Here is a list of a few virtual conference sites out there.  The first one on the list – Free Conference Call – is completely free and provides a telephone number that can be used to call into the meeting:

Free Conference Call  ( recommended , positive limited testing )
Free Conference Call (FCC) sounded too good to be true, and we almost passed it by.  However, the business model does make sense, and once you sign up you’ll find a slate of value-added options including a static call-in phone number for $4.00/mo. Tests so far have proven very positive.

UberConference ( positive moderate testing )
We have direct experience with UberConference, using it for inter-system meetings with other collaborators.  Its video conferencing aspect is new, but thus far tests seem reasonable.  Its temporarily expanded free version is meaningful for use and it’s one of the tools we’re researching as a potential system-managed service.

Cisco WebEx
WebEx is a very popular and powerful web meeting platform used by small businesses and large enterprises alike.  We haven’t had the chance to test this one yet, but its general popularity and its updated free tier removes the 40 minute limit.

Skype  ( Mixed limited testing )
Skype is tried and true.  Now owned by Microsoft, Skype was the first real service to bring voice and video calling to the general public and has a mature feature set.  Its rich features make it powerful, but it may be a bit overwhelming to figure out group/meeting connections and hosting from scratch, especially “guest accounts.”

Zoom is another very popular platform and is the one most mentioned in general conversation over the past week.  It’s last on this list only because its free version seems to remain limited to 40-minute sessions for public libraries.  They do have that restriction lifted for K12s but we have not had time to research deeper.

Kris Schwartz

IT Director

IFLS Library System

1538 Truax Blvd, Eau Claire, WI 54703

Phone: 715-839-5082, ext. 115 • Mobile: 715-553-0813 • Fax: 715-839-5151