudstaff
At Cloudstaff, we use emerging technology to create innovative tools that integrate people and manage processes. We remove the limitations associated with outsourcing. That enables us to provide an advanced level of communication, efficiency and transparency for our customers and staff.
We give you more than the right people—we give you the right tools. We’ve developed a suite of custom applications, designed to help manage, monitor and communicate with your remote team. These tools keep you connected with your team at all times.Staying connected to your offshore team shouldn’t be a problem. Partner with Cloudstaff today. Contact us today.