December 23, 2021
RingCentral vs Mitel MiCloud Connect: Which Is Better?
RingCentral and Mitel MiCloud Connect are both leading unified communication solutions. However, MiCloud offers more advanced collaboration tools and the ability to create, track, and manage projects from end to end. On the other hand, RingCentral’s plans are more affordable and it offers more robust call management tools. Based on our comparison, the best use cases for RingCentral vs MiCloud Connect are as follows: : Better for small to mid-sized businesses in need of large video conferencing capacity, extensive third-party integrations, real-time analytics, and developer-friendly application programming interfaces (APIs) : Better for mid-sized businesses with distributed workforces that prioritize advanced team collaboration and built-in project management tools It is worth noting that while RingCentral offers superior video conferencing features, MiCloud customers may gain access to these tools for even more robust collaboration going forward. This is because Mitel announced in November 2021 that they would be integrating their proprietary CloudLink technology with RingCentral’s MVP communications platform. For more details about what this means for Mitel MiCloud customers, visit Mitel’s newsroom. RingCentral vs Mitel MiCloud Connect at a Glance *Pricing based on an estimated one to 20 users with a 33% annual subscription discount. **Pricing based on an estimated 50 to 100 users. Best for Pricing: RingCentral *Pricing based on an estimated one to 20 users with a 33% annual subscription discount. **Pricing based on an estimated 50 to 100 users. is the better unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform when it comes to pricing. You can get started for a lower per-user monthly rate, and you can also take advantage of greater annual and volume discounts. RingCentral also offers a 30-day free trial, whereas Mitel MiCloud Connect does not. offers video conferencing functionality as part of its entry-level plan, while RingCentral locks this feature behind the slightly more expensive Standard plan. However, RingCentral’s Standard plan is comparable in price to MiCloud Connect’s Essentials plan, making it a bit more difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the base level plans of RingCentral vs Mitel MiCloud Connect. Best for Video Conferencing: RingCentral RingCentral and MiCloud Connect’s video conferencing functionality is fairly similar. However, when comparing RingCentral vs Mitel MiCloud Connect, takes a slight edge thanks to its higher participant caps and longer meeting durations. Plus, RingCentral promises HD audio and video during conferencing meetings, while MiCloud Connect only mentions HD video. However, it’s important to note that MiCloud Connect’s 100-participant cap is only temporarily available on all plans—this is a coronavirus pandemic offering. Mitel states: “During the Coronavirus pandemic, Mitel is allowing all of the above profiles to start MiTeam Meetings that have a maximum of 100 participants including 16 video tiles.” Once this offering is over, MiCloud Connect may return to the previous capacity limits. This means the Essentials plan would only offer eight total participants with eight video tiles, and the Premier plan would have 50 total participants with 16 video tiles. Best for Team Collaboration: Mitel MiCloud Connect is the better platform for team collaboration, especially for hybrid teams with a remote and in-office presence. While both providers offer instant messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing, MiCloud Connect provides project management functionality. Create projects, assign tasks, establish deadlines, and track progress all within a single application. On the other hand, provides more collaborative mentoring opportunities. RingCentral’s advanced call handling features let supervisors monitor agent calls in real time. This gives them the opportunity to assist and train by whispering in the agent’s ear or entering the conversation if an employee needs help. Best for Integrations: RingCentral is the leading business phone system when it comes to third-party integrations, hands down. Businesses can connect to over 290 apps with RingCentral, making it a good fit for any business tech stack. RingCentral also provides developers with API access and robust documentation, empowering technical users to include RingCentral integrations in their custom applications. MiCloud Connect doesn’t come close to offering the extensive list of integrations when it comes to RingCentral vs Mitel MiCloud Connect. However, MiCloud Connect still offers integrations with key software applications, such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft Teams and Outlook, and Google Chrome. Best for Contact Center Features: RingCentral contact center is a real-time communications powerhouse. Supervisors get access to dashboards with insights into call analytics, agent performance, user presence, and call queues to keep an up-to-date pulse on all inbound and outbound calls. RingCentral even offers tools for team gamification to keep your call center employees engaged. contact center is simpler and less cluttered, but it lacks essential channel support. For example, with RingCentral’s contact center, you can connect with customers via phone call, SMS, email, live chat, and social media. With MiCloud Connect, you only get support for phone, email, and chat. Best for Hardware Compatibility: RingCentral When it comes to hardware compatibility, takes the edge. RingCentral supports many of the best VoIP phones, such as Cisco, Polycom, Yealink, and Unify, and they help provision these phones as well. However, RingCentral’s system does not support proprietary phones like Mitel, ShoreTel, NEC, or 3Com phones. MiCloud Connect is more limited when it comes to desk phone selection. You can choose from Mitel’s catalog of desk phones and a few select models of Polycom phones, but that’s the extent of your options. How We Evaluated RingCentral vs Mitel MiCloud Connect At first glance, it can be hard to fully differentiate between RingCentral and Mitel MiCloud Connect’s unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platforms. We dug deeper into the pricing, features, hardware compatibility, scalability, and ease of use to discover the key nuances that inform which platform your business should use. Here’s a complete breakdown of the factors we used to compare RingCentral to Mitel MiCloud Connect: Best Alternatives While a quick comparison or Mitel MiCloud Connect vs RingCentral shows that both provide robust unified communication solutions, they might not be the right fit for your business. Whether you need something more basic, budget-friendly, or an international-friendly calling plan, you have plenty of great MiCloud Connect and RingCentral alternatives. A few recommended alternatives include: : 8x8 offers many of the same features and functionality as RingCentral and MiCloud Connect, but it provides better international calling plans. Businesses can upgrade to 8x8’s X4 plan to unlock unlimited calling to over 47 countries. Read our full 8x8 review to learn more. : If MiCloud Connect and RingCentral feel like overkill for your small business, we recommend Grasshopper. Our Grasshopper phone system review shows that it’s an easy-to-use, budget-friendly virtual phone number service that essentially adds a business number to your mobile phone along with basic call handling features. : Phone.com is another virtual phone option for businesses that want pay-as-you-go metered pricing combined with industry-leading features and channel support. It provides video conferencing, SMS, phone calling, and fax at competitive price points. See how Grasshopper and Phone.com compare. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is ShoreTel Connect? You will likely stumble upon the name ShoreTel Connect quite a bit while researching MiCloud Connect. Mitel acquired ShoreTel Connect in 2017 and rebranded the service to MiCloud Connect. Does MiCloud Connect offer a free trial? Not at this time. However, you can talk to the Mitel sales team to get a demo of the product. What CRM integrations are available on RingCentral vs Mitel MiCloud Connect? Both MiCloud Connect and RingCentral have built-in integration, at least on some tiers, for Salesforce. This solution is the industry leader for customer relationship management, but both also provide integrations for Microsoft Dynamics and SugarCRM as well. Bottom Line When it comes to Mitel MiCloud Connect vs RingCentral, both share a lot in common, but is the overall better unified communications provider for small businesses. Its pricing, call management features, video conferencing, hardware compatibility, and integrations make it the go-to solution. However, if team collaboration is your priority, the project and task management capabilities in MiCloud Connect might make it the best choice for your business.
December 13, 2021
Dialpad vs 8×8: Which Is Better for Small Businesses?
