Top 10 Zoom Alternatives for Video Conferencing 2021
Are there other ways to have a video call besides Zoom? Yes, there are lots of Zoom alternatives out there. But, why do you need to have a video chat in the first place?
There’s no doubt about it. The world as we know it has changed and staying socially distant is the new normal. That has changed the way we interact in so many ways. One significant change is the increased use of video conferencing to communicate and interact. Actually, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been on a Zoom call or two (or many, many more).
So, how essential are video calls right now?
Well, we would say that they are very important if you want to function as a socially cognizant being. Basically, we need human interaction if we are going to survive the coronavirus. Yet, if we are to survive this, we need to maintain social distancing. Video communication helps us keep in touch in a more personal way than audio calls.
Beyond that, most businesses have realized that the only way to keep afloat is to continue doing business. And, video calls make it possible to communicate better. Whether you’re having a business meeting or hanging out with friends, video conferencing has become an important part of our lives.
While Zoom has been the video conferencing tool of choice, there have been concerns about their privacy issues. So, I’ve compiled a list of 10 zoom alternatives you can try in 2021.
Top 10 Video Conferencing Software
When it comes to video conferencing software, Cisco’s Webex is one of the best known within the business community. This is because it has been around for decades. This has been the preferred software for cloud meetings, and with the coronavirus lockdown, more people are turning to Webex.
And, this is not just because they have a free option, though there’s that. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Webex expanded their free version. So now, instead of just 50 people, you can have a Webex video meeting with up to 100 participants.
Also, the free version used to limit calls to just 40 minutes, but that’s been taken off. So, if you’re using Webex, you can have your video meetings without worrying about running out of time.
· Unlimited call time
· Up to 100 participants
· Call-in feature for audio
· Easy screen sharing
· Paid with a free option
· Available on Windows, Android, and IOS
Another great Zoom alternative for video conferencing is Whereby, the cloud software. This is a pretty cool video messaging software because you don’t need to download anything. It’s all in the cloud. So, this is perfect for those who want to have cloud meetings but would rather not download software to their devices.
Also, Whereby is easy to use with lots of great features, like being able to lock a chat room. However, it also has some drawbacks, for instance, there’s a limit on how many participants can be in a chatroom. Also, note that this applies even if you’re using a pro version. So, it’s probably not the best option if you’re hosting a video meeting or conference of 100 or more participants.
Again, with Whereby, each chat room can have a custom URL and a few cool features which some others don’t have. So, if you have a small meeting or a hangout with just a few people, then you may want to check Whereby out. It’s important to note that if you prefer to download a video conferencing app on your device, this isn’t it. Whereby is purely cloud and you can use it from your web browser.
· No download or login
· Access to up to 3 chat rooms
· Free model limited to 4 participants per chat room
· Screen sharing
· Multiple integrations, including Trello, YouTube and Google Drive
· Ability to eject a participant from a room
· You can lock a room
Whereby has 3 pricing models. Free, Pro ($9.99 per month), and Business ($59.99 per month)
So, StarLeaf has been around for a while, but it has been like a well-kept secret known only to the business community. It is used for video messaging and video conferencing and has a pretty decent interface.
Before now, Starleaf was a premium service that served small and medium businesses. It was used for online meetings and conference calls. Because of the global coronavirus pandemic, they expanded their offer to include a free version. The free version delivers and if you choose to try that one out, you won’t be disappointed.
One standout feature about this software is the high-quality audio and video. It’s really easy to deploy and you can use it with practically any device. There’s also the fact that you can record and download conversations.
· Available on Windows, Linux, Android and IOS
· Allows recording of video calls or conferences
· Easy syncing with other software e.g. Skype
· The free version allows for up to 20 participants
4. Jitsi Meet
Next on our list, we have Jitsi Meet, which is a video conferencing app. It’s open-source meaning that you can actually use their code to build one that is just for your organization. But, that’s if you’re a techie and want to go into all that. For the rest of us, the web version is cool enough and does everything you probably need video chat software to do. You can have your cloud meetings, record call sessions and save to Dropbox, and even get rid of trolling participants.
Also, this video chat software allows up to 75 participants at a go, which is helpful if you’re hosting a large video conference. Oh and best of all, Jitsi Meet is free. So, that’s definitely helpful when you’re working on saving costs.
Best of all, you never need to sign up or login or anything like that. Just click Go and you’re ready to go, literally.
· Free and open source
· Available on Android, IOS and Android
· Can accommodate up to 75 participants
· Easily sync with Slack, Office 365 and Google Calendar
· Custom URL
· Easily share screens
· Anonymous accounts
5. Skype Meet
Now, Skype is an old favorite and most people have used or known about this video chat software. Skype has been around for close to two decades and it’s the go-to application when you need to keep in touch with the grandparents. However, it was not exactly used for video conferencing. With Skype Meet Now, you can have a video call with multiple people at the same time. Basically, you can use your beloved Skype to communicate with several people.
