During the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic earlier on this year, and the subsequent lockdowns that occurred throughout numerous different countries, many were left shut off from the outside world – limited in what they could venture outside for, and unable to meet with those outside of their household.
In response to this, much of the world turned to video conferencing tools and remote working software, enabling people to stay connected for both work and social purposes. Video conferencing tools became an essential part of staying connected throughout lockdowns and the subsequent social distancing measures that have remained in place since, Zoom being one of the preferred choices by many earlier on this year.
However, as reports come in claiming that the platform has run into some technical issues, in addition to questions being raised around how secure the tool actually is, many are now seeking alternatives to Zoom.
Particularly as the England’s second national lockdown looms, many have begun exploring other video conferencing options to help them stay connected – be this for business meetings, catch-ups with family and friends, or another round of torturous virtual pub quizzes (seriously…please don’t bring these back).
For those unsure of where to start in their search for a Zoom alternative, below is a list with some top options to explore:
Whereby offers some fantastic features to enhance its video chat experience, including chat and reactions that enable users to provide input without interrupting a talk. Chat rooms can hold up to 50 participants, with up to 12 users in the chat allowed to be “on stage”, whilst others are able to listen and contribute via the tool’s numerous useful features (e.g. chat, reactions and audio).
Additionally, all Whereby chat rooms are locked by default, meaning guests wanting to enter the chat with have to “knock” first for chat members to let them in. However, for those who want easier access during meetings, chats can be unlocked.
Google Meet, developed by tech giant Google, is another excellent video-communication service you may want to explore. Formerly Hangouts Meet, Google Meet was previously only available to subscribers of Google’s G Suite and educators. However, earlier on this year Google announced that their Meet service was going to be made available to those who use its free Gmail service.
Those with Google Accounts can create meetings holding up to 100 participants, with a maximum 60 minutes allowed per meeting. Other users, including businesses and schools, can access more advanced features, including meetings that hold a maximum 250 participants.
A well-known online video chat tool launched during the early 2000s, Skype is a household name of which dominated the video chat scene for over a decade. However, with the emergence of recent competitors, as well as being acquired by Microsoft, this renowned video chat provider has lost its near-monopoly over the area.
Whilst no longer the only popular video chat tool out there, Skype still offers a great service for those looking to virtually connect – with both one-to-one and group chats available on PC, mobile, Alexa and Xbox.
Like Whereby, Skype can also hold video calls with up to 50 people. It’s free to use, however there is also a paid option available which gives users access, as the provider states, to “do more things, in more ways, with more people” – of which includes SMS messages and the option to call phones.
Join.me is another great video conferencing option to consider. It offers three different packages, these being Lite (£9 per month), Pro (£13 per month) and Business (£20 per month) – each offering ranging in the features it provides, including chat participant limits, recording options, scheduling options and more.
With Join.me, you can customise your meeting link and the meeting background, with effortless screen sharing options available. The video conferencing provider also offers customers a free trial for those wanting to test the service out before committing to a paid-for version.