TechJunkie Expert Recommendations
When Microsoft acquired Skye in 2021 and began making changes, including its incorporation into the Office software package, some people choose not to utilize it. Not all users were pleased with the acquisition and the adjustments that followed, and as other services expanded, some Skype customers started to switch to them.
While there are many free alternatives accessible today, businesses can also choose from paid providers to guarantee the highest call and video quality. Despite yet, a lot of business users will prefer to use their own hardware, including VoIP phones, in addition to a specific VoIP service for business.
There are now numerous Skype alternatives in 2023, even if it was one of the early success stories for accessible VoIP. And, we listed some of them below. Check out which ones suit your needs best.
The encrypted messaging service WhatsApp has an interface that is similar to that of standard text messaging but uses Wi-Fi rather than cellular data. Those that desire greater security than text messaging can use this to communicate with friends, family, or coworkers abroad without having to pay for expensive foreign data plans.
WhatsApp may be downloaded and used for free as long as you have access to Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. But, depending on your cellular plan, your carrier may charge you if you are not connected to Wi-Fi or you are roaming. Before using the app, double-check your cellular plan to make sure you won’t be charged.
Users of WhatsApp can send secure messages to any other WhatsApp user when connected to Wi-Fi. Like standard text messaging, you can also send audio recordings, transmit documents up to 100 MB, attach images, and even drop a pin to indicate where you are. The ability to easily submit the most recent quarterly report to your entire company or communicate with your entire family in groups of up to 256 individuals is one of WhatsApp’s biggest draws. An alternative to pricey international calls or if your cellular data plan has a cap on your calling minutes is WhatsApp’s Wi-Fi-based voice and video calling capability.
Users of WhatsApp for Business may connect their WhatsApp accounts to the Facebook and Instagram pages of their companies, giving consumers a simple method to arrange appointments or ask questions. You may develop a catalog of goods and services on WhatsApp Business, put up an organization profile with hours and contact details, and program automatic replies to respond to consumers quickly.
However, small business owners may find it annoying since you cannot use the same phone number for both a WhatsApp and a WhatsApp Business account. If you want to use both, you must create a different phone number.
Several people use Viber as a comprehensive video meeting tool instead of Skype. Viber is a well-liked option for collaborative teams thanks to its video calling and screen sharing features, as well as VoIP functionality, chat, and file sharing. Viber users can also utilize Viber Out to place expensive outgoing calls to landlines and mobile phones.
Users can use a range of platforms and devices, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Viber video calling and screen sharing offer a wonderful platform for lightweight team collaboration, especially for distant or dispersed teams looking to conduct meetings and work together on projects. Viber does not have many features, such as project management tools, and individuals who want to register an account must provide their phone number and a smartphone.
Furthermore, with Viber, you can benefit from instant messaging, voice and video calling, as well as group chats and calls. With this, you can also join online communities or share stickers and GIFs. However, unlike WhatsApp, some of the features that Viber comes with aren’t free. Even so, its free features are enough for you to enjoy the app and use it as a communication tool for your small business.
For starters, Cisco Webex (also known as WebEx) isn’t completely free. Cisco Webex has annual and monthly payment options. There are Business and Enterprise options in addition to the Free plan, which supports 40-minute sessions for up to 100 participants.
The Business plan raises the meeting capacity to 200 attendees for a monthly fee of $25 per user. Like other competitors, its 10 GB of available cloud storage for video recording forces most hosts to record locally and upload to an additional cloud storage drive, incurring additional expenditures.
With features like hold, transfer, forwarding, six-way conferencing, and extensions all included, VoIP calling is rather well covered. The top-tier Enterprise plan, the price of which is only accessible by quote, is required if you wish to be able to record your calls and have access to call barging, a call queue, and voicemail to email.
The Enterprise plan, which is where things really advance for video calling, is the last option. The same 24-hour time frame applies, but 1,000 people may join. With a few enhancements, you can increase your invitation list to 100,000 persons (though only 500 can be active hosts, cohosts, and panelists).
There are numerous in-meeting features in Cisco Webex. Most are what you would anticipate, but there are a few pleasant surprises, such as customized screen designs. Up to 1,000 people can attend meetings in HD video and audio via a variety of methods, including VoIP, a direct dial-in number, or being called in by the conference host.
