Videoconferencing used to be a low-key background technology, reserved for specialized remote global workplaces, home-based employees, or chats between distant friends and family. The pandemic is still a hot topic in videoconferencing for both business and personal communication today.
The apps listed below enable mobile face-to-face meetings with chat, screen sharing, and other business-related features.
Check out our selection of mobile video chat apps if you’re looking for a more family-friendly chat app or have a small business.
Zoom Cloud Meetings
Zoom Cloud Meetings is a free tool that allows work teams and clients to stay in touch regardless of their physical location. High-definition video, audio, screen sharing, and cross-platform instant messaging are all available through the app. On your mobile device, Windows, Mac, Zoom Rooms, H.323/SIP room systems, or telephones, connect with anyone. All you have to do is call a meeting and invite everyone on your contact list. On some later handset models and operating systems, virtual backgrounds are available. The app allows you to share and co-annotate screens and applications over Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, and 3G networks, as well as use Zoom’s chat and phone services. You can only share your screen with the meeting host, log meeting reactions, and change the audio status of your co-participants. Custom languages are now available for language interpretation, as well as phone audio options for webinars. Zoom Phone’s 3-way calling, meeting, and webinar features, additional authentication options, enhanced practice session and live webinar notifications, enhanced chat search filter, call monitoring for shared line groups, and various interface enhancements are all included in the latest versions.
For an HD video call, use Skype on your mobile phone to connect with up to 25 colleagues. Sending SMS messages, making voice calls to mobile and landline phones, sending GIFs, chatting, sharing photos and videos, and sharing your screen for business presentations are all possible with Skype. The app allows you to read and respond to SMS messages sent to your phone from your desktop computer. A new Director’s Cut feature will enable you to upload up to ten minutes of video per video from your phone, up from one minute previously. You can also schedule group calls, have conversations translated, add checkmarks and crosses to emoticons, delete multiple contacts quickly, and use Android Auto. For audio group calls, Skype now supports up to 100 participants and allows for custom message reactions. During a group call, you can now raise your hand and make intelligent suggestions.
Free Conference Call
Do you need to schedule a meeting? With HD audio, videoconferencing, and screen sharing, Free Conference Call is an easy-to-use collaboration tool that allows you to hold online meetings with ease. At any time, you can host or join a meeting, share content, or chat with participants. The app offers free audio conferencing and online meetings with screen sharing for up to 1,000 people. To join the meeting, tap the invite link in your email or the FreeConferenceCall.com icon and enter the meeting credentials. Once you’ve joined, you can use your internet connection to dial into the conference call and interact with documents by zooming in and out of shared content.
Google Meet is a simple way to conduct videoconferencing and keep teams together no matter where they are. The app allows users to join high-definition video meetings with up to 250 people, share a one-click shared link, and dial into any meeting for audio phone call-ins. It’s built to integrate with Google Calendar, making it simple to schedule meetings, view meeting details, and join right away. To use the app, you must grant Google permission to access your camera, microphone, and photo library. Newer versions allow you to present your mobile screen without joining the call, providing real-time captions, and making international dial-in numbers for meetings easier. Anyone with a Google account can now use Google Meet to start a meeting.
GoToMeeting is a mobile app that allows you to hold meetings from anywhere on the planet. It’s simple to join a meeting without having to register. You can also hold a conference for free without using a credit card on any smartphone or tablet. Clear VoIP audio, face-to-face videoconferencing, the ability to share your device screen with meeting participants, the ability to pass presentation control to different attendees, and the ability to view presentations are all included. You can also see all of your upcoming meetings and join them with a single tap, as well as receive notifications when a session is about to begin and chat with other attendees. If you already use GoToMeeting at work, you can sync your calendar to your mobile device to join meetings and save up to 90% on data when joining a mobile conference by using commuter mode. You can now switch between seeing the active speaker or six cameras simultaneously with the new Switch Video Modes.