The interface is lovely (Skype has that) and there’s almost no learning curve. Then, there is a web version where you don’t have to sign up or login or download anything. However, you will probably get better results if you download the app. If you don’t already have a Skype account, you would need to create one.
· Easily share screens
· Meet with up to 50 people
· Background blur
· Available on Windows, Linux, IOS and Android
6. Google Meet
So, if you’ve been around the web for a while, you probably already know about Google Hangout. But, what about Google Meet? Not sure what that is? Well, it is the business version of Google Hangouts. So, it does what Hangout does, but with expanded features.
You can create a meeting, but only if you are already a G-Suite user. For non-users, the meeting host can send out meeting codes so that participants can join in the meeting. This is rather limiting because G-Suites isn’t free. But, with Meet, you can host a meeting with up to 250 participants. To be honest, this is a great alternative to Zoom.
If you intend to have a meeting of fewer than 25 participants, then you should try Google Hangouts.
· Up to 250 participants (25 for the free version)
· Share your screen
· Available on Windows, Android and IOS
· Can schedule on your Google Calendar
BlueJeans is a great option, but offers only a premium version, meaning that there’s no freemium for this video conferencing software. The features you get access to depend on the subscription model you choose. Basically, you can host video meetings, create chat rooms, host large video conferences, and enjoy a few integrations including sales integrations.
The beauty of BlueJeans is that it has the web version as well as the mobile versions which you can download to almost any mobile device. It’s easy to use with a smooth interface. And, if you find BlueJeans video software interesting you can try it out for 7 days before you make a decision.
· Starts at $9.99 a month (7 days free trial)
· Host 50–100 participants
· Record calls
· Share screens
· Web-enabled from multiple web browsers
· Available on Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and IOS
Discord video chat has been a well-kept secret, jealously guarded by the gaming community. No thanks to the global coronavirus pandemic, we now know about this amazing Zoom alternative for video conferencing. So, what’s Discord all about? I’m glad you asked.
Interestingly, if you are searching for all-inclusive communication software, you can’t go wrong with Discord. Although it was made for gamers, it is a great tool for teams and communities. It has text messaging, amazing voice chat and video chats. You can share your screens, live stream and host a large group. The thing with hosting large groups though is that you would need to find a server to do that. Discord makes it easy to find servers, but if you don’t have the necessary tech knowledge to do that, it could be a problem. Luckily, they have great support.
So, if you want to remain productive with online meetings as you stay at home, Discord is a great option.
· Smooth interface
· Easily find servers to host large video meetings (for techies)
· Screen sharing
· Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, IOS and Android
9. Microsoft Teams
Now, it’s understandable if your mind does not immediately go to Microsoft when it comes to online video meetings. Not many people know about Microsoft Teams (or the fact that the tech giant also owns Skype).
Microsoft Teams is a great video conferencing and collaboration tool. Strangely, Teams supports integration with Zoom so you can switch between both apps. Also, you can attend a Zoom video conference without installing Zoom.
Perhaps the best feature is the easy syncing with Office 365, which might not be such an amazing thing if your team is not into Microsoft at all. But, if you like things compartmentalized and organized, then Teams is worth checking out.
· Free with a Microsoft account (including OutLook)
· Up to 299 participants on the free account
· Amazing integration
· Share screens
· Create and share meeting recordings
· Available on different devices including mobile
10. Zoho Meeting
A bit like Microsoft, only that it’s online, Zoho offers an entire office suite which includes word processing and video conferencing, among others. Zoho Meeting is totally web-based, so there’s nothing to download. With this online meeting software, you can have video conferences as well as host webinars.
Actually, Zoho Meeting is a great tool if you need the bare bones. It has a great free version, sweet user experience, and interface. But, if you need more features you’ll have to go for the premium version. For instance, if you want to host a large meeting of up to 100 participants, it’s $8 a month. This is billed annually.
Similarly, for a webinar of up to 25 people, the price is $15 a month. If you want to try this cloud video tool, there’s a 14-day trial and you won’t even need a credit card. That’s enough time to decide whether this zoom alternative is okay for your needs.
· 6 participants for the free version
· Up to 100 participants paid version
· Unlimited meetings
· Screen sharing
· Not really great for large meetings
· Awesome for webinars
No doubt, things are different all around the world. But, those who stay strong are those who acknowledge that there’s a new normal and prepare for it. Video conferencing is the new normal and these zoom alternatives will give you a wide range to choose from. Each has its limitations, but we hope you find the right fit for your needs.