All businesses have different priorities when it comes to their communication and collaboration strategy. For some organizations, cost is the primary consideration, while others put a premium on security, reliability and support — perks typically associated with enterprise-grade video conferencing solutions. Of course, many fall somewhere in the middle, making it all that more important to understand the differences between video conferencing solutions.
5 free video conferencing apps
There are many options for free video conferencing apps; however, not all are designed or suited for collaboration in the workplace. Here’s our short list of the best free video conferencing apps, where they shine and where they fall short.
1. Lifesize Go
Lifesize has been in the video conferencing industry for nearly two decades and has continuously pushed the bar for quality and ease of use. The free video conferencing solution, Lifesize Go, is the easiest way to start a free video call with up to eight participants requiring no downloads, installs or user creation. Just initiate a call from go.lifesize.com and add attendees by email address or text. Guests join the live call right from their laptops or mobile browsers with a click of the link.
Advantages: No downloads or installs required, unlimited meeting duration, built-in screen sharing, HD-quality video, enterprise-grade reliability and security by default
Considerations: Additional features like 300-way calling, recording and streaming, Microsoft integrations and 4K video conference room systems require a paid subscription
2. Google Hangouts™
The free video chat app from Google is a great example of a consumer-grade app that has been accepted into the business world. Google shops operating out of Google mail and Google calendaring will enjoy the native integrations for Google Hangouts.
Advantages: Integrates with Gmail™ and Google Calendar™, works on Chrome™, connect up to 10 participants
Considerations: Requires a plug-in, doesn’t support dual stream video and content, some user complaints about video quality and reliability
3. Skype, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams
The collaboration suite from Microsoft is divided between consumer-grade and enterprise-grade tools. For truly free video conferencing, downloading the Microsoft Skype client gives users access to 10-way calling and a directory that can be populated by individual users. Moving up into the enterprise, Microsoft Teams can be packaged together with an Office365 license. It’s worth noting that teams using Microsoft Outlook™ and Microsoft Teams can access the Lifesize for Microsoft integration, which adds Lifesize video capabilities into the Outlook and Teams interface.
Advantages: Familiar user experience for anyone who uses Skype to connect with family members, available for up to 10-way calling, integrations with premium video conferencing vendors
Considerations: Requires a downloadable application, may be viewed as unprofessional, advanced features only available for premium subscription
The free video conferencing solution from Zoom provides a pared-down service for group video calls. The Zoom Basic plan allows users to have 40-minute calls with a handful of features like screen sharing, local recording, breakout rooms and camera filters.
Advantages: Simple sign-up process, includes basic recording, supports 100-way calling
Considerations: Requires a downloadable application, all calls are unencrypted, calls limited to 40 minutes or less, no capability to control spam or bandwidth
5. “Free Trial” Solutions
If you only need a free solution for a couple weeks, there are plenty of video conferencing and web conferencing solutions that come with a free trial. Services like join.me, StarLeaf, Cisco WebEx®, GoToMeeting® and BlueJeans® will give you temporary free access to their services — just don’t get too attached.
Advantages: Some give you open access to the full suite of features, including hundreds or thousands of participants on a call
Considerations: Really only useful when trying solutions before signing up for a paid solution; and even then, 14 or 30 days don’t always give you enough time to truly try the service
5 reasons Lifesize is your best solution for free video calls
1. Unrivaled cloud video architecture
Primed for performance and efficiency, our modern microservices architecture leverages best-of-breed technology to deliver an unrivaled, unified meeting experience that you can trust to work the first time, every time.
2. Unlimited meetings, and free forever
With Lifesize Go, meet as many times as you want for however long you want. There are no restrictions on the number of conference calls or time limits on call length — enjoy high-quality online meetings, completely uninterrupted.
3. Consistent experience every time
Whether hosting a video call from your iOS or Android device (mobile browsers supported, no mobile app downloads required) or your laptop, you can rely on Lifesize for a consistent and effortless meeting experience. No matter where you are or how you’re joining the video call, you always have a voice and a face at the meeting with Lifesize.
4. A secure way to communicate
Lifesize Go is built on top of open standards with an enterprise-grade global cloud network. Security and encryption are enabled end to end by default, meaning your conversations are always protected, even on public networks.
5. Truly easy collaboration
All you need is an email and a name to get started! No sign-ups or downloads required — just go to go.lifesize.com to start your call. Guests just need to click a link to instantly join your video meeting.
Get started with Lifesize Go
With seemingly endless options for free video conferencing tools in today’s workplace, we want to make it easy to navigate potential vendors and choose the best free video conferencing for your unique needs. And while consumer-grade apps like FaceTime® and Skype will always be a great and fun way to connect face to face with family and friends, enterprise and business-class apps like Lifesize Go give you more robust collaboration conferencing features like screen sharing while also adding extra levels of reliability and security to your mission-critical business communications. Meet now, it's free.