Since more people are working from home now than ever before, online communication tools have become the most popular software on the TrustRadius platform. In just the first few months of 2020, we’ve seen a 445% increase in impressions across the entire web conferencing category:
Skype was one of the first online video calling and chat apps on the market. For many professionals, this was their first introduction to the online communication world. Yet Skype is not the top web conferencing tool in the global market right now—Zoom holds that position, with Skype as a commonly-compared alternative. In fact, the Skype vs Zoom comparison page ranked #4 on the TrustRadius top list of growing product comparisons post-COVID:
While competition continues to ramp up in the saturated video conferencing market, Skype is still a valid choice for veteran users and organizations who want to be able to make calls to landlines and host online meetings all in one tool. Still, many users prefer to seek alternatives.
Below we’ll explore Skype’s interesting history as a preferred web conferencing tool and highlight five Skype alternatives to consider when choosing your ultimate video conferencing software.
An Overview of Skype Online Meeting Software
Skype currently allows over 100 million monthly users to call other people on phones, computers or other connected devices. Since 2003, this software has been used for personal calls between family and friends and professional calls for businesses. Unlike most tools in the online communications space, Skype is a software that combines video conferencing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) features. Thus, it has an eclectic mix of competitors.
The classic version of Skype is a great choice for an all-in-one chat, VOIP, and video calling tool with a free plan, and is still a tried and true option for small businesses and self-employed individuals looking for simplicity. However, businesses larger than 25 people were encouraged to pursue a partnership with Skype for Business, a tool designed specifically for large group web conferencing.
Unfortunately for fans of the service, after many warnings, Skype for Business is dead. On the bright side, it has been replaced fully by Microsoft Teams, which is most similar to Skype for Business and already features all of the same capabilities. Teams is often used to integrate with project management software and support for large enterprises with over 300 employees. We will discuss more about this transition and what it means for both new video conferencing seekers and old fans alike.
On its own, Skype is not without weak spots. It relies heavily on a good internet connection (more than other video conferencing tools), and is not recommended for use with satellite or mobile internet connections. If you are working for an international business where internet service might not always be the fastest, video and audio might lag, possibly cutting the call.
Users have also mentioned that having multiple group chats open at a time can cause delays. In the modern business landscape, it is not feasible to close every conversation you may have throughout the day. This is another reason why users are looking to alternatives that provide more flexibility and better performance.
The Microsoft Teams Option: Broader Collaboration built on Skype
If you were a big fan of Skype for business, use Microsoft products extensively, or want a broader communication suite, Microsoft Teams may be a fantastic option for you. Click below to see the wide array of communication tools available to you.
Teams offers a variety of communication methods. Primarily a text-based system similar to Slack, it does offer the ability to have video conferecing on the old skype platform. If you find that your large meetings are short, or you use them for rapidly sharing small slices of information, then text-based collaboration may be a strong option for you. These services also allow for fantastic file sharing and a huge suite of integrations. Being a Microsoft product, Teams cooperates well with any of the Office 365 products.
Teams also is fantastic for teams who need quick chats and effective communication on the go. IOS and Android devices are fully supported, including for quick video chats. For those who need fewer distractions during a meeting, they could turn the video call audio-only. Your on-site manager could call in on their iPhone, while the rest of the team has the full, camera included meeting on their Mac. This blending of audio calls and video is not unique, but great for teams on the go. Teams offers a free plan that includes basic free video calling.
In summary, if you have need of broader team collaboration on top of more similistic video meeting, Teams may be right for you. While this is no 1-to-1 replacement of skype for business, it builds on the platform and for most use cases improves it.
The Best Skype Alternatives Today
Despite Skype’s long history, this tool has clearly fallen out of popularity. Skype currently earns only 3.8% of the monthly web conferencing traffic on the TrustRadius platform— and since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Zoom has become the undisputed winner of the video conferencing category as a whole. But Zoom isn’t the only Skype alternative users are considering.