Dialpad and 8x8 offer similar business communication and calling tools, yet many differences exist. Companies doing business overseas will want 8x8’s X series plans with free unlimited calling to 48 countries, while those needing large video conference capacity will appreciate 8x8’s 500-participant limit. Alternatively, Dialpad integrates with more apps and stands out for offering reliable and responsive live customer support beginning in the lowest-tier plan. Based on our comparison, the best use cases for Dialpad vs 8x8 are as follows: : Better for small to midsize businesses with distributed teams wanting an all-in-one platform for talk, messaging, and small group video meetings with strong customer support : Better for small to midsize companies or enterprises needing a unified communications platform for connecting with customers worldwide and video conferencing for larger groups If you’re looking for alternatives to Dialpad and 8x8, scroll down to the list of options toward the end of this article or check out our list of the best small business VoIP services. Dialpad vs 8x8 at a Glance *Pricing is based on the Dialpad Standard plan with annual billing. **Pricing is based on the 8x8 Express plan with yearly billing. How We Evaluated Dialpad vs 8x8 8x8 and Dialpad are unified communications as a service (UCaaS) providers whose features include robust voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) business phone systems. We compared vs by looking at various plans with VoIP, UCaaS, and inbound and outbound call center features. We analyzed feature sets, ease of use, and advanced tools for different use cases, such as sales teams and international customers. In each case, we examined the overall functionality of the business phone systems. Here’s a complete breakdown of these factors: Pricing (20%): We reviewed the cost of each plan tier and noted any user requirements or limitations. We also checked out the free trial lengths and discounts for annual billing. General features (30%): We checked out the call handling and management features for Dialpad vs 8x8, including auto-attendants, ring groups, and voicemail. Plus, we considered the availability of mobile and desktop apps. Ease of use (20%): We evaluated each provider's sign-up and setup process, including self-service and customer support options. We also assessed mobile and desktop apps and browser usability. Advanced features (30%): We looked at UCaaS features, tools for international workers and customers, and integrations. In addition, we explored reporting options, including speech analytics. Best for Pricing: 8x8 *8x8 X-Series plans are based on a monthly payment, and you can save up to 25% with annual billing. **Business Communications plans are based on a monthly payment, and you can save $60 a year with annual billing. Contact Center and Sales Dialer plans also incur per-minute fees. has a slight edge over for overall cost because 8x8 offers a less expensive entry-tier package. Additionally, it doesn’t require a minimum number of licenses, and X-Series plans provide a steep discount for annual prepayment. Further savings are possible with 8x8 if you make international calls, as X-Series plans include unlimited calling to up to 48 countries. In comparison, Dialpad charges per minute for international calls. Contact center and sales dialer subscriptions also incur per-minute fees for inbound and outbound calls. If you prepay your Dialpad Business Communications subscriptions, you’ll save $60 per year. However, Dialpad doesn’t offer annual discounts for sales dialer or contact center subscriptions. 8x8 X-Series plans reward annual prepayment with a yearly discount of $96 to $504, depending on the package. For example, if you choose the 8x8 X-2 plan and elect for annual billing, you’ll pay $288 per user, per year with no minimum purchase. Dialpad’s Pro package costs $300 per user, per year, and you must purchase three licenses. If you want an auto-dialer, Dialpad’s Sales Dialer plan costs $1,140 per year plus 1 cent per minute inbound and 2 cents per minute outbound, whereas 8x8 X-6 costs the same price per year minus the per-minute fees. Best for International Calling: 8x8 is the clear winner for international calling, thanks to unlimited international calling on X Series plans. X2 includes unlimited calling to 14 countries, like Australia, France, New Zealand, and Spain. Calls to similar regions with a plan start at 3 cents per minute. The X4 package supports unlimited calls to 48 countries, such as China, India, and Japan, whereas Dialpad per-minute costs start at 3 cents. Multiple international calls per day can quickly add up when using Dialpad. Since average call duration ranges from 4.7 to almost 9 minutes, making 60 calls a month could add more than $10 to your monthly bill. However, 8x8 doesn’t support outgoing international text messaging, but you can receive incoming messages. Dialpad allows outgoing SMS messages, but you’ll pay a fee for each message that varies by country. Both services let your employees call other team members using the phone system for free, regardless of location. Plus, you can choose local numbers in 120 countries with 8x8 vs Dialpad’s support for 59. Best for UCaaS Features: 8x8 and apps support virtual collaboration, but 8x8 offers greater functionality than Dialpad. Up to 500 people can meet with 8x8 vs Dialpad's 10-person limit for video meetings. Contact center plans integrate with Facebook and Twitter, giving your team a central space to review social media messages. And 8x8 supplies unlimited media storage for recordings and files. 8x8 also offers a separate yet integrated Front Desk app for receptionists. They can view presence data for all users and know who’s available to take a call. In contrast, Dialpad users have access to the free version of Dialpad Meetings with support for 45-minute conferences. You can share a link to files, but the document isn’t stored in Dialpad. The addition of 8x8’s eXperience Communications as a service (XCaaS) platform, which combines UCaaS and contact center as a service (CCaaS) features, makes it a better solution than Dialpad for centralizing your data, communication, and collaboration. Get more information about the platform’s capabilities in our expert 8x8 review. Best for Calling Features: 8x8 In the 8x8 vs Dialpad debate, ranks higher for call handling and management features. X6, X7, and X8 include queued callback, whereas only contact center and sales dialer subscriptions offer callbacks, and you’ll pay a per-minute fee in each case. Although Dialpad supports automatic recording, it’s only available on shared phone lines, and administrators can’t access or automate recording on individual lines. However, both services provide multi-level auto-attendants and hunt groups (called departments by Dialpad). Dialpad edges out 8x8 when it comes to ring groups, offering up to 25, whereas 8x8 users are limited to nine unless they add extra groups that come in bundles of one, six, and 15. When routing calls, Dialpad and 8x8 both support skills-based routing. However, X6 subscriptions go a step further by allowing omnichannel routing to efficiently route calls from SMS, email, chat, and social media to the best agent. Best for Integrations: Dialpad The table above shows integrations that are unique to each platform. Although lists 53 integrations, some options connect to the same system but are for different users. On the other hand, lists 44 integrations without duplicates, including , which can be used to facilitate thousands of other integrations. Both platforms support the following popular business tools: Slack Microsoft 365 Google Workspace Salesforce HubSpot Zoho CRM Microsoft Teams Zendesk However, only Dialpad Enterprise subscriptions—with a minimum of 100 users—can access the security integrations for a single sign-on (SSO), such as Okta and OneLogin. In comparison, all 8x8 X Series plans support Okta and Azure. If you want to integrate your small business VoIP service with specific customer relationship manager (CRM) or help desk software, check out each provider’s available integrations to see if your favorite tools are listed. Best for Customer Service: Dialpad takes the lead over for customer service because it offers live customer support on its base plan and 8x8 doesn’t. Instead, 8x8 Express users can submit a trouble ticket, interact with the virtual assistant, Otto, or explore the knowledge base. Plus, Dialpad’s help center is easier to navigate and more visually appealing than 8x8’s. 8x8 also receives more complaints about difficulties reaching and understanding 8x8 customer service agents, but this issue doesn’t occur with every call. However, if you need a service level agreement (SLA) and have fewer than 100 users, 8x8 could be the better option. Best Alternatives If this 8x8 vs Dialpad comparison didn’t pull you in one direction or another, you might want to consider a Dialpad or 8x8 alternative. Other options may provide different integrations or price points better suited to your business. A few 8x8 and Dialpad alternatives include: : For a unified communications platform with robust integrations, consider RingCentral, as it offers hundreds of connections to CRMs, help desk tools, and industry-specific platforms. Learn how these platforms differ in our Dialpad vs RingCentral comparison. : Small businesses may prefer a virtual phone system that doesn’t charge per user like Dialpad and 8x8. In this case, Grasshopper’s upper-tier plan comes with five numbers and unlimited employee extensions. : Zoom’s UCaaS platform features intuitive video conferencing, social media streaming, and group chat. You can also add an unlimited international calling package to 18 countries for $10 a month. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is Dialpad used for? Companies use Dialpad as a business phone system to make and receive calls from customers. It’s also used for communication and collaboration between teams, with features such as team messaging, screen sharing, and small group video meetings. Check out our full Dialpad software review to learn more about its features and costs. Do 8x8 & Dialpad support three-way calling? Yes. Dialpad and 8x8 allow users to turn a phone call into an audio conference with three users. The platforms use a conference bridge to add callers to a call. During a phone call, 8x8 allows up to 15 people to join. Is Dialpad a dialer? Although doesn’t have a built-in auto-dialer like , it integrates with CRMs and lets you efficiently make calls from your existing software. This feature puts the details on your screen so that sales teams can move through a list of leads quickly. Explore the best predictive dialer software providers to find a solution for your outbound calling teams. Bottom Line and are both reputable phone systems with excellent features. However, our top overall pick for small businesses is 8x8. It stands out for higher video capacities, unlimited international calling, and advanced UCaaS and CCaaS features. 8x8 also offers an inexpensive base plan for $15 per user, per month, and you can try it during a 30-day free trial.
