Meeting software helps businesses and organizations prepare for, schedule, conduct, take meeting minutes and report on meetings. This software can be used for businesses conducted in person or via a web conferencing platform. These products can be used both personally and professionally to facilitate communication between parties. For in-person meeting scheduling, meeting software will help organize meetings and reserve a physical space for them to take place. When used for web conferences, meeting software can help plan meetings better, take notes more efficiently and record and review meeting minutes. Read the full software guide...
Meeting software actually refers to a wide variety of communication and collaboration tools, or any kind of software solution pertaining to the interaction and collaboration among employees and teams.
Conference calling and audio/video conferencing are among the most crucial technologies in today’s workplace communication and collaboration processes. As a matter of fact, studies show that one in four employees in US-based companies utilize video and audio conferencing solutions at work for cross-departmental and team collaboration.
Online meetings facilitated by web and video conferencing software can have different forms, from your basic collaborative initiatives between team members and employees to the more sophisticated and comprehensive presentations for stakeholders and prospective investors and clients. Generally speaking, screen and file sharing, as well as audio/video conferencing systems are classified as meeting software solutions, even though many such applications are also incorporated in most team collaboration software, live streaming applications and remote work solutions.
For most small businesses and startups, simple online meeting software with stable web and video conferencing solutions should be more than enough to facilitate their communication, conferencing and collaboration requirements. Bigger companies, on the other hand, may require more advanced conferencing and collaboration tools capable of providing specialized video and audio conferencing functionalities, solutions that allow them to host large video meetings and webinars.
There are many different software products in the market that pertains to online conference calling, video conferencing and online meetings in general. However, as previously mentioned, there are two main technologies that can be categorized as a meeting software solution: there’s web conferencing software and video conferencing software.
Web conferencing software is designed to facilitate interactive meetings via the internet, including client presentations, customer support sessions, employee training and onboarding, as well as conferences and audio/video meetings. This type of online meeting software allows for screen sharing, file sharing and content sharing and it gives participants the ability to interact with each other through video, audio and live chat options.
Some of the basic features of web conferencing software include real-time chat, audio/video conferencing, screen sharing, presentation streaming, video recording and playback capabilities, host controls and native mobile app support for any mobile device. The host controls feature, in particular, provides hosts total administrative control over key actions during audio and video calls, including the ability to put a participant on mute and setting up conference joining protocols.
The screen and file sharing feature allows users and hosts to share their current screens and/or useful documents to other participants, which may help demonstrate a particular point-of-view on screen, during an important discussion. The mobile app support feature is perhaps one of the most intriguing and modern web conferencing features, as it gives the user the ability to host or participate in web conferences and audio/video meetings while on the go.
Video conferencing software is another type of online meeting software solution that can be used in different remote locations to host live conferences and meetings. While the solution is called video conferencing software, it is actually capable of transmitting text messages, audio as well as video calls. The main advantage of this type of meeting software solution is that it gives users the ability to communicate and collaborate from any location, anywhere in the world, leaving an organization’s travel budget mostly untouched.
File sharing and other collaboration tools are also standard features in most video conferencing software solutions. Users have the option of a point-to-point system or a multi-point solution. The former is ideal for video meetings with up to two participants, while the latter is suited for conference calling with more than two participants. With video conferencing software solutions, your device has to have a working microphone, speakers/headphones and a web camera. However, with mobile app support, you can just as easily use your mobile device to host or join an online video conference.
An advanced video conferencing solution offers a wide variety of features that may also be found within many top-tier web conferencing systems. One such feature is audio/video recording. Advanced systems have the ability to record audio and video meetings and online conferences. In addition, this type of software also provides real-time screen sharing, content and file sharing, as well as remote desktop control. Other very useful functionalities include cloud-based storage, reliable security encryption and mobile accessibility.
The online meeting software market is undoubtedly very vast and overwhelming, especially when you factor in the wide variety of web communications and collaboration tools that serve the same or similar purpose. There are different web and video conferencing software solutions available for equally different organizational requirements. There are key features that you have to consider, implementation and operational costs, deployment and the type of buyer you are being some of these.
To find the right meeting software that best addresses your specific needs, you have to first consider how you and your company plan to utilize the product once you get it. Keep in mind that there are a few key differences in how organizations, be it small businesses, startups or large companies, use web and video conferencing software.
Some businesses, for example, use conferencing and collaboration tools for internal collaboration purposes among employees, teams and departments. Online meeting software designed for collaborative uses comes with basic features and applications, which often include conference calling, file/screen sharing and audio/video calls.
