Is your company using the right online meeting tool for your business?
Online meeting tools are a mainstay in most modern business operations. The internet now allows meetings to transcend the limitations of time and space, allowing businesses to move quicker and more efficiently than ever before, with a similarly increasing demand for online collaboration between businesses.
However, all technologies are subject to malfunctions, and vital meetings can easily get derailed by small problems like software bugs. The frequent delays caused can interrupt the productivity of any meeting. Discussions that usually give birth to great ideas and solutions never come to fruition due to these disturbances.
Free options are amazing if you’re business is making significant savings from them. However, relying on these free tools can be counterproductive when their malfunctions prevent you from carrying out meetings in the first place.
Dealing with employees or business partners online already has numerous problems in and of itself. Having productivity issues during the important sessions where solutions and advancements are supposed to be produced can cost your business by the hundreds of thousands if you’re not keeping track.
Here are 6 tested and well-recommended online meeting tools for your business to consider.
1. Zoho Cliq
Zoho Cliq is a relatively new venture by Zoho. It’s featured as an integration with it’s unique software suite Zoho One.
Cliq combines video & text-based chat with the other 35 tools offered by Zoho’s Suite. When asked why Zoho is entering a market already dominated by the Slack, Hipchat & Microsoft Teams, Chief Evangelist Raju Vegesna said he is confident that businesses will prefer using all-in-one collaborative tools such as Cliq and Teams rather than their standalone rivals HipChat and Slack. So for existing or prospective Zoho users, providing an integrated chat experience is a no-brainer.
Chat based tools often include a video conferencing feature. But they are vastly limited compared to Zoho’s Primetime feature which allows up to 50 participants per call. As a comparison, Slack only allows up to only 15 participants in a call, even in their most expensive tier ($12.50 a person). To keep meetings productive, only 2 people can speak at one time.
During large meetings, it is common to have something you wish to discuss immediately but in private. Cliq houses a Fork Chat feature which allows you to hold a private conversation with another team member while having a meeting at the same time.
According to reviews, the messages tend to get delayed and has slow loading times for sending files urgently. There is also a lack of deleting & modifying messages which can be troublesome at times and certain admin controls can be restricting.
Overall, this is an amazing choice considering their price point ($1-3 Per User) and convenience.
There’s slight confusion when it comes to the differences between Skype and Microsoft Teams. The two are actually integrating gradually by the month. In this review we will be looking at Skype for Business.
Skype for Business has the usual features in a basic video conference platform like chat messaging, decent quality of audio & video, screen sharing & the ability to edit permissions of presenting to users.
If your business is Microsoft heavy, this would be the perfect choice. The smooth integration capability into Microsoft 365 giving users of Skype for Business access to the wide array of storage, email & productivity tools available.
Compared to Cliq, the learning curve isn’t as steep due to its intuitive design and simplicity of setting up. Another highlight is Skype’s ability to support up to 250 participants per call which is far more than most online meeting providers.
Skype for Business is an affordable solution for businesses that aren’t looking for advanced features but at a reasonable price point.
You don’t need a credit card to try out Cisco’s Webex, which makes it easier to get a feel for the software before committing fully.
According to Cisco, their collaboration cloud is a highly scalable platform which is built to bolster live web communication. Apparently this works for a faster, and more secure web conferencing experience. They also have a GSB (Global Site Backup) feature which switches any ongoing meeting activity right to the backup site during a crisis, maintenance windows and service updates. This ensures you and your meeting attendees are able to operate continuously without interruption.
There is also an eLearning program feature which allows you to create comprehensive training programs for new employees or to students depending on your business. The WebEx Training Center makes it easy to provide both live and on-demand training sessions.
Their brand interface does take some getting used to due to their advanced features. Their screen sharing tools & collaborative functions apparently can be buggy at times but the overall experience depends on your business.
A plus point about Citrix’s GoToMeeting is its trial period also doesn’t require a credit card, allowing you to make a risk-free evaluation of the software before investing in it. To top it off, they also offer a 60-day refund policy.
The user interface is also really intuitive which makes for easier transitions for future attendees contrary to slightly complex alternatives. Something unique to GoToMeeting is their Pin-based entry feature. This prevents uninvited entrants from misplaced invitation links. It also works well with all iOS, Android, Mac & PC.
If you are currently using other GoTo products like GoToWebinar and GoToTraining, it would be easier to stay in the same product family for ease of transition. However, other alternatives exist that seem to have more features.
We would still recommend you take their offer up and see if it is for you before deciding as it is risk-free.
If your business has some solutions for API’s for video, voice and screen sharing features of Zoom, their developer platform allows you to submit requests for integrating these solutions into your online meeting.
Their webinar feature supports up to a whopping 100,000 attendees which is pretty large. Zoom would be great for businesses which utilizes webinars in their marketing with considerable audiences. Their intuitive displays, straightforward pricings and innovative features, Zoom won an award for the 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Meeting Solutions.
As for the pricing, they are pretty reasonable to start with. As you start adding on features ,the pricing can start to creep up so be aware of the upgrades you make.
Join.me does have a handy feature for simple scheduling with their One-Click scheduling option. This prevents any sort of mistakes in scheduling or having to use a separate reminder for an online meeting. This is especially essential if your business holds meetings pretty frequently. To make it easier, join.me easily integrates with Outlook and Google Calendar.
They do have a free trial for 14 days. For privacy, a 256-bit Secure Sockets Layer encryption is used along with other security features. No files, images, or data are stored on their servers.
However, they do have some drawbacks on their user side. Lags, bugs and speed issues can arise so be sure to check out their trial and perform a significant conremoference before deciding.
If your business frequently holds online meetings, this list would have helped you gain a deeper insight into making a better choice.
After all, the output from any given meeting has to be worth the time invested by every single participant in the meeting. For small businesses, the decisions and outcomes in an online meeting can be major considering the smaller sized staff number.
If you know you have a defunct meeting tool currently, making an urgent change would be a good idea. Try one of the trial program and run a few realistic test runs to ensure it is the right decision.
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