In 2018, we expect everything to be instantaneous. Every minute we spend commuting, or in some cases traveling through several different states, to a meeting, is a minute that could otherwise be spent churning out work for our employment overlords.
Thanks to video conferencing software, transporting our physical bodies to an in-person colloquium is a concern of the past. Now it is not only possible to conduct training, interviews and quarterly earnings reports, it’s actually encouraged at most companies. But how do you know what video conferencing software is the right video conferencing software for your business?
Well, for one, you probably have a set budget to which you have to adhere. And within that budget, there are features that your company needs in order for remote communications to function as well as, say, a face-to-face dialogue. You need your meetings to go on for a certain duration, you have to accommodate a specific number of attendees.
More advanced video conferencing services go as far as letting participants collaborate together on a virtual whiteboard. And to make sure your discussions are kept private, you need exhaustive security measures in place.
Among the video conferencing programs you can choose from is Zoom, an application that’s been so successful over the years that it’s already being used by high profile companies such as Pandora, Box, GoDaddy, Slack and Uber. Even RingCentral, which famously has its own video conferencing suite called RingCentral Meetings, uses Zoom, according to Zoom’s official website.
In short, the reason for its widespread popularity is that Zoom delivers high quality video and audio over its servers in an easy-to-use fashion that won’t cost your company an excessive amount of money. It’s affordable, versatile and admittedly preferable to a lot of the alternatives we see on the market today.
Pricing and key features
Zoom is available in four different variations. The one that will be most interesting to you frankly depends on the size and needs of your company in addition to that budget we talked about earlier.
The four tiers are called Basic, Pro, Business and Enterprise, and since it’s not exactly clear from the names alone how they differentiate from one another, we’re going to go over the unique features – or lack thereof – that every one of these plans delivers.
Supplementing those four subscription plans, Zoom has two software-based solutions designed for conference rooms in particular. It also sells a video webinar package, and a handful of add-ons that can be tacked on to any one of its standard pricing plans.
To start, Zoom Basic is the most affordable of the company’s primary four meeting plans. It’s affordable because it costs nothing. Nada. It’s completely free. Zoom Basic allows your company to host a conference with up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes on group meetings. One-on-one meetings, on the other hand, are free with Zoom Basic, and you can host an unlimited number of total meetings without paying a thing.
With Zoom Basic, you get the same HD video and voice quality that paid users get, and you can also share your screen with participants while they share their screens with you. Moreover, you can record meetings and store them as MP4 or M4A files on your computer. Mid-meeting, if you want to move into smaller, more intimate groups for discussion, there’s a breakout rooms feature that serves that purpose. And, as we mentioned earlier, the collaborative virtual whiteboard is here in full force with the nominally-priced Zoom Basic service.
Zoom Basic is protected by Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption as well as AES 256 bits encryption just to be safe.
Step up to the Pro level and some of the restrictions of Zoom Basic are lifted. In Zoom Pro, you get everything that comes with Zoom Basic and then some. While you’re still limited to 100 participants, you can buy more participants by way of Zoom’s Large Meeting add-on. With that, you can buy up to 500 or up to 1,000 participants for each of your meetings. Furthermore, administrators can take advantage of a comprehensive set of controls. Meeting duration is upped to unlimited. Zoom Pro costs $14.99 (£11.79) per month.
From there, assuming you have a minimum of 10 hosts, you can purchase Zoom Business for $19.99 (£15.73) per month. With Zoom Business, you of course get everything that comes with Zoom Pro plus dedicated phone support, a vanity URL, the option for on-premise deployment, company branding, custom emails and cloud recording transcripts. If that’s not enough, there’s Zoom Enterprise, which comprises everything from Zoom Business for the same price but allows for 200 participants and provides you with a dedicated customer service manager as well as executive business reviews complete with adoption analysis, ROI tracking and product roadmap discussions. Zoom Enterprise, however, requires a minimum of 100 hosts.
All in all, Zoom is an aggressively priced video conferencing software option compared that has a lot to offer in terms of value. Despite the fact that you could pay the same price for RingCentral Meetings, all of its packages costs either the same or less than what you would get with GoToMeeting. And although GoToMeeting bears an extra layer of security with its MeetingLock functionality, where administrators can pick and choose more carefully when participants are allowed to enter the room, Zoom doesn’t make you pay annually for a discount and has lower prices all around.