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Alternatives to Zoom: we compare the main options

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Comparison table between Zoom and its most common alternatives
Zoom: resounding success during the coronavirus crisis
Zoom alternatives comparison: advantages and disadvantages
Skype
Microsoft Teams
IONOS Video Chat
Cisco Webex Meetings
GoToMeeting
Jitsi Meet

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Alternatives to Zoom: we compare the main options

A large number of companies, freelancers and teachers are currently looking for video conferencing software to maintain communication despite physical distance. Above all of them, the Zoom service stands out. However, there are other providers that offer sophisticated technology for making video calls. We present you the best options in internet telephony (also called voice over IP or VoIP) as alternatives to Zoom..

Covid-19: how to continue your activity

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Index
  1. Comparison table between Zoom and its most common alternatives
  2. Zoom: resounding success during the coronavirus crisis
  3. Zoom alternatives comparison: advantages and disadvantages
    1. Skype
    2. Microsoft Teams
    3. IONOS Video Chat
    4. Cisco Webex Meetings
    5. GoToMeeting
    6. Jitsi Meet

Comparison table between Zoom and its most common alternatives

Provider Maximum of participants Service Productivity Security characteristics
Zoom 1000 (100 in the free version) +++ ++ + (+) * + Easy to use, versatile and with many free options - Has had security problems - Problems with data protection sometimes lead to limitations of use
Skype fifty + (+) + + + Easy to use, widely expanded, good phone features - Problems with operation, security and productivity
Microsoft Teams 250 (currently also in the free version) + (+) +++ + (+) + Lots of free features, lots of productivity tools, also suitable for large companies- Some knowledge required, security issues
IONOS Video Chat 24 +++ ++ ++ + very easy to use, free of charge and without registration, with high data protection - available only for small groups of up to 24 participants
Cisco Webex Meetings 1000 (100 in the free version) ++ ++ (+) + (+) + Focuses on productivity, many free features, encryption techniques, suitable for large companies- According to users, their customer service can be improved
GoToMeeting 250 (only 4 in the free version) ++ + (+) + (+) + Ideal for small video conferences from different devices and platforms (web and app) - Many functions are paid, somewhat weak encryption (128 bits)
Jitsi Meet Varies according to technical infrastructure + (+) + ++ (+) + Ideal for small meetings concerned about security and data protection, self-hosting is possible- Little additional features, minor security and performance deficiencies

* The parentheses relativize the evaluation level. The Jitsi Meet service, for example, does not get the highest score? +++? due to minor shortcomings, it is therefore assigned? ++ (+)? to your safety..

Next, we add additional information to that already offered in the table.

Zoom: resounding success during the coronavirus crisis

Interest in holding meetings with the Zoom application has grown dramatically due to the coronavirus crisis. According to company statements, in April 2020 300 million people from all over the world held videoconferences through Zoom (in December 2019 there were 10 million daily participants). The service has a freemium model that offers many features for free and 2-person video conferencing with no time limit. In addition, in videoconferences of less than 40 minutes, up to 100 people can participate. To this must be added intuitive software and applications compatible with any device and with common operating systems. Only the organizer of the videoconference has to register and download the program. Once this is done, you can invite other participants through a link..

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Zoom offers a very intuitive system with many free features (source: http://zoom.us/).

Users rate Zoom's cloud-based infrastructure as efficient and stable. Video conferencing typically runs smoothly with quality picture and sound . But the security and protection of data are criticized and, although the service has managed to correct its security problems, criticisms of data protection are still valid . It is planned to offer full encryption to paying customers.

Advantage Disadvantages
An all-rounder with free features Security issues in the past
Easy to use even without technical affinity GDPR and Cloud Act issues
Security problems have been solved so far The problems with data protection are still valid, hence its use in politics and business is limited

Zoom alternatives comparison: advantages and disadvantages

Skype

In terms of popularity and number of users, the American program Skype is Zoom's main competitor. Offering free video conferencing since 2003, this alternative to Zoom, owned by Microsoft, offers all the basic functions for video conferencing . These include instant messaging, file sending, and screen sharing. With Skype Web the service can be used as a web app from a browser.

Skype includes advantages such as a sophisticated technology in sound and image (HD quality), and a very widespread use, being the most used tool for video conferencing. Up to 50 people can participate in a Skype session.

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Skype is the pioneer in video telephony and the best-known alternative to Zoom (source: https://www.skype.com/es/).

Skype claims that it encrypts all calls and video conferences, as well as data transfers and instant messages, using 256-bit encryption . Text messages are encrypted using the TLS protocol. Another positive aspect in terms of data protection is that Skype has offered optional end-to-end encryption for private chats since 2018 . For this, Microsoft uses the Signal protocol, generally considered safe.

Despite these measures, the security of the standard version of Skype continues to receive criticism, as certain content has been made available to public bodies. Despite the fact that Microsoft, owner of Skype, has signed the Privacy Shield agreement, the conflict between the Cloud-Act and the RGPD has had negative effects on its concept of security and credibility.

Until recently, Skype users had to register and create an account to use the platform. Since April 2020, it can be accessed without registration through the free meeting option . For those who want to use the platform regularly, it is essential to create a Skype or Microsoft account with an associated email address or phone number.