We’ve identified the following alternatives to Skype based on comparison data from prospective buyers like you who are putting Skype to the test.
|Best Use Case
|Video conferencing, webinar, VoIP
|All-in-one online communications platform
|Remote access and support platform
|Remote IT support, video conferencing for IT teams
|Online meetings and collaboration
|Small business online meetings
|Programmable voice, VoIP
|Flexible and customizable VoIP and call monitoring
Zoom is a video conference tool used for group meetings, product demos, customer service, and more. This platform features a cloud phone system, online meetings of up to 500 participants, meeting recording, group webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and business IM with file sharing. Click below to read real Zoom reviews.
Zoom has earned unprecedented media coverage over the past few weeks due to skyrocketing popularity as organizations move towards working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the TrustRadius platform alone, Zoom has seen a 743% growth in traffic. They boast over 300 million users per day and recently sealed a massive deal with Oracle to manage an increased need to expand in the cloud.
However, Zoom’s rise in popularity has been mired by controversy. Hackers have consistently taken advantage of privacy loopholes in Zoom’s software, which resulted with Zoom being presented with a lawsuit by one of its shareholders. Privacy and security concerns have led many users to abandon the platform in favor of other alternatives to Zoom.
Still, users cite Zoom as very reliable and easy-to-use software. Zoom integrates well with many other popular business tools, like Slack, Salesforce, and Google tools, and specializes in solutions for telehealth services, education, and software development. In turn, many love that it is quick to set up and takes very little space on their computers. Users also say that they appreciate that Zoom can be used across their organizations in many different ways, including product demos, technical support, and conference calls.
“Zoom is well suited for companies and organizations that need to meet with clients or coworkers on a consistent basis. In particular, a great feature of Zoom is if you have a very large group, you can break the group into smaller teams to have mini conversations and then bring back the entire group.”Brian C. | Campus Director | Religious Institution, 1001-5000 employees
The best feature of Zoom is the price: 100% free for a basic account, which is likely what put this tool in direct competition with Skype in the first place. A Pro deal costs $15 per month per host. Business and Enterprise packages cost $20 per month per host with a minimum of 100 hosts starting at $1,999/mo.
Best Use Case
Zoom is suitable for organizations of all sizes looking for flexibility in how they conduct online meetings, webinars, and conference calls. Zoom is a great fit for organizations looking to consolidate their web conferencing tool with their VoIP and/or team chat software.
To learn more about Zoom, check out more verified user reviews here.
TeamViewer is an all-in-one remote desktop platform designed to be a one-stop-shop for remote workforces. Key features are remote desktop access and support, and collaboration tools like audio and video conferencing. TeamViewer also includes Blizz, a standalone web conferencing tool that has a free plan for very small teams. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, comparisons between TeamViewer vs Blizz have grown by 1269% on TrustRadius. Click below to read TeamViewer reviews.
While Teamviewer does not allow users to make actual phone calls (apart from device-to-device audio conferencing), its remote access tools stand out when compared to Skype. Reviewers love that Teamviewer easily allows them to video conference through the same platform they use to support and troubleshoot with their remote teammates. Given its nature as a remote desktop tool, Teamviewer is also well-known for its advanced screen-sharing capabilities.
“Our company is fundamentally based on the development of online software and TeamViewer has been a very important tool because we are a team made up of many programmers who work remotely from different countries. TeamViewer has allowed the communication between our staff at the time of seeing the progress of a certain project and to make meetings between all the participants of the project and to see in real time the code of a project.”Marisol C. | Director of Development | Computer Software Company, 11-50 employees
Pricing for TeamViewer starts at $49/mo for one administrator and one session (5 participants) at a time. Their Multi User allows for multiple administrators, but one session (15 participants) at a time at $99/mo. The Teams plan allows for multiple administrators, but only three sessions (25 participants each) at a time for $199/mo.
Best Use Case
TeamViewer is a great fit for technical support or IT teams who assist remote workforces. Remote desktop applications like TeamViewer are increasingly improving their video conferencing capabilities to make troubleshooting across distances easier than ever.
To learn more about TeamViewer, check out more verified user reviews here.
3. Webex Meetings
Webex Meetings is a web conferencing, group messaging, and screen sharing platform that can host up to 200 participants. Important features include whiteboard capabilities and integrations with calendars, Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and learning platforms like Moodle and Canvas. Click below to read Webex Meetings reviews.
