Choosing a video chat app for your business

Manager using RingCentral Video app to chat with remote employees

Communication is key for any business. Teams need to be able to talk seamlessly without any technical difficulties or time limits, especially when working remotely or flexibly. Effective communication means no freezing, no lagging, and no one saying, “can you hear me?” Less time solving technical difficulties means more time being productive.

Every smooth, streamlined business uses a video chat app to ensure that teams can collaborate. A great video chat app has a number of features. It allows for group calls, screen sharing, and video conferencing, and can be used on a multitude of mobile devices and web browsers. It ensures that teams can communicate across cities, countries, and even continents. It keeps you connected. No exceptions. 

Few companies offer this kind of service, but at RingCentral we know how important team communication can be. For face-to-face communication that barely feels like it’s through a screen, we’ve got you covered.

Things to consider when choosing a video chat app

Choosing a video chat app for your business is important. Video chatting is now expected in most industries: from law, to writing, to sales, teams need to be able to communicate. Whether it’s a call to meet new people, check in on a project’s progress, or simply to catch-up, video calls are the go-to communication strategy. A video chat app means that teams can talk effectively while sending over any relevant information in a chat system at the same time. 

But, let’s take a step back for a minute and determine some of the basic facts when discussing video chat apps.

What exactly is a video chat app?

A video chat app allows people to speak to friends, colleagues, or customers through a computer or mobile device either one-to-one or as a group video—and to physically see them. 

From simple video chats like calling your mom, to business meetings about hiring a potential new employee, video calling is being used now more than ever. So, it’s important for businesses to keep up and use the best equipment to ensure that their video chatting system is up to scratch.

Employee using a video chat app to join an online meeting from home

Image from RingCentral.com

Anyone can video call someone. However, there are some essential items you will need, such as:

What exactly is a video chat app?

Anyone can video call someone. However, there are some essential items you will need, such as:

  • A smartphone, computer, or laptop
  • The right desktop or mobile app
  • The contact details for the person you want to call
  • Wi-fi or phone data, such as 3G or 4G
  • A webcam if calling from a computer or laptop

How do you do video chat?

The art of video chatting varies depending on what you’re using. 

You might choose basic, free apps for video calls, for example. Often, they’re mobile apps that provide a chat alternative to text messages, but also include video calling, alongside voice calling. 

To make a video call on such apps you will need a mobile phone, the app downloaded, and the phone number of the person you want to contact. You will also either need wi-fi or phone data to allow the call to connect. 

Alternatively, you can make a call on a social media based video calling system. Instead of having the person’s phone number, you will need to be connected with your intended recipient on the right social network. If a social networking platform can make calls, there will usually be a video camera icon in the app itself. Of course, you’ll need the relevant social media account before anything else.

While both of these solutions are great for contacting family and friends and random video chat, they aren’t regarded as professional. A business will need a more sophisticated video calling app to ensure that their needs are met. 

While the purposes are different, a professional video chatting app works in a similar way. However, most professional video chatting apps will use a video meeting ID. 

This is a unique number created by the app for each online meeting that is created—allowing for more security. So, instead of needing the person’s phone number or social media details, you will need this meeting ID to be able to join the video call. 

Team having a virtual meeting through a video chat app

Image from RingCentral.com

How to video chat with RingCentral Video

How can you make a video call with RingCentral? The RingCentral Video app is designed for professionals with little time on their hands. It’s incredibly simple to use. Once you’ve logged into the app and clicked the video camera icon to display the RingCentral Video section, you can video call or webcam chat in a number of different ways:

  1. Click start a video meeting
  2. Schedule a video meeting for later
  3. Join a video meeting through its meeting ID 
  4. Sync your Outlook or Google Calendar to the RingCentral app, displaying your scheduled videos
RingCentral Video Overview

How can I video chat without an app?

Video chatting without an app isn’t impossible. If someone has sent you an invite link using an app which they use for meetings or to speak to friends online, you can simply open video calls or group chats in your web browser. Many smart home technologies also have video call capabilities, or the ability to join one audio-only.

However, professional web calls should always be conducted on a video chatting app.

