The best free video conferencing software for 2021

Jakub Sobczyk, Digital Marketing Specialist

Review the best free video conferencing software for 2021

Video conference online as a way of communication was known before the pandemic, while global popularity gained “thanks to” bans on social gatherings and leaving home. At that time, large corporations released their tools for free to schools and even to end users of services such as g-mail. Other companies have expanded their existing services to include communication capabilities to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the pandemic.You can read about how to get out unscathed during the crisis here.

If you want to know how to stay unscathed during the crisis, click here.

The development of videoconferencing as the most important form of communication during a pandemic has had other “positive” effects as well. In many homes, there are desks, additional monitors, external accessories for video calling and other items that are to facilitate remote work. In addition to software, hardware also had to be developed. A lot of dedicated equipment, microphones, cameras and other tools have been developed to make video communication more effective. There is even a joke that it was not the CEO, CTO or C that introduced many companies to the digitized world, but COvid 19.

1. Zoom

The American company has become synonymous for online conference – and Zoom is already an eponym. It does not require application installation, although due to high interest it is recommended by suppliers. The desktop version requires installation, but thanks to it we can count on a more stable connection and – in theory – more security.

The Pro version offers the possibility of broadcasting meetings on Facebook, Youtube and other platforms via the rtmp protocol. This allows you to reach a larger audience with interesting lectures.The best free video conferencing software for 2021

  • Account: yes
  • Installation: works better
  • Subscription: free with limitations
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android

2. Webex

In Cisco Webex, made available for free, you can hold conferences for up to 100 people, using such popular functions as screen sharing or chat.

Webex also gives the possibility of connecting by phone, which increases its availability. The application provides us with more options.

  • Account: no
  • Installation: works better
  • Subscription: free with limitations
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android

3. Microsoft Teams

Like other large technology companies, Microsoft Teams also offers a free version of the tool that allows us to organize an online conference. Teams offers a whole package of benefits associated with office 365. To use it, you need to register in the service, preferably using a Microsoft account. Teamsy became very popular during the pandemic because they were used in a large part of schools and educational establishments thanks to the license for education.

  • Account: yes
  • Installation: works better
  • Subscription: free with limitations
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android

4. Google Hangout

Google Hangouts is a prototype of Google Meet and until now has been available to all Gmail users. Hangouts puts more emphasis on chats between users, although of course it has the same features as Meet. Meet is now even promoted as Hangouts premium.

  • Account: Gmail account required
  • Installation: no desktop version
  • Subscription: no
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android, offers telephone (VOiP)

5. Google Meet

Available for free to Gmail users, previously open only for g-suits owners. Currently, Google Meet gives you the ability to create a meeting and invite users to it directly from Gmail in just two clicks. An interesting feature is the ability to share the screen. Thanks to Meet, we can also share not only cards in Chrome, but also the entire screen or a given application window. The advantage of this application is the speed of operation. The disadvantage is that it works best in Google Chrome, which can be unreliable.

A very interesting addition is the integration with Google Calendar – when the user adds dates to the calendar, it is possible to automatically start a meeting in Google Meet.

  • Account: Gmail account required
  • Installation: no desktop version
  • Subscription: free with limitations
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android

6. Skype

In the past, the undisputed king of online conference – today, not necessarily. It offers the ability to talk to several people at the same time. The great advantage of Skype is its reliability and support of the technology giant, which is Microsoft. Skype, thanks to its popularity, was used for television broadcasts.

What is very useful, Skype offers a chat.

  • Account: required
  • Installation: desktop version
  • Subscription: free with limitations
  • Other: limited functions known from other applications

7. Clickmeeting

A webinar tool that gives you the opportunity to conduct meetings. It requires no installation, making it more accessible. However, you have to register to use this solution. Clickmeeting has the option of screen sharing, presentation of materials, chat with users, an interactive whiteboard, surveys, questions and a panel for transmitting webinar in social media via the rmtp streaming protocol (higher subscription versions). In addition to planned webinars (single and reusable), it is possible to organize an ad-hoc meeting.

