Top Video Conferencing Software – Free+Paid Solutions for Businesses

Video conferencing software has become ubiquitous as companies have started to work remotely due to the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

Fortunately, we have endless options for different video conferencing software. The one that is suitable for your company depends on factors like the number of employees you have, the budget and any other special features you may require.

We’ve selected the top 12 video conferencing software for 2020 to help you select the one that will perfectly suit your business needs.

Let’s take a look.

Top 12 Video Conferencing Software

Check out these free and paid video conferencing software options where some are great for 1-1 conversations, some for teams, and others for live broadcasts and large team meetings In no particular order.

1. Zoom

Zoom - top video conferencing softwares

Zoom is a top cloud-based video conferencing software for people who want to connect with customers and clients remotely. The basic plan is free where you can hold either one-on-meetings, or group meetings involving up to 100 people, but for group meetings, there is a 40-minute time limit. If you don’t want the time limit, you have to purchase the paid plan. There is no trial period and it is a subscription-based service. Zoom is available for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. You can also use Zoom API to access a collection of resources and mirror some of their most popular features. Click here to learn more about the pricing plan.

2. Google Meet

google hangouts - top video conferencing software

Google Meet is part of the G Suite office productivity platform. You can use it to connect with external participants who are not part of your G Suite. Since it is part of G Suite, you can easily integrate with Google Calendar too. Features depend on your G Suite version; for example, the number of participants is limited to 100 for G Suite Basic, 150 for Business, and 250 for Enterprise. For live-streaming (up to 100,000 audience members), to record meetings and save them to Google Drive, you’ll need G Suite Enterprise. You can learn more about the features on their official page.

3. Skype

skype - top video conferencing software
Skype is a popular free video conferencing software and text chat platform from Microsoft. It’s still one of the most convenient options for video conferencing, making it the right choice for educational purposes as well. This cross-platform app also supports group video calling for up to 50 people. You can receive Skype calls on your office phones and make low-cost calls by integrating Skype with your SIP or VoIP phone system. Click here to can learn more about their features.

4. Microsoft Teams

microsoft teams - top video conferencing software

The Teams platform by Microsoft is quite popular among workplaces. It supports up to 250 people on a video conference call simultaneously. It is now free for enterprises, even if their business isn’t licensed for Teams. The company says you can contact your local Microsoft partner or sales representative and get free access to Office 365 E1 plan for a period of six months. For schools and institutions, the Office 365 will remain free. More information about their various plans and features can be found here.

5. Cisco WebEx

cisco webex - top video conferencing software

Cisco Webex is a video conferencing software suitable for any type of business. While there are various plans available for Webex Meetings, for most situations the free version should be just fine. Through this software, you can hold HD video meetings with up to 100 participants, and to take advantage of options such as screen sharing and private chat rooms. The Webex APIs give you easy access to the Webex Platform to build bots, integrations, or Guest Issuer apps. You can contact the sales team if want to learn more about their plans.

6. GoTo Meeting

goto meeting - top video conferencing software

GoToMeeting is the standalone web conferencing software provided by LogMeIn. It offers several service plans that can support anywhere from 10 to 2,000 participants in each meeting. Of those attendees, up to 25 can be on camera at one time. But if you want to host a meeting with over 25 participants, you can choose which attendees you want on the camera. You can learn more about its features and various plans on its official website.

7. Zoho Meeting

zoho meeting - top video conferencing software

Zoho Meeting is an online video conferencing software suitable for single users and organizations. This video conferencing solution includes support for up to 100 participants and storage for 10 recorded meetings. On PCs, Zoho Meetings is a completely browser-based conferencing solution, where downloads are not required. For audio, participants can dial in over the phone (toll-free numbers are an extra-cost option), and in-session chat is available. Meetings can be recorded even on mobile devices. You can learn more about the features and various plans on their official website.

8. Jitsi Mee

jitsi meet - top video conferencing software

Jitsi Meet is a free, open-source video conferencing software for web & mobile. Unlike other video conferencing software, it passes everyone’s video and audio to all participants and does not mix it. The result is lower latency, better quality and a much more scalable and inexpensive solution. Jitsi is compatible with WebRTC, the open standard for web communication. You can use the Jitsi Meet API to embed Jitsi Meet into your applications. Click here to leanr more about the features.

9. Join.me

join me - top video conferencing software
Join.me is a web-based video conferencing application for screen-sharing and online meetings. To share a desktop or host a meeting, users must first download and install the software. Mobile apps are available for Android and iOS. You can know more about their other plans with the pricing on their website.

10. BigBlueButton

big blue button - top video conferencing software
BigBlueButton is a web conferencing software designed for online learning. This free, open-source video conferencing software requires you to set up a server for use. Once you set it up, you’ll have access to many features. Besides video calls, you can take polls, share your whiteboard or screen, chat publicly and privately, or send students to breakout rooms, so they can discuss the project with their fellow students. It can be integrated with WordPress CMS using a plugin. Also, they are having APIs to manage the meetings from your own applications. Click here to learn more about the features.

11. BlueJean

blue jeans - top video conferencing software
BlueJeans provides an interoperable cloud-based video conferencing service that helps to connect participants across a wide range of devices. It can accommodate up to 50 participants on various devices. The software offers language support for English, German, Spanish and French-speaking users. It does not have a free plan, but it offers a 30-day free trial. You can learn more about their premium plans on their official website.

