The best virtual meeting platforms
Find out the top benefits and features in virtual meeting platforms, and a shortlist of the best platforms in the market.
Whether we´re meeting with colleagues, partners, or clients from around the world, virtual meetings have become a central part of our work lives. In that context, virtual meeting platforms play a critical role, and have the potential to make meetings easier, more interactive, and engaging for all participants.
But with a raft of platforms available, ranging from the most basic with a handful of features to the more cutting-edge with dozens of functions, it can be difficult to make the right choice for your needs.
In this post, we´ll explore the core benefits of virtual meeting platforms, look at the key considerations and features to keep in mind in your decision-making process, and shortlist the best virtual meeting platforms.
What is a virtual meeting platform?
A virtual meeting platform is a software that allows people to come together online and conduct work effectively.
Why do you need a virtual meeting platform?
virtual meeting platforms allow people to interact on video. By seeing others’ body language and facial expressions, participants can establish a more human rapport and emotional connection. Therefore, when compared to audio-only calls, virtual meeting platforms achieve a greater level of immersion and engagement.
Virtual meeting platforms drive down the costs of hosting meetings. Virtual meetings are a cost-effective solution, especially for large teams or client meetings that would otherwise require travel and significant expenses.
3. Communication & Productivity
Transparent communication between teams and departments is vital to an organization’s success. In that line, virtual meeting platforms facilitate collaboration and keep people updated on the challenges and outcomes of projects.
What to look for in virtual meeting platforms
When choosing between different virtual meeting platforms, always check their track record. Visit each platform’s website and read their client case studies. To get opinions from peers, check their user reviews on websites such as G2 or Capterra.
Consider the number of presenters and attendees each platform can support. If you are part of a large organization that hosts recurring events and meetings for hundreds of employees, this factor is especially critical, as certain platforms may lag with large audiences.
A seamless user experience should be among the essential factors in your decision-making. Experience the platform from the attendee’s perspective, and assess if it is easy to join and access meeting controls. For instance, the requirement to download software makes the meeting process more difficult, whereas a unique magic link facilitates everyone’s experience.
For most virtual meeting platforms, the presumption is that you will manage the software yourself. Nonetheless, having access to customer support can help you when you encounter a bug, connectivity issues, or if you would like expert training on how to use the platform.
Best features in virtual meeting platforms
Video Options and Recording
High-definition video quality is essential in any virtual meeting platform. However, it is also worth considering if the platform supports 720p, 480p, and 360p for slower connections. Additionally, having the option of pre-recorded live streaming and “simulive” can prove helpful, particularly for training sessions or general company-wide broadcasts. And, having the option of recording a meeting and offering it on-demand for team members or attendees who were absent in real-time is also valuable.
Having the option to join meetings on a dedicated app is a differentiator. It allows team members or event attendees to tune in from anywhere in the world, or in circumstances where they may have issues with their personal computers.
While a virtual meeting platform is central to your virtual workplace, it is likely not to be the only software you use. In that regard, consider each platform’s integrations with other virtual productivity tools such as digital calendars or communication platforms.
Meetings are not television broadcasts, so the best meeting platforms are equipped with features that make the experience interactive and engaging. For instance, chat messaging, audience polls, Q&As, and screen sharing are some of the must-haves for virtual meeting platforms. More advanced tools such as native file-sharing capabilities to share documents, images, audio, and videos can also make a difference.
Best virtual meeting platforms
InEvent is a leading virtual meeting platform for professionals. Its major differential is that it goes beyond a single meeting room. Instead, the platform offers a fully customizable workplace, where managers can create multiple concurrent conference rooms, store and share files on the software, engage staff with built-in quizzes and polls, and match up team members with a speed networking feature. In terms of video quality, InEvent provides high-end TV-like streaming, while allowing flexibility of video forms and seamless navigation for users.
Cisco WebEx is an online meeting software targeted primarily at businesses that value security above all else, as it includes features such as third-party accreditations, encryption, firewall compatibility. On the negative side, the software can be cost-prohibitive for small businesses and startups, and lagging issues can occur when using the sharing-screen functionality.
As the dominant player in virtual meetings, Zoom needs no introduction. The widespread adoption of Zoom has mainly been driven by its ease of use, as meetings are easy to manage and join using the platform. Nonetheless, Zoom users also encounter bugs, connectivity problems, and audio cutting. Zoom’s customization capabilities are limited, and it is not the most visually appealing platform.
BlueJeans Meetings is a platform that puts itself forward as the best option for productivity in a “modern workplace.” Meetings using its software are fast to set up and join with just a click on a link, and features like Smart Meetings Highlights, whiteboarding, and annotation assist in boosting productivity. However, the scheduling of meetings can be complex, and their user interface appears outdated.
Zoho is a browser-based solution for virtual meetings that prides itself on being the “easiest and most affordable.” However, this means that some add-on features that you may find helpful for your business are unavailable, such as recording meetings on the cloud. Moreover, disconnections and slowdowns can occur, and technical support service is not easily accessible.
Microsoft Teams is a virtual workspace platform best suited for organizations with a Business or Enterprise version of Microsoft 365. The virtual meetings feature is just one tool inside the Microsoft Teams software, including a chat, sharing of files, and whiteboard. Its main strength lies in its seamless integration with other Microsoft tools such as Outlook, Word, or SharePoint. On the flip side, organizations that do not use Microsoft 365 can have difficulties integrating this tool as a one-off virtual meetings solution. And, issues can arise when hosting meetings with large audiences or with multiple presenters that have varying levels of bandwidth.
Google Meet, formerly known as Google Hangouts, is part of Google’s Workspace suite of cloud computing and communication tools. It is a straightforward virtual meeting solution integrated with Google Calendar, allowing users to generate automatic meeting links. The platform enables an unlimited number of meetings accommodating up to 100 participants, generates live captions, and offers several video layouts. However, the software cannot accommodate large audiences, video and audio quality fluctuate, and the recording option is not widely available.
Go-To-Meeting is a virtual meeting platform that is part of the communications software GoTo Connect. It is a solution mainly targeted at professionals, enabling customers to meet face to face and connect through chat and conference calling. However, it is primarily meant for basic video calls and does not have more advanced business integrations and tools.
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