Meetings of all kind, talks, presentations and job interviews can all take place easily on your own laptop – thanks to various video conference tools. They not only prevent the need for unnecessary contact in times of a pandemic, they also save travel expenses. Here are four recommended tools for online meetings:
1. Zoom: the biggest winner of the pandemic
Ever since the start of the corona pandemic, the video conference tool Zoom has been the talk of the town. A survey from May 2021 showed that 38 per cent of those questioned already use Zoom. A huge share, especially against the backdrop that not all the participants work where online meeting tools are becoming more and more a part of daily business.
Zoom is a cloud-based video conference software which offers companies a whole range of functions:
- Recording of meetings
- Screen sharing
- Live surveys
- Virtual backgrounds and requests to speak
- Mobile app for participants who cannot be at the desk
The tool also scores points thanks to its integrated white board, on which the conference’s participants can create sketches, mind maps or notes for everyone. Since October 2021, Zoom has now even offered automatically generated subtitles for free accounts.
All in all, 1,000 accounts can be brought together, and a maximum of 49 participants can be shown at the same time via video, in HD quality. In the free-of-charge version, however, the number of participants is limited to 100 and the maximum meeting time to 40 minutes.
2. Microsoft Teams: multifunctional teamwork tool
Video conferences are one thing – but Microsoft Teams offers so much more than that. The functions known from Zoom, such as
- group chats,
- joint file storage,
- individual backgrounds,
- screen sharing,
- live subtitles and
- the recording of talks
are also available with this tool. However, Teams stands out mainly by its direct connection to all Office applications. For instance, it is easily possible to work on a PowerPoint presentation together with other project members. Users of Microsoft Teams can also choose from a huge selection of add-ons, which contribute to making working procedures easier.
In the free-of-charge version, up to 100 participants can hold a video conference for a maximum of one hour. In the paid versions, up to 300 participants, and for webinars even up to 1,000 participants, can take part via the tool.
3. Skype: pioneer of video telephony
Ever since Skype came onto the market, students don’t ring up their parents anymore – they talk to them at home from around the world via video. The free-of-charge service has adapted to the competition and can now also be recommended as a simple meeting tool. Skype allows group video calls for up to 100 participants and group chats with as many people as you like. Those who don’t have Skype installed on their device can easily take part via their web browser.
With this tool, presentations, working materials or drafts can also be shared on the screen. The meeting can be recorded and stored for up to 30 days. Special functions like a file storage option or a white board, however, are not available (as of October 2021).
4. Cisco Webex: innovative conference tool
The video conference software Webex from Cisco is one of the oldest providers on the market of conference software, yet it has been continually further developed and can hold up to the competition. The functions are similar to those provided by the market-leaders Zoom and Teams. Video conferences can be held with up to 250 participants, and up to 100 participants for a maximum of 50 minutes in the free-of-charge version. Webex stands out mainly due to its high video and audio quality.
Still a gadget but perhaps soon to be a standard is the Webex Hologram function, which went into the testing phase at the end of 2021. This solution uses augmented reality headsets to create a 360-degree image. Thanks to photo-realistic, real-time holograms of the participants, a feeling is created of being physically at the meeting. Video conferences in 3D should also soon be possible.