Open Source & Free Video Conferencing Platforms

by | Dec 17, 2020

Punching letters on your keyboard won’t work when you already feel like talking to a bot. It goes without saying that software, bots, and automation can’t help replace human interactions.

Among the aspects brought about by the waves of remote working, video conferencing is a tool where we hardly see a replacement. No doubt it’s here to stay for the long run, but how do you utilize it to its highest forms without knowing its basics?

There are many applications with the most advanced features to host your virtual meeting. Few of them also have a generous free version with a few limitations mostly on the length of the meeting and total participants. Also, there are many open-source & self-hosted solutions.

We review a few of them below with their most striking features and highlights.

Open Source Video Conferencing Platforms

Jitsi Meet

Jitsi’s web conferencing solution stands out for its extreme ease of use: It runs directly in the browser with no download necessary, and no registration required. To set up a video-conferencing session, you just point your browser to Jitsi Meet, enter a user name (or select the random one that’s offered), and click Go.

Highlights

  • Share your desktop, presentations, and more
  • Invite users to a conference via a simple, custom URL
  • Edit documents together using Etherpad
  • Pick fun meeting URLs for every meeting
  • Trade messages and emojis while you video conference, with integrated chat.

Flujo’s Jitsi integrations bring another added layer of options when you look to communicate with a colleague regardless of their location.

Jami

Jami is a peer-to-peer based open-source video conferencing solution. Jami is completely peer-to-peer and doesn’t require a server for relaying data between users.

Jami is available for Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, So, it’s a pure cross-platform solution for secure messaging and video conferencing.

Highlights

  • Audio/Video Calling, Screen sharing, Conference Calling, Messaging
  • No personal information needs to be provided when creating an account.
  • Users who are on the same local network can communicate with Jami even if they are disconnected from the internet.
  • All communications are peer-to-peer and end-to-end encrypted.

Nextcloud

Nextcloud offers an industry-leading, on-premises content collaboration platform. One of their pricing plans stands at EUR 40/USD 45 per user per year at 500 users.

Highlights

  • Fully on-premise, 100% open source.
  • Encrypted, peer-to-peer audio/video calls
  • WebRTC for cross-platform support
  • Easy screen sharing
  • Integration with Nextcloud Files and Groupware
  • Mobile calls & chat with push notifications

Element

Element comes with secure messaging, voice and video calls, recording, file sharing, screen sharing, widgets, and integrations. It can be a complete team collaboration tool with messaging, calling & file sharing.  Element has a free-forever option & also other paid pricing plans

Highlights

  • End-to-end encryption with cross-signed device verification.
  • Free unlimited voice, video, and conferencing.
  • Unlimited message history with read receipts, editable messages & reactions.
  • Work with external organizations.

Free Video Conferencing Platform

Zoom

Highlights

  • Host up to 100 participants
  • 40-minute maximum group meetings
  • Unlimited 1:1 Meetings

Google Meet

Google Meet (formerly known as Hangouts Meet) is a video-communication service developed by Google. Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat were rebranded to Google Meet and Google Chat in April 2020. Individuals can host secure video meetings for free with Google Meet. Teams can use Google Workspace Essentials to get advanced Meet features plus Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides designed for business.

Highlights

  • In the free version, the maximum meeting length is 1 hour
  • Invite up to 100 internal or external participants to a meeting in the free version
  • Join meetings through a web browser or through Android or iOS apps
  • Live closed captions (English only)
  • Hosts can deny entry and remove users during a call

With Flujo’s Google Meet integration, we’ve made it even easier to light up your screen with your colleague’s face with the click of a button.

Skype Meet

Skype has been one of the most popular audio/video conferencing solutions used by enterprises with their Skype for Business Product. Skype also has a free version with the Desktop App and Web version. With the web version, it’s very easy to start a meeting in just a few steps.  You can just generate the link, share it & join the meeting without any registration or sign-up.

Highlights

  • Up to 100 participants
  • Meeting length up to 24 hours
  • Record your calls. Recordings are stored for up to 30 days
  • Easily share your screen with real-time messaging in the call
  • Blur your background before entering the call (on the app)

Cisco Webex

Webex is a videoconferencing app that has been around since the ‘90s; it was acquired by Cisco in 2007. It’s one of the most popular enterprise applications alongside Skype for Business. Along with video conferencing, it also has 1:1 and group messaging. You can host meetings after signing up.

Highlights

  • Host up to 100 participants
  • Up to 50 min group meetings
  • Unlimited 1:1 Meetings
  • Chat, notes, raise hand and polling
  • Breakout sessions & Save recordings to your computer
  • Unlimited direct and group messaging
  • End-to-end encryption option

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, while the top-notch tools are at play, some lack certain features while others fill in the void which can be a major bonus for those looking for an all-round experience.

Making a choice from Flujo’s varied communication features, Jitsi and Google Meet integrations turn out to be a holistic solution to those looking to communicate impactfully even while on the go.

Happy Working!

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