As our world becomes more connected, it’s more important than ever to be able to share your ideas with others. Now, you can do that without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Free Web Conferencing allows you to connect with other people in real time and share documents, images, videos, and more. It’s easy to use and works on any device—even a smartphone!
Free Web Conferencing
If your office is looking for a new web conferencing software, you may not have to break out the company credit card just yet. Between completely free open-source apps, or provider’s that offer a freemium version of their paid service, there is actually a larger list of completely free video conferencing solutions with screen sharing out there than you might think. Many teams rely on conference calls to share information, discuss projects or connect with potential clients or current customers.
Web conferences can also help simplify tech support or even customer service. Conference calls are pretty much a guaranteed part of work for many, but instead of just a boring phone call these apps make it possible to do much more – between screen sharing, video conferencing and online whiteboard tools. While not the most common free tool available, we were able to round up a solid list of the top 10 best free web conferencing services, all of which include screen sharing.
We looked at the most impactful criteria to help you determine which solution was the best pick for your business. Our analysis factored in elements like pricing, security, feature set, and compatibility with third-party integrations. Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few online meeting platforms to consider for your business.
What is Web Conferencing?
Web conferencing software is an online service that has audio conferencing and video conferencing solutions. These tools allow for webinars, toll-free calling, HD video meetings, and training held by presenters either live or recorded.
Using built-in cameras, speakers, and microphones or external devices, web conferencing allows for high-quality face-to-face video meetings or group phone calls over an internet connection. Web conferencing tools include the ability for free screen sharing and setting up virtual conference rooms for attendees to dial in and collaborate.
Free web conferencing software allows for teams to access most features along with mobile apps.
Best Free Web Conferencing Apps
- Cisco WebEx
- Google Meet
- Microsoft Teams
- Dialpad Meetings
- Apache OpenMeeting
First on our list is probably one of the most popular, we even went in depth and covered a detailed look at the pricing plans GoToMeeting has to offer. But even with just their free plan, GoToMeeting offers one of the simplest ways to host a conference call, and allow users to share their screen. With their one-click meeting solution, GoToMeeting should be really simple to adopt – and users can start their meetings through almost any app, from Microsoft Office programs to email and chat links. The developers have also introduced user roles recently which makes it easy to edit the permissions each user has — avoiding any security threats or accidental edits.
Utilizing GoToMeeting limits users to just web audio conferencing, as video is limited to some of the paid plans, but with the option for either Toll-Based or VoIP voice chat, teams can tailor the conference calls to whatever suits their needs best. The only other hitch is that GoToMeeting’s free plan limits your conference calls to only 3 participants – but for a free, quick small team meeting (or one on one with clients) the solution should be perfect. GoToMeeting has also been catching up with its competitors in the security department. Despite being a bit late to the party, GoToMeeting now supports multi-factor authentication to make the sign-in process more secure.
Owned, developed and hosted by the networking and security giant, Cisco, you can be sure WebEx scores high on our list. One of the original conference solutions, of course Cisco has it nailed down pretty well. Just like others on the list, the free version of WebEx will limit you to 3 participants, but the good thing about WebEx is that it allows for free video conferencing. Users can of course share their screens, and you can even integrate the platform with Cisco Spark, one of our favorite Slack competitors, to build your own complete collaboration suite of software.
WebEx would also be a solid choice for any larger, Enterprise, or even small business with a strong focus on security — as of course, we all know Cisco has their security locked down. Just take a look at the insane levels of encryption they took to lock down Spark and the messages you send back and forth. The platform has also recently released an integration for Slido which can make it a lot easier for you to present slideshows during your conference calls as if you were in a physical meeting. Finally, you should know that most of WebEx’s best features will be locked behind a paywall so if you’re looking for a free, freemium, or low-cost experience then you may need to check if WebEx still fits within your software budget.
