If you hadn’t heard about it before, then you certainly have now. The popularity of a little app called Zoom has skyrocketed over the past few weeks as increasing numbers of people look to ease the boredom of lockdown or get down to some serious home working by video conferencing with friends, family, colleagues, and co-workers. There’s even been a few Zoom weddings, and Zumping has now entered our online lexicon—that’s getting dumped over Zoom in case you’re lucky enough to still be in a real-world relationship!
We get it. Everyone needs to stay in touch, and the video conferencing app is quick and easy to use, doesn’t require any kind of log in, and is completely free—for up to 40 minutes at least. However, while on the surface there may be plenty right with the app, look a little deeper and a few rather worrying concerns emerge.
So, if Zoom just isn’t cutting it for you, if you’re increasingly worried about your private data falling into the wrong hands, or you’re tired of your meeting being hijacked by randoms, why not take a look at one of these Zoom alternatives. Here, we look at what you can expect from Zoom’s competitors and how each of the apps stacks up.
Just like everyone else, the Spike team has been busy working from home to ensure Conversational Email is there for you when you need it most. However, we haven’t been resting on our laurels, and we know more of you than ever before need a way to stay sane in isolation, work together on projects, or learn from afar with your classmates. So, we got busy in the lab and developed a brand new video conferencing solution that’s better than Zoom!
Spike brings cloud-based video conferencing through its free Zoom alternative, offering unlimited call times and no restrictions on the number of participants. There’s no need to install the Spike app, or even be a Spike user, and we’ve also bundled in screen sharing features to make collaboration a breeze. It’s supported by all your favorite browsers and is secured with SRTP encryption to up the ante when it comes to online safety. Oh, and by the way, Spike never collects your private data and we won’t bombard you with ads—it’s the perfect Zoom alternative. Try it out now.
Hangouts is the classic video conferencing alternative to Zoom that everyone knows. It’s user and admin-friendly and boasts impressive call quality. It comes as part of the Google Suite and so cross-compatibility across platforms and browsers is guaranteed. It’s also Google so, you pretty much know what to expect before you even log on.
However, while it works well in tandem with Google products, it doesn’t necessarily play nice with other apps and software. For instance, schedule a meeting and it will appear automatically on your Google Calendar, but the chances are that it won’t appear on your third-party calendar app (unless, of course, you’re using Spike!). Additionally, it doesn’t focus the camera on the speaker like Zoom does, and it also caps the amount of people who can join the meeting.
Adobe’s multimedia and design products are considered industry leaders around the world, and with Adobe Connect the company has brought its expertise to communications. Designed specifically for online meetings, eLearning and webinars, the intuitive UI and high-quality calls and visuals, alongside screen sharing and advanced whiteboard features means it is aimed squarely at the pros.
However, pro features come with a pro price, and Adobe Connect is among the most expensive Zoom alternatives currently on the market. There is no free version of Connect, but you do get a free 90-day trial when you sign up. Additionally, high-level security means you can rest assured your data and connections are safe.
Billing itself as a “a simple and reliable virtual classroom solution to power your online teaching and web conferencing needs”, Blackboard Collaborate is a seamless Zoom alternative made for the education sector. Of course, it works perfectly well as a standard video conferencing solution, but it really shines in its ability to help users engage with others to create effective learning environments.
Again, the advanced features of this alternative to Zoom don’t come cheap, but hand raising features, an interactive whiteboard, and participant controls make it a superb way to keep students involved and implement effective distance learning. Additionally, it gets excellent reviews for its ease of use and quality of customer support.
As a global, cloud-based alternative to Zoom, Fuze aims to simplify business communications and deliver seamless video conferencing through its mobile app or mobile optimized website. Offering excellent bandwidth usage alongside consistent performance and reliability, Fuze does the simple things well, without confusing things with too much additional functionality.
For what it offers, however, Fuze comes across as a bit expensive, with the bottom-tier subscription currently coming in at $20 per month for calling only. In order to get access to the video conferencing features, you’ll need to fork out another $15 per month on top of that—definitely not the choice for the cash-strapped startup.
MS Teams is another big-brand Zoom alternative that’s been around for a while. Naturally, Microsoft fans are big on this solution, and the company’s longstanding reputation helps make it a popular choice for new video conferencing users. It has all the features you might expect for MS 365 users, however, the free version is much more limited and may put advanced users off.
All users will need to have an MS account and download the dedicated app to use teams, and its integration with other MS apps, alongside its team chat functionality means it is useful as much more than a video conferencing app. Unfortunately, however, this means some cross-compatibility issues with things like Google Calendar or other G Suite apps.
Marketing itself as an industry leader for video conferencing around the world, GoToMeeting is a fast and reliable Zoom alternative that offers a variety of price plans depending on the number of participants you need to attend your meetings or classes. Including advanced features such as screen sharing, slideshows, and breakout/follow-up meetings, it’s a solid entry into the world of collaborative conferencing for professionals.
One issue that has been flagged by certain users is its poor mobile functionality, with the app proving less intuitive to use than the desktop version. Additionally, integration with third-party apps is limited, meaning advanced users may find themselves switching apps more often than they would like.
For more information on how we’re developing Spike’s free Zoom alternative, or on Spike’s 21st-century communications solutions, stay tuned to the Spike blog or drop us a tweet @SpikeNowHQ. Oh…and don’t forget to wash your hands!
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