Trying to find the best web conferencing software can be a daunting task. There are many different options for video conferencing in the UK, and many factors to take into consideration.
As you weigh up different platforms and search for the best web conferencing software, you’ll want to think about what tools are most important to you and your business. For example, you might be really keen to have a mobile app for your web conferencing. Or maybe you really value moderator tools.
Different organisations have different needs and priorities. If you’re teaching remotely, for example, it’s likely that sophisticated and powerful moderator controls will rank highly on your list. Professional teams, research groups and study groups might be looking for the web conferencing platforms with the best collaboration tools.
Or if you have a group of participants with varying technical abilities or Internet-access, your search might be narrower. Maybe you focus on web conferencing platforms which provide great dial-in options. That way, people can call into your web conference using their telephone.
Clearly, choosing the best web conferencing software is not a simple task. But to try to make things a bit simpler for you, we’ve compared some of the top UK video conferencing services. If you want a super clear and concise summary, check out the table we’ve put together below. Otherwise, read on for a comparison of the best web conferencing software for small business in the UK.
Security: a universal priority for the best web conferencing software
At least, it is from a user point of view. No matter what the purpose of your video conference, the right tools and services pale in comparison to the importance of knowing that your privacy is being safeguarded. Teachers need to protect themselves and their students. Businesses need to guard intellectual property, sensitive financial information, any customer details that might be discussed during meetings, and much more. Even if you’re using web conferencing software to have a catch up with friends or family – as we’ve all been doing much more during the coronavirus lockdown – nobody wants their personal details or private conversations leaked or sold to the highest bidder.
As you shop for the best web conferencing for small business, security should be front of mind. Sadly, several popular conferencing platforms don’t share in this sentiment. However, this is an area in which Call.Group really shines. In fact, our web conferencing software was conceived especially in response to a clear need for a video conference platform that was built with security in mind, and put users’ privacy first every step of the way.
Call.Group’s security measures
All of our call require a secure PIN to join, adding an extra layer of protection. What’s more, the calls won’t start until the Host has joined, meaning you stay in control. Plus, you can remove any guests who shouldn’t be in the meeting.
Our servers are in UK datacentres with high-level security: we’re talking strict ISO and PCI DSS security frameworks. Physical access to the servers is heavily restricted. Remote connection by our technical administrators is carefully controlled with key exchange.
With hop-by-hop encryption, you’ll have extra confidence that nobody can listen in – essentially, we scramble the signals, making eavesdropping impossible. All information that flows between participants’ devices will be encrypted whilst in transit. So if somebody somehow managed to intercept communications, they would make no sense. Nobody will be in the know but you.
The best web conferencing software should be accessible
Obviously this is a vital consideration. If your participants can’t get into the call, what use are the swankiest of web conferencing softwares and tools? The type of accessibility required will, of course, depend on your guests and the technology which they are willing and able to use.
At Call.Group, we aim to cater for all groups. That’s why our web conferences can be accessed both through the Internet from a desktop or laptop, and by dialling in from your telephone. We also provide a mobile app.
We know that’s not a totally unique offering. However, many popular providers fall short when it comes to providing good dial-in solutions.
Those who can’t use the web conferencing software should be able to join via telephone
For example, while many find Zoom’s free version satisfactory, it doesn’t include any kind of dial-in option. To give the option to join your Zoom calls via telephone, you’d need to be on one of the paid plans. These begin at £11.99 per month per host and range up to Enterprise, which begins at £1,599.
All numbers are (by definition) not equal
Mathematically, that’s a pretty obvious statement. But we’re talking specifically about telephone numbers here. There are many different categories of telephone number. Different ones will create different expenses for the people dialling them.
Even if you’re paying for a subscription with Zoom, though, your dial-in number will be one which every participant has to pay to use. Essentially, you’d be charging your guests just to attend the meeting. In order to get a toll-free number, you’ll have to pay an extra fee for an add-on Audio Plan. That begins at £100 per month.
This isn’t a quirk unique to Zoom. GoToMeeting also charges hosts for toll-free dial-in numbers. If you opt for Microsoft Teams, you’ll have to buy the Microsoft 365 Business Voice package. Prices start at £7.50 for the basic version.
Maybe one of your requirements to be crowned best web conferencing software for small business is that the calls can be accessed from guests’ telephones (without them having to pay to take part in your virtual meeting). If that’s you, you’ll be on the look-out for web conferencing platforms which include toll-free numbers in the price of your subscription. Otherwise, you’ll have additional costs to factor into your calculations. You might end up having to re-think your whole budget either to cover the costs your callers are incurring, or to pay for add-ons to avoid these costs.
Luckily, there are web conferencing platforms in the UK which do offer toll-free numbers within their plans. ClickMeeting offers them on all of their paid plans, which begin at £20 per month. You could also consider PowWowNow, who provide subscribers to their paid plans with 03 numbers.