December 13, 2021
8×8 X Series vs RingCentral MVP: Which UCaaS Is Better?
Competition is stiff regarding 8x8 X Series vs RingCentral MVP unified communications platforms, which both earned 2021 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice awards. 8x8 is best if you need video conference capacity for more than 200 people, browser support for distributed team collaboration, or make a high volume of international calls. But for the most integrations or advanced video meeting features, RingCentral MVP would be better. Based on our comparison, the best use cases for 8x8 X Series vs RingCentral MVP for a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) software are as follows: : Overall better value, and best for businesses prioritizing large group video conferencing or wanting full contact center features in a UCaaS platform : Better for businesses needing a UCaaS system with hundreds of integrations or those wanting advanced or niche video conferencing tools 8x8 X Series vs RingCentral MVP at a Glance *8x8’s starting price is based on annual billing. **RingCentral’s starting price is based on two to 20 users with annual billing. How We Evaluated 8x8 X Series vs RingCentral MVP UCaaS Software 8x8 and RingCentral are both feature-rich business phone systems that offer voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) unified communication (UC) tools, including video conferencing, unlimited domestic calling, short messaging service (SMS), and team messaging. However, there are subtle differences that could impact your decision when it comes to which UCaaS is better for your small business. Our vs comparison evaluated the platforms based on ease of use, pricing, and features. We also checked out customer support options and mobile apps while considering various use cases for both tools. Finally, we compared the ease of use and functionality of these UCaaS systems ourselves and considered user reviews. Here’s a complete breakdown of these factors: Best for Pricing: 8x8 *8x8 X Series pricing is based on annual billing. Monthly billing is available at a higher cost. **RingCentral package costs are based on two to 20 users with annual billing. Monthly billing is available at a higher cost. and plans both use a tiered pricing model, and higher-tier packages provide more features. While both vendors offer competitive pricing, we give 8x8’s X Series the edge because the X2 package costs less than RingCentral MVP’s comparable Standard plan. Plus, 8x8’s X2 plan includes video conferencing for up to 500 participants, while RingCentral’s Standard plan only allows 100. You can also mix and match X Series plans to pick cheaper packages for standard users and more expensive packages for supervisors. Depending on how many users you have, this could save your business a bundle over time. Plus, as we shared in our business phone system review of these two providers, 8x8 X2 and X4 offer free, unlimited calling in 14 or 48 countries, respectively, a cost feature not matched by RingCentral. Although 8x8’s X Series upper tiers are costly, they are omnichannel contact centers plans in addition to all the VoIP and UCaaS features of its Express, X2, and X4 plans. RingCentral also has a tiered-plan model Contact Center you can add to your tech stack, but their prices aren’t disclosed. Still, there are some instances where may be the better option. RingCentral’s Premium plan costs less than 8x8’s X4 package if you need call whisper, barge, and monitor features. Plus, all RingCentral MVP versions come with toll-free minutes. Best for Video Conferencing: 8x8 If you need to host conferences with more than 200 participants, an plan will always be better, and it’s for this reason that it wins for best video conferencing. You can start a meeting from a chat session or audio call, poll attendees, and share files. If your business has teams that spend a lot of time in video meetings or you want to consider standalone platforms, check out our guide to the best video conferencing software. Both providers offer video conferencing features to help small and large teams stay connected, facilitate virtual client meetings, conduct webinars, and more. Both come with screen sharing, one-to-one and group chat, and high-definition (HD) video and audio. And while the 8x8 X Series plans offer far higher capacity (500 vs just 200 max with RingCentral MVP), it lacks some of the interactive video tools that make RingCentral MVP stand out. You can share your screen or present using either platform. But takes presentations a step further with overlay modes. Use glassboard mode to move your video image anywhere on the screen during a presentation or use a conference background, so it looks like you’re projecting your slides onto a display. RingCentral MVP’s Team Huddle feature even lets you create a virtual workspace where teams can pop in or out during the day. Best for Team Collaboration: 8x8 RingCentral MVP and 8x8 X Series both enable distributed teams to work together on projects using their preferred devices, and both platforms offer similar feature sets. However, we give a slight edge for overall ease of use for internal and external collaborators. X Series plans also support audio and video features on Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers. RingCentral MVP only provides full support for Chrome or Edge browsers, leaving out the popular Safari platform preferred by iOS users. Plus, the 8x8 X Series plans include unlimited media storage, so you can securely store shared documents, images, and videos in the cloud. Although RingCentral MVP saves call recordings, you’ll need to connect to to access shared files continuously. If your collaborations involve large audio conferences, you may prefer . Up to 1,000 people can participate in audio-only calls, whereas 8x8’s X Series voice meetings are restricted to 500 attendees. Best for International Calling: 8x8 When it comes to 8x8 X Series vs RingCentral MVP for international calling, 8x8 is the clear winner. X Series plans provide unlimited, free, international calling to two different calling zones. X2 users can call 14 countries, including Australia, France, and Germany. Select X4, X6, X7, or X8 to make free calls to 48 regions like Finland, Greece, and India. Businesses with a global customer or employee base will see substantial savings with X Series plans compared to metered international calling plans. For example, RingCentral MVP users get unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, but incur per-minute fees when calling other countries from either the U.S. or Canada. While the rates are competitive with industry charges, it can add up if you have a high volume of outbound international calls to areas. Explore more calling features for international and domestic users in our expert 8x8 software review. Best for Integrations: RingCentral connects your UCaaS platform to more than 290 third-party applications, whereas 8x8 X Series plans support just 53. As such, RingCentral MVP wins this category, even though many of its integrations are locked behind higher-tier plans. Standard plans include basic integrations with calendar tools such as and . Choose the Premium plan to access customer relationship management (CRM) and a host of operational or industry-specific integrations. While all available integrations come with the cheapest package, there are far fewer of them. This is partly because RingCentral MVP relies on connections powered by , and the 8x8 X Series doesn’t list Zapier integrations. If you want to connect your customer relationship manager (CRM), help desk, or other business software to your UCaaS platform, check with each provider to see if your software is supported. Check out our RingCentral review to learn more about its integration capabilities and other features. Best for Analytics: 8x8 Both 8x8 X Series and RingCentral MVP offer robust analytics, including automated scheduled reports. However, the plans rate slightly better because speech and sentiment analytics are provided on the highest-plan tier. RingCentral Contact Center customers may have access to speech analytics, but it isn’t mentioned in the Contact Center plan features. Connect with a RingCentral Contact Center sales associate to discuss your options. 8x8 X Series packages come with a variety of live dashboards showing real-time metrics and usage, call quality reports, and summaries of extensions and company numbers. Likewise, RingCentral MVP provides live dashboards and performance reports with over 30 prebuilt key performance indicators (KPIs). However, these reports aren’t available on the Essentials plan. Both of these UCaaS and small business VoIP providers offer extensive documentation for setting up and using live dashboards and reports. In addition, RingCentral MVP integrates with third-party analytic tools, such as , for Premium and Enterprise users. Alternatives to 8x8 X Series & RingCentral MVP UCaaS Platforms While 8x8 X Series and RingCentral MVP are excellent options for small businesses needing a robust VoIP phone system or full UCaaS tech stack, they can be overkill for small teams or solopreneurs. Other solutions may offer lower prices or add-on packages for better plan customization. A few of the best 8x8 and RingCentral alternatives include: : Check out Nextiva if you’re looking for volume-based discounts, screen call pops, and unlimited internet fax. Monthly plans also come with toll-free minutes like RingCentral. : Solopreneurs and small teams may prefer a virtual phone system that doesn’t charge by user. While Grasshopper doesn’t offer UCaaS features like video conferencing or team chat, you still get popular features like an auto-attendant. Plus, you can save a lot of money by assigning team members extensions instead of individual phone numbers. : If your company is seasonal, you may prefer Vonage, as it offers several features a la carte. This way you can add features like call recording during peak seasons without being locked into a higher-priced package year-round. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Is RingCentral the same as Zoom? No. RingCentral and are two different companies. However, the previous RingCentral Meetings platform originally used Zoom technology, and Zoom provided customer support for issues related to video conferencing. Recently, RingCentral introduced its own video platform and is now helping RingCentral Meetings customers upgrade to the new . What is the difference between RingCentral MVP vs 8x8 X Series? While both providers have comparable offerings, the difference comes down to how they are packaged. For example, 8x8 X4, X6, and X7 plans include not only UCaaS and VoIP functionality, but also an omnichannel Contact Center. You can purchase a RingCentral Contact Center plan separately from your MVP plan for a similar bundle. Do RingCentral & 8x8 offer toll-free numbers? Yes, both RingCentral MVP and 8x8 X Series plans offer toll-free numbers. RingCentral MVP also supplies users with toll-free minutes on all calling plans, whereas none of 8x8 X Series plans include toll-free minutes. Bottom Line There are distinct differences when it comes to 8x8 X Series vs RingCentral MVP. While RingCentral MVP provides far more integrations, it lacks the higher video conferencing capacity, international calling features, and team collaboration capabilities offered in 8x8 Series plans. As such, we rank plans higher overall than .
