Looking for a good video meeting service for your small business? RingCentral Video has a great free product that stacks up well against competitors like Zoom. Because meetings are often longer than 40 minutes.
RingCentral has been around for a long time as a great VoIP phone system for small businesses and a powerful fax service, but they’ve more recently started offering their video call system as a standalone product, and it’s really worth a look.
Note: If you need a full-featured phone, messaging, and video service, you can always upgrade to RingCentral MVP, but today, we’re talking about RingCentral Video Pro and its free video conferencing solution.
RingCentral Does Everything You Need
When you make the decision to switch to RingCentral Video Pro, you aren’t going to be missing out on any key feature that you’re used to since it’s all there. Want to invite dozens of people, use a virtual background to hide your messy office, or let people dial in from a phone? No problem! It’s all included.
The free version of RingCentral scales up to 100 participants, which is enough for almost any small business for a regular meeting. The paid version offers more, but it’s unlikely that any small business is going to have a need for thousands of people watching at a time. For the majority of people, the free version is probably all you’d need.
RingCentral Video integrates with popular office suites like Google WorkSpace or Office 365 so that you can schedule a video meeting directly from your calendar. Once you link them together, you can simply open the RingCentral interface to see a list of all your upcoming video meetings to make it easy to join the next call. It can also integrate with the native calendar application on your PC, so if you’re using Apple Calendar or something else, you can also set up the calendar appointments easily in there.
Need to share your screen? RingCentral offers that option on both desktop and mobile, so you can even present to the team from your tablet or phone if you really want to (Here’s a protip: You should silence your notifications so that they won’t see your spouse texting you about forgetting to take out the trash.). It even offers an interesting presenter mode that uses the virtual background feature to put you in front of what you’re sharing on your screen.
It also has a messaging system that’s built into the meeting so that you can quickly send something via text to the other attendees, share files, or even turn on closed captions if you’re having trouble hearing everybody else. It really has everything you need.
RingCentral Free Allows 24-Hour Meetings Compared to 40-Minute Meetings for Zoom Basic
This is perhaps the most striking difference between the free offerings from RingCentral and Zoom—if your meetings regularly run over 40 minutes, you’re going to have to pay if you’re a Zoom customer.
RingCentral allows for meetings that last up to 24 hours, although that limit is almost ludicrous, as we can’t imagine anybody needing to keep a video meeting going for an entire day. We’ve used the free RingCentral Video plan for hours of video meetings without a single hiccup or problem, unlike some other free solutions that seem to spend a lot of time buffering. It just works.
RingCentral also comes with 10 hours of cloud recordings, so you can save your meetings and stream them from the cloud. Zoom Basic only offers local recording on your PC, which obviously is limited to 40 minutes per call and would have to be uploaded to the cloud separately. It does have a cloud recording offering, but it’s nowhere close to the amount of space offered by RingCentral until you get all the way to an enterprise plan for huge companies.
RingCentral Smart Switch Lets You Seamlessly Switch between Devices
How many times have you joined a meeting from your phone only for this to happen: Somebody wants to share their screen to show you an Excel spreadsheet, and you’re sitting there trying to zoom in to look at the numbers before you realize that your camera is still on.
RingCentral has a feature that allows you to seamlessly switch between devices, so you can log in to RingCentral on your desktop or tablet and switch the meeting to the other device so that you can see what’s going on.
There’s no need to go find the meeting link and figure out how to join from the other computer or wait to be approved to join the meeting again—just open the app and tap.
One of the really nice bonuses of this feature is that you can have multiple devices logged in at a time, so you can join briefly from your computer and close the app when you don’t need it anymore.
The other side of this feature is that you can seamlessly transition from your desktop to your phone if you need to run out the door in the middle of a meeting but still want to stay connected.
RingCentral Works Natively in Chrome and Microsoft Edge, No App Required
One of the really great benefits of RingCentral is that your meeting attendees don’t need to install or use an app to join your meeting. As long as they’re using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, which the vast majority of people tend to use, they can join the video call with a click from their browser.
The meeting interface in the browser is literally almost identical to the interface of the downloadable app. We don’t know for sure, but we’d guess that they probably use the same technology under the hood, which is a good thing since you’d assume that future upgrades will be a lot more seamless.
If you do want to use the RingCentral native app, it’s available for Mac and Windows computers, or for your smartphone or tablet running iOS or Android. Once you install the app, links will automatically switch to the app instead of opening in your web browser.
There’s Even More If You Upgrade
RingCentral’s free video plan offers you just about everything that you’d need, but there are more features available if you want to upgrade, like integrations with many business apps, single sign-on, analytics, and more company management features.
We think that it’s a lot more likely that people will be interested in upgrading to RingCentral MVP, though, because it’s a full messaging, video, and phone system that has unlimited calls, voicemail-to-text, and audio conferencing, and it can even handle faxing if you need that for some reason. We’ve been using RingCentral MVP for a long time, and it’s a really good solution for VoIP for your small business.