One of the most important aspects of managing remote workers well is regular video chats. As we’ve explained, video conferencing software can help your virtual team feel more connected, better understood, and more involved in the company. It also contributes to disentangle any text-based miscommunication or misunderstanding.
In fact, 89% of remote employees explain that video chatting makes them feel more connected to their colleagues. The same amount agrees that online video calling can also help reduce the time needed to complete projects.
Now that you understand a bit more about why video chat apps so important, let’s delve into the details to figure out which is the best. Don’t forget first to set up your Internet to make sure that you have a smooth, Agile video conferencing experience.
Google specifically overhauled Google Hangouts because more than half of the workforce will contribute remotely by 2020, which means that it has a lot of features to integrate your telecommuters.
Anyone with a Google account can join the online meeting, although according to their site, only a total of 10 users can be in a video chat at once, which is pretty restrictive.
However, Google also recently added Hangouts Meet in which 30 people can join your video chat online with just a link. Without any Google account, you can join Hangouts Meet on your computer or mobile phone.
If you use a lot of G-Suite options, like Drive, Calendar, or Gmail, Google Hangouts is a handy communication app. It automatically integrates with all of your Google Apps, making things like scheduling and file sharing much simpler.
Google Hangouts is a great option for those people who use G-Suite often. All information for each meeting is automatically pulled from Calendar, Google Drive files can be viewed directly in the conversation using Hangouts Chat, and the video quality is relatively stable and lag-free.
Some of Google Hangout’s best features are:
Integration with other G-Suite applications, such as Google Drive and Google Calendar
Hangouts Meet, only needing a URL
Simple, secure file sharing from Google Drive
UberConference is very simple to use with plenty of features that make it a top choice. Signing up is easy and fast, and they have many useful ways of starting your conference call.
While you can always start it up in a typical way if you want, they also offer the option of them calling you at a specified time, so you don’t forget or start late. Also, you can call participants, they can call in (although you don’t get a custom call-in number with the free plan), or you can invite them via text or email.
Their pro plan seems more geared towards phone conferencing than video chats with $10/line/month (or $15 month-to-month) including up to 100 participants, dial out to add a guest to a call, and more.
The UI features an online dashboard that makes it clear who is in the video conference and who is talking, even letting you mute certain participants if they're a disturbance.
UberConference also features simple document sharing from Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and Evernote, as well as call recording software and video sharing (although some reviews say that the video sharing feature often lags).
A cool add-on of UberConference is the connection to social networks, such as a LinkedIn profile that you can check out with just a click.
Our team tried out UberConference and appreciated the ease of use. However, almost all of them also reported back with low sound quality and some mic issues that are real deterrents in using UberConference.
Some of its best features include:
Free for up to 10 participants
Integrated social profiles
While Zoom video conferencing offers a smooth HD video and has a great UI, their bread and butter is the range of third-party integrations that they offer. From cloud storage to calendar scheduling to your favorite messaging apps, Zoom works to fit with your company rather than the other way around.
Zoom also offers both unlimited one-on-one video calls and meetings with up to 50 participants completely free. As you can see, this is much more than you can potentially have on Google Hangouts, and probably more than you need.
If you have a larger team and want to have multiple hosts, you can buy the Pro package for $14.99 per host per month, giving you admin control, user management, cloud reporting space, and access to their REST API. To see their different pricing levels and features, check out their pricing page.
Another great feature of Zoom video conferencing is the ability to record meetings so you can revisit or share them with other members of your virtual team. With Zoom, you can have 1GB of cloud storage for recorded calls, but don’t forget that with the third-party integrations they offer, you can ultimately have much more than a mere 1GB of storage.
Just like Google Hangouts added with their Meets option, Zoom also provides a system to create a link that represents your meeting. Then, share that URL with any remote employees you’d like to join the chat.
From here, they can just click on the link to be transported directly into the meeting without the need for any credentials. This feature is very convenient, especially if you’d like some remote workers to join in on certain meetings that aren’t necessarily a part of your regular remote team.