12. U Meeting

u meeting - top video conferencing software
U Meeting is a web-based video conferencing software designed for dynamic business communication. It does not offer video recording or the ability to dial into meetings using VoIP systems. The software has 4 plans where the basic plan is free. This free plan allows up to 25 participants per meeting and allow 30 minutes maximum per meeting. You can learn more about their other premium plans with the features on their website.

13. ClickMeeting

click meeting - top video conferencing software
ClickMeeting is a browser-based webinar software platform that can be used for conducting online courses, training sessions, client demos and huge online events. Meetings can accommodate up to 25 participants, for a webinar you can include more people based on your plan. Click here to learn more about their features.

14. Free Conference

free conference - top video conferencing software
With FreeConference.com’s free video conferencing software that has everything you need to collaborate effectively. It is a free conference solution service with high-quality audio and video capabilities. Some of the important features include calls that can accommodate dial-in numbers and access via mobile apps. It’s free plan allows up to 100 audio call participants and up to 5 web participants. Click here to learn more about the features and pricing.

Which Video Conferencing Software Should you Choose?

Based on the features and pricing plans, the best 5 software is Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoTo Meeting and Jitsi Meet. At ColorWhistle, we are using Google Meet which is very well suitable for our needs. 

For you to decide the appropriate video conferencing software for your business, come up with the answers for the following questions

  • List down all your requirements – Both current and near-future requirements 
  • Identify a suitable solution provider from our above list of suggestion
  • Contact their sales team and confirm whether all their features mentioned in their official website are available 
  • Based on your need, first, you can try with their free solution so you can get some hands-on experience
  • Then, you can decide accordingly

Don’t forget to bookmark our step-by-step guide on how to embed a live streaming video on your website, so you can better promote your business during these difficult times. 

Have you tried any of the video conferencing software listed above? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. 

Impact of AI in E-Learning Industry For 2020 and Beyond

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a part of science fiction films. It is becoming a significant part of our everyday lives. We can already see that AI is impacting market segments like manufacturing and research & development, but what about other areas like learning and development? Let’s find out more about it in this blog!

In 1993, the introduction of Mosaic Web Browser revolutionized the way people experienced content. Since then, designers across the world have worked continuously to improve user experience. Some changes are also because of the evolution of broadband internet, the development of HTML5 standards and more. Rest of the changes have come from data-driven studies that explained what works and what doesn’t.

As users are expecting more customized content and good browsing experience, web development companies are thinking out-of-the-box ideas rather than sticking with traditional ones. This is where AI comes into the bigger picture — redefining all the conventional website and web app development concepts by giving more focus to UX.

Artificial intelligence is cropping up more and more in the e-learning industry. According to a research report by Global Market Insights, AI in the education market will surpass USD 6 billion by 2024.

As an educator, you must be in agreement that you need an AI strategy. But do you know how to implement one or where to start?

If you are preparing yourself to explore AI from many angles, understanding the various aspects of it might come in handy.

Let’s find out how you can benefit from AI and what you need to know about website or web app development using AI technologies for your education institution.

What is the Role of AI in the Education Industry?

Even though it is yet to be a standard cult in many organizations, AI is going to be the next big thing in education and learning.

AI’s role and impact are going to exist from kindergarten to higher education to corporate training. It is going to improve learners’ experience by offering the chance to create adaptive learning  features with personalized tools.

Here are some of the ways in which AI is changing the education industry.

role-of-ai-in-education-industry
  • Smart content

    From digitized guides, customized learning interfaces and digital curriculums, smart content can be created across various mediums such as audio, video and online assistant 
  • Intelligent tutoring systems

    AI not only has the power to condense lectures into flashcards and smart guides, but it can also be used to tutor students based on the difficulties they are having. For example, an intelligent tutoring system called SHERLOCK is used by airforce technicians to detect electrical system problems in aircraft
  • Virtual facilitators

    By using trending technology such as gesture recognition, an actual lecturer can be replaced by a robot. AI, 3-D gaming and computer animation are used to create realistic virtual characters and interactions. Even augmented reality is a part of this system 
  • Content analytics

    Educators and content providers gain important insights into the learners’ progress through smart analytics. Through this, content taught to the learners is optimized for maximum effect 
  • Teacher and AI collaboration

    The vision for AI in education is one where AI and teachers can work together for the best outcome for students. For example, they collaborate in driving efficiency, personalization and streamlining admin tasks
  • Universal access

    AI can make classrooms available to all including those who speak different languages or those who have visual or hearing impairments. For example, Presentation Translator is a free plugin for PowerPoint that creates real-time subtitles when a teacher speaks
  • Automate admin tasks

    Educators spend a great deal of time in grading homework and tests. AI systems can already grade multiple choice questions and now they are close to accessing written responses
  • Tutoring support outside the classroom

    Through AI, tutoring and support programs are becoming more advanced and can effectively help students with homework or test preparations

What is AIaaS in E-Learning?

It is natural to wonder where you might get AI tools to avoid the time and expense of developing your own. Don’t worry with the advert of AIaaS or “AI as a Service” even small education or learning & development professionals can purchase the license of AI tools and components.

However, such types of tools cannot be useful for every e-learning ecosystem, but may offer some enticing benefits such as adding standard AI tasks (logic, decision making) to your toolbox.

Here are some of the AIaaS tools and platforms offered by famous tech giants most of which are cloud-based.

  • Microsoft Azure

    Cloud-based AI services that can be used to build and manage AI applications like image recognition or bot-based apps
  • IBM’s Watson

    Cloud-based AI services that can be integrated into your applications; to store and manage your own data 
  • Google’s TensorFlow

     An end-to-end open-source machine learning platform
  • Amazon Web Services

    Offers a wide range of products and services on Amazon’s cloud 
There are other AIaaS platforms such as DataRobot, Petuum, and H2O which shows that the field is expanding.

