Skype is a VoIP tool that has improved the way people communicate by enabling free calls. Regardless of a person’s location, they can use Skype to communicate with family, friends and work colleagues either for free or a very low cost. This is why Skype has become such an important business tool as it helps companies save money on web conferencing.
However, Skype is not immune to outages, even though they are rare. So if you want a back-up plan, or if you’re looking for some great Skype alternatives, the list below will show you the top five Skype alternatives currently in the market.
As with Skype, Google Hangout lets people video call other people signed up for the service (in this case, Google+), regardless of their location. However, it goes one step up from Skype in that users can actually video conference with up to 10 people (who must also be on Google+) for free. The video quality is superb, as is the sound quality. It’s just as easy to start a ‘hangout’ as it is to place a Skype call. Only one small plugin installation is necessary, which is quick and easy.
If you’re a Mac user, you’ll want to try iChat as it allows people to chat both via instant messaging and video. There are no downloads necessary, as it comes pre-installed on your Mac computer. This tool makes it easy for people to video conference in high-quality video and audio, and users can also share their screens for a more complete video conferencing experience. As with most Mac products, iChat looks fantastic, and has a very intuitive user interface that even beginner users can get along with.
Much like Skype, this software offers free calls to other VBuzzer users. You can also use this tool for telephone conferencing, if necessary. Web conferencing is free for conferences of up to four people - this includes instant messages, voice chat and video conferencing. The video conferencing facility offers high quality video to those on faster Internet connections, however, video quality can be significantly lower if your Internet connection is slow - this is not such a problem with Skype, for example. It is browser-based, so there are no downloads necessary for your web conference guests.
This is a browser-based video chatting tool that while it does not look professional, is incredibly useful for hosting quick and easy video meetings. When you create a chat room on TinyChat, it gives you a URL that you can share with your video conferencing guests. Up to 12 people can chat at a time. While the video quality isn’t great, it’s good enough for quick impromptu chats. The user interface is very simple, and can easily be understood even by those new to video chatting.
This is a web and video conferencing tool geared specifically to businesses. With the monthly plan, users can get unlimited video calling (which is extremely high quality), video conferencing with up to nine attendees at a time, video mail and file sharing which makes it easy for conference participants to collaborate online. It is a reliable tool, with a polished and professional-looking user interface. While it does take about one hour to learn how to use SightSpeed (due to its many features), this is time well spent if you’re looking to substitute Skype with a full web conferencing solution.