WebEx also offers its own hardware devices including an all-in-one smart whiteboard and video screen, room and desk devices, and a cloud-based desk phone system with video.
Since the COVID-19 crisis, Webex Meetings now supports 14 billion meetings minutes a month. This is double what they supported previously, making Webex Meetings one of the most popular online meeting tools on the market right now.
Users say that WebEx is reliable and offers high-quality video and audio. Many appreciate its easy screen sharing and integration with other software. Multiple reviewers said that this platform is useful for communicating internationally.
“Cisco Webex Meetings is well suited for everyday, 3-25 user meetings. Transparent integrations with other communications platforms such as Call Manager add enormous flexibility for users to use corporate resources such as call back at remote destinations, etc.”Verified User | IT Professional | Biotechnology Company, 10,001+ employees
Webex Meetings has a free plan that supports up to 100 participants in one meeting with no limit on how long the meeting lasts. Its Starter package is $13.50 per month per host, which can support meeting recordings and transcriptions. Other WebEx Premium Plans range from $17 to $27 per month. All Premium Plans include video conferencing, whiteboard markups, recorded meetings, and application sharing.
Best Use Case
Webex Meetings is a good fit for organizations and large enterprises that host a large amount of external meetings. Given that Webex Meetings can be easily utilized alongside Cisco’s other Webex communications solutions, Webex Meetings is another great choice for buyers looking to consolidate video conferencing, webinar, and cloud-based phone system tools.
To learn more about Webex Meetings, check out more verified user reviews here.
Whereby is a web conferencing platform that can be used completely in-browser with no download required. Key features include chat rooms, one-click joining with no downloads, PINs and registration for guests, screen-sharing, and custom branding. Whereby can be used on both desktop computers and mobile devices. Click below to read whereby reviews.
Launched in 2013 out of Oslo, Norway, Whereby is a relatively new online communications tool in comparison to Skype. Whereby is optimized for mid-sized teams who work mostly or entirely remotely. A standout capability of Whereby is its integration with G-Suite, so that users can collaborate on documents from within the Whereby platform.
A majority of Whereby reviewers are small businesses that take advantage of its differentiated team and personal meeting rooms. Users consistently highlight its easy-to-use interface and collaborative functions. Most of all, users love how easy it is to join a meeting and really enjoy the fact that Whereby meetings can be accessed without downloading any software.
“Whereby is a great tool to use individually or among smaller teams. Everyone on our team has their own Whereby link, so when you need to hop on a call you just share your link with the right people and everyone hops on. It’s very simple to use and helps save us time.”Verified User | Marketing Director | Staffing & Recruiting Company, 11-50 employees
Whereby has three main pricing plans: Free, Pro, and Business. The Free plan is designed primarily for personal use and only supports 1 user and meeting room, with a max of 4 participants per meeting. Whereby’s Pro plan starts at $10/mo and is designed for individual professional use. The Pro plan expands upon the number of meeting rooms and participants and introduces the ability for users to record their meetings. For multiple users and admins, the Business plan is the best option at $59.99/mo. This plan starts at 10 meeting rooms that can host up to 50 meeting participants and includes advanced host administration features.
Best Use Case
Whereby is best for small businesses that are looking for an easy-to-use, start-and-go online meetings platform. Being that it is browser-based, users do not have to deal with downloading or setting up their video conferencing software, which can solve one major hurdle of hosting external meetings.
To learn more about Whereby, check out more verified user reviews here.
5. Twilio Voice
Twilio Voice is the Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform from Twilio, a cloud communications company that designs tools to enable phones, VoIP, and messaging to be embedded into web, desktop, and mobile software. As a programmable voice tool, Twilio Voice allows businesses to make, receive, and monitor calls using APIs. Click below to read Twilio reviews
Twilio Voice stands out from the other Skype alternatives on this list because of its developer-first approach. Twilio Voice is a good solution for businesses that require more customization and innovation than Skype allows, while still providing users with online phone numbers like Skype. Twilio Voice can be used for a variety of business applications beyond audio conferencing, including creating masked numbers, setting up contact centers, and deploying call tracking. However, it does not have the video and chat functionalities that users have grown used to with Skype.
