There was a time in the not so distant past when business meetings only happened face to face, in person - crazy, I know. As technology advanced, so did a global workforce, a remote workforce and digital marketing, meaning long-distance meetings and collaborations needed a new take on the face-to-face business meeting.
Fast forward to today and anyone with internet access can use virtual meeting software to collaborate with anyone anywhere in the world. Businesses regularly take advantage of this tech to save time and money while increasing productivity.
You may have already used some of these online meeting tools such as Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting to communicate with your friends, family, and associates.
If not, becoming proficient with these tools is a must if you plan to be effective at business today.
What Can You Do With Video Conferencing Apps?
Depending on the tool or platform you choose you can:
Save and make money.
Meet with individuals or with hundreds of people.
Share files, videos, and even your computer’s desktop so that you collaborate in realtime using spreadsheets, presentation software (PowerPoint, etc.), or documents.
Meet using your phone. Most tools for virtual meetings have features that adapt for mobile use.
Ensure you and your colleagues use your time efficiently.
Eliminate boundaries from wherever your team comes from.
Video Conferencing Options
Zoom was created for hosting webinars, teaching online courses, hosting online training, video demos, virtual meetings and video conferencing. Zoom boasts an easy to use online video conferencing and meeting software that integrates video conferencing, and other functions into a single cloud-based platform.
It’s great for small to medium businesses and educational institutions. Zoom is built to host and broadcast online meetings that can serve to up to 100 interactive video participants and 10,000 view-only attendees.
Zoom has high-quality video, audio (HD video and HD voice with dynamic voice detection), and screen-sharing capabilities (share files from your screen). This platform will help you improve collaboration for your teams, remote staff, and participants as they can log in and join a meeting in a snap from their mobile device or any computer.
You can share your entire desktop screen with your audience, just one active window from your browser, or a whiteboard presentation.
Zoom also has an advantage over other platforms in that it offers a unique function that allows you to record your virtual meetings in MP4 and M4A video formats to your mobile, computer, or directly into the cloud.
Our favorite feature of Zoom is that with the pro Zoom plan, right here on Wavoto
you can schedule calls, launch calls, and send invites right from your dashboard.
Skype may be the first name someone comes up with when asked about video conferencing. There’s a good reason for that, it’s easy and cheap, “but wait there’s more.”
Skype is a web-based communications tool that offers video chat, international calling, and texting through the web. Skype offers instant messaging, group video conferencing, and group collaboration functions like document and image sharing.
Skype is high quality, super easy to use, and a bargain for the services it offers. Oh yeah, it’s owned by Microsoft, so it’s compatible with the MS Office suite (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) and has pretty good security features, too.
Skype offers a variety of communications channels to help increase productivity, stimulate collaboration, and create a path for ideas and resolutions.
Up to 250 people can join a Skype conference without having to leave their desks. Or better yet, 250 people can join a meeting and not have to be at any desk at all.
You may be thinking, though, you don't even remember your Skype username, and you're not alone. Skype has seen a steady decline in its user base, sadly, because it was acquired by Microsoft in 2011
and customer service quickly deteriorated. It got a facelift a few years ago, sending more people away from the platform as well.
GoToMeeting is simple and straightforward. This web conferencing system is an excellent answer for businesses that have outgrown basic video conferencing tools like Skype, Hangouts, and FaceTime.
GoToMeeting has lots of international features, making it perfect for businesses with international locations and team members with clients and colleagues around the globe. It offers flexibility and integrates to many other services (Slack, Accord LMS, Zapier, Microsoft Office 365, and many more applications). GoToMeeting is compatible with just about any device; PC and Mac, as well as Android and iOS devices.
GoToMeeting also has an extra layer of security that many other services don’t offer. Your participants will need to enter a PIN or a code before they can join the conversation. Some may see this as annoying, but most appreciate the security that comes with it.
The support available is also very helpful. You will appreciate the materials and sources GoToMeeting has provided, including PDF guides, live chat, training videos, and live training.
Cisco WebEx is a flexible audio and video conferencing solution designed for businesses of all sizes and offers web and video conferencing, webinars, chat and brainstorming tools, application/file sharing, and multimedia content sharing.
Attendees can edit shared files when they are given an assigned role or privilege letting them make changes or annotate in real-time, this feature encourages brainstorming during live discussions on topics.
Another feature of Cisco WebEx is its Event Center which allows you to organize and conduct events with up to 3,000 attendees. It’s great for large scale product launches and educational sessions. Its broadcast-quality audio and tele-conferencing system allows you to establish effective team workspaces that enhance collaboration and brainstorming.
Events can also be conducted interactively with screen sharing, Q&A, polling, and chat, allowing you to effectively promote your brand and business to a large audience.
Cisco WebEx has a feature called WebEx Meeting Center that makes it easy for users to schedule, start, and conduct online meetings. Attendees can join through their phone, computer, or video system and enables users to switch instantly from one device to another during a meeting. This is great for those of us that are constantly on the go.
How to Choose the Right Platform
We have highlighted four of the top choices for video conferencing/online meeting solutions (beginning with the one we use every day) -- there are dozens more to choose from ranging from simplistic like Google Hangouts (which is being overhauled which is why we didn’t discuss it) to complex, like Adobe Connect.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for video conferencing apps, it all depends on the specific needs of your individual business and budget.
Whichever system you decide on, it will be a great tool to save and make money. Face to face meetings will never be completely replaced, but today's technology has offered us great opportunities to reach our clients and workforce like never before. Log in and grow!