Meetings are often a necessity when it comes to brainstorming, providing project updates, and keeping the team on the same page. However, it’s not always possible to get the entire team into the same room due to conflicting schedules, home base differences, or issues with finding a large enough meeting space. Centerco conference rooms can hold 2-16 people, but if you’d like to include more people in the meeting, virtual meeting programs are a great way to get your local St. Louis team all in one place while looping your out of town team in as well. Luckily, there are plenty of options for virtual meetings. But with so many options, how do you know which one works best for you?
Using Skype vs. Traditional Conference Rooms
Skype is an old favorite. It’s free to download Skype and make user-to-user calls. You can add up to 25 people and there are screen-sharing options. This is a great option for anyone who works with a lot of international team members, as there is no extra charge to include users from various countries. The app can be used on a computer or on a phone, but the screensharing options are not so great for anyone using a phone. Use of this app does require a strong internet connection, something all tenants at our office suites enjoy. When combined with a conference room, it can bring teams together from any two or more locations on earth.
Benefits of Google Hangouts
This is another free tool that’s very simple to use. One big plus is that no one has to download any applications, they simply need a Gmail address. Basic Google Hangouts allows only 10 participants, so if you’re looking to use the free program, it will only work for smaller teams.
Google also has an upgraded option called G Suite, which allows up to 25 participants. There is also the option to use Hangouts On Air to broadcast the meeting as a view-only feed for inactive participants. All video is HD quality, so you can really get a good look at every caller, making it feel more like an in-person meeting. G Suite has some added features that might make it more useful for certain teams, such as the ability to directly access Google Drive, Google Calendar Integration, and a smart webcam feature that automatically focuses the screen on whoever is speaking and intelligent muting to prevent background noise.
Zoom for Larger Meetings and Conferences
Zoom is a popular option for larger meetings, as even the free plan allows up to 50 participants. However, the free plan will limit your calls to 40 minutes each, which might be a problem if you plan on having lengthier meetings. If you can keep your calls short, the free plan still includes video and web conferencing, group messaging and shared screens, and whiteboarding.
Paid plans introduce more features such as cloud storage for recorded meetings, increased participant limits, and toll-free call in numbers for international participants. Paid plans do not have time limits, so you can talk all day if you’d like. Again, a strong internet connection is a must-have in your office space.
Join.me – A Free Ad Supported Option
Getting a join.me meeting started is incredibly quick and easy. There are no downloads needed as the screenshare and audio can be accessed directly from any web browser. Participants also have the option to call in on their phone. International teams will appreciate the toll-free numbers for over 40 countries. Join.me allows screensharing, file transfers, and a way to easily change presenters for seamless meeting.
The basic plan is free and includes all of the aforementioned features, but does limit each meeting to only 10 participants. Paid plans allow you to include up to 250 participants, use Google and Outlook calendar integrations, built- in cloud storage, and recording options. Each meeting can be recorded just in case you want to send it to any team members who were unable to attend.
One thing all of these virtual meeting options have in common is that you’ll need a strong internet connection. You can rest assured that Centerco has high-quality wifi strong enough for any of these programs so that you can work alongside all your team members from your Centerco Office Suites.