Before making any important purchase, you have to at least get to know the product, its capabilities and all of its offerings. The best way to do this is to take advantage of the free trial that most vendors and services providers do offer for their products. Using the free trial versions of the online meeting software solutions in your list should allow you to compare each product based on their usability, feature set, scalability, ease-of-use and capabilities to meet your requirements.
The limitations and restrictions of free trial software products may vary between vendors and service providers with some offering complete access to all the features of the online meeting software for a limited time. This usually means you will have complete access to the product for 14, 15 or 30 days. On the other hand, some vendors offer their products for no charge and no time limit. You can use their video conferencing solution any time you want at no cost. The downside with this option is that the free trial version they offer usually has several restrictions and/or limitations in terms of the features you can use, the number of users/participants that can use the software simultaneously, etc.
Another deciding factor you have to consider is the deployment method. This refers to how the online meeting software is deployed or delivered to the user. There are two basic options when it comes to software deployment: on-premise and cloud-based. On-premise deployment refers to software solutions that are deployed in the organization’s local servers and devices. Premise-based video conferencing solution typically comes with additional hardware installations and usually carries an extra cost for maintenance and updates.
Cloud-based deployment, on the other hand, refers to software that is delivered via the cloud. Also known as software-as-a-service, cloud-based deployment is a popular choice among small businesses, startups, as well as medium-sized companies that have limited resources to effectively manage on-premise communications and collaboration systems. Cloud-based solutions are known for their cost-effectiveness, hence their popularity among SMBs and startups.
Business customers only need to choose the appropriate meeting software subscription plan for their needs. All the maintenance and software upgrades are shouldered by the vendor/service provider.
There are many benefits to using online meeting software with the right features and capabilities that match your business requirements.
Web and video conferencing software empowers employees, teams and departments to be more collaborative with other players within an organization. This type of software solution, with its many different features and collaboration tools, is arguably more effective than your basic email and/or phone services, especially when it comes to improving efficiency and productivity among employees and teams. This is a collaboration solution that enables users to work with others, conduct video meetings and conferences without the need to be in the same physical location.
Pandemic or no pandemic, good online meeting software can help cut costs by giving you and your organization the ability to conduct video meetings, conferences and audio/video calls in what is essentially a virtual conference room. This means you can eliminate costs normally associated with travel and accommodations. Additionally, you can host virtual meetings anytime and anywhere, even when other participants are in a different time zone. With a high-definition (HD) video, it would be like having an actual face-to-face meeting.
On-site training sessions for new hires or newly promoted employees can be costly, mainly due to the training itself, the travel costs and accommodations. Web and video conferencing software cuts training costs down by removing travel and accommodation expenses completely off the table. Online meeting software allows employees to receive their training materials through file sharing and get their instructions via audio/video calls, all without ever leaving their current location. They can complete their training remotely, whether they’re at home, in a different office building or in another country.
|360 Degree Feedback||Gather and manage anonymous feedback for employees from co-workers and managers.|
|Analytics||Analyze and gain insights from data including web traffic, campaign conversions, sensoric output and more.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Audio Recording||Electronic recording of sound.|
|Calendar Management||Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.|
|Call Monitoring||Allows managers to listen in to calls in order to improve agent performance.|
|Collaboration Support||In-application functionality to enable project collaboration between 2 or more parties.|
|Contact Management||Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.|
|Corporate/Business||This indicates if a Learning Management System (LMS) or other EdTech platform is geared towards or suited for use by enterprise and business teams, rather than academic institutions or personal learning purposes.|
|CRM Integration||This indicates whether integrations with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are supported by a software application.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Email Integration||Integration with email clients or providers to create and send emails as well as view received emails within an application.|
|Employee Database||Manage and update employee records in a centralised database. Used to keep information about work entry, age, past roles and other employee details.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Feedback Management||Manage feedback through the use of surveys and similar elements issued to employees and/or customers to consolidate new ideas or track employee performance.|
|Google Apps Integration||Integration with the G Suite, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, etc.|
|Hardware Integration||You can add peripheral devices such as printers, POS systems, and scanners.|
|Participation Statistics||See and analyze your feedback survey participation statistics by channel, completion rate, etc|
|Social-Media Integration||Integration support with social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and others.|
|Software Integration||Connect third-party software.|
|Task Scheduling/Tracking||Schedule and track tasks and deliverables in form of to-do-lists.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
|Time Management||Monitor and optimize how you're spending your time.|
|Timesheets||Track employee attendance, sick days and hours worked for payroll purposes or billable hours for professional services.|
|Video||Support for video elements and other moving picture graphics.|
|Workflow Management||Workflow management focuses on streamlining the coordination of tasks related to the work a business does.|
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