December 9, 2021
Zoom vs GoToMeeting: Which Is Better for Small Businesses?
Zoom has become one of the most popular choices for video conferencing, dominating the market as a user-friendly, yet feature-packed platform. However, there are concerns about call security on the platform and there is a limit to meeting minutes. GoToMeeting is more of an enterprise-size video conferencing tool, enabling businesses to host meetings with up to 3,000 participants (without becoming a webinar). Based on our comparison, the best use cases for Zoom vs GoToMeeting are as follows: : Better for businesses that value ease of use and the widest range of conferencing features : Better for businesses with enormous teams that want to control the small display details of every meeting Zoom vs GoToMeeting at a Glance *Based on a monthly pricing plan. There is a 17% annual discount available. **Based on a monthly pricing plan. There is a 15% annual discount available. How We Evaluated Zoom vs GoToMeeting and offer the best video conferencing experience and features to small businesses. Businesses get high definition (HD) video conferencing, whiteboards, screen sharing, breakout rooms, and security protocols, all at comparable prices. However, Zoom and GoToMeeting have slight nuances that make them more appropriate for certain users—and that’s what we set out to discover in our evaluations. We looked at head-to-head pricing comparisons, general features, ease of use, integrations, and our own experience with the platforms to determine which is better for small businesses. Here’s a complete breakdown of these factors: Best for Pricing: Zoom Zoom’s pricing above is based on a monthly subscription plan. There is a 17% annual discount available. GoToMeeting’s pricing is based on a monthly subscription plan. There is a 15% annual discount available. and pricing comparison is close, but Zoom takes a slight edge thanks to its comprehensive free plan and add-on options. Zoom’s Basic plan lets users host up to 100 participants for up to 40-minute meetings for free. GoToMeeting’s Free plan allows users to only host up to three participants for up to 40-minute meetings. Both platforms’ free plans give users access to most general features, like screen sharing and chat. Zoom offers almost all of its in-meeting features on the Basic plan, but GoToMeeting locks features like mouse sharing, meeting lock, and whiteboard behind the premium Business plan. While Zoom only offers up to 500 meeting participants on its Enterprise plan, businesses can purchase a Large Meetings add-on (on any plan) to gain up to 1,000 interactive participants in a meeting. GoToMeeting offers 3,000 meeting capacity on its standard Enterprise plan. Best for Video Quality: GoToMeeting Both Zoom and GoToMeeting provide HD 1080p video conferencing. The only factor that’ll impact this quality will be your internet bandwidth. When it comes to video management, users can view up to 49 simultaneous screens when using Zoom’s gallery view, while users can only see 25 on GoToMeeting. However, is the better tool when it comes to fine-tuning the details of your video settings. You can adjust the video brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, hue, power line frequency, white balance, and backlight settings. This control empowers you to have a good-lacking video image, regardless of your lighting or environment. Zoom’s video settings are strong too, but they’re not quite as robust as GoToMeeting. You can change the aspect ratio and background image or blur to tune your video quality. You can also use a special touch-up setting to soften the presenter’s features during a call. This feature is great for combatting the effects of harsh lighting. Best for Encryption: GoToMeeting While Zoom and GoToMeeting offer comparable encryption and security protocols, Zoom has a troubled history with privacy issues. past has less baggage, giving it a better reputation for providing secure encryption. Zoom uses a 256-bit AES key, while GoToMeeting uses a 128-bit AES key. Beyond encryption keys, there are other standards businesses must follow to be compliant with HIPAA regulations. Zoom provides HIPAA compliance, but it only does so under the Zoom for Healthcare plan, which costs $14.99 per user, per month for less than 10 licenses. On the other hand, GoToMeeting offers HIPAA compliance on all its plans—even the Free plan. Best for Call Recording: GoToMeeting is the winner when it comes to call recording. Once you upgrade to the Business or Enterprise plans, you’ll get unlimited cloud recording storage. Record and store as many meetings as you’d like, and get access to your recordings for up to 365 days. Zoom’s Pro and Business plans get you 1GB of cloud recording storage per license. Often, this is more than adequate for most users' needs, especially since users can download the video files and store them elsewhere if necessary. However, businesses must upgrade to the Enterprise plan if they need unlimited cloud storage. Best for Integrations: Zoom When it comes to integrations, it’s hard to find a video conferencing platform that connects with more apps than . Zoom boasts an impressive, more than 1,000 integrations in its Zoom App Marketplace, allowing you to type in an app, browse through the categories, or filter your results. If you need to integrate Zoom with your tech stack, there’s a good chance third-party integrations already exist. has a strong integrations MarketPlace too. You’ll find around 71 third-party apps, including popular solutions like HubSpot, Salesforce, Google Workspace (formerly G suite), and Microsoft Teams. It doesn’t have the number of integrations that Zoom has, but there’s a good chance GoToMeeting provides what you need. Best for Customer Support: Zoom is the more straightforward option when it comes to requesting customer support. You can easily start a live chat with a representative, jump into the phone queue, or submit a ticket for less urgent requests. The help center provides all the phone numbers and links you need to find the right extension and get help quickly. support is a bit more complex. It’s hard to find where you can contact a live agent. Even after going through the live chat with their bot, Sparky, the virtual assistant kept navigating users back to the home support page rather than helping connect them with a human being. Best Alternatives While GoToMeeting and Zoom are industry-leading video conferencing platforms, their solutions might not be right for your business. Whether you need different features or pricing, an alternative might be a better fit. A few GoToMeeting alternatives and Zoom alternatives include: : Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts) is a low-cost alternative to Zoom and GoToMeeting. The free plan offers 60-minute long meetings for up to 100 participants. Individuals can upgrade to a Individual account for just $7.99 per month to get access to longer meetings, cloud storage, breakout rooms, and intelligent noise cancellation. : Microsoft Teams is a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution that offers video conferencing, team messaging, and cloud storage. Plus, when you upgrade past the free plan, you get access to Microsoft 365, which includes Microsoft Office apps. : Cisco Webex has a reputation for being one of the world’s most secure, scalable video conferencing solutions. The pricing is comparable to GoToMeeting and Zoom, but you can also add a cloud-based phone number to your plan (with phone menus, extensions, and forwarding options) for just a small additional monthly fee. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Is GoToMeeting cheaper than Zoom? Not by a large margin. When you visit pricing page, they’re using a monthly subscription estimate. uses an annual subscription estimate, making the price discrepancy appear much larger. On a per plan basis, GoToMeeting costs about 99 cents less per user, per month. Which is better: Zoom or GoToMeeting? Neither is universally better—each caters to a different business. For example, businesses that demand HIPAA compliance will be better off with , while users who need extensive integrations will want to choose . Check out our comprehensive Zoom review for more information. Is there a free version of GoToMeeting? Yes. It’s not easy to find on its website, but GoToMeeting offers a free version to users. It only allows 40-minute meetings for up to three participants, but it’s a great way to experiment with the tool and determine if you like the experience and user interface. If you want to discover other free platforms aside from GoToMeeting, read our list of the best free conference call services. Bottom Line Most businesses can’t go wrong when deciding between Zoom and GoToMeeting—both provide HD video conferencing and high-end, in-meeting features like whiteboard, breakout rooms, and meeting recordings. If you want more integrations, better customer support, and a better free plan, we recommend . If encryption, video settings control, and unlimited cloud recording storage are priorities for your business, we suggest .