Given that Twilio Voice is a CPaaS platform, users love its flexibility and portability. Although it is so API-heavy, reviewers report that Twilio Voice is relatively easy to set up and get started with.
“Twilio is entirely in the Cloud; it’s an SaaS communications platform. You don’t need to deploy anything onsite to make it work, besides accessories such as softphones (although you can develop your own if you wish), so you have immediate access to Twilio’s entire infrastructure from anywhere in the world.”Verified User | IT Manager | Computer Software Company, 51-200 employees
Twilio Voice pricing is contingent upon region, given its heavy focus on supporting inbound and outbound phone calls. There are Pay-as-you-go plans that convert to volume pricing after your organization hits a certain threshold, and committed-use plans for organizations that can commit to a certain volume of calls per month. This makes Twilio Voice a relatively affordable option in comparison to similar products. Companies can unlock discounts for agreeing to commit to that volume. Check out Twilio Voice’s pricing page for more details on what the cost of working with them might be for your organization.
Best Use Case
Twilio Voice is best for businesses that are more interested in Skype for its VoIP capabilities rather than its video conferencing features. This platform works well as a communications tool for customer service via phone calls/SMS, and works well as a contact center service.
To learn more about Twilio Voice, check out more verified user reviews here.
Why Skype Lost The Video Conferencing Battle
As we’ve clearly seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, Skype is no longer the de facto standard for video conferencing. In 2011, Skype made up 40% of all VoIP usage. 9 years later, users have a plethora of options for how they communicate online. Skype’s biggest selling point was that it was a one-stop solution for VoIP and video conferencing, but now platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are leading the pack.
As the chart above indicates, Skype is just a small piece of overall interest in web conferencing tools on TrustRadius. While it is a household name, other online communication platforms are gaining traction by offering unique features, flexibility, and better performance. The Skype alternatives listed above offer interactive screen-sharing and integrations with other popular collaboration tools like Trello and Slack, which are considered companion collaboration tools. Skype may be too “basic” for enterprise buyers, who are looking to expand video conferencing capabilities beyond what Skype can provide.
Important note: Microsoft Teams and Skype are both owned and operated by Microsoft. But that doesn’t mean Microsoft wants one of their tools to fail versus the other. Microsoft has no plans to stop supporting and improving upon the Skype model. We assume that Skype is being positioned solidly as a personal software tool, while businesses will be encouraged to partner with Microsoft Teams.
Ultimately, buyers who are searching for Skype alternatives tend to be businesses that need more a team-focused product than what Skype provides. Enterprises especially will require platforms with support for larger online meetings than Skype’s 50 user cap. This is particularly salient as well for higher education institutions that need to replace lecture halls with virtual classrooms. Between the quality differences, differing features, user limits, and limited variety of supported devices, Skype is simply not able to compete with the high-powered players in this category today.
Find the Right Skype Alternative for Your Business
Skype has been used for many years as a multi-purpose online communications tool, but now buyers are looking for platforms specifically tailored to their use cases for better performance and user experience. The products we covered in this blog post span a variety of software categories because how we think about online communications and collaboration is expanding as more people work from home than ever.
In some cases all you really want and need is a video conferencing platform, so Zoom, Webex Meetings, and Whereby will work perfectly for you depending on your business size. However, tools like TeamViewer really excel at addressing the specific needs of remote IT teams and have tools to facilitate their roles that products like Whereby, and even Zoom, do not support.
For more in-depth insights into unique use cases, check out the following posts we’ve written for the online communications space:
We also recommend reading customer reviews of web conferencing, VOIP, and UCaaS software to determine which platform offers all the features you need (or don’t need), which tools offer the highest call quality, and which software is priced in a manner that fits your budget. On TrustRadius you can filter reviews by use cases, company size, and industry—and all of our reviews are 100% verified.
Because of our rigorous quality standards, TrustRadius is the most trusted B2B review site for business technology. Our reviews can help you identify the best Skype alternatives for your business. Start here and make better decisions about your investment in the video conferencing category.
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