Some of Zoom’s best features are:
Extensive free option
Various third-party integrations
“Room” option with URL only
Amazon Chime has a great design, is simple to use, and, according to our testers, had fantastic audio quality. It offers features like the ability to create chat rooms, quick and simple file sharing, video recording, remote desktop control, and more.
One thing to note is that one of our testers claimed that even though Amazon Chime was “by far [the] best sound quality for all meeting participants,” he couldn’t get it to work on Chrome.
Amazon Chime, as a part of Amazon Web Services (AWS), really shines when it comes to security, beating out the competition in this regard. So, if you need heightened security for your chats and video conferencing, this could be the right choice.
However, if you’re looking to go with a free option, Amazon Chime probably won’t work for you. Its basic, free plan includes video calls for up to two people, chat, and chat rooms. If you’d like a video chatting app, you’ll have to pay for their pro plan of $15/user/month.
With this, you’ll be able to have a video conference with up to 100 people, as well as many other features like video conferencing scheduling and Chime In meeting links.
It’d be difficult to write an article about video chatting apps without comparing Skype. So ubiquitous that the product name is now often used as a verb, let’s discuss if Skype deserves this recognition.
Some people see Skype for more friendly interactions, and their chat design with bubbly emojis does seem to reinforce this notion. However, Skype does have their Skype for Business option (which we’ve discussed a bit before), and because it’s so popular, a large number of people use it for professional interactions.
Skype is simple because almost everyone already has it installed, but both Google Hangouts and Zoom bypass the necessity for installation with their “room” URL options, meaning that this isn’t a large advantage over the competition anymore.
Skype’s free version gives you a bit more than Hangouts, and less than Zoom, coming in at a 25 person limit on your calls, as well as a very effective messenger app. If you upgrade to Skype for Business, you’ll be able to have up to 250 participants in on the call, which seems overboard for most remote teams.
If you already pay for Office 365, though, these Skype for Business features come for free, making it a smart decision in this regard. So, if you’re an avid Microsoft customer, Skype could be a good choice for you.
If you or your remote workers often give video presentations, this is a great software to assist in that. Its primary use is for webinars, so it offers features that make presentations interactive and engaging.
They don’t offer a free version; their basic plan starts at $29 per month for 25 attendees, but one thing that’s great about their pricing program is that each plan includes all of the features–the price only changes based on the number of attendees.
If you’d like to use your video conferencing predominantly for presentations, some of BigMarker’s best features are:
HD Video and screen sharing
One-click meetings attached to a URL you can share
Branding in the online conference room with your logo and color scheme
Polling and Q&A
Emails and automated reminders
You’ll also have access to their API, embeddable, and other developer tools if you’d like to host a meeting directly from your website.
However, one of our testers explained that the backend was overly complicated and wasn’t user-friendly, meaning that it might take quite a bit of time to be able to utilize these features correctly.
And the winner is…Zoom!
Which video conferencing software is best for your virtual team?
Google Hangouts is working towards making their platform a go-to for remote workers. They’ve recently created Hangouts Meet and Chat, which were both specifically designed for remote teams and telecommuters.
Also, the integration with all of the G-Suite applications is handy if you’re an avid Google user. The video is also clean and rarely lags.
UberConference also had many great features, but it’s geared more toward audio calls than online meetings, and our testers had some sound quality issues.
Anyone who uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) on a regular basis had high hopes for Amazon Chime, and while it does offer many useful features, it doesn’t overcome some other options.
Skype has been riding their fame and not updating their features as much, which means that they also don’t offer quite as many incentives as either Google Hangouts or Zoom to join.
BigMarker, on the other hand, is ideal for webinars or presentations, but we wouldn’t choose it as the best option for a typical video conferencing meeting.
Unfortunately, though, none of them matches up to what Zoom offers. Zoom gives users the largest available free plan, already making it perfect for small and medium-sized business owners working with remote coders.
Along with this comes high video quality and the reliability that is necessary when working with a virtual team. Zoom also offers such a variety of third-party integrations, including Google Drive, Calendar, and more, giving you more possibilities.
After you’ve got your video chatting all set up, let us make sure you have the best digital nomads to take your remote team to the next level