You can collaborate on a digital whiteboard, share your entire screen, or use programs like Microsoft PowerPoint. You may record straight to your device or store recordings in the cloud thanks to a variety of recording choices. Auto transcripts are also included with every recording. In order to make scheduling easier, Cisco Webex also interfaces with a number of calendars, including Google.
BlueJeans, which was founded in 2009, was one of the pioneers in the video conferencing industry.
The cloud-based technology offers excellent usability and accessibility, enabling users to attend meetings from laptops, desktops, Android, and iOS devices. Those wishing to take notes or follow up on meetings may find the platform’s transcription features beneficial due to its built-in intelligence. The platform provides alternatives for virtual meetings, linked workspace environments, live events, and webinars. It also has a special solution for telehealth and virtual care.
Dolby quality speech and free audio are available to businesses in more than 40 different nations. Although the video quality is decent, customers may wish to compare options if they’re searching for a more robust set of services or a full, collaborative platform in addition to the basic video calling capabilities. But, teams can test out the features during a 30-day free trial to aid in creating a shortlist of potential platforms.
With BlueJeans, you can benefit from features, such as a 30-day free trial, meeting analytics, calendar support, and a meeting dial-in number.
Microsoft Teams has gained popularity among companies as a Skype for Business substitute. Users of Teams in Microsoft 365 have access to a chat-based workspace where they may host audio and video conversations as well as conduct instant messaging. The product offers business users enterprise-level security and smooth interfaces with other Microsoft suite technologies.
Teams users can organize video meetings or audio conferences, add external participants using an email invitation link, and allow business users to host meetings with up to 10,000 spectators, replacing Skype with Microsoft’s more capable video calling software.
With this app comes features such as integrations, schedule invites, share screens, background blur, and call recording.
As one of the first services to offer fully functional video conferencing software that runs entirely within a web browser, Google Meet is in many respects a technological wonder. Throughout the years, Google has added new capabilities and improved Meet, but because Zoom meetings, our overall Editors’ Choice option, offers comparable tools, it’s difficult to suggest Google Meet as a first choice if you’re searching for a standalone video conferencing solution. Google Meet might be all you need for your long-distance video chats and meetings if, on the other hand, your company has already standardized on Gmail and the other apps included with Google Workspace.
Google provides Meet as a free service, but when you subscribe to Google Workspace, you get access to more capabilities. Basic meeting features like polling, breakout rooms, noise cancellation, and conference recording are all unavailable in the free tier.
Google Meet is a browser-based application that may be used immediately. Be warned, though, that if you don’t use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, you may miss out on some features. For instance, even though both browsers allow virtual backdrops, when utilizing the same hardware, neither Firefox nor Safari can access the environments.
You can also use Google Calendar to invite a group of people if you utilize Google Workspace. You can choose to include Google Meet in the invitation once you’ve added an event. The “Start Meeting” link can also be set to automatically schedule a meeting in Google Calendar.
Google wants you to use Google Meet as a component of a larger Google Workspace interaction. Even yet, it still shows support for Microsoft Office retailers. Only Windows-based PCs can use a plug-in extension that enables you to create meetings straight from your Outlook calendar.
The video conferencing software from GoTo, which changed its name from LogMeIn in 2022, is called GoTo Meeting. To its credit, the program has significantly advanced recently, especially in terms of its user interface. An excellent balance between price and feature set is achieved by GoToMeeting.
GoTo Meeting deserves praise for supporting a variety of platforms. GoToMeeting clients are accessible for Android, Chrome OS, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows. GoTo Meeting provides a browser-based client, just like its rivals.
The process of starting a meeting is simple once you’ve made an account. The quickest method is to just click the Start button next to Meet Now. However, you should choose the Create Meeting option if you want to plan a meeting at a later time or if you wish to customize the meeting by choosing a custom URL and color scheme.
GoToMeeting gives you the option to share either your entire screen or a specific application, just like the majority of video conferencing applications. After sharing your screen, a presentation bar will show up. This provides you with personal controls to begin or stop recording, annotate the screen, and hide or reveal certain meeting components.
The capability to set virtual backgrounds is a feature that GoTo Meeting has long been without. GoTo has partially filled this void by offering a free license for the third-party tool ChromaCam Pro, which allows you to alter or blur your background without using a green screen. Nonetheless, we want to see this or a comparable technology incorporated into the main product, as it is with the majority of current competitors. Even Google Meet, which is solely browser-based, performs this task better.
If you don’t see an app that should be here, let us know what it is