Choosing the best video conferencing depends on a lot of factors like how many people will be attending and what computer operating systems those people use. Additionally, you may want to choose a video conferencing company that allows upgrades to premium services so that your software programs can grow with your business. In general, video conferencing programs have less features and support than paid ones, but they can still be a valuable resource to a small business. Free video conferencing can also be used by families and friends to stay in touch when in-person interactions are not an option.
Free video conferencing programs typically do not allow more than 10 people to meet at once. Anywhere from two to six people is common, with more people allowable if the primary user upgrades to a paid service. This limitation can be a severe drawback or even a deal-breaker for a business, but it is usually perfect for non-business people like families and friends to stay in communication. If you need free video conferencing for around a dozen people or more, your options may be slim to none. The good news is that video conferencing is relatively inexpensive when paying for a service that supports less than two dozen people.
Some free video conferencing programs support only certain operating systems; for example, Apple®’s iChat® instant messaging and video program is designed only for the Mac OS®. The vast majority of free video conferencing programs are made for either Windows® or support all operating systems, including Linux®. Fewer free video conferencing programs are browser-based, meaning they do not have to be downloaded and installed. These can be useful if your employees use shared computers or an operating system that is not widely supported. They have specific downsides, however, like sometimes being more prone to connection hiccups than installed programs.
A particularly useful aspect of some free video conferencing programs is the ability to upgrade, gaining more features, and bigger rooms. Such programs can be used in preparation of company growth in months or years from the time you began using the service. This allows a smoother transition than making employees learn and become comfortable with new video conferencing systems. Some programs can be upgraded to allow literally hundreds of people to video conference at the same time. While usually expensive, these services often come with a lot of features free video conferencing software does not.