What Are the Examples of Artificial Intelligence in E-Learning?

Here are some real-time examples of successful use of AI in e-learning.

Duolingo

dulingo

With over 300 million registered users, Duolingo is one of the most famous apps for learning foreign languages. The app is popular because of its game-like learning, personalized approach, a wide variety of unique exercises and AI-powered chatbots that allows students to have lifelike conversations for practicing.

Carnegie Learning’s MATHia

carnegie learning

In the 2019 EdTech Breakthrough Awards Carnegie Learning’s MATHia was awarded the ‘Best Use of AI in Education’. MATHia is a learning engine that is designed for grades 6-12. The system adjusts according to the capacity of the learners, like delivering a different learning experience for struggling students and giving challenging tasks for those who can do more.

Massive Open Online Courses

Anyone who has an internet connection can access Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). According to Class Central, in 2018, there were 101 million learners enrolled in MOOCs – Coursera 37 million, edX 18 million, XuetangX 14 million, Udacity 10 million and FutureLearn 8.7 million. Here are some examples of how MOOCs works – edX tracks how frequently a user watches a video and submits assignments. Coursera notifies teachers when a majority of students give an incorrect answer to a question.

What Are the Benefits of AI-Based Learning Management System (LMS)?

If you plan on keeping with the latest e-learning trends, then you must know AI has great potential in the LMS world.

Online training and learning need a lot of attention and a proper system to deliver what the learners actually need. So, an LMS that supports AI will make the learners’ journey smooth and help them better understand the course.

Here are some benefits of AI aided LMS.

  • Content will be highly customized and adapted to the learner’s requirements
  • Communicate with the users as a virtual tutor simulating human experiences by voice or hologram or an avatar
  • Get access to data on learner progress and the level of comprehension
  • Build a system that can identify and modify itself based on how learners respond
  • Chatbots assisted learning to address the learner queries, provide additional help or tailor information based on performance 
  • Identify students who are struggling with tests or courses
  • Offer adaptive learning for learners to ace every lesson
  • Gamification tools to make the course engaging and relevant

Some top AI-powered LMS based platforms are,

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help in E-Learning Web Design & Development?

If you are new to AI-based solutions, then it must be a surprise when we say that these solutions can be used to considerably boost site performance, user retention, user experience and website responsiveness.

AI is permeating all the industries and education web design and development is no exception. It can help with issues related to security, coding, quality analysis, user experience and more.

Additionally, the use of AI in education web design and development can help web design service providers automate basic tasks, which will in turn help developers focus on the bigger picture of the project.

Here are some compelling reasons why you must use artificial intelligence while outsourcing your education web design and development project. If you have any questions, do clarify it with the company you are outsourcing to.

  • User experience

    It is crucial to ensure that your courses are easy to find. Plus, many customer-centric web applications are relying on AI to improve user experience. We have written a detailed blog that highlights the difference between a website and web application, do read it if you like to learn more
  • Personalized content

    By implementing AI on your website, you can show the audience certain content like new video or blogs that are designed for them
  • Mobile search optimization

    One of the fastest growing trends in web development is mobile search optimization. As most learners use mobiles, AI can help to optimize for different mobile devices
  • AI as a UX element

    The most obvious example of this is the growth of chatbots. They bring in a completely new type of website interface that is driven by conversation instead of just clicking. 
  • Effective marketing

    By analyzing and mining data with support from AI, you can improve your SEO strategies and developers can make sure the website is perfectly optimized for search engines and target audiences. Also, take a look at our blog that explains how AI is impacting digital marketing 

What is the Future of Artificial Intelligence In E-Learning?

As many educational institutions are planning or already implementing AI in various operations, there are still challenges that need to be resolved. The most crucial one is preparing the students for this change. It is essential to make students understand AI will automate and perform repetitive tasks.

On the other hand, there will always be roles that require creative, cognitive and emotional intelligence skills. The best results will come out by combining AI and human abilities.

For example, AI-based learning systems could be excellent tools for teaching subjects like foreign languages and math. However, a teacher would still be needed to guide students on the parts they did not understand like the nuances and exceptions to rules.

Even though AI offers many exciting developments for improving the e-learning area, it is still in the early stages of its use. More experimentation and research are required for successful implementation.

Personally, we would recommend e-learning leaders and administrators to become proactive and initiate pilot programs to test AI in various ways. If you are testing it in real-time, do inform students about how their data is used.

Click here to learn more about what 17 industry experts had to say about the future of AI in education.

In Conclusion, AI is Going to Pave a New Pathway for the E-Learning Industry in the Coming Decade

Artificial Intelligence in the e-learning sphere brings positive effects on children, adults, teachers and schools. It helps high-quality education accessible to everyone and allows students to study at their own pace. AI-driven solutions can answer learners’ questions, recommend personalized resources and grade papers. From a business perspective, it will help to predict when a student is about to drop out and give them the extra support they need.

To conclude, even though many educators fear that AI technologies will replace humans, we feel that AI will serve as an excellent support system for human experts.

History of WordPress CMS

History-CMS-Infographic-ColorWhistle

1985

FileNet is considered as the First CMS introduced

1995

FileNet introduced a complete integrated document management suite of programs

August 23, 1999

Blogger was lanuched by Pyra labs

May 18, 2000

Drupal was introduced

2001

Drupal became an open source project

May 27, 2003

WordPress was Launched and b2/cafelog has about 2000 users. WordPress 0.7

February 2003

Blogger, Pyra labs was acquired by Google

2004

Shopify was Founded.

