Telecommuting and video conferencing have become essential parts of both online and offline businesses. While Zoom is doubtless one of the best communication tools for real-time video conferencing, many users have recently complained about its poor video quality and buffering issues.
This is to be expected, as businesses all over the world are working online and placing a heavy load on servers. There was also the issue of Zoom secretly sending data to Facebook, and other security issues that rocked his status as a “champion”.
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Why do we need Zoom Alternatives?
Before we start this list, let’s first see why Zoom has become such a success overnight and why you should research its alternatives. Since COVID-19 forced millions of employees to work from home, the need for a good video conferencing app has become paramount. Zoom has capitalized on this demand by providing a solution that works and has an easy-to-use interface. Another reason for Zoom’s success is its generous free plan. You can make 40-minute conference calls with up to 100 participants for free. Combine all of these factors, and Zoom seems to deliver a perfect product. This raises a question. If Zoom is so well, why are we looking for its alternatives?
Well, Zoom is the classic example of a product whose success has become its loss. Until Zoom was small and less widely adopted, its underlying issues were not discovered. However, when millions of new users joined the service, the issues became apparent. Many users have discovered that Zoom is secretly sending data to Facebook. In another case, it was discovered that thousands of Zoom’s personal recordings were available on the web, some even uploaded to YouTube.
In addition, researchers found that some Zoom calls were routed through China, which in itself is a significant security concern. There are also cases of Zombombing where smart kids may have joined in on ongoing Zoom calls and disrupted discussions. It goes without saying that discovering security breaches one after the other is not good for the business.
Many companies and government institutions have banned their employees from using Zoom. And if you don’t have a total disregard for your privacy, you too should be looking for alternatives to Zoom. Now that you know why, let’s get down to the list.
1 – Microsoft Teams
I would say that if you are looking for a complete web communication solution like a Zoom conferencing platform, then Microsoft Teams might be the best alternative. It’s packed with features and in some cases even exceeds Zoom’s capabilities. You can chat, video call your teammates, access Office 365 documents, collaborate in real-time, and also call anyone from Teams or the direct phone system. As I said, it is a powerful tool for communication on the web, be it video, audio, or chat.
However, remember that Microsoft Teams allows you to host an online meeting for up to 250 participants, while Zoom can accommodate up to 1000 participants. However, Microsoft Teams can handle up to 10,000 teammates in a webinar, which is equal to Zoom’s capacity. That said, Microsoft Teams does bring a lot of extra perks like screen sharing, access to 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, access to Office 365, and more. To conclude, if you are looking for an alternative to Zoom, Microsoft Teams is the perfect choice.
Visit the website (1-month free trial, starting at $5 / month)
2 – Skype
I know Skype for Business has been replaced by Microsoft Teams and is no longer available. And that’s why I’m talking about the free version of Skype, and more specifically Skype Meet Now which is aimed at users. Skype can be very useful for small businesses to organize meetings and web meetings in HD quality and most importantly, at no cost. In terms of participant limit, Skype can accommodate up to 50 participants, which is half of the 100 participants offered by Zoom under the free plan. However, you have no limit on group calls on Skype while Zoom has a limit of 40 minutes if there are more than 3 participants.
In a way, Skype is therefore not bad at all and brings unlimited functionality without any cost. You can also chat and call with your coworkers, but if you want to call phone numbers directly from one region to another then you will have to fork out a few extra dollars. But other than that, each thing is free and accessible, including call recording, screen sharing, live captions, and more. I suggest, if you are using Zoom’s basic plan, to try Skype.
Visit the website (free)
3 – Google Meet
Google Meet is Google’s new answer to Zoom and it looks like the tech giant is finally in the race. Currently, Meet is only available to G Suite users, and those enrolled in the G Suite for Education program. Feature-wise, it’s a bit like Zoom, in a sense, where you just create a meeting and share the link with the attendees. And they can easily join the meeting without having to create an account. And the best part is, since this is Google, you have dedicated apps for almost any platform which is great.
As for the group limit, as of today, Meet can only accommodate a maximum of 100 participants. However, Google recently announced for G Suite and G Suite for Education customers that users will be able to create much larger meetings, up to 250 attendees, and will be able to stream live webinars to 100,000 viewers through September 30. That’s great news, isn’t it? So if you are looking for an alternative to Zoom, Google Meet is a good choice right now. I would say that next July, Meet will become a comparable rival to Zoom.