Several market studies have shown that users find account and contact management more complicated on this platform than on Zoom. They also find bugs in updates. Another disadvantage of this alternative to Zoom is that users cannot connect by phone to a video conference in the free version in case of problems with the Internet connection.

Skype is primarily aimed at individuals and small teams and companies with up to 20 employees . For companies and teams looking for a very efficient collaboration tool and improve their productivity, Microsoft Teams is more recommended.

Advantage Disadvantages
Simple and widely used tool Users complain of some shortcomings
Very suitable for individuals and SMEs Lack of safety and productivity
Since 2020 its use has been facilitated with free video conferences without registration Conflict between the Cloud Act and the RGPD
Besides video, good telephony features  

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is primarily aimed at the corporate environment , although it is increasingly being used outside the company as well. According to a Microsoft blog article from March 2020, in a single week the number of users increased by more than 12 million to a total of 44 million daily users worldwide. In April, the company reported that it reached 75 million daily users .

The use of this platform during the coronavirus crisis is free, not only in the standard version, but also in the premium version . Microsoft Teams works on the most common devices (mobile phones, computers) and on all major operating systems, including Linux. Video conferencing functionality is just one part of the wide range of features that the software offers. It requires a certain time of familiarization.

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Microsoft Teams especially encourages teamwork and productivity (source: https://www.microsoft.com/es-es/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software).

This alternative to Zoom covers the main functions of video conferencing, such as screen sharing, instant messages and file transfer during calls . As with Zoom, the background during calls can be adjusted , for example with the blur option. It is also possible to participate in the meetings by telephone. However, they can currently only display four screens simultaneously. In the paid version, whiteboards can be used as a team and meetings can be recorded.

Each account has up to ten gigabytes of cloud storage for file transfers. Currently, the free version supports up to 250 people per video conference . For long-term use, it is recommended to have a Microsoft account, both for fixed workgroups and for guests. The latter, if they do not have an account with Microsoft yet, must go through a registration process. Invitees without an account can also participate in video conferences through an invitation.

One of the special features of this alternative to Zoom is its integration in the Microsoft 365 cloud . This positively affects work processes and greatly increases productivity. Files can be synchronized and edited in the cloud, and an interface to the SharePoint online tool simplifies the storage, sharing and management of digital company information. A full-featured user management completes the range of services.

In practice, users report that with a weak internet connection, videoconferencing can end suddenly . Due to the high demand due to the coronavirus crisis, this alternative to Zoom also experienced quality losses in both the image and the sound. Microsoft sets priorities and ensures that online and cloud services remain operational in the Microsoft 365 environment, so during peaks of activity, problems can arise for free subscription users.

Also Microsoft Teams has received criticism for its data protection . Despite having committed to the Privacy Shield agreement and the data protection standards, the US company does not make its position clear regarding the US Cloud Act .

Advantage Disadvantages
Multitude of functions in the free version You need to get familiar
High level of productivity Security gaps
Also suitable for large companies Conflict between the Cloud Act and the RGPD
User rights management  

IONOS Video Chat

With the Zoom alternative from IONOS, organizing small meetings online is no secret. There is no need to register, or download and install the app to use it, as IONOS online video chat runs completely in the browser - for now, only on Chrome and Edge. Organizing a meeting is as simple as going to the application's home page and opening a meeting room, which participants access by invitation, either through an auto-generated link, or by inserting the meeting's custom code in the program website. To prevent uninvited people from entering, a password can be assigned.

IONOS Video Chat is completely free for both the organizer and the participants. Another great advantage of the application lies in data protection. The servers on which the program runs are located in Germany, so they must comply with the high European standards of data protection. But this alternative does not collect any type of personal data from users; You don't even have to accept the storage of cookies. Only the use of the camera and microphone requires the express authorization of the user in order to use the application in all its functionality. The connection is protected by TLS.

Advantage Drawbacks
Completely free Compatible only with Chrome and Edge
No registration required Does not have a mobile application
Servers in Germany Only allow up to 24 participants per meeting
Runs in the browser  
Protected by TLS  
High data protection  

Cisco Webex Meetings

Since 2007, Webex Meetings video conferencing software has been owned by the US-based provider Cisco. Webex Meetings is part of the Cisco Webex collaboration platform , based on the cloud, a very complete package specially designed for companies. This alternative to Zoom supports any platform and operating system. Its application is available for iOS and Android.

No need to install the program - invitees are emailed a link to join the meeting in the browser. The web application is compatible with the usual browsers.

This alternative to Zoom is already very convincing in its free version, due to its many functions, such as the option to share screen and the possibility of recording calls. Up to 100 people can participate in meetings for 50 minutes . Video conferences can be conducted with voice commands through Siri or Google Assistant. The free version includes a personal virtual room (Webex Personal Room) for longer projects or regular meetings.

As part of the Cisco Webex collaboration platform, this alternative to Zoom uses different productivity tools and features . It offers the possibility of exchanging files and information and allows teams to use digital whiteboards, to which is added the integration of calendars (such as Google or Outlook). Webex Meetings can also be integrated into Microsoft Teams and the Slack instant messaging service , and used from there.