2004

Square space was introduced

2004

WordPress developed the capabilites by adding Plugins

January 3, 2004

WordPress 1.0 was lanuched by Miles Davis.Minimalistic interface with performance improvements.

May 22, 2004

WordPress 1.2 was lanuched by Charlus Mingus. Came with ability to manage and develop plugins.

October 2004

Blogger’s Pyra Labs’ co-founder, Evan Williams, left Google

2004

Blogger allows his users to post photos to their blogs

February 17, 2005

WordPress 1.5 was launched by Billy strayhorn. Themes and pages are introduced.

August 17, 2005

Joomla was Officially introduced

September 2005

Joomla released Mambo 4.5.2.3 that combined other bug and moderate-level security fixes.( version 1.0)

October 2005

WordPress Automatic manages to raise $1.1 million in funding.

December 21, 2005

WordPress 2.0 launched and a text editor was introduced.

2006

Wix was Offically launched.

June 2006

The Snowdevil founders launched the platform as Shopify

August 14, 2006

Blogger launched its latest version in beta

August 2006

WordPress first wordcamp annual is held in San fransico

December 2006

Blogger’s new version was taken out of beta.

2007

Wix entered an open beta phase using a platform based on Adobe Flash.

January 22, 2007

WordPress 2.1 was launched by Ella Fitgerald. A new interface and an orthographic corrector.

May 2007

Blogger was completely moved over to Google operated servers.

May 16, 2007

WordPress 2.2 was launched by Stan Getz. Optimization of the loading speed of the CMS

September 24,2007

WordPress 2.3 was launched by Dexter Gordon. Tags and user notification for CMS updates.

July 2007- June 2008

Drupal.org site provided more than 1.4 million downloads of Drupal software, an increase of approximately 125% from the previous year.

January 22, 2008

Joomla launched version 1.5

March 29, 2008

WordPress 2.5 was launched by Micheal Brecker. Improved UI and Widgets

July 15, 2008

WordPress 2.6 was launched by McCoy Tyner. Post revisons, word counts, image captions, theme previews and reordering of galleries.

December 10, 2010

WordPress 2.7 was launched by John Coltrane. Streamlined performance.

2008

WordPress won, Winner of InfoWorld’s “Best of open source software awards: collabration”.

2008

Magento won the “Best of open source software adwards” and ” SourceForge community choice Awards”

March 5, 2009

Drupal-Buytaert announced a code freeze for Drupal 7 for september 1, 2009

June 11, 2009

WordPress 2.8 was launched by Chet Baker. Browse Entire theme directory, single click theme install and code press editor.

December 18, 2009

WordPress 2.9 was launched by Carmen McRae. Global undo/trash feature, built-in image editor, batch plugin update.

From 2009-2012

Sqaure space grew an average of 266% in yearly revenue.

February 2010

WordPress unveils wapuu, their official mascot at wordcamp Fukuoka.

April 2010

Shopify launched a free mobile app and Apple app store.

2010

WordPress is the Winner of digitalsynergy’s “Hall of fame CMS category in the 2010 open source”

May 2010-April 2012

Prestashop grew from 17 employees to more than a hundred.

January 5, 2011

Drupal 7 was released with release parties in serveral countries.

January 10, 2011

Joomla adds a full access control list functionality plus, user-defined category hierarchy, and admin interface improvements. ( version 1.6)

February 23, 2011

WordPress 3.1 launched by Django Reinhardt. A new admin bar and improved taxonomy.

March 2011

Wix had 8.5 Million users and raised $40 Million.

June 2011

Wix launched the facebook store module, making its first step into the social commerce trend.

July 4, 2011

WordPress 3.2 was launched by George Gershwin. Fastera nd lighter with improvement typography, design and code.

July 19, 2011

Joomla adds enhanced security and improved migration tools. ( version 1.7)

December 12, 2011

WordPress 3.3 was launched by Sonny stitt. New drag-and-drop uploader, hover menus and pointer tips.

January 24, 2012

Joomla launches version 2.5-This version was the first to run on other databases besides MySQL (version 2.5)

November 6, 2013

Joomla launches version 3.2- Highlighting Content Versioning (version 3.2)

2013

The drupal website listed hundreds of vendors that offered Drupal-related services.

2014

Another funding round confirms that automatic is worth $1.16 billion.

April 1, 2014

it received another $40 million in funding

April 30, 2014

Joomla launches 3.3- Improved password hashing and microdata and documentation powered by MediaWiki Translate extension. (version 3.3

May 15, 2014

Wix launched the WixHive API which allows Wix apps within a user web site

December 18, 2014

WordPress 4.1 was launched by Dinah Washington. A new 2015 theme and multiple language option.

2014

Drupal developed by a community

January 1, 2015

Prestashop launched PrestaShop Cloud, a free self-hosted version of its software

February 24, 2015

Blogger announced that as of late March it will no longer allow its users to post sexually explicit content

February 28, 2015

Bloggers accounting for severe backlash from long-term bloggers

April 14, 2015

Shopify filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange

April 23, 2015

WordPress 4.2 was launched by Bud powell. Extended character support for mobile device.

August 18, 2015

Word press 4.3 lanuched by Billie Holiday. Optimization and Easy formatting.

October 7, 2015

Drupal 8 first release candidate (rc1) was announced.

November 3, 2015

Magento was spun out as an independent company by the new owner Permira private equity fund

November 19, 2015

Drupal 8.0.0 was released

2015

Sqaure space had reached $100 million in revenue and 550 employees.

