With the sudden surge of working from home and online schooling, Zoom has its time to shine.
This video communication platform has been life-saving for many businesses and schools. However, several users have experienced some hiccups in security, leaving people searching for a more robust and reliable Zoom alternative.
Today, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about Zoom, its most popular video conference solutions, pros and cons, and Zoom alternatives.
Please note that this Zoom alternatives post covers a technology which is always changing and evolving. This post reflects the most accurate information as of July 2020.
Table of Contents
- What is Zoom?
- Zoom Meeting vs. Webinar Features
- Zoom Pros and Cons
- Recent Zoom Security Threats
- Secure Zoom Alternatives
- Video Conferencing with Zoom vs. Live Streaming
- Dacast vs. Zoom
- Why Dacast?
- Other Zoom Alternatives
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a professional video communication software that is comparable to Skype. It is most commonly associated with its conference call capabilities that work perfectly for remote team collaboration.
Zoom integrates with an array of tools, such as Google Drive, Salesforce, Facebook, and more, which makes it a useful tool for business owners.
There are four solutions offered by Zoom, including Meetings and Chats, Rooms and Workspaces, Phone System and Video Webinar.
Integrations make the Zoom experience more pleasant. Zoom actually has a built-in app store that allows users to integrate hundreds of apps with just a few clicks.
Since Zoom is a conferencing tool rather than a broadcasting tool, it has a cap on the number of people who can tune in at a time.
Is Zoom Free?
Zoom has a free version that comes with a few basic video conferencing features, but the more advanced plans start at around $15/month.
For professional webinar hosting and video conferencing, expect to pay.
Is Zoom Free to Download?
The Zoom app is totally free to download. In fact, your attendees don’t have to pay a penny. As the host, your package covers its use.
Free and basic plans can host up to 100 participants, and the most advanced plan can host up to 1000 participants.
Is Zoom Better than Facetime?
Although Facetime has finally added group calling capabilities, it is far from a professional video conference service.
Other than a few funny filters, Facetime is nothing more than a simple video chatting tool. Therefore, if you’re looking to host video conferences, Zoom is the way to go.
Do I Need to Install Zoom to Join a Meeting?
You do not need to install Zoom to join a meeting, but having the app is helpful since Zoom is not supported on all browsers.
If you are concerned about using prepaid data or your internet is slow, you can tune into a Zoom call with your cell phone. Zoom invites come with multiple numbers to call, so choose the one that best suits you and dial-in.
When you dial into a Zoom call, you will only be able to access the audio portion of the call. You will not be able to see presenters, shared screens, or chats.
We recommend downloading the Zoom app for the best experience.
How Does Zoom Work?
WebRTC is an open-source technology that works alongside the platforms of Zoom and other peer-to-peer conferencing tools to bring video chat to life.
Unfortunately, relying on WebTRC brings some limitations. WebTRC relies on the broadband of each participant to keep the video chat running smoothly. Issues begin when there are more than just a couple of participants on a call.
Users often experience lagging video and choppy audio which becomes distracting and frustrating.
Zoom Meeting vs. Webinar
As their names imply, Zoom Meetings is used for hosting small internal meetings and Zoom Webinars is used to host webinars.
These two solutions serve different purposes, so they have unique features.
Zoom Webinar Features
The Zoom Webinar solution comes with an array of useful features. They are geared towards making hosting easy and giving viewers a top-notch experience.
Here’s what it includes:
- Up to 1000 live participants
- Recording tools
- On-demand access to past broadcasts
- Wide range of reporting and analytics
- Attendee polls
- Live broadcasting
- Live streaming to Youtube
- Host controls
- Event assistance
- Customer support
- Brand customization
What sets Zoom apart from similar platforms is that it provides you with the tools to put on a professional live event while offering the support you need to make it happen.
Zoom Meeting Features
The Zoom Meeting features are a little more basic, but this is to be expected since this solution serves a different purpose.
Here’s what you get with Zoom Meetings and Chats:
- Up to 100 life participants
- Collaboration tools (screen sharing, annotation, chat tool)
- Live streaming to Youtube
- Basic security features
- Attendee waiting rooms
- Group chat with a 10-year archive
- Email and calendar integrations
- Meeting recording capabilities
- Participants can tune in by app or by phone
- Virtual backgrounds
- File sharing in chat
- Integrates with professional collaboration tools
This spread of features is perfect for hosting remote team meetings.
Zoom Pros and Cons
Much like post platforms, Zoom comes with a few pros and cons. These are important to consider.
Please keep in mind that the importance of certain features is determined by your business’s individual needs.
- Free plans available
- Screen share options
- Call recording
- High-quality video and audio
- Admin controls
- Group chat capabilities
- Useful testing features
- Capped at 100 participants for Free and Basic Versions
- The recent exposure to security threats
- Internet speed limitations (slow internet and a broadband connection can worsen user experience)
- No white-label options
- Limited privacy settings
Recent Zoom Security Issues
Since Zoom calls are usually accessed by links, anybody who has a call’s link can join in. Unfortunately, students have begun sharing private links to their virtual learning conference on social media. Strangers have been getting onto conference calls with these young people and behaving inappropriately.
Students, parents, and teachers have been frustrated with the abrupt switch to online schooling, and these shenanigans have made things more difficult for all parties involved.
While stopping the issue from its source would be ideal, it is difficult to control the behavior of children outside of the classroom, especially when it’s difficult to identify who is sharing the links. Due to restrictions on Zoom’s security and privacy settings, it is difficult to block this from happening.
