If your video conferencing needs are minimal, the free browser-based Lifesize Go service is a useful option.
If you want a video conference tool for a small business or a small number of participants, there are an array of video conference services, but many require pricey subscriptions. One free option that you may want to try is Lifesize Go. With this tool, you can host free, unlimited one-to-one or group video calls with up to eight people. You can’t schedule calls in advance, but once you start a meeting, you can invite other participants via email or a generated link. After the call starts, each participant can turn the video and audio on and off and share his or her screen to display a presentation or conduct a demonstration.
You can host and join meetings in Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari on PCs and mobile devices, so no app or downloaded software is necessary. No sign in or account is required to use the tool—only your name and email address.
Beyond the free Lifesize Go, Lifesize offers paid options with more features and more participants. Supporting up to 25 users and a permanent meeting room, the Mini Bundle option costs as low as $16 per user per month. Supporting up to 125 users, 10 permanent meeting rooms, and other features, the Small Bundle option costs as low as $19 per user per month. And supporting up to 250 users, 50 permanent meeting rooms, and more, the Medium Bundle option costs as low as $23 per user per month. But as a starting point or for a small or home business, the free version should suffice in most cases.
To begin, open Chrome, Firefox, or Safari on your PC or mobile device. Browse to the Lifesize Go website. Enter your name and email address and click the Let’s Go button to start your conference call (Figure A).
Your call begins with only you visible on the screen. To invite another person, click the Invite icon on the bottom toolbar (the first icon on the bar). To send someone an invite by email, type the person’s email address in the Send Invite Link field and click the arrow icon. To send people a generated link to the call, click the invite link in the field below and then paste it into an email, message, or whatever type of communication you wish to use (Figure B). People that you invite are saved to the invite pane, so if you wish to reinvite someone in a future meeting, simply click the arrow next to that person’s name.
The video conference then displays the other participant on the screen. On a call with multiple participants, each person appears in a separate window on the screen. You can see yourself in the small video window in the upper left (Figure C).
You or any participant can mute the sound from your end so no one can hear you. To do this, tap the microphone icon on the toolbar (Figure D).
You or any participant can mute the video so no one can see you. Tap the camera icon on the toolbar. A cartoon image takes your place (Figure E).
You or any participant can also share the screen. Tap the sharing icon on the toolbar (the second icon on the bar). At the Sharing window, choose whether you want to share your entire screen, a specific application window, or your current browser tab. If you opt for an application window, select the specific application you wish to share and click the Share button (Figure F).
Switch to the application window or other window you wish to share. To stop sharing, click the Stop Sharing button at the bottom of the window (Figure G).
When it’s time to end the meeting, click the red phone icon on the toolbar.