If you've navigated today's available video conferencing options, you likely noticed that there are a variety of services, including free options. Free messaging tools have been around for many years, and several services integrate free video chat into their platforms. While in general, free video conference call services provide limited features, they can provide a simple solution to business communications needs.

Many businesses may initially balk at the idea of using a free service, often raising questions about quality and security. Can a business trust a free service to provide a reliable communications means? Are the exchanges secure, or is there a risk that data will be misused for marketing or other purposes? These are valid concerns, but ones that can be addressed by carefully evaluating the terms of service and the actual intended use of the video conferencing services.

How Video Conferencing Can Benefit Your Business

Video call apps and services add a dimension to collaboration and customer contact that can increase productivity and enhance customer experience. Many business benefits of video conferencing relate to collaboration. Today's businesses thrive through collaboration tools. Over the past decade, technology has revolutionized how people work together. Once, meetings were either in person or limited to telephone conferences. Video conferences required expensive equipment, and elaborate setups. Today, however, broadband internet service and effective but inexpensive tools allow for any office to experience the rich collaboration of video conferencing.

And, video conferencing is not a luxury or gimmick. Today's smart cameras can create an experience that comes shockingly close to recreating an in-person meeting. Virtual collaboration has benefits over email or text messaging-only collaboration. First, there are the cost benefits of remote video conferencing. Businesses that rely on in-person meetings for client presentations and collaboration can waste money on travel costs. There also is a time cost. When numerous schedules have to be coordinated, decision-making can be slowed down. Imagine the sales benefits of making a presentation happen immediately, rather than whenever schedules line up perfectly to enable a conversation. Video conferencing helps accelerate the process for both sales presentations and co-worker collaboration. The most pressing question, however, is can a free service provide the same level of rich interaction?

Free Video Conference Call Services

There are several free services for video conferencing. These include some platforms that are familiar to both workers and customers, such as Skype, Facebook, and Apple FaceTime. In addition, the Google Hangout service, while not something that has been adopted by many people, resides in the Google ecosystem which is comfortable to many users. For the most part, these services enable simple video conferencing, with limited features. A small, growing business may find these tools, however, to be a beneficial introduction to the world of video. 

For example, many businesses spend a considerable amount of time interacting with customers via social media platforms. One effective and inexpensive solution that increases connectivity is Facebook Live. This video function is one-way, but it still provides a rich experience from a customer standpoint. It can be used for product rollouts, sales demonstrations, or simply as a method of providing information and rich content to an audience of current and prospective customers. Facebook Live videos can be tagged as private, allowing only viewers who receive an invitation so that content can be tailored to a particular group. It also can be a basis for training videos and other forms of information sharing for a company, internally.

If a business is looking for interactivity in its video communications, Google Hangout's free video conferencing is effective and easy to use. Hangouts can be used for sales presentations, but its strength is in how it enables collaboration. Hangouts is part of G Suite, which provides a host of enterprise functions, from email to documents and collaboration tools.

While several free video solutions do not integrate with unified communications, Google Hangouts can be combined with unified communication as a service (UCaaS), such as the Virtual Contact Center offered by 8x8. With 8x8, employees can collaborate in a single environment, combining different tools such as phone calls, email, video conferencing, messaging, and customer relationship management. For a richer video experience, 8x8 offers premier video conferencing tools that can take business collaboration and presentation to the next level.

Collaboration is key to the success of any business. Easily collaborate from anywhere on any device using the most integrated video and audio conferencing with HD quality and instant screen sharing. Call 1-833-926-1162 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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