Competing with Cisco on the security frontier of their conferencing solution, TeamViewer’s home page boasts 1.3 billion protected devices that are running secure remote support and online meetings on their platform. With a strong focus on support and help solutions, TeamViewer offers some unique features such as the ability to run multiple remote sessions at once on macOS with browser tabs, remote sticky notes to leave behind a message for your customers and clients – let them know what fixes were applied or just send a personal “you’re welcome” message. The platform has also spent the past few months increasing its security to ensure your data stays safe despite the spike in virtual conferencing adoption.
To be specific, TeamViewer has added biometric security to its Remote Control app to maximize security. These new security features are also compatible with FaceID so iOS users will always have easy access without compromising on safety. TeamViewer offers other interesting add-ons, such as the TeamViewer QuickJoin to allow customers to quickly and easily join meetings or presentations without installation or administrator rights. Supported on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Chrome OS, Android, and iOS, TeamViewer has all your devices covered. Of course, there’s also audio and even video conferencing, as well as text-based chat. Other interesting features, although behind a paywall, include things like the Remote QuickSteps, which adds in one-click shortcuts for the most-used remote support actions. So if you do decide to upgrade and go a paid route, TeamViewer is a strong contender for support and IT use.
Of course, just about everyone knows Skype, and with their free, familiar solution available without a doubt, the app is worth considering. Many may not even realize this, but Skype does in fact allow screen sharing, and again completely free. While not as flexible as some other apps that don’t even require participants to download the client (although WebEx even suffers from this), users will have to create a skype name, download skype and add each other to their contacts list for conferencing. Skype would make the best sense for a small team that doesn’t mind utilizing the platform especially now that Skype for Business has been discontinued.
Skype has also recently implemented the ability to lock meetings which ensures no unwelcome guests eavesdrop on privy conferences. With Skype users can host audio or video conferences, with up to 100 participants – one of the higher limits out of most solutions on our list. Skype also supports all popular desktop OS and even hosts iOS and Android phone apps for your conference on the go. Finally, you’re sure to enjoy using the newly-introduced animated backgrounds which can turn a drab meeting into a fun collaboration.
Developed, and powered, by the team behind the LogMeIn suite of collaboration tools, Join.Me is designed to “cut through pointless processes, politics, and protocols with a single click.” It seems like ease of use and one-click meetings are a bit of a theme behind these tools, and for good reason. Skype and WebEx would be great for teams willing to all adopt the solution, a solution like Join.Me expands the use case beyond simple interoffice communications and adds a layer of simplicity to extend conferences to customers, clients or prospects.
While their free plan seems to be limited to screen sharing and conferencing, a free trial of more advanced Join.Me plans include video conferencing, free audio conferencing with a dedicated conference number located in the U.S. and 50 other countries. One-click scheduling integrates with Outlook or Google Calendar to send and keep track of your invitations, and a personal link gives users a permanent meeting location so clients can just save their one web address to get in touch. Join.Me also includes an online whiteboard feature for that extra level of collaboration and presentation, oh and of course screen sharing.
Zoom is a bit of an interesting candidate, with both a free basic plan and pricing that is actually a bit cheaper than the pricing that we noticed with GoToMeeting. But for the focus of this list, their free Basic Personal Meeting plan offers 40 minutes of conferencing, for up to 3 participants. A slight upgrade brings unlimited users, an unlimited number of meetings, and video conferencing with a host of features such as active speaker view, full-screen view, dual-stream for dual screens, join by telephone call-in. If you’re the type to customize the tools in your stack then you’ll be glad to hear that Zoom has recently introduced the ability to set custom background images so your virtual office feels just as personalized as your old physical workspace.
Web Conferencing features also include desktop, or application-specific, sharing, a personal room or meeting ID, both Chrome and Outlook integrations, MP4 recording of meetings, private and group chat, and even a virtual whiteboard. Beating out GoToMeeting again, Zoom actually includes keyboard and mouse sharing controls for free, and you can even share the screen of any iPad or iPhone app. The only major downside? Your group meetings with more than one other participant are limited to 40 minutes in length. You can host an unlimited amount, but they can’t go longer than 40 minutes. Thankfully, your 1-on-1 meetings are not limited based on duration.
