Audio vs video conferencing: What’s better for meetings

With the growing popularity of remote work, audio and video conferencing is in high demand these days. This causes a lack of real communication due to the reduction in the number of in-person meetings, large events in public places, and hours spent working in an office. For good or bad, each of us has to adapt to the changes caused by the global pandemic. Today, each business team uses special software to collaborate with coworkers without leaving home, so it’s highly important to know how to use such services effectively and be aware of audio and video conferencing pros and cons. So let’s dive right in!

Audio vs video conferencing: What’s better for meetings

What is audio conferencing?

Audio conferencing is a traditional type of communication, which represents a method of connecting two or more people from various locations on one audio call by using modern technologies, like a conference bridge. There are two connection types:

  1. Wired: via landline phones
  2. Wireless: via mobile data or WiFi

Audio conferencing is widely used in the business sphere because modern technologies provide all the opportunities to make it a quick and easy option to keep in touch with remote team members, partners, and clients.

 

Which tools are required for it?

  • Special web conferencing software installed on a desktop or mobile device
  • Speakers and microphones
  • Stable Internet or data connection (optional)

 

Benefits of audio meetings

  • Affordable cost: usually, such calls are cheap. Although if you want to make an international call, it’s better to use online services to avoid huge expenses.
  • Higher quality: web conferencing involves a large amount of data and a stable Internet connection. Without them, you’ll see only a pixelated version of other participants. So audio calls are often more reliable than video conferences.
  • Easy access: audio conferencing is available on any device from a landline to a mobile phone, so it’s easy to join a conference from anywhere.
  • Simple to set up: modern software allows users to start a call in a matter of seconds.
  • Invisibility: no time is required to get ready for such a conference, as no one will see you.

Flexibility: allow connecting people from different locations.

What is a video conference?

The main difference between audio and video conferencing is that the first one involves camera usage, which can be either attached to a device (a webcam) or embedded into it (a laptop or a smartphone). Usually, various digital platforms are used for this type of communication, which establish the connection between call participants via mobile data or WiFi. Apart from that, such services offer many additional features for online collaboration.

 

Which tools are required for it?

  • A device with an Internet connection
  • A camera
  • A video meeting app

Benefits of video calls

1) Close to face-to-face gatherings: video adds a visual element that enhances the overall online experience during business meetings- talking using the camera lets you see other participants, their emotions, body language, smiles, and reactions to your words, making it almost as good as an in-person meeting.

2) Additional features: thinking that after joining a video conference you will just talk and nothing more doesn’t correspond to reality. Most modern apps offer a great variety of tools for effective communication on the web, including screen sharing, instant messaging, cloud storage, and integration with other applications.

3) Cost-effective: most video conferencing platforms include free plans or trial versions to get acquainted with their service. And often using features offered for free is enough for running a small business.

4) Cutting down travel costs: video conferencing software allows us to keep in touch with distant partners, customers, and other team members without having to leave the office or home.

5) Enable the digital workforce: being able to see your coworkers at least on your screen keeps your team close-knit even under the communication restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Video conferencing helps to maintain friendly relationships, speed up decision making and improve productivity and ability to collaborate globally along with providing remote flexibility.

Audio vs. video conferencing

To better understand the difference between these two types of online communication, we’ve prepared a comparison table:

 

Audio conferencing

Video conferencing

Type

Voice-only conversation

Visual element combined with audio

Connection

Landline/Internet

Internet

Required equipment

  • Device
  • Microphone
  • Phone number
  • Special software
  • Stable Internet connection (optional)
  • Device
  • Microphone
  • Special software
  • Stable Internet connection
  • Web camera

Availability

As simple as traditional phone calling

Requires high-speed internet bandwidth

Add-ons

No

Additional collaboration features (cloud storage, meeting recording, screen sharing, etc.)

 

Best audio and video conferencing software for remote communication

When running a business, a reliable and effective app for cooperation within the company is a must-have. We’ve analyzed the market and chosen the most popular services, which have an impeccable reputation among successful businesses. Take a look:

 

1) Whoosh

Whoosh is quite new to the market but has already received positive reviews. It’s a convenient app with its unique functionality and user-friendly interface. The main goal of the team was to create a platform, which would make remote teams hold video conferences more often than a voice-only virtual meeting. For accomplishing this, they offer several features, which are going to turn each virtual event into a memory worth recalling. Let’s examine them closer:

  • AI-powered camera, capable of pulse, emotion and mood assessment, interpreting gestures and facial expressions, analyzing your look, and showing your uniqueness. These features are created to lessen the stress level during important business events and make users feel confident and comfortable when talking with the camera on.
  • Full-HD video and outstanding audio, which allow holding high-quality conferences with background noise muting, splitting of audio streams, and clear image of other participants. 
  • Smart meeting recording and cloud storage: such tools are useful for any missed events. Allow AI to analyze a meeting and it will choose the most significant information and create a short video mashup with a transcript, which you can find later on the cloud storage.
  • Interactive features: scheduling assistant, screen sharing, virtual whiteboard, team-building activities. 