Essential features of video chatting apps

While video chat apps vary, all basic free apps have certain essential features. These include:

  • 1-1 calls
  • Group calls
  • Switching between audio devices (phone speaker, headphones)
  • Mute and unmute audio and video

However, professional apps for video chatting are more streamlined and technical. This means they have more features. The RingCentral Video app includes a number of impressive features designed to ensure effective collaboration among teams. These features include:

  • Screen sharing:
    Lets you share your  screen in real time so callers can see certain information, such as powerpoint slides, important data, or live edits. For professional video conferencing apps, this is a necessary tool as it allows teams to illustrate and share ideas faster and simpler.
  • Video conferencing:
    This feature allows multiple users in one video chat session. For businesses, it’s important to check how many users can be supported at the same time. Free apps won’t be able to support a lot of users.
  • Device switching:
    Lets you seamlessly switch live video meetings between devices, allowing you to be mobile even when you’re in a video call.

  • Video messages
    Allowing you to send video messages that people can watch later.
  • Video recording
    With this feature, you can record and save live video chat and conferencing sessions, allowing you to watch them at a later date. With RingCentral, you get unlimited cloud recording and streaming.
  • Text chat
    The ability to send messages via text chat within the app, rather than using a separate solution.
  • Call to video
    Letting you seamlessly switch from voice call to video call without disruption.
Using the Call to Video Feature
Remote teams having video conference using RingCentral Video

Image from RingCentral.com

Benefits of video calling

There are many benefits to video calling. For example:

  • It’s more personal: we all want to be able to see our loved ones. Video calling creates a more personal calling experience. We can see people’s expressions and get a better sense of how they’re feeling. Essentially, a simple video chat brings us closer together. 
  • It’s more professional: using a professional video calling app like RingCentral Video allows for more professionalism. Calls can be scheduled, recorded, and shared to ensure that they feel as close to a face to face meeting as physically possible. Seeing your colleague when you’re talking makes the experience more professional and increases employee engagement.

    Video calling is especially effective for interviews, as you can use visual aids to show the candidate what you’re all about—while getting a better sense of them, too. A video call means professional attire and body language, which doesn’t mean everything about a person, but can mean a lot.
  • There’s less chances of misinterpretation: video calling simply allows for better communication and less misinterpretation. Our body language and facial expressions say a lot about us. When you send messages through text, it can be hard to read tone. Our voices can express our emotions, seeing our behavior adds an extra layer of understanding.

    If someone’s saying “I understand” but their face says otherwise, you can expand your explanation. Visual aids also help to convey ideas in a slick, straightforward manner, and are often used in video calls to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • It connects people from afar: video calling connects people from all areas of the world. Business-wise this is great, as it means you can hire employees in other countries and still have seamless real-time communication. 

    It also allows for more flexible working—helping co-workers to stay connected while on business trips or working remotely. Plus, it’s great for connecting friends and family who aren’t based in the same place. It reduces travel costs, too.
  • It increases productivity: research has found that video calling increases productivity. How? When you’re on a video call, you know your employee isn’t secretly watching TV, having a snack, or sitting on the toilet (yikes!)

    Video calls create a more professional environment and encourage teams to focus. Everyone wants to be paying attention, actively contributing, and adding something to the meeting—especially if it’s going to be recorded for later use. So, you’ll see increased productivity if you work video calling into your schedule. 
  • Higher security: video calling with RingCentral ensures that your data is protected with comprehensive enterprise-grade security. Its security controls are  externally verified so you can rest assured that all of your conversations are private and secure. Even if you join from a browser or our own all-in-one app, RingCentral keeps your data and information safe.

What is the best video chat app?

There are a number of different video chatting apps available. Some include more features than others, and you’ll find that the free ones have certain limitations. However, there’s no one conferencing app that’ll be perfect for everyone. So, let’s look at it from a different angle.

How to choose the right video chat app for you

Every business’s needs and priorities are different. That means the tools required to meet them also vary. There’s no exception when it comes to video conferencing apps. Before you commit to a video chat app provider, it’s important to check all of the pros and cons involved with each provider.What are the considerations, then, that most companies need to keep in mind?

Budget - get by with free video calling apps or invest in professional video chat apps?

There are plenty of popular free apps—or paid for apps with free versions—out there. Many businesses feel they can get by with using these, and save money by doing so. Often, though, that’s a false economy. 