BlueJeans provides business videoconferencing over Wi-Fi or 4G LTE, making it simple and cost-effective for companies to host or join videoconferences from anywhere. The app works with various conferencing systems, including Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, and Microsoft Lync, to provide multi-party video calls on the go using the BlueJeans service. The BlueJeans app can be used to host meetings, but attendees do not need to have an account. You can also host or join a video meeting with up to 25 people — or up to 100 people if you upgrade to the premium service. The standard for a full meeting experience, including audio, video, and content; Low data with audio and content only; and Commute for on-the-go audio-only meetings are the three new meeting modes available in the app. Closed captioning and app shortcut support are also included. Pre-assigned breakout rooms, an updated interface, and support for music and group audio modes are all included in the new versions.
Read: Best Small Business Apps
Cisco Webex Meetings
Cisco Webex Meetings helps you achieve engaging, productive video and audio conferencing from your location, complete with sharing and chat, making remote meetings less of a chore. You can participate in and lead presentations from any meeting, event, or training directly from your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch while using Siri’s hands-free voice commands. Facebook Portal and Google Nest Hub are also supported. With a single tap on your calendar, you can join a meeting and schedule meetings directly from the app. You can also personalize your video layouts, share your content or screen with others, and sign in quickly with Face ID or Touch ID on iOS. Meeting Q&A, scheduled meeting lobby, and custom layouts are all supported in the new versions.
If your company uses Office 365, you’re probably familiar with Microsoft Teams, which allows you to access all of your conversations, files, meetings, and apps from your mobile device. As a collaboration hub, teams allow you to manage projects on the go, including file editing and sharing. You can join meetings from anywhere and connect face-to-face with HD audio and video. You can also chat privately or in groups, communicate in designated channels, save conversations, customize notifications, search chats and communications, and benefit from enterprise-level security. A paid commercial Office 365 subscription or a free or trial version of Microsoft Teams must use the app. It includes free meetings, the ability to send meeting invites via the link, search inside chats and channels, upload images directly to your gallery, and the option to manage or have Microsoft manage your Safe key. Newer versions of Teams allow you to use reactions in your next meeting or call, send animated thumbs up, hearts, clapping, or laughter, present in live events from your iPad, clear cached data from the sign-in page, and allow mobile meeting attendees to join breakout rooms.
Why use a videoconferencing app?
Workplaces and schools worldwide have required people to quarantine and socially distance themselves in the last year, and many people plan to remain remote for the foreseeable future. Even after the pandemic dangers have passed, many workplaces do not require a full-time return to work. According to a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research study, 42% of American workers now work from home full time, and working from home — at least one or two days per week — is here to stay. As businesses and employees become more accustomed to working from home offices and educational institutions continue to struggle to improve their remote learning capabilities, videoconferencing apps become increasingly important.
Some businesses have already stepped up to provide extra services to help people work from home. Google has extended its Google Meet platform’s unlimited calls feature, making it available for free until June 2021. Meetings with up to 250 participants and live streaming with up to 100,000 viewers are available to businesses, schools, and companies within a domain. G Suite and G Suite for Education accounts already include Google Meet.
Until further notice, Microsoft will continue to offer some advanced features of Microsoft Teams, such as virtual meetings and 24-hour video or audio calls with up to 300 participants. You can schedule an unlimited number of meetings for up to 24 hours, get up to 10GB of shared and 2GB of personal free cloud storage, guest access for clients and external partners, data encryption, unlimited chat, collaboration with large and small teams, and connect across Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It’s available in 53 different languages and 181 different markets. Together Mode for Teams allows you to create your own virtual live avatar for meetings, capturing your face and shoulders and placing you and your coworkers in a virtual space using artificial intelligence.
Zoom has removed the time limits from its free personal 1:1 video chat option and now offers three tiers of subscriptions for small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses. Anyone can use a personal collaboration device for video meetings, phone calls, interactive whiteboarding, and annotation with the Zoom for Home feature, included with Zoom Meetings licenses. This could include a stand-alone 27-inch touch screen, Facebook’s Portal, Amazon’s Echo Show, and Google’s Nest Hub Max.
Aside from the obvious benefits during a pandemic, videoconferencing has been shown to increase employee and team productivity through improved interactions with colleagues, partners, and clients. Lower travel costs and shorter project timelines benefit businesses. Remote employees, associates, and clients can rely on excellent video conferencing apps to keep business running smoothly, complete with virtual face-to-face communications, for the time being. While many sophisticated videoconferencing applications are traditionally found on the desktop, the need to hold meetings while on the road is critical.