Google has so many different apps and solutions — like Google Voice for a free phone number — that it can be really difficult to keep track of everything they offer. While Google Voice and Google Meet do have integrations for one another, Meet can do much more than just basic calling options Google Voice offers. Of course, just like most other Google apps, Meet is completely free. Users can send/receive instant messages, video chat, send/receive SMS messages, and host VoIP calls. Furthermore, Google Meet also supports captioning in German, Portuguese, French, English, and Spanish (Spain as well as Mexico) ensuring that your team members can communicate efficiently regardless of where they’re from.
What many often overlook, is the ability to screen share baked right into Google Meet on top of everything else the app offers. Google has actually stated that it plans for Google Meet to be the future of its telephony product, so of course, that’s where all the great features are. The free web conferencing that Google Meet provides is also extremely accessible since anyone with a Gmail account can be invited in just a couple of clicks. All meetings also automatically sync with your Google Calendar to ensure you never forget about a video conference even on your busiest day.
Considering Office 365 has over 50 million users, choosing online meeting platforms that play nicely with other Microsoft tools is the obvious choice for many businesses. That’s exactly what Microsoft Teams provides since it integrates with over 700 apps including everything you’re already using if you’re a 365 subscriber. In terms of native functionality, its free screen sharing is just the tip of the iceberg. You can also create channels within your workspace to easily segment different departments within your company. The recent updates have also provided a more automated experience for users with automatic transcription and mic sensitivity so your host doesn’t have to tweak a dozen settings like they’re running a recording studio.
Did we mention that Microsoft Teams supports up to 10,000 people? Needless to say, scaling up shouldn’t be an issue if you choose Microsoft Teams. Some of the video conferencing features you’ll get to reap include background blurring, live captions, call recording, and plenty more to cater to your every need. Lastly, it’s worth noting that Microsoft teams also integrates with other video conferencing platforms like RingCentral, Zoom, and TeamViewer. This makes it possible to continue using the existing web conferencing platforms already in your stack while still reaping the benefits that Microsoft Teams has to offer.
Dialpad Meetings has been a popular choice amongst small businesses since its pricing model is very affordable. Considering you can get their plans for as low as $15/month if you bill annually yet still have access to video conferencing and virtual faxing capabilities, there’s no denying that Dialpad Meetings is a pretty good deal. If you want to use integrations like Zendesk or Okta then you’ll have to upgrade to the pro or enterprise plans but they’re still fairly priced for the value you get. Dialpad also has a handy Chrome extension that lets you make calls or send SMS messages to any number without ever leaving your browser.
Beyond Chrome, you can also choose from its mobile apps, desktop app, or even use the web app version if you don’t want to install any additional software. The cross-platform accessibility not only improves your user experience but also makes it easier to get other people on conferences even if they’re new to Dialpad. Despite often being categorized as a budget option in the VoIP world, make no mistake about its fully encrypted AES 256-bit security that keeps your sensitive data safe. That’s the bottom line when it comes to the Dialpad promise: flexibility and security at an affordable price.
While not one of the prettiest options on the list, with a bit more of a minimal UI and design, OpenMeetings is actually a completely free, open-source web conferencing solution. With video conferencing, instant messaging, whiteboard capabilities, and collaborative document editing OpenMeetings does everything the other competitors would — and, since the app is open source, the platform can always be edited to suit your needs if one of your devs is willing to put the time in to contribute to the code. Though the existing developers aren’t lazing around either as they’ve recently introduced the ability to monitor performance metrics using Prometheus which can help give you a visual view of key analytics.
