There are a number of software programs designed for virtual meetings and online collaboration. When selecting an application for remote meetings, it's important to opt for a cost-effective, user-friendly platform that meets your communication needs.
Top Virtual Meeting Software Programs
While there are some similarities between virtual meeting platforms, they are not all the same. Discover key features of some of the most popular remote meeting solutions so you can make an informed decision about which option(s) might best meet your needs.
Zoom offers a number of options, from a free basic package to an enterprise solution for very large organizations, with customizable scalable options for organizations of all sizes. Their top two package tiers are designed for organizations that need multiple hosts, making this an ideal solution for organizations with multiple remote teams headed up by different leaders. Wirecutter declared Zoom as "the best platform for online meetings" for everyone from solopreneur freelancers to widely dispersed global teams in large organizations.
- The free version allows for unlimited one-to-one meetings, as well as group meetings for up to 100 participants that are limited to 40 minutes in length. Recording is not available.
- The pro version (around $15 per month per host) is ideal for small teams, as it allows for unlimited meetings for up to 100 participants, though you can upgrade to expand the participant maximum.
- If you need 10 or more separate hosts, the business version or enterprise version (both around $20 per month per host) would better meet your needs. Additional features and add-ons are available with each level.
- The enterprise version comes with unlimited cloud storage, but requires at least 50 hosts.
A product of LogMeIn, GoToMeeting is a powerful solution for virtual meetings. While a free version is not available, you can get a 14-day free trial. All plans include HD video, screen sharing, a toll-free dial in line, and unlimited meetings with no time limit. This is a great option for companies looking for a virtual meeting solution that integrates with other productivity and collaboration applications and that can be scaled appropriately for organizations of all sizes. PCMag rates GoToMeeting as excellent and says that it's "one of the easiest conferencing services to use."
- The professional plan allows for up to 150 participants but doesn't include recording capabilities. It is $14 per month per host. For just $5 more per month for the business plan, you get unlimited cloud recording.
- The business plan also includes plugins for Office 365 and Google calendar, as well as integration with Salesforce and the Slack meeting launcher.
- Enterprise access, which can accommodate up to 3,000 participants is available, though you'll need to contact the company directly for pricing.
- Regardless of what version you have, you can create a custom URL for your conference room, which is good for branding purposes as well as ease-of-use.
If you're looking for a super-simple solution for virtual meetings that allows for screen sharing, Join.Me is a good option to consider. Like GoToMeeting, this virtual meeting program is also a product of LogMeIn. Capterra says that Join.Me is the easiest to use of the video conferencing/sharing platforms, indicating that it's a great tool for one-to-one or small group collaboration.
- The Lite version is ideal for small teams of up to 5 people. For just $10 per month, you can host unlimited meetings with no time limit for a team of this size, though webcam streaming and recording are not available.
- With higher tiers ($20+), you can host meetings with up to 250 participants, recording capabilities, storage, webcam streaming, and more.
- The most expensive version is $30 per month and includes enterprise authorization and Salesforce integration.
A Cisco product, WebEx offers a variety of options, including a free personal version, as well as more robust paid versions. Business.com named WebEx as its top pick for both video and audio conferencing, due to the fact that it smoothly facilitates collaboration and effectively support remote teams. TechRadar particularly likes that fact that no download or installation is necessary with this virtual meeting platform.
- The free version of WebEx allows for up to 50 participants in meetings of up to 40 minutes in length.
- For just $13.50 per month, you can opt for the starter plan for small teams. It allow for up to 50 participants with recording capabilities and no time limit on meetings.
- There are mid-size ($17.95, up to 100 participants) and business versions ($26.95, up to 200 participants) for larger teams.
- Paid WebEx versions integrate with other applications, including Workplace by Facebook, Google Calendar, Slack, and more.
Eztalks is an affordable web and video conferencing platform with basic features. Participants can log on via web or dial in via phone. If you wish to provide a toll-free dial-in number, an additional fee will apply. Reviews on G2.com indicate that this virtual meeting program is a great tool for teams seeking an affordable option for remote meetings. Home Business reviews eZtalks favorably for affordability, screen sharing capabilities, and high quality audio and video.
- There is a free version which allows for meetings of up to 40 minutes in duration attended by up to 100 participants. Recording capabilities are not included with the free version.
- Paid plans start at $10 per month, per host. Each paid plan includes unlimited meetings, recording capabilities, and cloud-based storage.
- The number of participants and amount of storage space vary by plan. For example, the $10/month plans allows for up to 100 attendees and 2 gigs of storage for recordings. The $50/month plan allows for up to 300 participants and 10 gigs of storage.
- There are additional fees if views of recorded sessions exceed pre-set thresholds. For this reason, this solution isn't ideal for content that would be viewed multiple times after the fact.
If you're looking for a company-specific online collaboration solution and your organization already uses Microsoft Office 365, then Microsoft Teams is a great option to consider. It's a great way to utilize virtual meeting and collaboration capabilities that are bundled into a service that your company is already paying for, without adding additional expense. PCMag likes its seamless integration with other Microsoft Office apps, as well as that there is so much room to customize Teams to meet your work group's specific needs.
- The cost of Microsoft Teams is included with Office 365 Business Premium and Business Essentials packages, which also provide access to the various components of Microsoft Office.
- A scaled-down free version of Teams is available for Microsoft Office 365 users who have less robust plans.
- The Teams platform includes virtual meeting functionality, instant messages, and even virtual classrooms to facilitate and deliver online training.
Hosting Effective Remote Meetings
Once you select a tech solution, you'll need to focus your efforts on remote meeting best practices. Hone your virtual meeting planning and participation skills and you'll be on your way to collaborating effectively in a virtual environment in no time at all.