  • Account: required account with subscription
  • Installation: the desktop version makes it easier to run webinars, but does not affect the conference mode
  • Subscription: paid
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android, possibility of joining by phone

8. Starleaf

StarLeaf is a platform focused on business cooperation. It has applications for iOS, Android, MacOS and Windows. It offers the option of setting up a meeting only after downloading the application, which may be a problem. During installation, I received a message that e-mail addresses in the google domain, i.e. one of the most popular ones, have limitations in creating meetings, which in my opinion excludes it from the must-have application. In my opinion, it works poorly with the front camera of the iPhone.

  • Account: required account
  • Installation: application required to create events
  • Subscription: free plan with limitation
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android, possibility of joining by phone

9. FreeConference

The service offers a very quick possibility to create a video connection. Logging with gmail and facebook accounts makes it much easier to create rooms. After a few clicks and accepting access to the microphone and camera, you can talk. The application has a friendly interface.

A very pleasant surprise was the possibility to copy data to the room via the button: copy. It is one of my favorite elements of the website and it significantly improves usability. Inside the room you will find standard functions known from other applications. Whiteboard, screen sharing, and chat. A very interesting feature is the system test. If we use new equipment, or we do not have great digital competence, we are unsure of the connection, we can always check if everything works. The application has versions for Windows, Linux, macOs, iOs, Android and provides a plug for Outlook.

Account: required account

  • Installation: browser version works without installation
  • Subscription: required
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android, possibility of joining by phone

10. Whereby

The Whereby app offers login via Gmail and Apple account. After the room is set up quickly, you can start the meeting. The interface looks friendly. An interesting feature is the ability to work in PIP mode. Whereby offers screen sharing, recording, chat as well as an interesting feature of creating personalized room names with url. The application offers the possibility of integration with Google, Trello, Youtube and the Miro application for creating whiteboards.

  • Account: required account
  • Installation: not required
  • Subscription: free plan with limitation
  • Other: apps available on most devices, including iOS and Android, possibility of joining by phone

11. LiveWebinar

LiveWebinar is an easy-to-use platform that does not require downloading and installing anything and to join the room you just need to click on the link. The creators of LiveWbinar emphasize that they have taken great care to protect data privacy and the general issue of user safety. What distinguishes the platform is the ability to personalize solutions – you can adjust everything to your needs and expectations.

  • Account: yes
  • Installation: no
  • Subscription: free use of video conferencing for max. 5 people
  • Other: several different types of subscriptions are available; the platform works on most browsers and on all devices (PC, mobile, even smartTV)

Review the best 10 video conferencing software for 2021

 

Conclusion

If I were to choose one of the best free video conferencing software for 2021, the choice would not be obvious.

Most of these tools offer very similar functions. The quality of connections is comparable and depends on several factors not directly related to the platform, such as the type of internet and equipment on both sides (cameras, microphones and displays). The choice of platform is best made dependent on … integration with other tools. If you have an Android phone, it is worth going to Google tools, if you use Office 365, Skype and Teams may be a reasonable solution. If you have a team of people with different levels of technical sophistication, use the simplest one.

After a year in the pandemic reality, a lot has changed in terms of video conferencing technologies. There are even research papers on the mental health effects of videoconferencing. Therefore, it is worth using the tools that provide the best connection quality, a very good image and the functions that we currently need.

Good luck with the best free video conferencing software for 2021!

Jakub Sobczyk

Jakub Sobczyk

Digital Marketing Specialist

E-marketing specialist with 5 years of experience in the cultural and SME sector. Digital competence trainer specializing in working with adults. Active in non-governmental organizations dealing with digital exclusion and equal opportunities. Master of management, sailing instructor and culture animator. At work, he likes non-standard solutions and good coffee. Additionally: if you are looking for a cable, he probably has it – IT guy. Privately, he spends time reading books, playing chess with his wife, drinking coffee and riding a bicycle with a dog.

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