Alternatives for zoom: Technology has become a formidable tool in the growth of economies, businesses, careers, and everything you could ever think of. One could boldly say we wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything at all without technology. One sweet thing about technology is that it brings people together.
Well, that’s one of its goals anyway.
One out of the numerous inventions of modern day technology is the ability to make phone calls to people thousands of leagues away from our location, and it’ll be so clear and glitch-free. Not cool enough? Well, for human wants which will forever remain insatiable, Video-calling was introduced and you’ll agree with me that it’s a huge win for technologists.
Yes, it’s an amazing feature but do you know one can do more with this invention? Originally, this feature only allows for a two-party video calling but presently, we have an application that allows a video and audio conferencing service. This phenomenon is called ZOOM.
Zoom is a video-audio application developed by Eric Yuan, a Chinese engineer and CEO of Zoom Video communications. The application enables you to host online meetings and conferences and allows up to 100 participants simultaneously, with time restriction of about forty minutes via its free plan. As cool and widely accommodating this offer sounds, users are also provided with the choice to enhance its usage by subscribing to a paid plan which is split into a quadruple.
The first paid plan is the PRO plan. This plan is best for Small teams. Subscription costs $149.90 per year which gives an opportunity to host 100 participants, Increase participants up to 1000 with Large Meetings add-on, group meetings for up to 30 hours, social media streaming and 1gb cloud recording.
Secondly, The Business Plan. This plan is great for Small and Medium businesses. It costs $199.90 per year, hosts participants to the tune of 300, records transcripts, Manages domains, Single sign-on enabled, Participants can be added up to 1000 with large meetings add on, company branding and more features.
Zoom united business comes next, with $350 per year comes with phone and meetings packages. Where there’s unlimited calling with global select, optional add on(this feature enables users to add unlimited calling in up to 18 other countries), host meetings up to 300 participants, recording of transcripts, company branding, managed domains, single sign on.
Finally, the Enterprise plan which comes with unlimited cloud storage, dedicated customer success manager, hosts up to 500 participants, records transcripts and more.
Zoom happens to be the most used video-audio application in the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of organizations took massive advantage of this application. It helped massively in curbing the spread of the deadly virus.
Zoom is an efficient video-audio software, no doubt, but as good as it could be, we can’t turn a blind eye to its shortcomings
In spite of the fact that Zoom gives top notch features such as high quality video and audio, display up to 25 video windows per screen, one click start to join meetings, availability on desktop, laptop and mobile devices, sharing of screens and hosting of real-time video conversation, hosting of virtual office hours, remote collaboration on research, participation in group video chat during online class sessions, ability to record to cloud or computer for easy sharing within 3 months, its limitations should not be overlooked. These limitations are
Too many add-ons and subscriptions
Clearly, zoom is subscription based software priced fairly at starter levels, but one subscription seems not enough. Most of their plans demand an extra subscription that has more than one category based on the number of participants you plan for. Though the starter plans are priced reasonably, larger plans are debatable. For example, one would spend more on subscription monthly, if hosting more than 5,000 participants. This somewhat looks like a radical example since attendance does not need to be that large for webinars, and one can easily make the money for subscription back if one is famous enough. However, the outrageous price will not make small businesses thrive. Hence making their subscription not flexible enough.
A major criticism of zoom is its privacy and corporate data sharing policies, also licensing video hosts to potentially breach the privacy of those participating in their calls. Issues also arose as regards an unauthorized surveillance of students, violation of students’ rights as against the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Another limitation zoom has is the assessment tool. Zoom does not have a testing or examination tool. If as a teacher, you want to give your students graded assessment, you’ll have to resort to other tools such as Canvas.
Encryption limitation also seems to be a setback for zoom, as it encrypts its public data streams to protect signaling and streaming media. Zoom has been highly rebuked for its lack of transparency and meager encryption practices. Initially, zoom claimed to use an end to end encryption while marketing their software, but later demystified that it meant “zoom to zoom endpoint” which means the encryption is effective between zoom servers and zoom clients, which experts described as deceptive.
Taking a critical look at the above setbacks, it’s safe to want to look for alternatives that will help meet shortcomings of zoom.
