Before this lockdown started, web conferencing in offices, distant classrooms, video calls between friends, etc. were the secondary means of group communication. But lockdown and social distancing have made them the only possible means of group communication without getting infected. With Corona still in play, these platforms might find even more use in the upcoming future. Many professions are going to rely on this technology for efficient communication.
But being provided with so many options, how would you decide which platform to choose for conducting a meeting or a class?
For this you must consider the purpose of the meeting – Is it just to communicate some instructions, will there be a need to share screens or documents, it is to assign tasks to people, etc. Make sure you find out all its features, whether those features will be useful for your meeting or not and how many participants do you have to add in the meeting.
Here are some of the most used online platforms with some of their key features that might help you in selecting the right platform for your meeting.
- Google Meet – User friendly with ease in chatting, both privately and in group. It can support meetings with upto 250 participants and support 1,00,000 live viewers and is suitable for small and large businesses. It provides good sound quality and features hand raising, mobile access and recording the meeting. It does not support screen sharing and presentation tools.
- Cisco Webex – User friendly with a customized app. It comes with various plans and pricing for different features starting from Rs.1000 per month. The free version has messaging and presentation tools and a limit of 100 people, allows hand raising, recording the meeting, sharing the screen, whiteboard, documents and links and scheduling meetings. The people invited don’t need to download or make an account on web ex.
- Zoom – Zoom provides one of the best features and audio and video quality. It comes with various plans and pricing for different features varying from Rs.1000/month/host to Rs.1,50,000/month. The basic (free) plan includes screen share, virtual background, waiting room, scheduling meetings, local recording, raising hand and host controls. This plan has a limit of 100 participants and 40 minutes time.
- Jitsi – It is a free platform for video conferencing that provides only the basic features. It is ideal for group discussions.
- Amazon Chime – Amazon Chime is a pay-as-you-go communications service with no upfront fees, commitments, or long-term contracts. It allows connecting to Alexa, joining meeting by a call and screen sharing in the basic (free) plan. Price of the pro version is $3 per user per day up to $15 per user per month. Pro features include scheduling meeting, a limit of 250 participants and recording and locking meetings.
- TeamViewer – TeamViewer is best for sharing screens, presentations and remote device control. It can be very useful for people working on projects and have to share their work with their colleagues. While it is free for personal use, for companies there are three packs starting from Rs.1350 per month.
- Workplace – Workplace is a tool developed by Facebook to keep the employees of an enterprise connected to each other. The employees can communicate internally through chats, sharing stories and information, liking and commenting on stories and video calling. It provides presentation tools, recording meeting and sharing screen. Its Essential pack (free) is recommended for teams. There are some additional features in Advanced pack ($4 USD /person /month) and Enterprise pack ($8 USD /person /month) and are recommended for big and complex organisations.
- Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams can not only be used video conferencing but also for team collaboration. It allows the employees to connect with each other. It provides many features like good quality audio and video, hand raising, recording meetings, presentation tools, screen sharing and on-demand webcasting. It features various collaboration, file sharing and team communication tools. It comes with the Office 365 package. The free version does not have features like scheduling and recording meetings, audio conferencing and administration tools and provides less security. The paid packs start from Rs.125 /user /month.
There are many other platforms like these developed for the ease of the users. Web Conferencing has already become an important part of many jobs. Choosing the right platform might increase the efficiency and productivity of the meeting and make it more beneficial for both, the organisation as well as the participants.