Collaboration in the workplace is vital for the success of a company because – to put it simply – it allows people to feel connected. Beyond the physical connection established through eye-contact and body language, collaboration cultivates an intellectual intertwinement as individuals from different departments and backgrounds contribute their skill sets to solve complex problems. This provides the foundation for teams to make creative, unified decisions more efficiently and promotes healthy employee relationships. With the ever-expanding digital workplace, the hardest question is not if to collaborate, but how to collaborate.
Although each WaveOffice is designed with creative breakout areas, communal lounges, and technologically-equipped conference rooms to encourage effortless collaboration, we understand the need to connect at anytime, anywhere. As a result, we have explored the wide world of teleconferencing software to uncover the 10 best platforms to keep your team connected.
Nothing says collaboration like having the word “team” in the title. While the best features of Microsoft Teams are not free, the platform rolls up messaging, screen and document sharing, and meeting capabilities into one app, making it much more than merely a videoconferencing software. A persistent messaging thread enables employees to post texts, pictures, videos, and documents, while others can comment and react. Microsoft Teams can be used on a computer, but the iPhone and Android app makes it easily accessible on the go. If you are looking to keep your entire company connected during remote working, this is the software for you. However, if you are looking to connect with external organizations through videoconferencing, you may not need all of Microsoft Teams’ bells and whistles.
Skype is as simple as videoconferencing apps get. Completely free for domestic calls, the platform can host up to 50 people and features video-recording, screen sharing, and live subtitles. However, there are some problems as far as connection and security go. As a network-intensive program, a lack of high-speed internet will lead to choppier calls compared to other platforms. Furthermore, as one of the web’s most popular platforms, Skype is more susceptible to being hacked. Thus, this platform is best for meetings for smaller groups that are not discussing sensitive information.
Zoom has recently dethroned Skype as America’s most popular videoconferencing app, becoming a household name for its generous free option that allows up to 100 people to video chat. However, where Skype is limited by attendees, Zoom is limited by time. The free version caps meetings at 40 minutes, making this ideal for shorter sessions. There are Pro and Business plans available for those looking to host longer meetings, but it can become a pricey option if you need many hosts accounts. Furthermore, Zoom creates a link for each meeting, making them easy to share and access; however, this comes at the cost of security. With many hackers recently hijacking meetings, this platform comes with a few vulnerabilities.
ClickMeeting is best for presentation-intensive meetings and webinars. You can add your company’s logo and colors to the platform’s waiting room and webinar room, creating a complete brand experience for the audience. A plethora of presentation tools allow the presenter to interact with the audience through screen sharing, polls, and surveys – all while collecting engagement analytics. Each webinar can even be recorded and shared on social media afterwards. This platform is best for organizations that are looking to engage with an audience rather than collaborate with their internal team.
One of the oldest video conferencing platforms, Cisco WebEx offers a versatile free plan that allows 100 participants to host unlimited meetings for up to 50-minutes each time. With high-definition video and video-recording options, this platform is ideal for short videoconferencing meetings. However, if you are interested in longer training-style meetings, Cisco WebEx offers three additional plans that cater to small, medium, and large businesses. If you have few presenters but a broader audience, this is your platform. You may want to look elsewhere if you are looking for every user to have presenter capabilities, as there is a monthly cost for each host.
Unlike the other platforms so far, BlueJeans does not offer a free option. However, the platform is a secure, reliable service that includes top-notch features like automatic meeting transcription and background noise cancellation. Users can access the platform directly from a browser, so no downloads or installations are required. The interface is professional but easy to learn, making this ideal for companies that are new to videoconferencing. However, the paid plans are limited between 50-100 people, so larger companies may be out of luck.
If you are a larger company feeling rejected by the size limitations so far, look no further. GoToMeeting can host up to 3,000 maximum participants on its largest plan, and 150-250 on its professional and business plans. With unlimited meetings, no time limits, mobile support, and additional add-on features, GoToMeeting is a polished and professional platform perfect for large meeting sizes.
Formerly known as Google Hangouts, Google Meets is a re-vamped, sophisticated videoconferencing software that is currently allowing anyone to use their advanced features for free through September 30, 2020. This includes creating online meetings for up to 250 participants at a maximum length of 300 hours. The only catch: users must have a Gmail or be a G-Suite user to create and join meetings. If you do not currently use G-Suite, moving now might not make the most sense. However, the current promotion is an excellent way for those weary of shelling out the cash for a premium service to test out advanced features for free.
Zoho Meeting is a completely browser-based conferencing solution that prefers barebones features to bells and whistles, making this platform extremely easy for anyone to use. However, the free edition is very limiting compared to other platforms, only allowing two participants in meetings and 10 attendees in webinars. For the other plans, the pricing can become confusing, as the meeting capabilities are separated from the platform’s webinar features. For $8 per month, 100 participants can collaborate on a call; however, pricing from webinars ranges from $15 to $63 per month for 25-250 attendees, respectively. Zoho Meeting is ideal for organizations that are already invested in Zoho’s customer relationship management software or other Zoho products. Zoho Meeting may not be the best solution if you are looking for an all-encompassing videoconferencing software, but the low pricing and ease-of-use is great for small businesses.
If the video and audio clarity of your meetings is of the utmost importance, Lifesize is the videoconferencing platform for you. The world’s first global 4k video conferencing solution, this platform lets you look and sound your best. Lifesize gives you 6 months of unlimited meetings with up to 25 participants for free. After that, you can elect to pay $12.50 a month for up to 100 attendees or the $14.95 a month for 300 attendees. The most notable feature of this software is its ability to integrate its technology into third-party conferencing apps, such as Microsoft Teams and Skype. If you already use a videoconferencing software but want to boost its video and audio quality, this platform has options for you.
Connection is an essential element to the WaveOffice experience, and we strive to inspire it every day through the creative and communal design of each of our flexible office spaces. Our tech lounges, break-out rooms, and community programming make it easy to collaborate with your team and other professionals while in the office, but we know it does not stop there. With the right videoconferencing software, you can join forces with anyone and collaborate anywhere.