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Webex Meetings offers many functions also in its free version (source: https://www.webex.com/en/video-conferencing.html).

As for your safety, the situation is diverse . Webex applications and your cloud communicate through encrypted channels. The TLS 1.2 protocol is used and the Advanced Encryption Standard in its 256-bit version (AES 256) to record video conferences, for example. Optionally, security can be increased with end-to-end encryption, although this limits the functionality of the software . This alternative to Zoom guarantees a certain level of privacy through the Privacy Shield certification . However, this US provider also operates in the conflict area between the Cloud Act and the GDPR.

Users admire the overall quality of the service and its ease of use . However, they feel that the customer service can be improved and the sound is sometimes problematic .

Advantage Disadvantages
High level of productivity Conflict Cloud Act - RGPD
Multitude of functions in the free version Improved customer service
Use of different encryption techniques  
Also suitable for large companies  

GoToMeeting

Another alternative to Zoom is GoToMeeting. This tool belongs to the American company LogMeIn , and is suitable for any device and the most common operating systems.

In the free version, meetings are held through the web app , compatible with any browser, although Google Chrome is recommended , especially for meeting organizers.

To protect your privacy, the video will be uploaded after clicking.

This alternative to Zoom offers less than the competition in its free version. There is the possibility of holding 40-minute meetings with up to four participants . Screen sharing and the usual split screen feature are also offered in the free version. Also, it includes the option of texting, but not file transfer.

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Through the GoToMeeting web app, videoconferences can be made quickly and easily (source: https://www.gotomeeting.com/es-es).

The paid versions expand the range of features and are often intended to increase productivity . For example, the meeting time limit is wider and increases the maximum number of participants to 250 . The integration of calendars (for example, with an Office 365 plugin ), facilitates the planning and development of teamwork, and the possibility of recording video conferences makes them available later. Added to this are other business features such as a personal meeting room, meeting lockout feature, and an admin center for invitations and administrative tasks.

Users think that its initial configuration is very simple , its operation very simple, and the technical structure, reliable. At the same time, they criticize the audio quality and the customer service of this alternative to Zoom. Regarding data protection, the American company LogMeIn is not transparent to the Cloud Act, although it is certified by the Privacy Shield. However, the vendor cares about system security by using 128-bit AES encryption for its meetings . Keep in mind that other providers use even better 256-bit encryption.

Advantage Disadvantages
Videoconferences are very easy to do through the web app Features and productivity are not very good in the free version
Suitable for free small meetings on any platform 128-bit encryption only (instead of 256).
Especially useful for individuals and SMEs (especially its free version) Conflict Cloud Act and GDPR

Jitsi Meet

The Jitsi Meet software is part of the Jitsi open source project. The service is a good alternative to Zoom because it places great importance on data protection and complies with the RGPD . No registration is required, and user information is not saved. Chat messages are end-to-end encrypted , just like videoconferences between two people. Meeting rooms can be password protected. With this alternative to Zoom, the data traffic passes through European servers.

In case of technical problems and in audio and video calls from more than one person, Jitsi Meet uses transport encryption . In this way, it must be accepted that the non-encrypted data is temporarily stored on the server. With end-to-end encryption, it is much more difficult for hackers to access sensitive data.

It is compatible with Windows, MacOS and Linux. It works better with Google Chrome , which is a small inconvenience in relation to data protection, since Chrome users must agree to Google's privacy policies. The application can be used on mobile phones with iOS and Android systems. The application does contain trackers that analyze user data for different purposes. If you care about security, it is advisable to access this alternative to Zoom through a browser or download a version of Android without a tracker through the F-Droid Store. Jitsi Meet is perfect for simple chats between two people . It can also be very useful for small groups. To participate in a video conference, just receive an email with the URL. During calls, this alternative to Zoom is limited to basic functions such as text message chat, screen sharing (you can share your desktop or specific program windows) and the option to mute participants by the moderator. .

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Jitsi enjoys good data protection and respects the European RGPD (source: https://jitsi.es/).

Image transmission is usually relatively stable , but users often criticize the quality of video connections. For important calls, it is recommended to do a test in advance to verify the connection.

The different Jitsi Meet providers influence its quality. The so-called servers They provide the service with an infrastructure and decide what capabilities they make available to Jitsi Meet. These servers also choose the range of functions and the maximum number of participants. Especially in times of coronavirus, it is important to find out about the Jitsi Meet servers available.

This alternative to Zoom offers a very important advantage: in companies, the IT department can create their own Jitsi Meet server with custom functions and positively influence the quality of the stream . This guarantees extensive security control over the transferred data.

Advantage Drawbacks
Follow the RGPD Narrow range of functions
Ideal for meetings and security-conscious users Limited productivity
Possibility of having your own servers (self hosting) Technical infrastructure deficiencies (decentralized servers, performance problems)
Suitable for small meetings Small security issues

If you're not worried about relying on a third-party service provider and are looking for a more business-oriented option that, like Jitsi Meet, complies with the GDPR, we recommend trying Wire, a still largely unknown provider.


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