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  • Rebecca Harris

Which Web Conferencing tool for External Meetings?

A lot of us utilise built-in web conferencing features with Microsoft Teams or Google G-Suite when we collaborate inside our organisation. As we ramp up remote working, we are replacing our external face to face meetings, training and workshops with web conferencing tools. You might be considering purchasing a subscription beyond the free and trial versions.


Microsoft Outlook ribbon

Here is the comparison our organisation did of three well-established video conferencing tools (Goto Meeting, Zoom and BlueJeans) that might be worth a look. We short-listed these for their ability to:

  • integrate into Outlook,

  • provide support for both medium-sized businesses and the Enterprise, and

  • for web, video and audio meetings from desktop and mobile devices.


All three have made it to the Gartner Magic Quadrant as top listed meeting solutions. Additionally, the products offer features for large event management.


Comparison at A Glance


Web Conferencing Tools Compared

Tiers


When considering Tiers the biggest differences were between the number of participants allowed across the tiers and how Hosts are built into the pricing. A ‘Host’ or ‘Organiser’ is the one that schedules the meetings. Think about the size of your organisation and how you intend to run these meetings, for how long and how many people are likely to participate. By example, if you have four Scrum Masters or leaders in your organisation that sets up all the meetings with your customers and partners it might make sense to go with the Goto Meeting Business plan that charges per the number of hosts up to 10 hosts. Zoom, on the other hand, fixes the Business Tier pricing to a minimum of 10 hosts. BlueJeans has taken another route with fixing the number of hours per host per month.


The cheapest subscription period is to go with annual billing however all 3 vendors also provided monthly billing options. You will need to weigh up the length of time you think you will need these types of services for and which option makes sense for your business.


Features

These three web conferencing tools are feature-rich and on the whole very reliable and easy to setup. They mostly just work which is great news for all of us right now. Depending on how you use the web conferencing tools will determine which way you go. If you are still on a free version of Zoom and rely on the local audio dial-in it is worth noting that this has temporarily been removed from the free Tier if you are outside the US.


Support


Support channels are been tested more than usual right now and all 3 have been proactive in placing notices about increased traffic and support calls and placing common FAQs and supporting tutorials in easy to access places on the support site.


Cool Stuff


Each of the vendors has incorporated their own unique differentiators in the mix to attract you their way. BlueJeans has targetted effective meetings with their 'Smart meeting' feature which provides the ability for participants to note key decisions and actions throughout the meeting and then receive a recording of these as part of the meeting transcript. This can be useful for people that weren't able to attend and wanted to receive key highlights from the conversations held.


Zoom provides interactive multi-page whiteboards which can be recorded and shared afterwards as well as excellent integration with Slack. If you are already utilising Slack for your teams and would like to optimise workflow for your team, you can certainly take advantage of this integration to reduce the amount of application context switching for your team members as they need to jump into Web Conferences throughout the day.


Zoom and Slack Integration

Goto Meeting has also integrated with Slack and offers Post meeting polling to obtain fast feedback on how the meeting went inside the Slack channel. For larger event management all three tools provided Event Polling within the session and Post-event Survey options.


Gartner Advisory


For organisations looking for an advisory reference point, all three tools are listed in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions 2019. Zoom has provided a copy of the Gartner paper if you want to provide them with your details.


Conclusions


We utilise both Goto Meetings and Zoom meetings to run virtual SCRUM meetings and workshops with our clients. We utilise a monthly subscription across both tools so we can ramp up and down with our client's needs. Given the features are rich across all these tools, I think your choice comes down to the size of your organisation and how you intend to utilise these tools as part of your ongoing team and event collaboration.


Whiteboard People is fully established for remote working and available to facilitate your next virtual team meeting or workshop. Please get in touch if we can help or even if you feel like a virtual coffee to keep the collaboration going. Us extroverts are feeling it the most.:)






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