Ever since the pandemic started, organizations across the globe have been implementing strict measures to contain the spread of the virus. However, a few businesses like virtual meeting software, online collaboration tools etc have benefited significantly from the restrictions and the lockdowns. The remote work during the pandemic and hybrid work in the post-pandemic has positively impacted the growth of the overall virtual meeting tools market.
The global virtual meeting software market size is projected to reach $41.58 billion by 2027. The rising demand for online meeting tools was a direct outcome of the adoption of remote work by companies across the globe. As the online meeting tools market is getting more and more competitive, significant players have lined up massive investments which will only augment the business communication industry.
As the user base is getting larger and larger, free online meeting tool developers are rolling out more features to satisfy the growing needs of remote and hybrid team users. In this situation, choosing an ideal online meeting tool can be pretty tricky as every tool has its own impressive set of features.
It should be noted that all tools are not equal, and we have made the job easy for buyers by recommending the best features that every online meeting tool ought to have. So, the buyers can use the checklist below before committing to a tool. The buyers should bear in mind that they are not only choosing a vendor but a partner who will lead them into the future.
In today’s remote and hybrid working world, it would be easy to join an online meeting by simply clicking a link without downloading any software. Web-based applications are becoming more popular as most features are available at a modest subscription.
When your team members are spread all over the globe, it would be wiser if your meeting tool is also available across all the devices like phones, tablets, computers, Windows, Mac or operating systems. This will help your team members, who are travelling or away from their desks, to attend the meetings on the go. Online meeting tools that can work on multiple devices would be valuable to your team. You can avoid situations where someone can’t access the meeting because the software isn’t available.
You must make sure that your free online meeting tool allows you to have one-on-one as well as group calls with your teammates. You should also make sure that your tool is scalable enough and allows you to involve as many participants as you want without any restrictions.
Your free online meeting tool should allow your team members to connect from remote locations seamlessly without any audio and video technical issues. The audio and video should be of high quality so that participants can see and hear everything.
When you send a meeting invite to your team members, they should be able to join the meetings by just clicking a link. There should not be any elaborate joining formalities for the meeting invitees. When you send a meeting invite, it should be easy for new and non-technical users to figure out the procedure. A simple interface without too many passcodes and ids will help all your team members and external stakeholders to join the meeting on time without delays.
When your team members are working from multiple locations across the globe, the ability to share their desktops will help them to collaborate much more effectively. Also, the tools should support multiple presenters. If one speaker wants to take over from another speaker, the tool should allow users to change presenters and give control of the screen.
Being able to message your team members during the call either through direct or group messaging will help them to interact on the sidelines without interrupting the meeting proceedings. Messaging is just an additional feature that can complement online meetings.
The administrator control helps the host to allow the attendees to join the meeting after checking their identities, muting and unmuting them, choosing a presenter, expelling an unwanted user etc. The administrator plays a huge role in the smooth conduct of the online meetings.
Since all your teammates would be attending multiple meetings in a day, calendar integration would help them schedule all the meetings without the time conflicts and smoothly jump from one meeting to another. Users can also see the full view of all upcoming meetings without checking multiple applications.
We all would agree that notes taking is an essential factor in online or in-person meetings. Some of the popular online meeting tools have a built-in option to take notes while you’re attending a meeting without switching over to another application. This notes feature allows all the teammates to focus more on the conversation and take quick notes during online meetings. And once the session is over, the notes can be shared with all the stakeholders.
Nowadays many invitees are called for meetings. It may not be possible for all of them to join the discussion simultaneously due to their busy schedules. But if one of the team members wants to catch up with the meeting or has any clarification or doubt, they can still listen to the recorded version. Once the session is recorded, it is available for all the stakeholders.
Some online tools have whiteboards that attendees can share in real-time. Users can open a whiteboard, add text, drawings, graphics, and more and share it with other teammates for their feedback or input.
Sometimes, the team members might have to discuss something sensitive or essential, for which security and encryption are paramount. Apart from this, there are also features like creating waiting rooms for attendees so that their identities can be established before they can be let in, using a passcode to protect a meeting, allowing attendees only from a recognized email domain to join etc.
One of the most critical aspects of best free online meeting software is its simplicity. Given that there are tons of online tools with dozens of features, it would be wise to go for a solution that is easy to use and doesn’t involve a steep learning curve.
You must also make sure that the tool you are using integrates with other apps you are already using so that your remote work experience is smoother. Though most of the web-based communication tools will allow you to make phone calls, you might have to integrate other apps like calendar, CRM, cloud storage etc.
Though each online meeting tool has its features, the basic features are nearly the same. To truly understand which one works best, you will have to test many applications. And to be honest, the free versions of online meeting tools will not have all the functionalities you are looking for. You may have to try the paid version to check all the features. Only the full paid version can make your online experience better for you and your teammates. Though learning to pick an online meeting tool for you and your team can be overwhelming, you now know what to look for.