03 is the magic number
That’s what Call.Group offers, too. 03 numbers are a really great option. According to Ofcom rules they have to be charged in the same way as standard UK landline numbers. For most people dialling on a UK network, these calls are included in the bundled minutes which they are given as part of their contract with their network provider. Essentially, that means that the call doesn’t cost them a penny. If they don’t have any bundled minutes available, the call will only cost the same as a call to a standard UK landline. But unlike using a standard landline number, with an 03 number you aren’t sacrificing the prestige and anonymity of a non-geographic number. 03 numbers aren’t tied to any specific location.
If you want your web conferencing software to be easy and free for your guests to join from a UK landline or mobile, then you should search for a conference platform that offers 03 dial-in numbers.
Web conferencing softwares with mobile apps
If you have colleagues or employees who don’t want to use a computer, but do have access to the Internet, then you’ll want conferencing software with a mobile app. That way, they can join the meeting from anywhere (even if that’s still from the safety and comfort of their sofa for the time being), without being tied to clunkier hardware or needing access to a computer.
Unsurprisingly, mobile applications for web conferences are a very sought-after feature. Their popularity means that they aren’t too hard to come by. In fact, most online conferencing platforms have created some form of mobile-friendly app. It was certainly something high on our priority list as we developed Call.Group. As a result, we have a nifty app which we’re really proud of. And it’s the perfect tool for hosts and guests alike.
With the app, you’ll be able to conference with audio and video from your mobile or tablet. You can also join quickly and easily by simply selecting the desired conference room name and entering the PIN. A really handy feature is the calendar integration and reminder notifications, which will mean you never forget a virtual meeting.
Know your limits
An important consideration on your quest for the best web conferencing software is the limits which different platforms impose. Here again, you know your own needs. Limits that might be too restrictive for some companies or organisations might be sufficient for others. The important thing is to be realistic about how many people will need to join your conference calls, and for how long, as you choose your web conference platform.
Call.Group’s offering ranks as rather generous in this area. Our conference rooms accommodate up to 100 participants, and 2 separate conference rooms custom-built for conferences and presentations respectively.
On the other hand, as many people know, Zoom imposes a 40 minute limit on free conference calls. If you pay for one of the subscription plans, your limit will increase to 24 hours.
While ClickMeeting makes no mention of duration limits, it has quite a small allowance when it comes to participants. Only 25 can join with their audio, while video participants are limited to just 4. PowWowNow allows up to 50 people to use the Web Meeting room features as passive guests. Only up to 20 people can join using their computer’s audio and video.
If you need much larger meetings, you might be interested in using Microsoft Teams. It has an upper limit of 10,000. GoToMeeting also has spacious virtual conference rooms. It allows 150 on its Professional plan (which costs £11 per user per month). 250 participants on Business (£15/user/month). 3,000 on Enterprise (which has no listed price).
Who’s running the show?
Another sort of limit is how many people have control of your conferences, and of your web conferencing account. This is really important for many small businesses looking for web conferencing solutions. For example, if your meetings involve many team leaders or project leads, they might all need access to moderator functions at different times throughout the call. You might also want to allow colleagues to schedule their own conference calls with their own teams, but through one central account. There are all kinds of reasons and situations in which having multiple organisers or moderators is crucial. Make sure you bear this in mind as you whittle down the best web conferencing software for small businesses.
When you’re reviewing your options, bear in mind that there can be some confusion in differing terminology, or different definitions for the same term across different web conferencing platforms. We can’t account for how different video conferencing softwares label or define different roles. But we can lay out the definitions relevant for Call.Group.
At Call.Group we use two separate terms to refer to two separate roles and functions. Many other providers do not differentiate between these.
Organiser – an individual registered on the Call.Group website or somebody who has been added to a Call.Group account by the account-holder and given permission to create / edit / delete conference rooms in that account.
Moderator – an individual who has control of the meeting and access to particular features of calls in particular modes (e.g. camera and microphone in Presentation Rooms). This person need not have an account or be added to one by an account-holder. Instead, they gain the moderator role and thus access to moderator features simply by joining using the Moderator PIN. Other participants use a separate Guest PIN. It is up to the organisers who they choose to share each PIN with.
The rationale behind the control we allow over our web conferencing platform
We make this distinction because we know that sometimes different people need to moderate a meeting, but won’t necessarily lead every meeting. For example, it might be a temporary collaboration with another company. Or it might be somebody who has been placed in charge of a particular project. Account-holders can retain control and protect their privacy and security, without having to moderate – or even attend – every meeting.
Essentially, that means that the number of potential moderators is unlimited. Anyone that you share the Moderator PIN with can moderate any of the unlimited meetings you hold.
What about other UK web conference providers?
With some other web conferencing software, things aren’t as easy or flexible. For example, Zoom subscription fees are in direct proportion to the number of ‘Hosts’ (to use the platform’s terminology). As mentioned, the cost for the cheapest plan is £11.99 per month per host. The more hosts you add, the more you will have to pay.
ClickMeeting only allows 3 organisers on the account, and only 2 moderators on the call. And with GoToMeeting, to have multiple users you’d need to subscribe to either the Business (£15 per user per month) or Enterprise (unlisted) plans. Again, you would also be paying per user.
