The best alternatives to Microsoft Teams provide a great way for individuals and businesses to engage in remote collaboration and communicate with colleagues, teachers and loved ones when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams have experienced a sharp uptick in popularity. Competition between the different solutions has been fierce, with developers rushing to launch new features that will boost productivity and make their platform the remote working tool of choice.
But while Teams has certainly built up a formidable reputation, with the number of daily active users reaching 145 million as of April 2021, there are plenty of other solutions that are proving similarly popular.
Below, we take a look at some of the best Teams alternatives that will ensure your employees remain connected and productive wherever they are based.
Zoom is our number one pick for the best Microsoft Teams alternative. It has all the key features that businesses need and boasts some competitive pricing plans that will entice organizations large and small.
Perhaps even more so than Teams, Zoom has become synonymous with the sudden increase in the popularity of video calls. In fact, its name even became attached to unwanted interjections to these calls, with “Zoombombing” entering the popular lexicon (until businesses started to improve the security around their remote meetings).
Zoom comes with HD video and audio calling, screen sharing, virtual backgrounds, and local storage for recorded meetings. Paid plans increase the features on offer, providing cloud storage, live audio transcription, and advanced meeting analytics via the admin portal. If Teams simply isn’t for you, then Zoom represents a fantastic alternative.
Although some video conferencing tools can be more difficult than others to get to grips with, that’s certainly not the case with Google Meet. The program, which can be accessed through your web browser, couldn’t be easier to use. Individuals simply click a meeting link (or send an invite through Gmail), and they are ready to go. There’s no need to download a bespoke application or worry about whether your device is compatible with the software.
In terms of its feature list, much depends on whether users have a Google Workspace subscription. If they do, Google Meet will provide support for up to 150 meeting participants, and grant users access to an unlimited number of meetings at a maximum of 24 hours per meeting. Having said that, the free version is also pretty generous, and without a Google account still allows for up to 100 participants to join your meeting. You’ll need a Workspace subscription if you want to invite non-Google account holders, however.
Security is another area where Google Meet performs well. All data is fully encrypted and meeting participants need an invite and a meeting link to join, or a meeting PIN if they are dialling in using their telephone. For added security, meeting hosts can also set up two-step verification.
If you're looking for the best Teams alternative for large-scale conferences, then Webex is the solution to go for. You might also want to download Cisco Webex Productivity Tools, which will help you to manage your invitation and agenda processes for larger gatherings. The tools will also allow integrations with Microsoft Office, Outlook and Teams.
For bigger organisations, Webex’s Enterprise tier pricing plan is likely to prove attractive. It is priced on a bespoke basis, so businesses will need to contact a Cisco rep, but it comes with features that will be difficult to find from other video conferencing tools. For example, you’re granted an unlimited number of hosts, the option of having up to 100,000 meeting attendees, and given an unlimited amount of cloud storage for recorded video meetings.
Of course, most companies won’t need to host such large meetings, but it’s nice to know that you’re unlikely to ever outgrow Webex. Plus even smaller players will benefit from personalized screen designs, the AI-powered Webex assistant, and a collaborative digital whiteboard.
Initially, businesses could be forgiven for thinking that Slack is simply a useful messaging tool - and, certainly, it excels in this area. But there’s a lot more to this program as well. It boasts a straightforward and easy-to-use interface and a good mix of simple and more advanced features. In fact, Slack offers roughly 2,000 apps that enable users to greatly extend its functionality, as well as integrations with the likes of Google Drive and Trello.
In terms of pricing, Slack offers a free option, as well as two paid tiers - Pro, which costs $8 per user per month, and Business+, which will set firms back $15 per user per month. Admittedly, the video and audio calling functionality that comes with Slack is inferior to that found in other video conferencing solutions but there is a multitude of other features to make up for it.
While RingCentral may be better known for its VoIP solutions, it also provides a pretty serviceable video conferencing solution. In fact, RingCentral’s VoIP pedigree is clear to see in the way that its video solution offers so much compatibility with traditional desk phones. For example, there’s dial-in support for all plans, the ability to dial out to join a conference, and there’s a Call Me function, which gets the service to dial your phone and connect you into the meeting instead of having to use one of the provided phone numbers.
It's worth noting that it's not the cheapest service. The Standard package, for example, costs $24.99 per user per month. However, that price does include unlimited video meetings (with up to 100 participants) and integration with Microsoft 365, G Suite, and Slack.