Skype is the video conferencing tool most used by VSEs and startups to communicate among collaborators, partners or clients. The Skype features in its free and paid version largely cover the needs of companies: instant messaging, video calls, audio calls, screen sharing, VoIP, and file transfer. Numerous interesting alternatives have been brewing in recent months. We make the point here on all the tricks in video conference and on all the innovative options that can make you work otherwise.
ezTalks Meetings: HD Video Conferencing Tool
ezTalks Meetings is one of the best alternatives to Skype that you can use to keep connected and collaborative with your colleagues, clients and others in real time. It’s a powerful and reliable video conferencing solution that delivers high-definition video and high-fidelity voice, making your communication with them face to face. Its free version lets you host online meetings with up to 100 participants, while the pro version allows you to host up to 500 participants online meetings at a time, no matter where you are.
It provides you with lots of awesome features, like remote online screen sharing, chatting instant text messages, online meeting scheduling, recording and playing, interactive whiteboard sharing and more.
Jitsi: Open Source Video Conferencing Tool
Jitsi is very clearly positioned as the free alternative to Skype. Originally named SIP Communicator, Jitsi is able to interface with other instant messaging like Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts. As its name indicated at the time, Jitsi uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to establish audio and video communications over the Internet. In addition to the open source side, Jitsi has 3 strong advantages over Skype: possibility to encrypt communications in ZRTP to preserve the confidentiality of your exchanges, short URL to send to participants to quickly join the conference, and live conferencing on YouTube.
Google Hangouts: 100% Online Video Conferencing
In terms of Skype alternatives, you must be familiar with Google. With Google Hangouts, the US publisher allows all of its users to deliver quality conferences from any modern web browser. The features are completely identical. We note, however, slightly more competitive rates on VoIP side Google. The number of participants in a video meeting is limited to 10. On the other hand, in its version Enterprise, Skype significantly increases this ceiling what Hangouts does not do. The main advantage of Google Hangouts is its simplicity of use (nothing to install, unique URL to access a conference).
join.me: Free Web Conferencing on the Go
If you need to run a video conference last minute with an audience outside your company, join.me is the solution. Why ? Because participants do not need a join.me account or software to install such as Skype or WebEx. The positioning of join.me is simplicity: no problem preventing you from starting your conference in good conditions. This Skype alternative is ridiculously easy to use and defends itself very well on the functional level: screen sharing, change of presenter, collaborative whiteboarding, etc. Everything is there. What impresses most join.me users is immediate access to a conference with the code delivered by the presenter. join.me is limited to 10 participants in its free version and can rise to 250 with the Business version.
Talky: Minimalist Video Conferencing
Talky is a new service that allows you to start an audio and video conference in 3 steps only:
Step1. Go to talky.io and enter a name for your conference.
Step2. Send the talky link to the participants so they can join the room.
Step3. Start your video conference.
Talky is free and it is the simplest solution of this list. On the other hand, this solution is not as mature as its competitors and the functional cover of talky is very limited: impossible to change presenter, no whiteboard, etc. Talky is a tool that is instant, effective and free.
HipChat: from Chat to Project Management
HipChat is a productivity-oriented HD video conferencing solution. HipChat is one of the many collaborative tools published by Atlassion and designed for companies. This tool is much more than a videoconferencing software: it is a social network, a communication channel, a web marketing and support tool. Concretely, HipChat is a competitor of Slack, Intercom, Skype and Yammer. Considering HipChat makes it possible to open the doors of its needs and perhaps to integrate immediately a social platform instead of a simple communication tool.
Viber: Skype’s Cousin
Viber is a Skype alternative available on smartphones and computers (Windows compatibility, Mac, Linux), just like Skype. The solution offers the same functionality and the same communication quality. The only reason to switch to Viber is to reach attendees who are users of this application or to escape the monopoly of Microsoft (owner of Skype). Viber is not designed for business, but will delight startupers who want to make free audio calls.
TeamSpeak: The Most Experienced Editor
TeamSpeak does not tell you anything but this solution exists since 2001 (before Skype). TeamSpeak is positioned on HD audio and video quality and very demanding security standards. Another advantage is its SDK version 3 which brings a lot of features very appreciated by the most technicians of us. In fact, TeamSpeak SDK 3 allows your applications to deliver exceptional communications (audio and video). TeamSpeak SDK 3 is built with the same technologies that have made TeamSpeak successful: integration with all systems, advanced codecs, total network control for perfect stability. Although an easy-to-use solution, TeamSpeak offers exceptional integration capabilities.
Tox: Free Tool and Encrypted Communications
Tox is a free, advertising-free video conferencing tool. It is positioned as a simple alternative to Skype with a functionality that makes much debate: the encryption of the communications. Indeed, while publishers can read and deliver the content of your conversations, Tox offers the guarantee that your conversations will not be listened to by anyone other than you.
After viewing these video conferencing tools, which alternative to Skype will you choose?
Many options are available to you as you can see above. On the other hand, some features drastically orientate choices, such as functional coverage extending to collaboration, confidentiality of conversations or the ease of inviting anyone to your conferences.