Today, companies work fruitfully if their managers are available anywhere at any time. Most large companies have employees in different buildings, cities and countries. Therefore, video conferencing has become quite popular over the last few years. It’s useful for many reasons but the main is it saves a lot of money on travel expenses.

There are several solutions for video conferencing server:

  • internal and external, broadcasting;
  • Individual, room-based, group;
  • Hardware, software;
  • Multipoint, point-to-point.

The acquisition of commercial software for video is not cheap but you can save considerably if you use free software.

Below there are examples of programs for different kinds of video communication including training and presentations. We have experience in implementing projects with different software.

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This video conferencing system is used for online communication in multi-drop mode, so it can connect several people. The latest version of the program is Apache License 2.0, which was released back in July 2012.

The main advantage of Apache OpenMeetings is that organizations of webinars don’t have to install any additional software. What they need is just a browser with a Flash plug-in. A special feature of this solution is the ability to record meetings, share documents and images of more than 20 file formats. Participants can make changes to files and mark important places.

This video conferencing system can be carried out in two modes:

  • Meeting – brings together up to 16 participants and anyone can share files;
  • Lecture – brings together up to 200 participants and only the lecturer is allowed to share files with students.

The moderator can invite everyone to take part in the conference online. Participants receive a direct link, which they follow before the start of the webinar. The system is so simple that even being a first-time-user you can quickly and easily get started because there are a plenty of hints. You must select a connection option: “audio”, “video + audio” or “video” connection, then go ahead and use the device for communication. The system allows you to change the interface look with themes. The modern interface supports multiple languages. Also if you use a cluster mode, then one installation serves multiple customers of one organization. For the normal functioning of the system requirements are minimal. A more powerful PC is required only if you need to work with audio and video files intensively.

In order to have access to video conferencing you must have one of three levels of access:

  • User
  • Moderator
  • Administrator

This is very popular software for videoconferencing which was established back in 2007. The main feature of the program is simplicity. Once you press a big blue button the program begins to work. A simple mechanism for organizing the training is the main difference from a more sophisticated OpenMeetings.

BBB is widely used for distance learning where free video conferencing is a very important component of the educational process. BBB is also easy to use for simple communication, holding general meetings, etc. BBB is being actively developed to increase the number of functions.

BBB is software for video conferencing, which allows audio and video conferencing or messaging between a large number of participants. It allows you to record lectures, to work with presentations in various formats and to use it for drawing. A very useful feature of BBB is automatic translation. To connect to the server you need open a browser with support for Adobe Flash. Today, BBB is being developed to be able to work with Android.

With Bigbluebutton you can hold conferences of several types:

  • Open – each user has access to conferences after registration;
  • Closed – the organizer of the event sends private invitations to every user.

Each user can be a Bigbluebutton listener or the moderator (speaker). All the work lies on the lecturer’s shoulders. The lecturer downloads a document, marks an important place with the help of a virtual pointer, connects the selected listeners to the audio and video streams. Also the moderator has a right to choose the speaker from the list of users who gets all the obligations of a co-lecturer. The lecturer has a full control over the whole process, for example, some users are set “view only” mode. The number of participants depends entirely on the server video capabilities and bandwidth.

Microsoft has been always holding the leading position in the market of IT technologies, so they decided to design their own server for remote communication. Microsoft programs for video conferencing are also used to create a robust telephone connection, IM systems, presence control and file transfer. Webinar software can be integrated with Skype and Asterisk. Additional features include shared access to a desktop, a virtual whiteboard for teaching or working with files. Conversation Translator Plugin helps to produce messaging with speakers of other languages (Bing is used as an online translator). You can access the conference using a landline or a mobile phone. Setting up a video conference does not require special knowledge as it is sufficient to connect to Lync Online.

Microsoft Lync Server allows you to simultaneously take part in several conferences.