December 1, 2021
RingCentral vs Aircall: Which Is Better for Small Businesses?
RingCentral and Aircall are both voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) business phone systems for unlimited calling and texting in the U.S. and Canada. Aircall offers more telesales-centric features like click-to-call, advanced call monitoring, and a built-in power dialer. RingCentral is a more comprehensive (though complex) unified communications platform for the whole office with tons of integrations, video conferencing, team messaging, cloud storage, and lower pricing plans. Based on our comparison, the best use cases for RingCentral vs Aircall are as follows: : Better for small businesses that want a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) business calling solution that will allow them to centralize conversations across the entire organization : Better for businesses that rely primarily on phone sales that want a straightforward solution to make their telesales teams more efficient RingCentral vs Aircall at a Glance *Pricing based on an estimated two to 20 users under an annual 33% discount. **Pricing based on annual 29% discount. Volume discount available with a personalized quote. How We Evaluated RingCentral vs Aircall As leading VoIP business phone systems, and share several common features, so we set out to find the standout features as well as the subtle nuances that differentiate the two products. Most of the differences are easy to spot when comparing feature lists. But a few (such as ease of use and simplicity of setup) require an in-depth look and personal experience. Here’s a complete breakdown of these factors: Best for Pricing: RingCentral *Pricing based on an estimated two to 20 users under an annual 33% discount. **Pricing based on annual 29% discount. Volume discount available with a personalized quote. At first glance, Aircall seems like the more expensive solution, but the margins between the two are finer than they appear. While entry-level plan only costs $19.99 per user, per month, it doesn’t include everything that plan delivers. For example, you get third-party integrations and application programming interface (API) access on the Essentials plan, but have to upgrade to RingCentral’s Premium plan to get the same functionality. However, with RingCentral’s four pricing tiers, businesses can pay for what they need. This often suits startups and small businesses better since they might not need nor want to pay for third-party integrations or API access from the get-go. This leads to better-scaled pricing that helps businesses save money, and it’s why RingCentral takes the lead when it comes to VoIP business phone system pricing. Best for Integrations: RingCentral is the clear winner as the best option when it comes to integrating with third-party software. It provides businesses with more than 200 integrations and also includes API access for custom integrations. Key integrations include Salesforce, Chrome, and Microsoft Teams. Aircall only offers around 80 integrations, but it also includes API access. While RingCentral blows Aircall away in this category, Aircall still provides plenty of key integrations, such as HubSpot, Salesforce, and monday.com. Also, Aircall has many click-to-deploy integrations that make connecting your apps quick and easy. What’s more important than the volume of integrations is the specific integrations your business needs. Check and to see which provides the right integrations for you. Best for Real-time Call Monitoring: Aircall When it comes to real-time call monitoring, takes a slight lead. Live feeds and custom analytics give your team powerful dashboards they can use to ensure a quality experience for every customer. For example, if you notice a call is taking excessively long, you can send a supervisor to listen in on the conversation and provide coaching advice to the agent. Plus, quick call tagging and dispositions give your team more accurate calling insights and reporting. However, does provide a couple of call handling features that Aircall lacks. For example, supervisors can barge in or take over ongoing calls if an agent needs assistance. Another advantage for RingCentral users is that access to all these real-time insights comes with the Premium plan, which is $15.00 less per user, per month than Aircall’s comparable Professional plan. Best for Communication Channels: RingCentral UCaaS platform provides everything a business needs to communicate with employees or customers, including calling, texting, video conferencing, audio conferencing, team messaging, faxing, and file sharing. This replaces the need for additional software solutions like for video conferencing or for team messaging. Aircall’s communication channels are more basic. Unlike RingCentral, you won’t get video conferencing, team messaging, faxing, or file sharing. However, you’ll still get access to fundamental channels like calling, texting, and audio conferencing. Best for Team Collaboration: RingCentral is the better platform for team collaboration thanks to its additional team communication functionality. Team messaging helps maintain all your internal communication in a single application, and file sharing and cloud storage keep your documents protected and stored collectively. With that said, also has some notable capabilities that make it a great collaboration tool. While you don’t get team messaging or file sharing, you can share contacts, assign calls, comment on calls, set up ring groups, and establish distribution rules for call routing. These features aren’t as robust as RingCentral’s team messaging and IVR routing, but they’re still more advanced than many other service providers. Best for Customer Support: Aircall takes the lead when it comes to customer support with 24/7 chat, phone, and email support. Plus, on Aircall’s Custom plan, you also get access to API developer support. offers 24/7 chat and phone support. While they’re not quite as responsive as Aircall, they offer extensive documentation to help businesses self-serve. Also notice that RingCentral offers 24/7 support starting on their $27.99 Standard plan. With Aircall, you have to upgrade to premium plans to unlock VIP hotlines and API developers support—while it costs more to upgrade to access this support, you do receive higher priority and quicker service. When to Use Each Provider RingCentral and Aircall both cater to different needs—neither platform is universally better nor worse than the other. In the section below, we outline when it's more appropriate to use each provider. RingCentral is the better choice for small businesses on a budget. Pricing tiers let you choose and pay for only the features you need instead of a broader bundle that might be overkill. Choose RingCentral if you want to consolidate all of your company’s communication channels in a single application. With RingCentral and its robust catalog of integrations, you can manage your communications, contact center, file storage, and team messaging all from one platform. Aircall is the better choice for sales-oriented businesses that want click-to-call functionality and a built-in power dialer. It has powerful call monitoring tools and integrates with key business software without being too complicated. Choose Aircall if real-time call monitoring is more important for your business than video conferencing and team messaging. Also, Aircall’s one-click integrations are faster, so when time is of the essence, opt for Aircall instead of RingCentral. Best Alternatives There’s a chance that neither of these providers satisfies your exact business needs. Fortunately, there are other top-notch business phone systems on the market. The best Aircall and RingCentral alternatives offer varied pricing, unique features, and different user interfaces that might make it a better match for your business’ needs and budget. The best Aircall and RingCentral alternatives to consider include: : Nextiva is best for established small businesses that don’t plan on rapidly scaling. With more functionality at lower pricing points, your business can do more with less budget. Nextiva also has an extensive library of integrations to streamline your workflows. : 8x8 is the leader in affordable international calling. When you want to scale your business overseas and across borders, 8x8 can help you do it without breaking the bank. 8x8’s X4 plan earns you unlimited voice calling to over 48 countries, which is a lot cheaper than you’ll find with a custom Aircall plan. : If Aircall and RingCentral seem like overkill for your small business, we recommend Grasshopper. Grasshopper is a virtual phone number service that offers unlimited domestic calling and texting in an easy-to-use app. It doesn’t have video conferencing or third-party integrations, but provides a simple, affordable small business communications solution when you are looking for a second number to use for business. Bottom Line and are both industry-leading VoIP small business solutions. Use RingCentral if you want to bundle team messaging, video conferencing, and file sharing into a single unified communications (UC) platform. If you’re more concerned with outbound sales-forward features and fast integrations, choose Aircall—its one-click integrations and top-notch customer support make it the go-to solution for speed and reliability.