Be the star of your own show with custom branding in your web conferencing software
Your brand is a huge part of getting your small business off the ground. You want to become recognisable and make a name for yourself. Your brand projects what you’re all about. You want clients and partners alike to see your logo, even your general aesthetic, and know who they’re dealing with. Even better, they should be inspired with confidence and trust. All of this is crucial to building a loyal customer-base, and to attracting investors, partners and even employees.
At Call.Group, we know how much time, effort, and money goes into building powerful brands. That’s why we want to let you put yours front and centre. We believe this is a key part of providing the best web conferencing software for small business in the UK and beyond.
What about with other providers?
Other video conferencing softwares might deem custom branding to be just for bigger businesses, as they tend to place it on their pricier plans, which generally require more users. With Zoom you’d have to be on either the Business or the Enterprise plan (Business: £15.99/month/host. starting at 10 hosts for £159/month; Enterprise: £15.99/month/host, starting at 100 hosts for £1,599/month/host). ClickMeeting doesn’t offer custom branding on any of its pre-packaged plans. Instead, you’d have to sign up to the Enterprise plan, which has no listed price. Meanwhile, Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting don’t offer any kind of custom-branding option, and it is not mentioned on PowWowNow’s site, either.
The best web conferencing software for UK businesses should make meeting minutes effortless with easy conference recording
The ability to record your conference calls is a really important feature for businesses. If you’re part of a UK business looking for the best web conferencing software, make sure that this is on your list of requirements. It’s not as simple as finding out whether different platforms check this box or not, though. While conference recording itself is a powerful tool, different web conferencing softwares offer it slightly differently.
More casual users might not be as keen to have permanent copies of their catch-ups and virtual pub quizzes. That’s why, rather than including these features in our base price, Call.Group offers it as an add-on feature. That way we can offer an affordable web conferencing platform for personal use, and tailor-made, more feature-heavy versions for professional use.
This falls in line with trends in the web conferencing software market. For both video and audio recording with all the mentioned platforms, you have to subscribe to a paid plan.
Consider how many recordings you’ll need
But it isn’t just about whether platforms offer this function. You might also want to think about what limits they place on how much you can record, or how much can be stored. If you want all your meetings, lessons, or pitches to be available to participants further down the line, you might need a decent amount of storage.
Zoom only allows 1GB as standard. If you need any more, you’d have to purchase additional memory. With ClickMeeting, you would have 6 hours of recording time available on the £20 monthly option, while those paying £30 monthly have their storage upped to 10 hours. Microsoft Teams offers unlimited recording storage if you subscribe to OneDrive and have at least 5 users on the account. GoToMeeting seemingly only stores recordings for those on the pricier Business or Enterprise plans. Again, every organisation has different needs, budgets and practices, so think about your own requirements as you search for the best web conferencing software.
Find a web conferencing software built with the customer in mind
Create your perfect, tailor-made web conferencing platform
At Call.Group, we really believe you know best. You know what you want, what you need, and what will be useful to your participants. That’s why we try to allow as much flexibility as possible in our web conferencing software.
We offer several features as add-ons, so that people who wouldn’t use them aren’t paying for them. Audio and video recording are two examples we’ve already mentioned. We also offer capacity add-ons, to let users who have larger teams add more rooms to an account or more participants to join a room.
Not only are we flexible in what’s included in our plan, we even let you tailor each room as you wish. For example, if you only need recordings of one group’s meetings, you don’t have to pay to give your whole organisation the ability to record. Instead, you can simply pay to have the recording function added onto one room – or as many as you would like. Likewise, if most of your meetings will be within the standard threshold of participants, you can pay to increase the capacity of only one room.
Earn from what you love: the web conferencing software that gives back
With most web conferencing software, if you’re satisfied with the platform then that’s your reward – your satisfaction. But at Call.Group, we want to give something back, and to satisfy as many people as possible.
That’s why we offer a generous ‘Refer A Friend’ scheme to all of our users. It’s really simple. In fact, it allows users to earn back money for doing something they would often have always done.
Here’s how it works. If you’re happy with our video conferencing software, you might want to recommend it to friends, family, colleagues or other companies you’ve collaborated with. If you do, you can save yourself a bundle!
Essentially, for every referral you make that results in a monthly plan sign-up, you’ll get an entire month free for your whole Call.Group plan. If somebody you recommend Call.Group to subscribes to an annual plan, you’ll get two months free!
The best web conferencing software for small businesses in the UK: the title is yours to award
Ultimately, no two small businesses are the same, just as no two web conferencing softwares are the same. It’s important that before you begin your search, you’re clear on your own needs and specifications. you need some help to figure out what different features are available, and what you should prioritise, hopefully this guide can give you some pointers and get you thinking. If you already know your requirements, then this handy breakdown should help you make the right choice for you.
We have carefully crafted Call.Group to meet the needs of small businesses in the UK and further afield, taking into account their uniqueness. That’s why we offer flexibility as well as functionality. And most of all, that’s why we put security front and centre. We know the value of what you do, and we want to ensure that it’s protected.
To collaborate efficiently and with peace of mind, try out Call.Group’s web conferencing software today.