This “security issue” is not necessarily an inherent flaw of Zoom, but it is something that needs to be worked around when it comes to distance learning. Many organizations have begun to seek Zoom alternatives.
Secure Zoom Alternatives
In light of the recent issues with the platform’s security, many businesses and organizations are seeking secure Zoom alternatives.
A professional streaming solution is a great alternative to Zoom. Investing in a live streaming platform—as opposed to a live meeting application—comes with tons of perks. Live streaming tools are usually more secure and give you more control over your content.
Video Conferencing with Zoom vs. Live Streaming
As we mentioned, Zoom has many different solutions and functionalities. Though it has many uses, it has recently been used to facilitate remote meetings and online learning. Although Zoom’s video conferencing is one way to carry out these events, it is not the only way.
Live streaming comes with an array of benefits that makes it superior to video conferencing in some situations.
Live streaming is often more one-ended rather than interactive. People may be able to interact in a chatbox, but they can’t join in on the stream which is a possibility for video conferences. Chats are more easily controlled than a person who starts speaking to your audience out of turn.
Video conferencing is great for meetings where people are invited to chime in, but for classes and instructional sessions, live streaming is a more viable option. With recent advancements, Zoom has created an option for live streaming meetings or webinars using a custom service that would integrate with the Zoom platform. This is an exciting advancement as Dacast has a solution for streaming a Zoom meeting via our live streaming platform.
Dacast is a great Zoom alternative if live streaming is the route you want to take.
Dacast vs. Zoom
Dacast is a video hosting platform that provides a secure alternative to Zoom.
Here’s a quick comparison of two:
|Online Video Platform to host and broadcast video||Host video calls and webinars|
|Affordable packages, powerful integrations, live streaming and VOD||Easy-to-use, works great for team meetings, flexible dial-in options for participants|
|Top-notch security||Free plans|
|Subscription required, broadcasting but not web conferencing||Security issues, internet speed limitations|
|Starting at $21/month||Paid plans starting at $14.99/month|
Best Use Case
|Live streaming events, virtual events conferences, corporate live streams, video on demand||Conference calls with small teams|
Security is a priority for Dacast, which gives it a leg above some free or basic tools. Broadcasters can rest assured that their hosted content and live streams are safe from the wrong viewers.
This is made possible with different privacy tools, including password protection, tokenized video delivery, and geographic and domain restrictions.
Password protection is pretty self-explanatory. Viewers need a password to access the stream.
Tokenized video delivery is a bit more powerful. It allows broadcasters to set qualifications for viewers, and viewers must meet those qualifications to enter the stream.
Geographic and domain restrictions allow broadcasters to add physical restrictions to where the stream can be accessed. This allows you to block viewers in certain countries and regions.
The domain restrictions require viewers to click the stream’s link from a specific landing page or domain. This helps to minimize the issue of being invaded by people who got their hands on a link that they weren’t supposed to.
Other Zoom Alternatives
Depending on whether you opt for a live stream or a simple video conference, there are several other Zoom alternatives.
Here are a few of the leading Zoom competitors.
Although it has been around since 2003, about a decade ago, Skype emerged as one of the first social video chat tools. In 2011, it was acquired by Microsoft and slowly became a more professional platform.
Skype offers free video calling, but they also offer subscriptions and pay-as-you-go plans. The paid plans are mostly geared towards users who use Skype Phone to call landlines.
Skype is a bit tricky to navigate unless you use the mobile app. They have had some security breaches in recent years. While it’s an option for video conferencing, it is not the best way to go.
If you decide to go the route of live streaming a meeting or informational session instead of conducting a mass virtual conferencing, Vimeo Live is another option.
Vimeo Live is a live streaming service that is designed for both enterprises and content creators.
One of the perks of Vimeo Live is its powerful analytics tool. If you are broadcasting a video and are expecting all of your team members to tune in, you can check the analytics to make sure everybody opened up the stream.
Google Duo has been another star in the video conferencing world since COVID-19 has forced us to stay at home. This free video conferencing tool is available for Google users. It is known for its easy-to-use platform and top of the line security encryption.
The only downside to Google Duo is that it caps calls at 12 users, making it impossible to host a remote company-wide meeting if you have a larger team.
GoToMeeting is a video conferencing tool for enterprises that offers both hardware and software to make your meetings either entirely or semi-virtual.
They have specific solutions for both virtual meetings and webinars. They also have training services.
Business plans start at $16/month.
Zoho is a meeting and broadcasting tool that has sparked some chatter in recent months.
Since Zoho is browser-based rather than app-based, users don’t have to download anything to join a call.
With Zoho, you get what you pay for. There are four basic plans that allow different numbers of participants, ranging from $15/month for 25 participants to $63/month for 250 participants.
Features, such as adding additional hosts and recording capabilities, are available for an additional price.
Zoom is an excellent solution for a variety of meetings and other live events, but it has several limitations. Zoom’s lacking privacy settings has pushed users to find a secure alternative for video conferencing software.
There are several free Zoom alternatives, but many come with similar limitations. Online video platforms with live streaming capabilities offer a new solution to some current problems.
Use professional platforms, such as Dacast, to broadcast a lesson, webinar, or other live events instead of using limited features on video conferencing tools.
Live streaming with Dacast is simple and effective. Try the platform for yourself with our 30-day risk-free trial.