These days, we’re all doing virtual meetings. This practice, once limited to teams with a remote or global workforce, has become a daily essential for all businesses working to stay afloat throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, virtual meetings may remain a workplace mainstay long after the pandemic is over. Despite similarities in how businesses have adapted to their new environment, some have found a virtual workforce to be more effective than others.
We cannot ignore the impact that virtual platforms have on businesses’ success (or lack thereof). With a variety of virtual platforms available for supervisors and executives to choose from, it can be difficult for a workplace to find the one that best fits their business model and team structure. In order to simplify this decision, our team has compiled a brief overview of the most popular platforms for virtual meetings.
GoToMeeting is a virtual meeting platform known for its flexibility and simplicity. Meetings may be launched via computer, or via smartphone using the GoToMeeting app. Inviting teammates to meet is simple, as the platform provides users with automatically generated email templates including the link to join.
GoToMeeting is also known for its offering of several tools that users may access, including team member messaging, dialogue transcriptions, a virtual whiteboard, and adjustable team settings. The platform also allows for the recording of online sessions and is capable of running post-meeting reports. While not available free of charge, GoToMeeting is accessible for businesses at $99/month for 100 people, or at $499/month for 1,000 people.
Zoom is a popular virtual platform that provides users with the tools needed to host training, webinars, and seminars in addition to virtual meetings. In-meeting, Zoom users have access to a chat feature that allows for shared messages and files with any team member on the call. Meetings can hold up to 1,000 active participants or 10,000 attendees at a time, and can be recorded in MP4 or M4A format on mobile devices.
Zoom offers four different plans, including a free Basic Zoom. Free accounts are able to host unlimited meetings, but meetings are capped at 100 participants and subject to a 40 minute limit For larger and longer meetings, a Zoom subscription must be purchased.
ezTalks offers free group video, audio, and chat services for up to 100 participants. For groups of up to 500 participants, more customized user plans are available starting at $12.99/month. In ezTalks meetings, users can communicate and share information via the platform’s whiteboard feature and screen- and file-sharing capabilities. ezTalks Meetings is available on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac computer operating systems and smartphones.
Skype for Business
While many are familiar with Skype’s personal account options, the company has created an additional platform specifically for business clients. Skype for Business allows for meetings of up to 250 people, and can even be used to show teammates when their coworkers are busy, offline, or available to chat. Skype for Business also offers features such as screen sharing, meeting recordings, and instant messaging.
A sub-feature for those with the Microsoft Office 365 platform, Microsoft Teams can be used to hold meetings of up to 300 participants–including outside guests. Teams also allows for phone calls, file sharing (2GB per person, 10GB per group), desktop sharing, and one-on-one video chats. Those with a Microsoft email address are eligible to sign up for Teams free of charge.