2015

According to W3Techs, PrestaShop is used by 0.5% of all websites

March 21, 2016

joomla launches version 3.5-Contains download system information, category item counter, insert modules in articles, drag & drop images.

April 12, 2016

Word press 4.5lanuched byColeman Hawkins. Streamlined workflow, and live responsive previews.

August 16, 2016.

Word press 4.6 lanuched byPepper Adams. Streamline updates, native fonts, editor improvements ( Inline line checker, contet recovery).

October 3, 2016

Shopify acquired Boltmade

November 1, 2016

Shopify partnered with Paystack

December 6, 2016

Word press 4.7 lanuched by Sarah vaughan. A new theme 2017, edit shortcuts, video headers, PDF thumbnails preview and dashboard in your language.

January 1, 2017

Shopify announced integration with Amazon

April 1, 2017

Shopify introduced a Bluetooth enabled debit and credit card reader for brick and mortar retail purchases

May 11, 2017

Shopify acquired Oberlo, which was one of the star applications on its own Shopify App Store

June 8, 2017

Word press 4.8 lanuched by Billy Evan. Exciting new widget ( image, video, audio and rich text), link boundaries.

September 19, 2017

Joomla launches 3.8- Contains Improved Routing System, Joomla 4 Compatibility Layer, Installable & Multilingual Sample Data, Code Improvements and Encryption Support

November 15, 2017

Word press 4.9 lanuched by Billy Tipton. Featuring design drafts, scheduling, and locking, along with preview links, the Customizer workflow improves collaboration for content creators

2017

Square space-Its 2017 ad won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial.

May 1, 2018

Magento was announced that Magento would be acquired by Adobe for $1.68bn

September 1, 2018

Shopify announces plans to locate thousands of employees in Toronto’s King West neighborhood in 2022 as part of “The Well” complex

October 30, 2018

Joomla launches 3.9-Provides users with a comprehensive ‘Privacy Tool Suite’. This facilitates the compliance of Joomla websites with laws and regulations, most notably GDPR. The release includes over 250 improvements.

December 6, 2018

Word press 5.0 lanuched by Bebo.A new theme 2019, new block editor, classic editor,

2018

Squarespace partnered with the Madison Square Garden Company to launch the “Make It Awards”, which award $30,000 to entrepreneurs

January 2019

Shopify announced the launch of Shopify Studios

March 22, 2019

Shopify and email marketing platform Mailchimp ended an integration agreement over disputes involving customer privacy and data collection

April 2019

Shopify announced an integration with Snapchat

May 2019

Shopify acquired Handshake, a business-to-business e-commerce platform for wholesale goods.

June 2019

Shopify announced that it will launch its own Fulfillment Network

August 13th 2019

Joomla launshes version 3.9.11-Security release and minor bug fixes.

August 14, 2019

Shopify launched Shopify Chat

September 9, 2019

Shopify announced the acquisition of 6 River Systems

September 24th 2019

Joomla launshes version 3.9.10-Security release and minor bug fixes.

October 2019

PrestaShop closed the Miami headquarters and ceased its operations in the Americas

January 28th 2020

Joomla launshes version 3.9.11-Security release and minor bug fixes.

February 21, 2020

Shopify announced it would join the Libra Association

2019

PrestaShop received the Acteurs du Libre International Award for its international development strategy.

Best OTT Platforms Around The World

Over-the-top (OTT) content providers are growing exponentially as more people switch to online channels for entertainment.

According to comScore, around 50 million households across the world, today have OTT video, which they consume in the same time-of-day pattern as traditional TV viewers.

It is safe to say that the video medium is being reshaped by OTT video streaming providers.

If you plan to create an OTT website of your own, solid examples are important to inspire you.

Many are in the notion that it is hard to find proper OTT website design examples that will inspire them to launch their own. It is hard to find OTT website design inspiration because it has not been compiled into one consolidated useful.

Don’t worry, our ColorWhistle web designers are here to help you.

Here we share 60+ OTT website examples of famous OTT video streaming providers in the world that will inspire you to launch your own.

OTT Platform Statistics For 2020 and Beyond

ott platform statistics

Best OTT Platforms Around The World

We collected OTT websites from the major regions to help you get a better understanding of how OTT service providers have designed their website. By the end of this blog, you will get an idea of the type of OTT website you want.

Best OTT Platforms In USA

Here are some of the top OTT streaming providers in the USA who have wooed the internet-savvy generation.

HBO

www.hbo.com - best OTT platforms ideas, trends and inspirations in usa

CBS

www.cbs.com - best OTT platforms ideas, trends and inspirations in usa

Best OTT Website Platforms In UK

Here are some of the top OTT streaming providers in the UK who are making serious inroads and dominating the OTT market.

ITV

www.itv.com - best OTT platforms ideas, trends and inspirations in uk

Sky

www.sky.com - best OTT platforms ideas, trends and inspirations in uk

Best OTT Website Platforms In Canada

Here are some of the top OTT platforms in Canada who are delivering high-quality content with a great user experience.

TSN

www.tsn.ca - best OTT platforms ideas, trends and inspirations in canada

Best OTT Website Platforms In India

India now has a host of options when it comes to OTT services. Here are some of the top OTT platforms in India.

VIU

viu.com - best OTT platforms ideas, trends and inspirations in India

What Did You Think About Our OTT Website Platform Design Inspirations List?

Innovation in technology is the only constant. This has hit the hardest in the media and entertainment industry as the worldwide OTT streaming market is steadily rising. We are sure that this trend will continue in 2020 and beyond.