November 29, 2021
Pay-as-You-Go vs Prepaid VoIP: Which To Choose
While comparing pay-as-you-go vs. prepaid options for voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) business calling, it’s important to note that billing method differs but in some cases the features stay the same. Pay-as-you-go VoIP providers charge per-minute or text (metered), whereas prepaid VoIP generally includes unlimited calling and texting (unmetered). Which is better for your company depends on your business’ call volume, budget, and the features you need. Based on our comparison, the best use cases for pay-as-you-go vs prepaid VoIP business calling solutions are as follows: Pay-as-you-go VoIP: Better for solopreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits with low call volumes needing a budget-friendly solution, or on a by-device or per-individual basis Prepaid VoIP: Better for any size business with moderate-to-high call volumes looking for unlimited calling and texting plans and an affordable prepayment option Pay-as-You-Go vs Prepaid VoIP at a Glance Pay-as-You-Go VoIP Pay-as-you-go VoIP (aka metered VoIP) tracks your outgoing calls and charges per-minutes used. In some cases, extension-to-extension dialing and inbound calls are free, and you can track usage through a web-based portal or mobile app. Pay-as-you-go providers may also charge a monthly subscription fee, which typically costs less than prepaid packages. Pay-as-you-go services like allow users to share minutes and pooled text message segments. While Zoom Phone doesn't provide this option, both companies let you mix and match plans among employees. This enables you to combine metered and unmetered calling packages for your users, or among devices, to save money. Pay-as-you-go VoIP is a good fit for companies or nonprofits that need a business phone system but conduct most of their business on other channels, resulting in fairly low outbound call volumes. Metered plans also work well for devices located in spaces where you want a phone but it’s not frequently used, such as a conference or waiting room. Advantages Pay-as-you-go VoIP plans are an affordable alternative to pricier unlimited plans. Most plans give your business an assortment of VoIP features, such as voicemail and call extensions, but without paying the higher costs associated with unlimited calling. The benefits of metered VoIP packages include: Lower cost: Prepaid VoIP plans can cost almost twice as much as a metered plan. As long as call volumes remain low, a pay-as-you-go VoIP solution lets you save money on your business phone system. Flexibility: Many VoIP providers offer both pay-as-you-go and prepaid plans, so you can switch plans if your call volume changes without needing to switch providers. Business phone number: Metered plans usually include a business number, and you may be able to add toll-free numbers as well. Professionalism: Like prepaid plans, pay-as-you-go VoIP options let you set up an auto attendant with custom greetings, so every caller has a consistent brand experience. Mobility: Pay-as-you-go phone systems forward calls to any internet-connected devices used by your staff and can sometimes even replace your current business cellphone plans. Disadvantages Although pay-as-you-go VoIP systems deliver many benefits, they aren’t a good fit for all situations. Since you pay by the minute and text segment, higher than usual call volumes or texting can result in larger than expected phone bills that exceed prepaid VoIP plans with unlimited calling and texting. Possible drawbacks of pay-as-you-go services include: Monitoring and plan switching: Keep an eye on usage to avoid overage charges and remember to change your package during peak seasons with higher call volumes. Monthly bill varies: Pay-as-you-go billing varies based on use, so during months with more calls your costs may increase. Less functional as a workspace: If your team wants a unified communications (UC) platform with file sharing, video conferencing, and chat, pay-as-you-go may not be a good fit, as these activities could quickly put you over your usage limits. Prepaid VoIP Prepaid small business VoIP services are unmetered, meaning you can make unlimited domestic calls. Many VoIP providers also allow unlimited video and audio conferences and text messaging. Cloud-based systems often support international calling, which can be metered or, in the case of , X-Series plans include unlimited international calling to up to 47 countries. Like pay-as-you-go, prepaid options come with a business phone number and VoIP features that differ by provider and plan. For instance, and offer prepaid VoIP packages with toll-free minutes and charge a per-user fee, whereas doesn’t supply toll-free minutes, but you can choose a plan with unlimited extensions for a flat rate. Prepaid VoIP works well for companies with higher call volumes, including those that want to use their phone system as a virtual workspace where employees and clients can collaborate. However, if you only need a phone line for professional appearances but don’t receive many calls, pay-as-you-go may be a better choice. Advantages Since prepaid VoIP services include unlimited calling, you don’t need to monitor usage or change plans during peak seasons. Some providers also include more advanced features on unmetered packages, such as voicemail transcription, call handling tools, and compatibility with internet protocol (IP) desk phones. The benefits of prepaid VoIP include: Predictable costs: Unlike pay-as-you-go, prepaid plans charge a flat rate per month and don’t track your minutes or texts. Your phone bill will be the same price each month unless you make international calls, add more business phone numbers, or your plan has some other variable. Advanced features: Features usually differ by both provider and plan tier. Higher-priced unmetered plans generally supply more advanced features and higher capacity limits for audio and video conferencing. Virtual workspaces: Prepaid VoIP is an excellent solution for teams that collaborate remotely. If a meeting goes longer than expected or you need to bring external stakeholders into the conversation, you won’t have to worry about going over your minutes. Disadvantages When it comes to the pay-as-you-go vs prepaid VoIP decision, it’s important to remember that neither is a one-size-fits-all choice. Just like with metered plans, there are disadvantages to prepaid versions. Potential downsides of prepaid VoIP are: More expensive: Prepaid plans usually cost more than pay-as-you-go VoIP plans, unless you exceed plan minutes. A prepaid plan may be unnecessary for a conference room phone or an employee who doesn't normally answer or make many phone calls. Unused features: Many prepaid plans come with more features than pay-as-you-go versions, which might leave you feeling like you’re paying for stuff you don’t need. Less flexibility to scale down: Most providers don’t offer metered plans, so if you choose a vendor without lower-priced options, you’re stuck paying higher prices even if your business is seasonal. Most Budget-friendly Pricing: Pay-as-You-Go Pay-as-you-go VoIP tends to be less expensive than prepaid packages since you only pay for what you use. The per-user cost of prepaid VoIP plans can add up quickly, making them less affordable for small companies. Likewise, nonprofits with minimal budgets can use pay-as-you-go VoIP to maintain a professional presence without a large monthly expense for phone services. Organizations also use pay-as-you-go VoIP for spaces that need phone service but don’t get much use, such as a waiting room or conference space. Seasonal businesses may prefer metered plans because they can retain their phone number during the off-season without paying the higher prices on prepaid VoIP packages. You may also use pay-as-you-go VoIP for a cheap second phone number or for traveling employees who need access to your phone system. Best for Call Centers: Prepaid Contact centers field a higher volume of phone calls and may use multiple channels to communicate with customers. Prepaid VoIP supplies the unlimited calling minutes required by most call centers. Some prepaid VoIP providers, like , have auto-dialer options, add-on packages, or integrations sales agents can use to reach more leads during their shift. Plus, customer service lines may offer informational extensions, where callers can hear business updates, get account information, or listen to promotions. On the other hand, suppose your organization provides technical support or experiences high call volumes during the peak season. In that case, you may want to use prepaid VoIP or choose a provider like that offers both pay-as-you-go and prepaid options, so you scale up or down as your needs change. Best for Nonprofits: Pay-as-You-Go If your nonprofit needs a phone number to share among board members, pay-as-you-go VoIP could fit the bill. With a company like , you can use up to 300 minutes per month, per person for one low price, which is plenty for the occasional voice or video call. On the other hand, offers customizable VoIP packages so you can pick metered outbound calling plans and unmetered inbound calling or vice versa. A pay-as-you-go VoIP plan lets nonprofits publish a phone number for regulatory compliance without having a complex business phone system. It also works well as a second number for nonprofit volunteers or board members that want a dedicated line and voicemail access when conducting nonprofit calls from their mobile devices. Best for Teams With Consistent Communication: Prepaid If your employees frequently collaborate online or communicate with clients, a prepaid plan is a better option. Your staff can use the phone system as a virtual workplace using group chat, document co-annotation, and screen sharing. Likewise, you can invite hundreds of participants to a video meeting without paying a per-minute fee for each attendee. In comparison, the more your team uses the phone system for calling, texting, or collaboration with pay-as-you-go VoIP, the more you’ll pay. Businesses with higher levels of communication will benefit from unlimited features available on unmetered plans. Providers With Pay-as-You-Go VoIP Phone Plans Callcentric provides flexible pay-as-you-go VoIP plans and it made our list of the best free business phone number apps. It’s a good choice for small teams and nonprofits needing a custom yet inexpensive solution. Choose from metered and unmetered plans for text messaging, outbound, and inbound calling. A business phone number and inbound calling cost $1 per month plus usage, whereas a toll-free number is $3.95 per month plus usage. Zoom Phone offers both pay-as-you-go and prepaid plans. Unlike other VoIP providers, Zoom Phone doesn’t lock advanced features behind higher tiers or unmetered plans. Instead, all versions include call recording, unlimited auto attendants, and integrations. Plus, you can elevate any phone call to a Zoom Meeting. Like Callcentric, internal calls between employees using Zoom Phone are free. A subscription costs $10 per user, per month, plus per-minute rates for outgoing calls. Providers With Prepaid VoIP Phone Plans RingCentral is a UC platform with a robust feature set for communication and collaboration. It serves as a virtual space with unlimited team messaging and document sharing, along with unlimited domestic calling and texting. All packages include a local or toll-free number and up to 10,000 toll-free minutes. The entry-tier plan costs $29.99 per user, per month, for two to 20 users, but if you prepay annually, the per-user cost drops by one-third to $19.99 per month. Learn about RingCentral features and plans by checking out our comprehensive RingCentral review. Ooma provides VoIP systems for small businesses and enterprises, including call centers. Its small business plans start at $19.95 per user, per month, while enterprise packages require a contract and start at $27.99. Along with unlimited calling and texting, Ooma provides a virtual receptionist, ring groups, and a conference bridge. Upper-tier Ooma plans also include video conferencing, call recording, custom integrations, and open application programming interfaces (APIs). Compare various Ooma plans by looking at our Ooma review. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Can you text on a pay-as-you-go phone? Many pay-as-you-go providers support text messaging, including short message service (SMS) or both SMS and multimedia messaging service (MMS) formats. Texting may come with all plans offered by the VoIP vendor or be available as an add-on. However, with pay-as-you-go, you’re charged for each text message and costs vary by provider. Do prepaid and pay-as-you-go VoIP packages require a contract? Most pay-as-you-go plans don’t require a commitment, but you may pay a small monthly subscription fee to keep your phone number active. Prepaid plans are monthly subscriptions you can cancel at any time, but some providers give discounts for annual prepayment, require a contract on enterprise services, or charge a penalty for early cancellation. Can you port VoIP numbers from pay-as-you-go and prepaid plans? Yes, in most cases, you can port both pay-as-you-go and prepaid VoIP business numbers. However, you must keep your current phone number active during the phone number porting process. If your service terminates before your number is ported, you may lose the option to transfer it. Bottom Line When choosing between pay-as-you-go vs. prepaid VoIP, it’s important to consider call volume. Metered plans generally cost less, making them a great choice for nonprofits or seasonal businesses. However, per-minute fees add up quickly when you experience a higher than usual number of calls or your team needs to communicate using other channels, like text messaging or video calls. Although priced higher, prepaid plans come with unlimited minutes and texts, so you don’t have to worry about going over your limit. Unmetered services are best-suited for call centers with sales and service teams, virtual workforces, and companies that make and receive many calls. If you’re unsure which is best for your organization, consider a company like or , as both offer metered and unmetered plans. You can select unlimited versions for employees with high-call volumes and use a cheaper, metered package for other employees.
