There is no shortage of choices when it comes to virtual meeting software. Skype used to be the industry standard for free video calling, overseas calls, and instant messaging between professionals. In recent years Zoom has usurped the title of industry standard virtual meeting software, offering crystal clear audio, seamless video, and advanced capabilities for businesses.
But there are also other games in town when it comes to videoconferencing, including Google Meet, MS Teams, and others.
Whatever virtual meeting app you use, you want to find one that:
- Syncs with your calendar for ease-of-scheduling
- Can be accessed from anywhere to aid in time management
- Works with your AI assistant to schedule meetings easily on-the-fly through email, text, or chat
- Provides all the capabilities you need, including audio, video chat, screen-sharing and collaboration through other cloud-based apps
- Works seamlessly from your desktop or mobile device, with stellar audio/video quality, so you don’t have to worry about dropped calls or interruptions
So what are your best options for virtual meeting software, and how can you use it to improve your time management and productivity?
Let’s explore some of the most common options available today. For simplicity’s sake, we will compare the free versions of Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, and Google Meet. Paying for the subscription service will enhance the capabilities of each app.
Get Business Done Faster with Zoom
Zoom.us conference software makes it easy for any meeting participant to dial in from a landline phone or through the app on their desktop computer or mobile device. You can even dial in for audio-only on your phone or mobile device while using video and screen-sharing capabilities on your desktop. Or talk on a landline and use your mobile for video and screen-sharing. This is true unified communications where the possibilities to talk on the go and then move to your desk are virtually endless.
Helpful hint: The moment you sign into a video conference through the app on your desktop or mobile device, your camera becomes active. So, make sure you’re dressed when you start the call. Don’t ask us how we realized this. Just trust us.
Microsoft Teams Integrates with Your Office Suite
It’s about time Microsoft, an industry leader in business productivity software, launched its own virtual meeting software. The choice of heavy-hitter technology firms like SAP and General Electric, Microsoft Teams integrates with top office apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, for on-the-fly collaboration.
Notably missing from the free version of the software? Audio conferencing capabilities for those times when you want to connect with team members across the globe but don’t need screen-sharing or video. You also can’t record with the free version, which Zoom and Skype both allow.
If your main requirement is collaboration within MS Office suite, you can consider MS Teams to help you maintain productivity as you interface with workers across the world.
Google Meet Picks Up Where Hangouts Leaves Off
The business version of Google Hangouts chat-room software, Google Meet offers high-definition video conferencing with up to 30 users at one time. Meet integrates with Google Calendar and the G-Suite of cloud-based productivity apps.
Users rated Google Meet at 4.5 for ease-of-use, with the majority of users giving it 5 stars across the board.
The big advantage is its interoperability with Google Calendar and Gmail, including the presence of an easy “Join” button within the meeting invite that makes collaboration a snap.
Skype Still Finds a Place in the World of Virtual Meetings
With all these other options, it’s easy to forget Skype, one of the first apps that made it easy to collaborate from your desktop computer or mobile device using audio, video, chat, or a combination of the three. Skype is also very much an international standard, so if you are speaking to a lot of people outside of North America, Skype is a must-have.
Like Zoom, Skype offers the option to record calls. You can also incorporate live subtitles, which makes Skype the most inclusive and flexible of the four major virtual meeting platforms. Collaborate with up to 50 people at one time via desktop or mobile. You can even connect to Skype via your internet-connected Xbox or Amazon Alexa.
With these capabilities, it’s no wonder Skype retains a place at the table of virtual meeting software, although other platforms – including MS Teams and Zoom – provide more functionality for business collaboration.
In addition, since Microsoft bought Skype in 2011 they have integrated it fairly well across their platforms. However, they have recently signaled that they are going to be deprecating Skype for Business in favor of Teams, so keep that in mind when choosing.
GoToMeeting, WebEx, Blue Jeans, and Join.me are further examples. Each of these has a handy web interface and each is definitely in the mix as they race to add features.
The Bottom Line on Virtual Meeting Software
With a variety of options out there, the choice may not be easy. Consider how many users you’ll need, the capabilities you want, and what other apps and programs you use to ensure they all integrate seamlessly. Virtual meetings save time because you don’t have to travel to your destination and increase productivity by making it easy for meeting participants to share files and brainstorm across the miles.
You can schedule meeting days in advance or start one on-the-fly, so you can get things done faster.
Whichever meeting software you choose to connect with your employees, colleagues, and clients across town or across the world, consider using an AI assistant to help with scheduling those meetings and keeping your calendar up to date.
A Note On Us
Here at x.ai, we use a combination of these platforms. For most of our internal meetings we tend to use Google Meet. It’s easy, integrates with our software and Google Calendar very well, and has a very usable iPhone app. However, for most external meetings, especially sales calls, we opt for Zoom. After all, we did build a calendar integration for Zoom, might as well use it!