We at ColorWhiste are broadening our experience in OTT platform development. By leveraging our deep domain knowledge, we are in the process of developing OTT streaming platforms for market players in the world.

If you have plans to create an OTT website, contact or call us +1 (919) 234-5140 at any time. Our professional web development team can build excellent OTT solutions that will deliver a seamless viewing experience.

Which OTT website did you like? Did we miss your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ultimate Guide to Create a Virtual Classroom Website

The concept of virtual classroom plays a huge role in providing an amazing opportunity for students who want to update their knowledge in new competencies. According to the research report by GMI Research, the global virtual classroom market is projected to reach USD 9,515.2 million by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 17.4% during 2019–2025.

Investing in a virtual classroom setup will give educators the freedom to open up their existing teaching resources to greater numbers of students. Educators who are considering going down this route should have a better understanding of how to set up a virtual classroom website.

A website is certainly a powerful bridge between students and educators. After all, it is the major point of contact. Features like security, affordability, easy accessibility, customization, quick content update, high scalability and cloud-based solutions for storage are the drivers of the virtual classroom market.

To help you on your journey, in this blog, we have discussed everything you need to know before you create a virtual classroom website.

Let’s dive in.

Why Invest in a Virtual Classroom System?

An effective way to increase turnover is by running more classes. But, this also involves logistical challenges like finding additional teaching space to rent. Due to issues like these, educators are opening themselves up to the possibilities of the digital world. 

As e-courses have grown in popularity, the technology surrounding them is also rapidly growing. One such development is the growth of virtual classrooms. 

In the virtual classroom setup, students participate in live classes, ask questions to teachers, and enter discussions with other course participants. It provides participants with a valuable base for their learning activities. In fact, virtual classrooms can turn e-courses into a learning experience that is just as social as traditional face-to-face courses.

What Are Some Real-Time Examples of Virtual Classrooms?

Here are some examples of virtual classrooms.
  • MOOCs (massive open online courses)

    Anyone can enroll and take part in these types of online courses. Some of these courses may be accredited, offered through universities, and some may not be. Examples of MOOCs include Duolingo, Treehouse, Google Primer, Lynda.com, Codecademy, Coursera and edX
  • Bootcamps

    Bootcamps are famous for web development, graphic design, data analytics and many others. These courses take place using virtual classrooms. Examples of Bootcamp providers are Thinkful, General Assembly and Bloc
  • Online degree programs

    Colleges and universities offer online degree programs in a virtual environment. Click here to get a comprehensive list of accredited programs

Steps to Create a Virtual Classroom Website

In this section, we have outlined the steps involved in creating an online classroom website. 

Step 1: Decide your Virtual Classroom Model

Here are 5 types of virtual classroom models. 

  • Rotation model – In this model, students take part in online learning either at school or at home. They also get face-to-face instructions in the classroom and can solve problems with the teacher
  • Flex model – In this model, online lessons are given for a single subject. For example, a child attends a public school but the English class is held online  
  • A la carte model – In this model, a student can choose a course to take it entirely online. This method is popular with high school levels and is taught by a virtual teacher
  • Enriched virtual model – In this model, students take a single course or series of courses with some face-to-face learning sessions with a teacher and then complete their remaining work remotely
  • Fully online model or virtual classroom – In this model, all coursework is taught remotely, and the teacher takes the lessons online

Step 2 - Set Goals

Once you have decided on the type of virtual classroom model, next you have to set goals. Here are some tips that will help you set effective goals when creating a virtual classroom for interactive education on the web.

  • Know your target audience – Find out about your target audience’s interests, current skill sets, and their level of experience. Researching these in advance will help you to create good course materials and better market your creation 
  • Be aware of desired outcome – You need to have an in-depth understanding of what your learners will get out of your course. This will enable you to create a perfect strategy that consist of necessary information, tools, and activities 
  • Communicate your objectives – Once a learner enters your online classroom website, they must know what they are going to achieve. Create a clear statement for each virtual session you take so learners will clearly know what to expect 
  • S.M.A.R.T goal technique – Set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. This is one of the simple ways that will lead you to success 

Are you wondering how setting goals will be useful to create a virtual classroom? Well, your goals will be instrumental in helping you decide the type of website you want to create.

Step 3: Choose a Site-Building Method

Here are the three main ways in which you can build a virtual classroom website. 

  • DIY website builders – Solution providers like WIx, Weebly, and Squarespace will help you develop a website in a cheap and easy way. However, they do come with limitations such as limited customization options, shared hosting, less SEO scope, and limited support
  • Build a website with WordPress – This robust CMS can be used to create any type of website. It comes with a plugin repository which has an extensive collection of plugins that will further help to enhance your website capability. 
  • Create a website from scratch – This method will help you create a virtual classroom website and customize it the way you want. However, if you choose this method, it is going to be time consuming and burn a deep hole in your pocket. 

Out of the 3 methods, we’d recommend you to go with WordPress because the cost and development time is less and you will not have any limitations of the DIY website builders. 

Step 4: Create a Virtual Classroom Website With WordPress

Here is the development approach for building a virtual classroom website with WordPress. 

