The COVID-19 era has brought about many changes in small and large businesses alike. Corporations are subject to precautions such as social distancing, and, in many cases, sending workers home to work remotely. Working remotely in previous decades would have been infinitely more difficult, if not impossible, without the tools we have available to us today.
Video conferencing software is helping hold the world together and keep us connected to family, friends, and work. But what makes a video conferencing platform good? What features should it have? Can it meet your business needs? We’ll answer these questions and more in this short guide to finding the best video conferencing software for your business.
Video Conferencing Today
If we hit the rewind button to 1968 and visit the World Fair, we’ll get a glimpse into the very first video conferencing tool. This expensive and clunky invention was introduced as a commercial solution to long-distance communication and was called the Picturephone. In only a few short decades technology has evolved so significantly that anyone can host a video conference from anywhere, at any time, in stunning HD quality.
While there are dozens of conference calling apps and software available today, not all of them are created equal. If you want a true video conference calling experience, you won’t be using Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, or other social media templates. Only a professional conferencing service can provide you with the tools you need for a successful meeting.
Identifying Your Specific Needs
When finding the right software for your business there are considerations to keep in mind while you’re shopping through features and pricing options.
Think about how you’ll use your software. Will you strictly be hosting audio conference calls, or will you be using video for presentations, pitches and webinars? How you use your software will determine exactly what you should be looking for.
Remember to put needs first. It’s easy to get roped into a plan ripe with features you don’t need or will never use. Separate needs from wants and be sure to only pay for what your business will be using.
Ask your professional network which platform they are using and why. Something as vital as communication can make or break an organization. What tools are your colleagues and competitors using? Which features are must-haves that could enhance your own meeting experience?
Keep A Budget In Mind
Your next consideration, of course, should be your business’s budget. Look at the features of the software versus the price. Compare similar plans and brands and see how it stands up. Is the pricing reasonable? Can your business afford the cost? Is the pricing structure per user or per host? Keep in mind that budgeting is just as important in business finances as it is at home.
If you just need basic audio conferencing tools, some companies offer a “freemium” version, however, they do have limited features, a strict cap on the number of users, and little to no customer support.
What Features Do Video Conferencing Tools Offer?
Let’s look closer at some of the features you can expect to find in a typical video conferencing tool.
Screen Sharing: Presenting is easier than ever with the ability for anyone in the meeting to share their screen.
Call Recording: Record meetings for training, capturing marketing content or just to share with colleagues who missed the meeting. Keep recorded files in cloud storage.
HD Audio and Video: Use a high-quality service. It’s difficult to get work done when lackluster call quality is interrupting your conversation.
Chat/File Sharing: Some services offer in-call IM services and file transfer which helps information to be shared and meetings to run smoothly.
Privacy/Security: Choose a service that makes security a priority and gives you control over privacy features.
Will Video Conferencing Become The New Standard?
There’s some speculation that video conferencing could become the new standard in the post-COVID-19 era of business. While we’re certain it will play a larger role than ever, saying it will become the new standard of communication immediately seems a bit of overshoot as audio conferencing is preferred and vital to many businesses.
Many remote organizations are thriving. We’ll see work from home situations continuing into the future for many businesses. These remote teams will need the tools to stay connected, therefore video conferencing software seems to have a secure spot in our future.
Whether you’re a startup looking for a way to enlist more remote workers or a large corporation addressing the communication problem within the organization, video conferencing software can offer a unique opportunity to connect, network, and preserve the quality of your business’s communication efforts. Most services offer a free trial, so don’t be afraid to get started right away and find the service that best fits your business needs.