The workplace is rapidly evolving. Modern businesses continue to look for ways to improve collaboration and productivity between teams and across their organizations. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a huge catalyst in the increase of using virtual meeting platforms, thanks to the need for social distancing, businesses are increasingly relying on these platforms to stay connected, exchange information and work collaboratively.
For example, in a survey conducted by Statista, a German online portal for statistics, in March 2020 on coronavirus, it was found that 47.6 percent of adults in the United States were using FaceTime as their video conferencing app of choice to talk to family and friends.
It shows a significant increase in the platforms, showing how presenting ourselves virtually became a hugely popular option at the height of lockdown.
So, what platforms exist out there to help companies achieve this goal?
Zoom has grown in popularity rapidly in recent months and is a valuable contender for virtual training due to its wide range of capabilities for audio and video conferencing, but also down to it being a reliable, high quality conference tool that is easy to use.
An app that many employees may already be aware of due to its everyday use in our new mostly remote offices, Microsoft Teams is an easy meeting platform to use. It is straightforward to schedule meetings, invite new attendees and communicate through chat boxes. It is reliable and constantly being improved and updated.
Cisco WebEx Meeting Centre
Cisco WebEx Meeting Centre offers users a free option to use the service. While this version does include audio and video display and can include up to 25 people, it does only allow one host per licence.
An easy to use app which allows users to connect with others either 121 or with a group of people, allow for up to 50 virtual meeting participants. Skype is a very well-known platform, with simple invitation tools, making organising your virtual meeting even easier. However, it can be prone to audio and video problems, delays and dropouts.
- Adobe Connect
A robust and versatile meeting platform Adobe Connect offers desktop sharing, messaging, breakout groups and video features. It is a paid for platform, but for the price gives you a vast number of tools and customization to give your meetings flair.
A popular meeting tool, Slack helps to connect team members with one another through a variety of messaging tools, adjustable notifications and a wide range of other office features. It offers a reliable alternative to email and improves communication between employees.
Already installed alongside Gmail, Google Hangouts is a no-cost platform that offers tools to make phone calls, use instant messaging with up to ten people and video conferencing.
A well-known platform when it comes to talking to friends and family but can be repurposed for business as well. Facetime offers groups up to 32 participants, and a variety of other tools within the call. However, it is only compatible with Apple devices, which can cause accessibility issues.
By using GoToMeeting, businesses can conduct meetings with up to 100 people, and even includes the ability to attend and host these meetings on a smartphone. While it costs a monthly fee, it is a good platform that offers a variety of meeting tools, including dialogue transcripts for video.
This is the updated and improved version of Google Hangouts, and has been integrated into the G Suite Office Productivity service. A paid platform, Google Meet gives users an assigned a dial number so virtual meetings stay private, clearer access lines and wider compatibility.
Completely free collaboration and calls platform, FreeConferenceCall gives you the ability to share desktops, draw and message other users. It is simple and clean cut, making for a straightforward experience.
Amazon Chime offers the ability to conduct calls, send messages, hold digital meetings and video conferencing. There is a free version of the platform, but if users want to access the wealth of features and tools, then they will need to upgrade.
Originally a platform for instructors and teachers, BigBlueButton has also been adopted by businesses. It offers the ability to share desktop, video and audio, whilst also interacting through chat, notes and polls. A tricky platform to set up, but it is free to use and offers many of the same benefits a more costly platform can offer.
Though it has webinar in the title, this platform has much more to offer than just a broadcasting space. LiveWebinar is a versatile and popular platform, boasting over 50 different features to spice up meetings; from polls to whiteboards and customisable breakout rooms. It is a paid platform, but also offers a free trial for full exploration.
At the Virtual Training Team, we mostly use Microsoft Teams and Zoom as our chief meeting platforms of choice. We love their applicability, ease of use and virtual training facilitation tools. The ability to make even our meetings super interactive and engaging!
Which platforms do you use the most and why?