  • Domain name – First off you need to purchase your domain name from a domain name registrar like GoDaddy, HostGator or DreamHost
  • Hosting – No matter the field, you have to build a solid ground for your website, so you have to choose a good hosting provider like WPengine, Cloudfare, Bluehost or SiteGround. Select a plan based on the approximate traffic you expect for your website 
  • Essentials – Before going into the technical aspect of creating your virtual classroom website, you need to plan on what courses you plan to offer. Then you have to decide the management, assessment, and communication methods. Some examples are creating quizzes, assigning online assignments, student evaluation methods, time-tracking etc. If you are teaching kids, have a plan to give proper updates to their parents 
  • Choose a WordPress LMS plugin – To make your work less stressful and smooth, plugins are your assistant. An LMS plugin will help to manage your courses and your users, create drip-feed content, award certificates & badges, create a gradebook, and other flexible prerequisites. Some LMS WordPress plugins we recommend are LearnPress, LifterLMS, Sensei and LearnDash. We have also written a complete review of the LearnDash plugin, do take a look if you like to learn more
  • Choose a theme – A quick way to build a virtual classroom website with WordPress is by choosing a ready-made theme that integrates with your LMS plugin. But, there will be feature limitations, which is why we always recommend WordPress custom theme development
  • Virtual classroom development – To integrate a live virtual classroom, you can choose any of the software like WizIQ or Adobe Connect that is listed below.

What Are the Best Virtual Classroom Software for Online Teaching in 2020?

To help you on your journey, we have compiled a list of 7 best virtual software solutions in 2020. We selected them based on ease of use, pricing and features.

SoftwareFeaturesPrice
VedadoConduct live online classes, cloud-based services, learning management system and collaborative tools30-day free trial. Paid plans start from $25/month
BigBlueButtonDeep learning management integration, collaborative tools, WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508 accessibility standards and API supportFree, open-source
LearnCubeInteractive whiteboard, custom branding, content management system, text chat, class recording and API support14-day free trial. Paid plan depends on the package you choose
Electa LiveLearning management system, file sharing, interactive whiteboards, annotation tools, screen sharing, session recording, online polls & surveys and breakout rooms14-day free trial. Paid plan starts from $29/month
Adobe ConnectContent management system, quick polls, an interactive whiteboard, cloud recording, and different modulesFree 90-day trial. Pricing available on request
WizIQCloud recording, interactive whiteboard, moderation capabilities, screen sharing, polls & surveys, and a collaborative code editor14-day free trial. Pricing available on request
Newrow SmartContent management system to share presentations and videos, screen sharing, cloud recording, breakout rooms, real-time notes, live quizzes and moreFreemium model. Paid plan starts from $32/month

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Virtual Classroom Website With WordPress?

One of the first questions people ask when it comes to building a virtual classroom website is: How much does it really cost? Truth is, the cost of building a website depends entirely on your personal budget and goals.

Here are some example requirements that will help you understand how much it will cost to develop a virtual classroom website with ColorWhistle. To get the exact cost based on your requirements or through other methods, please request a quote.

The cost mentioned here is excluding 3rd party expenses such as LMS plugin, virtual classroom WordPress plugin, hosting and domain registration.

  • Online course website (only selling courses) – For custom theme development with LearnDash plugin integration, the approximate time to deliver the project will be 4 weeks and the approximate cost will be $2,500 – $7,500 excluding LearnDash license charges
  • Virtual classroom alone – For custom theme development and WizIQ Virtual Classroom WordPress plugin integration. the approximate time to deliver the project will be 4 weeks and the approximate cost will be $2,000 – $20,000 excluding WizIQ charges
  • Both LMS and live virtual classroom development using a plugin – For custom theme development with LearnDash and WizIQ Virtual Classroom WordPress plugin integration the approximate time to deliver the project will be 5 weeks and the approximate cost will be $2,500 – $10,000 excluding WizIQ and LearnDash license charges
  • API based virtual classroom development – For custom theme development with SimTek API integration or WizIQ API integration the approximate time to deliver the project will be 4 – 5 weeks and the approximate cost starts at $3,000 excluding API charges

How Are Virtual Classroom APIs Changing the Education Industry?

We all know that the e-learning industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years. According to elearningindustry.com, since 2000, revenues in the eLearning industry have grown by more than 900%.

One of the primary growth drivers of the e-learning industry is the availability of advanced application program interfaces (APIs). Due to the myriad benefits it offers, API integration is transforming the e-learning market. Through APIs, you can improve your offerings and help students achieve their educational goals.

For example, if you want to expand your offerings, you can add a virtual classroom API to give your learners access to useful online learning features. These features may include shopping cart, adding high-quality real-time video and audio communication, ability to upload content directly from a website, ability to create multiple teacher accounts, attendance tracking, mobile-optimized courses, etc.

Some virtual classroom API providers are,

APIs will become more refined in the years to come, which will make e-learning more accessible, powerful and effective – a combination that is exciting for people in the e-learning field! Take a look at our blog about the importance of API development for businesses to learn more about this area.

Wrapping Up

The e-learning industry has grown exponentially because of learning flexibility, cost affordability, ease of access and intuitive content. However, it is important to choose the right virtual classroom web development partner who has the proficiency and experience with building a sophisticated system you want.

ColorWhistle is one of the best virtual classroom service providers in India who has the relevant experience of developing virtual classroom systems across the web and mobile-based platforms. We can help you deliver a seamless learning experience and develop customized solutions that are the right fit for your learning culture. Contact us or call at +1 (919) 234-5140.  We are always available to help you excel in the online space.

Remote Staffing vs Outsourcing – Which One is Right for You?

The terms outsourcing and remote staffing are used interchangeably, but in reality, each term means something slightly different.

So, we wanted to share our take on these different terms and how these they can fit into your organization and drive business growth.

What is Outsourcing?