November 23, 2021
Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams: Which Is Best for Small Businesses
When comparing Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams, it’s important to know that Google Meet is just for video conferencing, whereas Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one collaboration app with video meetings as a feature. Which is best for your business depends on whether you want an app that offers extensive integrations and robust collaboration tools, or if you need an easy-to-use, standalone video conferencing solution that integrates well with other Google products. Based on our comparison, the best use cases for Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams are as follows: : Better for solopreneurs and small teams wanting video conferencing software with a minimal learning curve : Better for larger businesses looking for a collaboration platform with ample integrations Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams at a Glance *Google Meet pricing is based on the Google Workspace Business Starter plan. **Microsoft Teams pricing is based on the Microsoft 365 Business Basic package and requires an annual commitment. How We Evaluated Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams We looked at free and paid plans from Microsoft Teams vs Google Meet to discover how the packages compare. Likewise, we compared the breadth of integrations and security tools available to administrators, hosts, and moderators. Lastly, we examined communication and collaboration features and the best use cases for each. Here’s a complete breakdown of the factors we used to compare Microsoft Teams and Google Meet: Pricing: We compared monthly per-user costs for Google Meet and Microsoft Teams packages. Plus, we factored in overall value by considering additional tools and features accessible at different tiers. General features: We reviewed standard features like video conferencing, file sharing, and team messaging for usability across desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. In each case, we noted any differences between Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams. Ease of use: We used each platform’s tools for specific activities to determine how easy or complicated it was to perform various tasks, such as scheduling a meeting or starting a video conference. In addition, we evaluated each system based on ease of setup and installation. Integrations: We explored how each platform supports third-party integrations, including the amount and types of supported software. We also considered how Microsoft Teams and Google Meet work within the respective Microsoft and Google product ecosystems. Expert score: We analyzed each product’s value by looking at total costs and feature sets. We also checked out user reviews to determine the overall popularity of both platforms while considering our own experiences. Best Overall Value: Microsoft Teams *The Google Meet Workspace Individual plan will increase to $9.99 per user, per month in January 2022. **The Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan will increase to $6 per user, per month, and the Office 365 E3 plan will cost $22 per user, per month in March 2022. All versions require an annual commitment. In the Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams debate, takes the lead for overall value for the price. Paid versions include a Microsoft 365 subscription, giving access to web and mobile as well as desktop Microsoft Office products, depending on the plan. The Business Basic plan is $5 per user, per month, but will increase to $6 per month for each user in March 2022. Plans require an annual commitment with no option for monthly billing. For this price, you also get features that don’t come with Google’s entry-tier plan, such as phone support for customer service, breakout rooms, and meeting recordings. In comparison, with Google Meet, breakout rooms and meeting recordings require a subscription to a Google Workspace Individual plan for $7.99 per user, per month (which will increase to $9.99 in January 2022) or a Google Workspace Business Standard package, which costs $12 per user, per month. Google allows monthly payments instead of requiring an annual prepayment, which may be better for solopreneurs and small teams. However, there is no discount available for those seeking an annual subscription discount. Both Microsoft Teams and Google Meet provide free versions for unlimited one-to-one video meetings and 60-minute conferences for up to 100 participants. has a slight edge here because it gives 15GB of file storage per user versus 10GB across all teams on Microsoft Teams. Yet, Microsoft’s 30-day free trial for Microsoft 365 products is twice the duration of a Google Workspace trial. Best for Video Conferencing: Microsoft Teams is already on our list of the best video conferencing software for businesses. Although Google Meet is easier to use, it lacks features like remote desktop control, webinar functionality, and chat transcriptions. Plus, you can only record meetings on desktop devices for Google Meet, whereas Microsoft Teams users can start recording on mobile devices. Video quality is inherently better with 1080p on Microsoft Teams vs Google Meet’s default of 360p or max resolution of 720p. The “Together” mode, which puts meeting participants in front of a shared background, is a feature unique to Microsoft Teams. Some minor differences may appeal to your company’s users when comparing Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams. For example, your video feed stays on the screen when presenting in Google Meet, whereas Microsoft Teams disables it. With Microsoft Teams, you get a transcription of chat messages from the meeting, but once you leave a Google Meet, chat messages are deleted. However, when using the free version of in a web browser, you have more functionality than with Microsoft Teams. Google Meet offers tiled, spotlight, or sidebar layouts, vs Microsoft Teams, which provides tiled (called gallery) or together modes. Google Voice supplies about 27 backgrounds, a whiteboard, and host controls within the browser-based free meeting, but you need a paid plan to access these with Microsoft Teams. Best for Collaboration: Microsoft Teams As a video conferencing platform, collaboration in Google Meet is limited to video meetings. Google Workspace users can co-annotate documents and spreadsheets, but this function is separate from the Google Meet app. In contrast, provides a single space for collaboration, allowing you to jump from a chat into a video meeting with just a couple of clicks. Conversations among co-workers can occur in a meeting, under the chat tab, or in various channels for different teams in Microsoft Teams. You can add graphics interchange formats (GIFs), stickers, and emojis to your comments. Microsoft Teams supports rich text editing, allowing bullet points, links, quotes, and highlighting within the message. Hashtags improve searchability, and you can share a message across multiple channels. The standalone Google Meet app or web browser version simply lacks the advanced collaboration features offered by Microsoft Teams. If your company intends to embrace the Microsoft ecosystem, Microsoft Teams is an excellent space for working together remotely. However, it offers fewer features than a complete unified communications system. Best for Ease of Use: Google Meet If your organization is new to remote meetings, is more straightforward to use than Microsoft Teams. That’s partly because Google Meet is only for video conferencing—that’s all you see when you want to start a meeting. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams includes a whole workspace with tabs for your calendar, tasks, chat, and channels, so there’s more to navigate. Google Meet provides four function buttons and one drop-down menu under the video inside a meeting. Host controls, team chat, and additional features like breakout rooms are available via buttons off to the bottom right side of the screen. If you accidentally click the red phone to leave a call in Google Meet, you must confirm your decision in a pop-up box. In contrast, the call abruptly ends if you (inadvertently or purposefully) click the red phone icon in Microsoft Teams. For new users, Google Meet’s streamlined user interface with minimal buttons and features for video conferencing is a more straightforward option. However, if your company uses other Microsoft products, employees won’t have a big learning curve as it’s similar to other Microsoft tools. Best for Integrations: Microsoft Teams is the clear winner when it comes to integrations. Along with connecting to hundreds of third-party services, you can add tabs to channels for other applications like YouTube, Trello, and Slack. In comparison, Google Meet mainly works with Google products, though it does connect to Microsoft Outlook and Calendar. While you can extend Google Meet’s functionality by using Chrome extensions or Zapier, it lacks the built-in integrations offered by Microsoft. Simply put, if your company uses popular third-party software, it’s likely that Microsoft Teams integrates with it. Best for Security: Microsoft Teams While both and meet or exceed industry standards for security, Microsoft Teams has the advantage because it supplies advanced user and endpoint management tools. It enforces multi-factor authentication (MFA) on paid plans, whereas Google Meet paid subscribers must enable the feature. Both vendors offer single