Screen sharing is of course an included feature, even with the ability to record your sessions, even the audio conversation that accompanied your session. Users can also select only a section of their screen to share as opposed to the entire thing. Web conferences can be audio and video, audio-only, video-only, or even picture-only. With a powerful multi-whiteboard tool, and chat built right in, collaboration is a breeze and users can spawn as many whiteboards as they need to house drawings, discussions, or even files to be edited. While the UI might not be stellar, the UX seems to be fairly solid with a drag and drop file explorer theme throughout the app.
The Best of The Bunch
Even with not too many options out there, all of these free web conferencing apps with screen sharing included in our list should manage to fill in any gaps your team may have. Between the open-source nature of Apache’s OnlineMeeting, the cohesive Google Meet, or the IT-focused screen sharing of TeamViewer – your office shouldn’t have to break out the credit card to subscribe to a web conferencing solution just yet.
Each option has its benefits, and limitations, but it will all come down to how your team plans to use each solution, and what features would be best to have. Of course, Zoom and Google Meet are undoubtedly the most widely adopted solutions on this list and their free plans make them the perfect choice for small businesses. No matter what your use case may be, there’s surely an ideal option out there.
best free video conferencing
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 13 best free web conferencing software providers with video and screenshare:
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.
Livestorm is an all-in-one platform that makes it easy for companies to build powerful video communication strategies. The platform is built for ease of use and collaboration. This makes it easy to organize every part of an online event, from promoting all the way to post-event analysis.
Livestorm allows marketing, sales, customer success, or HR teams to create online events for their audiences. From meetings, webinars, conferences, online training courses, podcast interviews, and product demos, Livestorm adapts to multiple types of events. All events are run directly from the browser, which makes Livestorm particularly easy to use.
- Zoho Meeting
Zoho Meeting, from the company Zoho which is known for its security and privacy matters, is one of the secured web conferencing solutions in the market. There is no limit for the meeting duration and lets you hold unlimited meetings even using the free edition. Advanced moderator controls give you more control over the meeting and the participants. Not just from the computer, you can also share your screen from iOS and Android devices. If your participants are out of reach of the internet, they can still join the call from their phone. You can also have your meetings handy in your browser extension, GMail or Google calendar. You can rule out the OS dependencies like Windows, Mac, or Linux, as this tool lets you hold meetings from the web browsers without downloading any app.
The web conferencing features include keyboard and mouse sharing, recording and storage, embed meeting widget, lock meeting, application or desktop sharing, video conferencing, co-branding and local dial-in numbers. The tool is tightly integrated within the Zoho ecosystem such that you don’t have to jump between the apps to hold meetings or video conferencing. The free edition is limited to 2 participants with restricted features but Zoho Meeting comes at a cheaper price that makes the small businesses and startups use the tool for their video conferencing needs. As far as security and privacy are concerned, it is perfect for large enterprises.
Pexip is definitely one of the best web conference solutions available right now. What’s great about Pexip is that they allow you to host the web conferences yourself on-premise, or you can choose to host them on a cloud service like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or Amazon Web Services. The Pexip service is scalable and customizable and allows businsses to integrate traditional video systems.
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.
- RingCentral Video
RingCentral Video offers a superbly integrated video, message, and telephony experience that’s unified, fast, trusted, and open. RingCentral Video is geared towards organizations and teams of all sizes. With RingCentral Video, you get HD video and HD audio conferencing, as well as a guaranteed 99.999% uptime reliability. You, your organization, and clients can use RingCentral Video without having to download anything, since it works right in the web browser automatically. RingCentral Video also boats enterprise-grade security, and a wealth of integrations with the other apps you use every day like Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Slack, and more.
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.
- 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!
- 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.
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 a Microsoft 365 (formerly 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Related: Best Cloud Video Conferencing Software
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. If you have a business VoIP phone system at your company, or at home, then it’s also helpful if the web video conferencing solution can integrate with your business phone system.