When you make use of any third-party resource for the purpose of accounting, marketing, web development, HR, customer services or any other service, it is known as outsourcing.

As opposed to popular belief, outsourcing does not refer to the execution of menial tasks. It involves complex tasks that require expert skills.

Depending upon the model selected, businesses may move their entire division to a third-party or delegate some tasks to be executed by the provider.

For example, an organization may have an in-house team responsible for planning a digital marketing campaign, but they may lack content producing specialists to support their campaign activities. In such a situation, the company may outsource content creation to an external provider who will take guidance from the in-house marketing strategists.

Even though cost efficiency is the main factor behind outsourcing, this model presents an amazing advantage of allowing employees to focus on their core role and solve capacity issues.

Benefits of Outsourcing

What is Remote Staffing?

There are two types of remote staffing. The first type of remote team simply means a team that works in the field or works from home.

Secondly, remote staffing may also refer to a team that works for another company and yet is working with you on a specific business project. Remote teams are typically managed by you as they are an extension of your in-house team.

For example, a company may hire a web development team where it will be instrumental in all stages of the project from conception to completion. This model goes beyond outsourcing as the team does not work alone but in close cooperation with the company that hires them. Each stage of the project is closely monitored by the parties involved ensuring that the company has a lot of control over the project.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Outsourcing?

Here are the pros and cons of outsourcing to a digital agency.

Pros of Outsourcing

  • Cost-effective

    When you outsource to another country like India, you get to relish the benefits of significant cost savings

  • Access to a wide range of talent pool

    When you have an agency as your collaboration partner, you will have access to a diversified talent

  • Save time

    When you partner with an outsourcing vendor, you need not go through the hurdle of hiring a new person which is time-intensive

  • Quick upscaling

    By outsourcing to an agency, you will be able to upscale fast. This will open up opportunities to take up new projects and work with new clients

  • Uninterrupted workflow

    When you outsource your work to an agency, your business will work round the clock as there will be a time difference between the in-house team and the outsourcing vendor’s team

  • Simplified project management

    Most of the outsourcing companies use dynamic and intuitive platforms like Slack and Asana to effectively manage what’s being done

  • Peace of mind

    At the end of the day, choosing to outsource your work to a reliable agency will give you peace of mind because you need not lift a finger as everything will be handled efficiently

Cons of Outsourcing

  • You may lose some control

    When you outsource work to an external agency, you lose control of how the work is being performed. As long as you trust the agency you have hired, this will not be a problem

  • Lack of focus

    As outsourcing agencies tend to have multiple projects at the same time, sometimes, your project may not get the attention it deserves

  • Things may get lost in translation

    When you are passing work through email or telephone, important work may be lost in translation. This may cause some hassle

  • May increase financial burden

    Although it is nice to bring an expert agency, if you don’t have clear terms and conditions, you may end up taking the financial burden if the company you are outsourcing to cannot deliver

What Are the Pros and Cons of Remote Staffing?

Here are the pros and cons of outsourcing to remote staff.

Pros of Remote Staffing

  • Easily scalable

    Whenever your demand for talent increases, you can get access to pre-screened candidates that can be interviewed and hired at a moments notice
  • No high costs

    When you hire a remote team, you get people with the reliability similar to your in-house team without the high costs
  • Increased control over communication

    Even though they are not physically present in your office, your remote team will be part of your organization just like your full-time employees. This will give you more control over how you communicate with them

Cons of Remote Staffing

  • Tough to find the right people

    Finding the right fit of people for your type of work will be a tedious task.
  • Lack of proactiveness

    Remote resources must be proactive and self-motivated individuals. Lack of these qualities will affect your company’s growth
  • Establishing a process can be a challenge

    When handling disparate teams, it will be hard to manage the delivery of work

Are There Any Success Stories of Outsourcing to an Agency?

Here’s how outsourcing played a huge role in the success of these two companies

Alibaba

Alibaba

During the initial years, Alibaba started as a small internet company called China Yellow Pages. Today, it ha grown to be one of the world’s largest global marketplace.
In the early stages, the company outsourced website development to an American company. Jack Ma did it because at that time China was short in development talent and the US developers had the skills he was looking for. Outsourcing the web development needs to another firm helped them grow into what they are today.

Slack

Slack

Slack, an instant messaging tool, was launched in 2013 by four founders. Before they opened the product to the public, the development work was outsourced to a design firm that managed mobile app, website and even logo. Once the product was good enough, they invited others to test it.

Remote Staffing or Outsourcing - Which is the Best Option?

Now that we have seen the pros and cons of outsourcing and remote staffing in detail, which one should you choose? Outsourcing is the best option because of the reasons stated in our blog. The motto ‘let’s grow together’ clearly applies to the outsourcing model. It is one of the great ways of growing your business as it helps you and the company you outsource to – A mutually beneficial partnership. It is a fantastic way for any type or size of business to improve efficiencies and strengthen the company’s bottom line. The outsourcing model will be your extended arm and power digital transformation. Even though we have stated a few cons in our blog, outsourcing doesn’t have a negative impact. Everything depends on the agency you partner with. At ColorWhistle, we have been offering website design and development services for companies and agencies for over 7+ years. We have established ourselves as a trusted outsourcing web development partner. Clients from across the globe specifically USA, UK, Canada and Australia have been impressed by our work and are still continuing their partnership with us. If you need an extra hand with web design, web development and digital marketing, do give us a call +1 (919) 234-5140  or drop a line. Let’s discuss more on how we can reduce your workload so you can focus more on your core business activities. Do you have any experience with outsourcing? How did your company benefit from it? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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