sign-on (SSO) paid packages, and it’s easier to use Google Meet’s host controls from a web browser. Microsoft Teams was built for large organizations first, whereas Google Meet was initially a consumer project. When it comes to security, Microsoft Teams has more protocols for managing internal employee usage. You can set individual permissions or create policies for nearly every function within Microsoft Teams, including viewing channels or posting messages. Microsoft provides many tools and tutorials on protecting your organization accessible via the Microsoft 365 security center. The optional advanced threat protection (ATP) helps monitor content for malicious code. Although Google offers fewer resources, the Advanced Protection Program (APP) provides a security key and helps protect against phishing attacks. Microsoft Teams also offers activity and device reports so you can see how your employees use the software. In comparison, endpoint management and security dashboards are only available with Google’s Enterprise plan, with a price quote available upon request. Best Alternatives Ultimately, the choice of whether to use Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams comes down to personal preference, familiarity with the software, which tools and features you want, and the size of your business. However, Microsoft and Google aren’t the only players when it comes to communication and collaboration tools. Alternatives range from standalone video conferencing platforms to systems with a full suite of unified communications (UC) features. A few of the best Google Meet and Microsoft Teams alternatives include: : Like Google Meet, Zoom Meetings is extremely user-friendly, and Zoom’s free plan comes with features others don’t, like local recordings and image filters. Still, the free version of Zoom Meetings only allows 40-minute meetings, which is 20 minutes less than either Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. : Choose a RingCentral business phone system with meeting capabilities and UC features or the provider’s standalone application. Both integrate with Google and Microsoft products. RingCentral supports video conferencing and collaboration, allowing you to share files, assign tasks, and chat. : Like Google and Microsoft, Zoho Meeting offers a video conferencing platform that integrates easily within the Zoho ecosystem of products, including Zoho Bookings and Zoho Projects. The free version doesn’t restrict the conference duration but is limited to 10 participants. Bottom Line In most cases, if you’re already using Microsoft or Google products, it’ll be easier to use tools from the same ecosystem, such as Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. Microsoft Teams has webinar capabilities and provides chat transcripts, two features Google Meet lacks. For video conferencing without a learning curve, go for Google Meet. However, for a virtual workspace, Microsoft Teams has a stronger system.
May 21, 2021
How to Set Up Landline Phone Service
While landline phone systems aren’t as popular as more modern voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) or virtual phone systems, they often provide a more reliable calling solution for areas that lack a reliable high-speed internet connection. Their less robust feature set also has the added benefit of making setting up a system as simple as picking a provider and plugging in components per the following steps: 1. Evaluate Your Business Needs Start by asking yourself why you need a business landline phone system versus taking advantage of a less expensive, more feature-rich option like a VoIP-based solution. If you are in an area with poor cellular coverage or otherwise lack a high-speed connection, then the decision to use a landline phone system is easy. Otherwise, ask yourself the following questions: Do you want to use a landline because it doesn’t require you to pay to upgrade existing desk phones? If so, there are a number of low-cost adapters that can reduce this expense. Alternatively, some VoIP services offer hardware leasing options, which can save you the hassle of purchasing equipment that will be out-of-date in a few short years. If it is because you prefer to use a fax machine to transmit documents? Some VoIP service providers offer built-in fax capability. This can save you the expense of maintaining a separate fax machine. Are you concerned about what would happen when the office loses power or there is another form of emergency? The best small business VoIP services can be configured to automatically ring on designated smartphones or to a specific voicemail when power is interrupted, using a lesser-known feature known as fail over. Many services also offer a feature called E911, which saves first responders time by displaying the physical location of the caller. Are you hesitant to make the change because you are concerned your internet speed isn’t fast enough? Ultimately, many landline users select a conventional system because they don’t feel their internet connection is stable enough for VoIP service. The best way to be certain is to take our online speed test at your office. This quick test will measure your connection and let you know if you have enough bandwidth to support a VoIP system. If you are still uncertain about which type of business phone system is right for you, check out our guide to VoIP versus landline services. 2. Develop a Budget for Your Phone System A standard business landline system with one phone line can cost $40 to $75 per month. But, when budgeting for a landline system, you will need to keep in mind additional factors that can affect your system’s cost and usability. For example, most companies need more than one to prevent callers from getting a busy signal. Additional factors that could increase the overall system cost include: Additional charges for connecting teams in the field or working from home The number of voicemail boxes and accessibility for staff Conferencing and intercom capabilities On-hold music or messaging A dial-by-name or department directory Call recording functions The types and quantity of desk phones Per-minute costs for international or long-distance calls Added functionality and multiple line support can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars per month. To put this into perspective, popular VoIP providers like start at $19.99 per user, per month, whereas virtual phone service from begins at $26 per month, and you can set up extensions for employees. This is why it is so important to consider all types of business phone systems before signing a long-term contract with any provider. 3. Research & Contact Local Providers Landline services run on copper lines, and only a few providers may service your area. In contrast, small business VoIP systems work anywhere across the United States and many countries worldwide. With limited landline providers, you may only have access to one or two options in your area. To find local providers, type “business landline service” into Google or your preferred search engine. Web browsers use your location data to deliver relevant results, so you should get a few options on the search engine results page. Look for a few providers, click through to their website, and enter your address to check for service availability. 4. Determine If You Need to Set Up Your Service Landline providers have different processes and fees for setting up services. Before signing on the dotted line, it’s important to ask about equipment requirements and charges for new or updated wiring. You’ll want to provide details about the total number of phones required and if you need voicemail boxes. Typically, vendors will bring the wiring to the outside of your business, but they may charge for internal wiring. Newer office buildings may not have any internal wiring whatsoever. If your chosen vendor doesn’t cover the expense, then it can cost you thousands of dollars. For multiple phone lines, you may opt for a private branch exchange (PBX). A PBX consists of a physical hardware box that’s hard-wired via a main line, and all office phones plug into your PBX console. Some provider plans and add-on packages offer technical support for PBX systems, whereas others require your business to handle upkeep and upgrades. Providers can schedule an appointment to look over your building and give you service and maintenance plan options. 5. Connect Your PBX Box & Desk Phones Once the installation team completes the wiring, you’ll have one or more wall outlets that fit a modular plug from a phone. For standard landline service, simply plug the telephone cable into the phone jack and insert the power adapter into an electrical outlet. If you have a PBX console, you’ll plug each desk phone cable into the PBX port labeled “telephone line.” From there, connect the PBX box into the wall jack. Once completed, your PBX system will light up. Test out your system by picking up a phone receiver and dialing an office extension. In addition, use a cell phone or ask a team member to dial your line to make sure it works. As long as your phones light up and you can send and receive calls, you’re good to go. Bottom Line Business landlines and desk phones are a reliable way to connect your teams and clients. However, the best VoIP phones and services give you the same and, in most cases, even better options. If you’re still on the fence, try out a free phone service like in your office or sign up for a free trial of . That’ll help you decide what steps to take next.