The Insider's Guide To Video Conferencing Pricing Models

The Insider's Guide To Video Conferencing Pricing Models
Summary: Whether you are trying to improve productivity among your eLearning team members, or want to add a more human element to your eLearning course, video conferencing tools are the ideal solution. But how big of a chunk will they take out of your project budget, and what are the most popular pricing models? In this article, I'll explore the video conferencing pricing structures that are available today.

The Top 7 Video Conferencing Pricing Models

Even though we may live in a tech-savvy world where instant messaging seems to be more common than face-to-face communication, there are times when text chats just won't suffice. Video conferencing tools are perfect for just such an occasion, giving eLearning teams the power to stay connected and online learners the chance to interact with their peers. Below you'll find a video conferencing guide that can help you choose the ideal cloud-based (hosted), installed software, or videoconferencing room for your eLearning needs, regardless of your budget.

  1. Annual Licensing Fee (Video Conferencing Room).
    This first option is an enterprise grade video conferencing solution. It requires a yearly fee that covers the licensing for one “room” and a certain number of users. For example, the provider may charge $500 annually for the use of one room and up to 25 users. You can typically add on additional rooms and users, depending on your Video Conferencing needs and audience size. Some even offer reduced pricing for smaller rooms that include fewer features. A “room” or “virtual space” can boast a variety of different perks, ranging from big flat screens to HD video cameras to record the conference. This is often the most expensive option, as it involves the “wow” presentation factor. However, larger corporations with larger budgets may opt for this pricing model if they carry out video conferences on regular basis, such as to hold meetings with remote teams or clients.
  2. Monitor Codec (Installed Software).
    This is a miniature version of the enterprise grade conference room. Essentially, the user’s computer screen also serves as VC system whenever they hold a virtual meeting. When they have an incoming video call, the system automatically notifies them and instantly switches the screen to video conferencing mode, then back to the normal display when the meeting has concluded.  It can be quite costly, however. Some monitor code solutions can set you back thousands of dollars, and that’s not including the annual upgrade and maintenance fees. It does offer a professional presentation and is convenient to use though, which makes it a good choice for mid-sized companies who don’t have the budget for grand-scale virtual meeting rooms.
  3. Licensing Fee (Installed Software).
    Organizations who don’t necessarily need a video conferencing suite or monitor codec have another, more affordable, VC tool at their disposal. The licensing fee pricing model involves an annual or perpetual fee that gives the user access to the conferencing software. They simply download it onto the computer, hook up their webcam and microphone, and then start holding virtual meetings. You can even hold conferences on your smartphone or tablet, in some cases, as long as you have an internet connection. This is a great option for mobile sales teams or remote workers who need to be able to chat with clients or co-workers anytime, anywhere. Before you sign up for a year-long subscription, make certain that there are no hidden fees or maintenance costs to consider.
  4. Monthly Subscription (Hosted).
    This Video Conferencing pricing model is hosted or cloud-based, which means that there are no software downloads necessary.  The user simply logs into the platform using their ID or username and password, then makes a video call. The monthly fee usually includes the basics, and other services come at an additional cost. Also, the subscription is typically for one “host”. For example, the provider may charge $25 per host per month, and hosting a webinar that involves multiple users would involve an additional fee.
  5. Pay per participant (Hosted).
    The pay per user Video Conferencing pricing model is a cloud-based alternative that is based on the number of participants who attend the video conference. For instance, the provider might charge $15 per month per user, for up to 100 participants. Regardless of how many people attend the video conference, as long as you stay under the cap you won’t have to pay an additional fee. It’s all covered under your subscription. Also, thanks to the fact that it is hosted online, you can access the chat anywhere, provided you have a smartphone or tablet with an internet connection.
  6. Pay per minute (Hosted).
    The pay per minute cloud-based Video Conferencing pricing model is typically for audio or teleconferencing only, and the video component is not included. For example, you may have to pay 3 cents per minute per line, and an additional fee for operator assistance or to upgrade it to a web conference.
  7. Free Video Conferencing Tools.
    If all of these Video Conferencing pricing models aren’t within your eLearning project budget or you would prefer a more basic platform, a free video conferencing tool may be the ideal solution. These tools are ideally suited for smaller organizations looking for a one-on-one solution, or a platform that accommodates fewer participants. It does, however, lack many of the features that the other VC pricing models offer, but you are usually able to upgrade to a paid subscription in order to get more functionality. If you’d like to learn more about free video conferencing tools, read the article Top 10 Free GoToMeeting Alternatives to discover the top free GoToMeeting alternatives that you may want to consider.

Before you make your final decision, consider researching the tool's features and services, and ask for a free trial or demo. This can help you find the best video conferencing tool for your future eLearning endeavors.

Once you have chosen your video conferencing tool, consider reading the article Top 7 Tips To Be A Successful Webinar Host to find out how to be a successful webinar host so that you can be sure that you feel relaxed and highly professional while you deliver a flawless, entertaining, and stimulating webinar.