The trends of the coming years in the field of communication of the company keep video conferencing tools as one of the most widely used. Its potential to improve the productivity of the company and the best relationship with customers and suppliers makes this type of software have a lot of room for growth.
The use of technology in the business field, to improve communications and their productivity, has been a common element in all kinds of professional sectors. One of the most used tools, still growing, has been the technological solutions, software, and applications for conducting video conferences and virtual meetings. The primary use is concentrated in company-client meetings or those held by the company’s partners.
Advantages of Virtual Meetings:
The multiple advantages offered by video conferencing have captured the attention of many companies for years, in many cases, SMEs, which have a means of communicating with clients and other professionals without leaving the office. In addition to this benefit, we do find other great potentialities of this type of technology that is interesting to analyze.
1. Cost Reduction
One of the apparent advantages of using video conferencing and virtual meetings is the reduction in travel costs. Undoubtedly, many meetings can be held remotely without the need to use time or money to travel, something that any company values very positively and contributes directly to the income statement and productivity.
2. Greater Number of Communications
The convenience of using any of the video conferencing tools on the market means that any company has the possibility of communicating with customers, partners, or suppliers in a very agile way. This, in turn, allows the number of communications to be increased whenever necessary.
3. Better Monitoring of Projects with the Client
Clients always value the follow-up that we do on their projects or professional relationships that we have. With virtual meetings, distance is not a problem to be able to speak face-to-face frequently with the client, providing adequate follow-up, and transmitting much more closeness through virtual meetings. Without a doubt, in many cases, it can become a great tool to build loyalty and improve customer satisfaction.
4. Better Monitoring of Projects with Collaborators / Employees
The same is the case with the projects we carry out with company professionals who are offshored, in places other than the headquarters. The possibility of being able to meet with them virtually through videoconferencing solutions allows for a better relationship with the professional, and adequate follow-up of the project and a feeling of more excellent proximity to the project.
5. Greater Agility in Decision Making
Usually, decision-making in a company occurs in a face-to-face meeting, since several people, partners, etc. must intervene. The use of virtual video calls and conferences can provide an aid for virtual meetings where business partners or a working team can communicate easily and help each other instantly for decision making as they are in the same room.
The possibility of bringing together the executives or people involved in the decision in the same space is essential so that firm agreement can be reached in a more agile way than if we had to find a face-to-face meeting of all the members, with travel and more associated schedule difficulties.
Main Tools and Functionalities
The market offers year after year better video conferencing tools and a more significant number of functionalities for professional use. The best-known and longest-running paradigm is Skype, which has experienced exponential growth since 2003 and is in extensive use at both individual and business levels.
However, other interesting solutions have been extended for professional use, with similar functionalities and their particularities. These are the cases of GotoMeeting (since 2004), Webex (1995), Slack (2013), or Hangouts (2013), all of them are interesting and with peculiarities which meet the needs of virtual meetings. These tools are joined by tailored solutions that allow a company to choose software designed for their specific needs through a supplier that develops it.
In general terms, the main functionalities of this type of virtual meeting software are:
- Free video, voice and text communication between users, usually through VoIP infrastructures.
- Video conferences from PC and mobile devices and the main operating systems.
- Group video conferencing functionality, with multiple users from different geographic locations.
- Possibility of sharing the screen with the other members of the videoconference (documents, presentations, etc.)
- The functionality of sending documents and files to the other members of the videoconference.
- Live chat functionality with all members of the video conference.
- Message and call encryption systems to guarantee the security and privacy of the participants.
- Apps to download on mobile devices in the leading App Store.
- Recording functionality of videoconference.
- HD definition functionality of video conferencing.
Whether through tools without cost or through tools or payment functionalities, the market has very attractive and profitable software for SMEs and large companies, as the results in terms of productivity are very evident.
If the use of video conferencing tools has grown to date, the future is expected to maintain the same trend. In recent years, the use of software in desktops and laptops has been joined by that of mobile devices, which still have a lot of room for growth in the coming years. If we add to this that technology and functionalities will continue to improve, or that there will be many companies that bet on teleworking for their employees, their use will have more force every year.
Best online free and paid solutions for a business meeting
WebEx: up to 200 users and many functionalities
This app, created by Cisco, allows the use of up to 200 simultaneous users. It is useful both for meetings and for courses, master-class or conferences. It can be accessed through any mobile device. It has a free service like other paid ones, according to the needs of each client. Best of all, it allows for anywhere, real-time meetings on the network, crafting or working with presentations, reviewing documents, sharing any object or desktop, including applications, windows, and currently open file directories. Attendees, meanwhile, can annotate, save, print, and display different views of shared documents or presentations.
Zoom: up to 100 participants and 40 minutes of the session for free
Zoom is one of the latest online video and audio conferencing platforms on the market. It is aimed at companies, professionals, and groups that need to hold meetings without distance impeding it. Zoom works directly from the browser, but it also has an app for iPhone / iPad, Android app, and the possibility of connecting from Outlook. The only requirement to start using Zoom is to create an account on the platform. As for functionalities, the free version supports up to 100 participants for a 40-minute session, in addition to web collaboration tools. The most expensive Business option (20.57 dollars per month) allows meetings of up to 200 attendees and, in addition to all the necessary package options, unlimited cloud storage.
Skype for Business – Professional version for heavy workloads
It is perhaps the best-known video calling application on the market. In its free version, it is recommended for self-employed workers and SMEs. For meetings of up to 250 participants, there is Skype for Business, a paid version essential for large workloads. At the moment, it is only available in the United States, although it is likely that, given the pressing need to telework, its implementation in Europe will accelerate. As for price, it costs two dollars per assistant, a price that also includes additional security measures so that “everything stays at home.”
Hangouts: cheaper from mobiles
Google’s instant messaging service offers the option of making video calls through a very simple system. In addition, it consumes less resources and data rate if you use it from a mobile phone. With Hangouts you can have conversations with up to 150 people, but it depends on where we access. If it is through Gmail, only 10 attendees can participate. In March, Google launched Meet, an extra Hangouts application for video conferencing with up to 25 people, very useful these days for businesses, companies or educational centers.
Anymeeting: Conduct webinars and conferences
It is a videoconferencing platform in which you can also share all kinds of documents: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and web page links. Just create an account on the Anymeeting website to start managing and organizing your meetings. It is usually used to deliver online seminars and conferences; that is, the great webinars, but it is also valid for the workplace. Up to 200 attendees can meet through this platform.
Bluejeans: up to 75 participants per session
It is not a free platform. The cheapest option is 12.88 dollars per month. The full package costs 18.02 dollars per month. The maximum number of participants in your videoconferences is 75 users for the most expensive plan, and 50 for the cheapest. Bluejeans offers connections both from computers and mobile phones and allows sharing documents and presentations.
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