Professional web security: encrypted meetings and recordings, room locks, host controls.

 

2) Zoom

Zoom has been popular since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. It appeared as a true lifebelt for most businesses, which had to switch their office workplaces to an in-house environment. Education, medicine, business industries were hit most badly. And Zoom did everything to help people keep in touch with them, even being locked at home. 

This service is perfect for large teams, which collaborate every day and in big groups. Choosing it for your work, you’ll get access to:

  • High-quality video and audio conferences: the service offers HD video and hassle-free audio conferences. Furthermore, you can share music and video clips, use screen sharing and meeting recording.
  • Various plans for businesses of all sizes: after the installation of the app, you can set up unlimited and free one-on-one meetings and 40-minute gatherings with up to 100 participants, included in a Free plan. But you can also subscribe to the most advanced - Large Meeting plan, and arrange conferences with up to 1,000 interactive members. 
  • Possibility to arrange events with a large audience: Zoom allows hosting virtual events of great capacity - 10,000+ attendees. This variant is suitable for webinars, masterclasses, or training sessions.
  • Cross-platform access: Zoom is compatible with nearly every device and operating system, moreover, it allows integrations with more than 1700 apps and services.
  • Hybrid solutions for companies mixing home and office workplaces.

 

3) Skype

Skype is familiar to everyone because it was the first reliable platform for keeping in touch with distant people when the sphere of remote communication had just started emerging. Despite other apps, Skype is still developing and is not going to give way to present-day novelties of the industry. It best suits small teams, allowing organizing a free conference call with up to 50 participants. Take a look at its key features:

  • Audio and HD video conferencing: connect with your team engaging in high-quality meetups and using call reactions.
  • Instant messaging: chat with other participants, share emojis, and use fun reactions and @mentions to grab someone’s attention.
  • Call recording and its transcript: record any call in one tap and get to it later, when having free time.
  • Connecting with non-Skype users: buy a personal Skype number and dial landlines and mobiles from any part of the world at special low rates.
  • Private conversations: make sure your sensitive chats are encrypted by industry-leading end-to-end encryption.
  • Interactive tools: whiteboarding, background effects, built-in translator, custom reactions.

 

4) Slack

Slack has proven itself as a reliable tool for corporate communication. It’s widely used as a platform for collaboration between teams and company departments. Slack has a wide range of features to organize remote team meetings effectively, starting from the possibility to hold video and audio calls and ending with smart chatbots ready to help with various issues. The platform is available on desktops and mobile devices, making users flexible and able to work from anywhere. Let’s examine its most useful tools:

  • Private and public conversations: in Slack, you can chat with your colleagues in public channels, but also, it’s possible to talk one-on-one in a private chat. 
  • Engaging messaging: use @mentions, send standard, animated, and custom emojis, and join discussions.
  • Best for voice-only calls: the app allows inviting up to 15 participants to join a call, but video calling is only available from the desktop version. Unfortunately, the mobile version is only capable of setting up a voice conference. Moreover, the video quality quickly drops, if many people join a call, being a serious disadvantage to teams that prefer video conferencing.
  • Integrations with other applications: keep all apps you use synced with Slack - the software offers more than 2,400 integrations with popular services, like Github, Google Drive, or Zendesk.
  • Powerful search: navigate through the message history easily - Slack stores 10,000 texts in a Free plan, and sets no limits in its paid plans. 

 

5) Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams offers video conferencing with Microsoft 365 platform integration, primarily aiming at businesses and large enterprises. But smaller teams will also find this service quite convenient being provided an opportunity to invite up to 100 meeting participants without any charge. But the subscription offers an all-in-one digital working place with a long list of impressive features, including:

  • High-quality video conferences with up to 10,000 participants.
  • Full Microsoft 365 integration with your favorite Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.
  • AI-powered tools: meeting scheduling, screen sharing capabilities, background blur, noise suppression.
  • Cross-platform support: the app is available on desktop computers, smartphones, Bluetooth conferencing headsets, tablets, and laptops.
  • A broad variety of paid plans: for home, business, enterprise, and education.

 

All the best platforms for business video conferencing are available for free, or at least with a free trial. So you have enough attempts to find a perfect solution for your needs and requirements. Just remember to take the service interface into account, because having a tool difficult to navigate can slow down the team’s productivity and overall company development. A quick and simple app for arranging online meetings is the best way to keep the working process running smoothly.

Conclusion

The statistics show that audio conferences are more popular than those involving video. They don’t require you to look perfect all day long, always being on alert in case someone calls. Audio conferencing makes speakers invisible, causing them to feel more confident while working from the comfort of their homes. And we can't help but agree that voice-only calls are perfect for quick syncs on a project, or sharing urgent updates and news. 

On the other hand, video conferencing helps to improve team spirit, establish good rapport between colleagues, and just provides another chance to see each other like in reality. 

To enhance your team’s productivity, collaboration and become proficient in developing interpersonal communication online, you should understand when a video call is suitable and when setting up an audio conference is enough for successful communication.

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