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:
Save on travel costs: Attendees can listen, view, and participate in the meeting without actually being physically present. No need to fly in, fly out, book hotels, or worry about expense accounts.
Save on time: Get several team members together to work on a project no matter where they are.
Spread information: Virtual meetings and classrooms mean that you can educate more people about your product or service.
Web Conferencing and Hosted Audio Services
Many audio conferencing providers offer web conferencing services. Web conferencing can be a much cheaper option for small businesses than purchasing proprietary web conference software or getting a dedicated web conference provider.
With a conference call provider, you’ll enjoy the best of audio conferencing as well as web conferencing. These providers also offer assistance, technical support, and tutorials to make your meetings go smoothly. Most conference call providers offer unlimited packages that integrate audio conferencing with web and video conferencing.
Enhance your conference calls with visual interaction and video conferencing.
Currently, video conferencing uses one of two types of technology: video cameras or web cams.
Most people have participated in a video conference, via online chat platforms such as Skype. Usually, these video conferences are more personal than business related.
For businesses, video conferencing is used alongside audio conferencing to add images, visuals, and human expressions to the businesses meeting. With video conferencing, you can watch the person who you are speaking to – and they can watch you! More advances video conferencing programs let you to see multiple people at the same time (just like Hollywood Squares!).
Advantages of Using Video Conferencing
Savings: Team members don’t even have to leave their offices to attend meetings. Save travel time, travel costs, and keep the face-to-face contact.
Personal Contact: Do we need to elaborate? Put a face to the voice. Because you can see your colleagues, your relationship and collaboration with them will be better.
Demonstration-ready: Video conferencing works best when you have something to show. Try a live presentation or show how your products work.
Seminars: Hold an enhanced conference call – where the users can actually see you. Professors can teach from across the pond; multiple offices can meet. Teach your colleagues in the US and Japan, at the same.
With a video conference call, there’s not much limit to what you can do.
Disadvantages of Using Video Conferencing
There are also some disadvantages to using video conference calls.
Setup time: Designing and setting up a video conference may take time and specialized personnel. It depends on how big the requirements are. Company-wide video-conferencing systems for big companies may take a long time to set up. Small businesses have little use for expensive video conferencing equipment may find it easy and quick to set up a video conference with a web cam.
Equipment required: Video conferencing requires a camera, such as a video camera or web cam, and an audio input and output, such as a headset, phone, or microphone and speakers.
Eye contact: Eye contact is always important when speaking to an audience to express sincerity and establish connection. Video conferencing can make eye contact more difficult to establish – because you have to balance your time between looking at the screen (to see what you’re doing and make sure you don’t have something embarrassing in your teeth) and looking at the camera (to make eye contact).
Looking appropriate: One of the main advantages of conference calling is that you can attend a meeting in your pajamas or board shorts. During a video conference, you may have to dress up to look a little more presentable.
Using a Hosted Conference Calling Service
To get video conference call capabilities without spending a lot of time and money, the best option is to outsource it to a dedicated conferencing provider. With a hosted video conferencing service, you pay for only what you use. We advise a dedicated video conference calling company, for the following reasons.
Lower Cost: You don’t have to purchase video conferencing bridges or software. It comes with the fee you pay your provider. All you’ll need will be web cams and an a headset or telephone. You can video conference for only a few cents per minute for a pay-as-you-go plan or get unlimited service for a fixed monthly rate.
Technical Support: You don’t need to hire experts or specialized personnel to set up your video conference call. The dedicated conference call providers offer technical support and tutorials to ensure that your session goes smoothly.
Integration of Services: Most providers support audio, video, and web conferencing. All three can be integrated to provide you with real time collaboration tools that increase productivity for your company. Imagine having high quality calls, plus live video feeds, plus the capability to share files and work on documents together. You can, with a conference call.
Conference Calling Providers
We have listed several conference call providers below with different packages and plans to suit your needs. Don’t forget to check out their video conferencing features and take your business communications to the next level.
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