Cheap Video Conferencing Software – Compare Options and Pricing
The most affordable video conferencing software cost around $22 – $35 a month and allows between 25-125 participants at a time.
Video conferencing is a product where there can be a massive price differential between the most basic cheap options on the market and the large-scale enterprise solutions. For people in small businesses who might need video conferencing for simple, one-on-one conferences, there is a multitude of free solutions available. For corporate solutions geared towards holding larger video conferences with a number of additional features, the prices can easily range up to $5000 or more. The feature set and the number of people that can be included in a given conference will be the primary factors affecting pricing.
Features that may increase the cost of video conferencing packages include:
- The ability to record video conferences
- Screen sharing capabilities
- Options for blended conferences that include video and teleconferencing
- Toll-free numbers for people to join via telephone
- Support for multiple languages
- Cloud storage of video conference recordings
- Whiteboard features
The more of these that a given program has, especially when combined with the capability to have larger conferences, the more a license for a given program is going to cost. It is also important to note that in many cases, you are going to need to purchase a license for everyone in your organization that needs to utilize the software, something that will play a factor in how much the software costs.
Support contracts can also affect the pricing of video conferencing software. There are cases where you can add on extended service to ensure round-the-clock support in case you ever have an issue during a video conference that you need to be resolved in short order.
What is Video Conferencing?
Video conferencing, also known as web conferencing, is a category of software that allows the user to set up video conferences with as many attendees as they require. Most of these programs allow you the option of enabling or disabling the video portion of the conference, so you can choose to participate with audio only if you desire. Normally though, the participants will use the webcam for their computer so that they can be seen at the conference, and more importantly, so they can see the presenter.
Popular companies affordable offering video conferencing software are:
- Adobe Connect
- Onstream Meetings
In some conferencing software when a large group of people are attending, the only person with video-enabled might be the presenter. They can then either speak directly to their audience or choose to share their screen to make a demonstration instead. In smaller meetings, all the parties might choose to be visible, bringing the electronic experience as close to an in-person meeting as possible.
Video conferencing software can also be used to conduct working sessions. In some programs, you can pass control of a computer to another participant so they can assist you with a task or demonstrate something directly on your machine, rather than having you try to replicate it after having it verbally described. Other programs have recording and sharing capabilities so you can record, edit, and share conference proceedings either publicly or privately. This type of tool might be used, for example, for someone to record a webinar and then publish it to social media after its completion.
What to Look for in Low Cost Video Conferencing?
When you’re shopping for web-conferencing software, it is very important to define your needs beforehand. If you only need to hold small meetings with teams of a few people, there are many low-cost or even free products that will be more than adequate for your needs. For people hosting large-scale online workshops or seminars however, a much more advanced package is required.
The most common things to consider when buying Video Conferencing Software are:
- Number of Participants at One Time
- Presenter Tools (polling, control passing, screen shoots)
- Participant Tools (code requirements, toll-free calling, download requirements)
- Teleconferencing (optional feature)
- Web Conference Features such as mobile enabling, breakout rooms, and cloud storage.
- Monthly Price
Beyond the simple capacity of the software, you need to consider the technical features that you require. If you’re creating content while holding these conferences, then recording and storage capabilities should be on the top of your shopping list. If you are using web conferencing for collaboration or team meetings on the other hand, then screen sharing, passing control of a computer, and whiteboard capabilities are much more important.
File exchange is another consideration when shopping for web conferencing software, especially if you’re using the program for team collaboration. Make sure that you have adequate file-sharing capabilities, as it is much easier to share files as you discuss them within the conference interface than to have to involve a third-party program to pass along the required files. Make sure, for instance, that there are no file size limitations on sharing in the program that would be limited in your work environment, as this can sometimes be the case in low-priced options.
Bargain Video Conferencing Companies with Discounted Prices?
When shopping for video conferencing, remember that for small applications you can keep your costs extremely economical by looking into some of the low-cost or no-cost options available. Programs like Skype allow basic video conferencing for free, but if you need more a more robust feature set, either of these companies will have a product that meets your needs.
Cisco WebEx: WebEx from Cisco is one of the most well-known names in web conferencing, and is a frequent choice for enterprise and institutional customers because of its reliability and flexibility. There is a bargain-free version available, or the more robust premium plans. Premium plan fees are charged based on how many people can be accommodated in a meeting, starting at the inexpensive Premium 8 version which accommodates up to 8 people in a conference for the price of $24 per month. Discounted rate are available for customers willing to pay for a year-long license upfront.
Skype for Business: We’ve already mentioned the free version of Skype, but there is also a paid version for business. This provides the strength of the Skype brand with a feature package suited to business clients. The software includes the ability to share via social media and to hold conferences with up to 250 people. Licenses can start at as little as $2.40 per month per license for large companies.
Almost all video conferencing options have free demos. It’s difficult to know which program will work best in your office environment based on the descriptions alone, so try the demo programs until you find the option that is the best fit for you.