Below is a list of alternatives to zoom that has got various features needed to manage your video-audio conferencing.
GoToMeeting is a web-hosted software designed by LogMeIn. An online video-audio meeting, desktop sharing software package that allows users to connect with various computer users, clients and customers, friends and acquaintances, and family through the internet.
This software is fashioned to broadcast the desktop view of the host computer to a group of other computer users connected to the host through an internet connection. Unlike zoom, GoToMeeting offers transmission protection with high security encryption and optional passwords, which can be achieved by combination of a web hosted subscription service installed on the host computer. With this, transmissions can be passed via highly restrictive firewalls.
GoToMeeting has 3 standard plans which excludes the free plan
The Professional plan costs $14 monthly ($12monthly if you pay for a year), and allows 150 participants. It has basic video meeting features such as HD video, screen sharing, web audio, unlimited meetings and so on. Mobile and security compliance features are also not left out
The Business plan costs $19($16 monthly if you pay for a year) per month and can take up to 250 participants at once. It has all the features of the professional plan and even more, which justifies the price difference. Examples of such features are unlimited cloud recording, transcription, co-organizing, smart assistance and many more.
The Enterprise plan allows for a custom, it allows you to set your preferred features and participators. This plan allows for up to 3000 participants at a go, it also gives custom rates & bundled savings on webinars, room solutions, and phones. Enterprise plan allows all features of GoToMeeting software which the business and professional plan do not offer.
Yet an Amazing video conferencing software that can be used in lieu of zoom is CiscoWebex. Its basic features include online meetings, team messaging and file sharing. CiscoWebex users can join video meetings either from a desktop computer or a mobile application. A web version is also available, but with limited features. This service is aided by Cisco Webex Meetings and Webex Teams apps.
Cisco Webex has this personal room feature that users can customize, schedule meetings or can be left open for extemporaneous meetings. It also allows users to schedule meetings from Webex Teams, join Webex meetings from teams or go ahead with conversations in teams after a meeting has already ended.
This application also has 3 pricing plans apart from its free/ basic plan which has a 30 day free trial of Webex Meetings, supports up to 200 participants, unlimited HD video meeting, screen sharing and personal meeting room.
The starter pack cost $13.50 per host/per month and is suitable for small teams and individuals. It takes up to 50 participants, gives 5gb of cloud storage, has 1-9 host licenses and offers customer phone support during business hours.
Next is the PLUS plan, at a cost of $17.95 per host/month, subscribers get up to 100 participants , 5gb of cloud storage space, 1-50 host licenses, and customer phone support for 24/7. This package is suitable for mid-sized teams.
Finally, the Business plan. The best for bigger meetings and premium support for large teams. With $26.95 per host/month, it gives up to 200 participants, 10gb of cloud storage, 5-100 host licenses and 24/7 customer phone support service.
This is another great alternative to zoom. UberConference is a practical, easy to use and set up software that helps stay connected with friends, clients and colleagues via online meetings and conference calls.
This phenomenon makes it easy for users to schedule appointments, conduct research, join trending and important discussions through a computer or mobile phone, wherever, whenever. Its ability to record calls makes it an important and a must have application. It also synchronizes excellently with other tools such as google calendar and the likes. The transcript part of UberConference also makes it accurate. It’s highly helpful and saves you from taking notes.
Launched in May 2012 at TechCrunch Disrupt, UberConference has been very effective and efficient. It boasts millions of users and was developed by teams that designed Google Voice and Yahoo, it is no doubt a perfect alternative to zoom.
UberConference has just one plan asides it’s FREE plan. The free plan allows up to 10 users and a maximum conference duration of 45 minutes, allows unlimited conferences, screen sharing, call recording, HD audio, mobile apps, and HD Video.
The Business plan however costs $15 per organizer, takes up to 100 users and enables international access. Maximum conference duration for about 5 hours, team management portal, voice intelligence, international access to over 50 countries and many more amazing features.
Unarguably, Zoom is the most used and widely accepted video conferencing software in the world, it’s user-friendly interface is one of the features that place it above its competitors, but we cannot deny that it has its shortcomings too. A cogent reason why we should seek alternatives to help meet our video conferencing needs.