Most free apps are fine for creating group chats or sending emojis to your colleagues. When you need greater professional functionality, however, they fall short. Typical limitations include poorer video quality, inability to schedule meetings, meeting time limits, restrictions on numbers of participants, and more. 

Professional video calling apps outstrip the free alternatives in all those areas and more. What’s more, we might be a little biased, but we think RingCentral Video is the best professional video chat app around. With a vast array of professional features, the RingCentral app creates a higher level of functionality than any other app. Just a selection of the features, include:

  • HD video and audio for video participants
  • Start a meeting from a messaging thread as a speedy text chat alternative
  • Real-time meeting analytics to outstrip all alternative apps
  • Use in-meeting messaging to manage meeting flow and minimize random chat

But don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself. Here’s why customers love RingCentral Video:

The art of video chatting varies depending on what you’re using. 

You might choose basic, free apps for video calls, for example. Often, they’re mobile apps that provide a chat alternative to text messages, but also include video calling, alongside voice calling. 

To make a video call on such apps you will need a mobile phone, the app downloaded, and the phone number of the person you want to contact. You will also either need wi-fi or phone data to allow the call to connect. 

Alternatively, you can make a call on a social media based video calling system. Instead of having the person’s phone number, you will need to be connected with your intended recipient on the right social network. If a social networking platform can make calls, there will usually be a video camera icon in the app itself. Of course, you’ll need the relevant social media account before anything else.

While both of these solutions are great for contacting family and friends and random video chat, they aren’t regarded as professional. A business will need a more sophisticated video calling app to ensure that their needs are met. 

While the purposes are different, a professional video chatting app works in a similar way. However, most professional video chatting apps will use a video meeting ID. 

This is a unique number created by the app for each online meeting that is created—allowing for more security. So, instead of needing the person’s phone number or social media details, you will need this meeting ID to be able to join the video call. 

Meet Smarter
Employee using RingCentral Video app for mobile to have a video call with a team member.

Image from RingCentral.com

Accessibility - when and how does your team need to use your chosen app?

It’s not just budget that defines the right choice of video chat app for your business. The solution must also be usable and convenient for your team members, whatever industry or line of work you’re in. 

Not many businesses are now strictly office-bound. Video chatting apps, then, should work seamlessly on mobile devices—all of them. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for some free alternatives. Often these tools from the Play or App Store will either work only on Apple devices—great for anyone using iOS, iPhones, iPads, or Mac—or only on Android.

Even if you are in a set workplace, usability across devices and browsers is still crucial. It’ll create discord among your team if those members who favor Google Chrome can’t get your chosen communication tool to work!  

At RingCentral, we include everyone and ensure our video calling works on any device. Whether you have an Android phone or you’re strictly Apple, being professional means understanding that certain devices work better for certain people, industries, and professions.

At heart, therefore, choosing a video chat app for your business is about understanding your priorities. Is your budget so tight that you simply can’t afford any investment in your team communication? Or, is it more important that you get value from whichever conferencing app you choose?

If it’s the latter, RingCentral Video could be just the solution you’re searching for. With outstanding functionality—both on mobile and desktop—it provides everything your business could need to work collaboratively, wherever your team is based. Sensible, reasonable pricing, too, means RingCentral can suit all budgets. Plus, the cloud-based aspect means you’ll save on web hosting.

Additional Features - what does your team need from a video chat app?

Earlier, we listed features that any video chat app should have. However, providers don’t always offer all of them at the same time. As mentioned earlier, most free chat apps will be limited in features. Some paid video services might offer all the features listed, but with a limitation. For example, some might not be able to support a large number of users per session. Others might not be able to send video messages with long durations or large file sizes.

Of course, RingCentral Video offers most, if not all of the essential features a business will need from a video chat app. Not only that, but it comes with additional features like task management, team calendars, file sharing, and more. If you need a video app just for meeting new people or contacting your friends and family, this might be too much for you.

However, any professional will be able to appreciate how useful the tools offered by RingCentral Video are. With our video chat and conferencing solution, your virtual meetings and general workplace operations can be streamlined and optimized considerably.

Request a RingCentral Video demo

If you’re looking for seamless communication with excellent video quality and a number of great features, request a demo with us today. You’ll find that RingCentral Video outperforms all other video chat apps.

Find out more about RingCentral Video by checking out our demos or contacting our sales team.