Visit the website (free trial for 14 days, from $8 / month).
4 – Jitsi Meet
If you are looking for a free alternative to Zoom then Jitsi Meet is one of the best options available. It is an open-source video conferencing platform with which you can organize group calls as many users as you want and at no cost. In addition, it is encrypted, does not require an account, and is not limited in time. It’s great, but what’s the catch? To be frank, there is no catch. Jitsi is fully funded by the 8 × 8 company which uses Jitsi’s products like virtual office and other open-source projects.
During my brief use, Jitsi Meet performed very well, mainly thanks to its lightweight interface. Just type in the name of the meeting and press the Enter key to start the video conference. Additionally, you can set a password for your web conference or just share the link with as many participants as you want. It is certain that the coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in demand, but Jitsi still manages to pull through and you will get decent quality without too much trouble. In short, if you want a free solution for Zoom without compromising on security, then Jitisi Meet is a good choice.
Visit the website (free)
5 – Cisco Webex
You can think of Cisco Webex as another complete solution, analogous to Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It is packed with features and is primarily aimed at businesses and large corporations. However, if you are a small business, you can take advantage of its free plan. It lets you host a free Webex meeting with 100 attendees and members don’t need to create an account to join the meeting, which is great. As with Zoom’s basic plan, you get HD video, screen sharing, and password-protected personal space.
Like Zoom, Cisco Webex has a 40-minute limit, so keep that in mind. If you opt for the paid plans, you can make group calls and accommodate up to 200 participants. In addition, Cisco Webex offers an Event Center for webinars, a Training Center for online training, a Support Center for remote assistance, and more. Basically, you get everything you expect from a business-focused video conferencing solution.
Visit website (free, paid plan starts at $13.50 / month)
6 – BlueJeans
Bluejeans is another great Zoom alternative that you can check out. Just like Zoom, it offers video conferencing, personal rooms, events and a few very smart features. For sample, you can access Microsoft Teams meetings from BlueJeans using its Cloud Video Interop technology. Isn’t that really cool? Other than that, you can collaborate using video and audio with any device you have and in real-time. That said, the best thing about BlueJeans is that it improves your productivity by highlighting meetings, creating transcripts, automatic alerts, and more.
As for the participant limit, it can accommodate from 25 to 100 members, which is pretty good. Overall, if you want smart management on your end, give BlueJeans a try. It’s quite comparable to Zoom on the UX/UI front.
Visit the website (free trial for 7 days, from $9.99 / month)
7 – Zoho Meeting
Zoho is very popular for its online office suite and the company has made some of the best tools for account management, word processing, and of course web conferencing. It’s actually a centralized solution that allows you to schedule meetings, create documents, invite participants and discuss the project, all in real-time. Another feature of Zoho Meeting is that it is completely web-based. Although apps give you a wide range of features, you can still participate in web calls and conferences from a browser, even if no apps are installed.
It’s awesome, isn’t it? On top of that, you get all the standard web communication features like screen sharing, audio calling, video conferencing, and project collaboration. As for the limit, Zoho Meeting can accommodate up to 100 attendees at the same time which is a far cry from Zoom, but if you have a small team then that’s pretty good.
Visit the website (free trial for 14 days, from $15/ month)
8 – GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting is one of the oldest video conferencing platforms and it’s packed with features. It is primarily aimed at businesses, but even if you are a small business, GoToMeeting may be right for you. For starters, you can host video and audio meetings from any device and from anywhere. Best of all, GoToMeeting supports up to 250 participants for video conferencing and 1,000 participants for webinars. In addition, GoToMeeting also offers direct calls, cloud recording, the Office 365 plugin for integrating all your Office documents, screen sharing, and much more. All in all, GoToMeeting is a complete web communication solution and you can reliably opt for Zoom.
Visit the website (free trial for 14 days, from $12/ month)
So here are my picks for the best Zoom alternatives that you can choose from right now. As I went through the list, I found that some companies offer a full video conferencing tool and others have limited functionality. However, depending on your needs and the size of your business, you can choose a tool from the list. All you have to do is delete your Zoom account.
I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. If I haven’t found your favorite Zoom tool, let me know in the comments section below.