Smart working in the future22 May 2020
Dear Friends and Colleagues, welcome back. Over this recent period of lockdown we have all been forced to work remotely, and in some aspects we have recognised how it may be useful to add this form of communication to the ways used to reach our customers. So what then are the best tools for organising meetings with colleagues, brainstorming and remote video conferencing? I conducted a series of tests and I have prepared a ranking of the best 3 based on the main features, functions and costs.
The best-known and most widely-used remote working tools are: Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Skype, Zoom, Whereby, BlueJeans and GoToMeeting. All of these platforms basically let you talk, share your screen or a single window, send documents, start an audio and video recording of the session or even stipulate a contract. Most of them also have a free plan with basic features, and more advanced premium services for a fee.
Who then is on the podium?
In first place we have Google Hangouts Meet. It is owned by Google, and is used for remote working by millions of users and companies due to its ease of use, speed, audio-video quality and data security. The free Hangouts version available to all Google users allows up to 25 people to take part in a meeting, but has several limitations, including the inability to record the screen or even chat via the app. Key features: start video conferences, chat with participants, share links, share the screen with other participants, record the video conference.
Google Meet, on the other hand, is the professional tool in G Suite. Meet in fact requires users to have a G Suite subscription. Prices: vary according to the chosen plan. It starts with the Basic plan at about $5 per month for a single user and includes corporate email with a custom domain, access to Google tools such as Drive, Sheets, Forms, Presentations, access to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, with the possibility of up to 100 participants in a meeting. The Business plan, which costs around $10 a month, also gives access to unlimited cloud space and increases the number of participants to 150. With the Enterprise plan, at a cost of $23 per month, up to 250 people can participate simultaneously in a video conference.
In second place on our podium is Skype. Already widely used mainly to make video calls with friends and relatives, in the Business version, the result of the partnership with Microsoft, it has also become a solution that is suitable for creating virtual meetings with dozens of participants. Skype has several interesting features, including the “Interview” function, and also allows different channels to be created to facilitate the division of tasks and organise corporate communications. Skype, like Google, also offers end-to-end encryption to keep conversations private. Key features: start video calls in HD, start phone calls, record the screen (recordings are kept for up to 30 days), chat with participants, share the screen and send files (photos, videos or others) of up to 300 MB simply by dragging them into the conversation window. Also very interesting are the “Real time subtitles” and the possibility of “Blurring the background”, so if you have not had time to tidy up your house before the video meeting, you can blur the surroundings and leave the focus only on the person. Skype can also send chat invitations to anyone, even people who don’t have a Skype account, using a single link they can use to connect to the meeting. Microsoft’s Skype also features the “Real-time translation” feature for video calls, calls and instant messages. Prices: the basic version is free and allows up to 50 participants to connect simultaneously. The Skype for Business Online version, however, has now been replaced by Microsoft Teams, which based on the Office 365 package purchased, starting from $5 per user, allows meetings of up to 250 people and online events for up to 10,000 people.
In third place is the Zoom Cloud Meeting platform. Although having recently become very popular, it has actually been used for years to organise meetings and online business conferences or doing school lessons at a distance, thanks to its extreme ease of use and versatility, making it ideal for those who are unfamiliar with technology. Key features: start HD video calls, record the screen, activate or deactivate the participants’ screen and microphone, chat with participants, share the screen and provide access to other collaborative tools, such as a virtual whiteboard, possibility to take notes, possibility to integrate other tools such as Slack, Okta, Paypal to monetise or Zapier. Prices: the free Basic plan allows video conferences with up to a maximum of 100 participants and a maximum duration of 40 minutes. The Pro plan, at a cost of $13.99 a month per single account, has no time limit on the meeting and offers 1GB for recordings in the cloud. The Business Plan, at a cost of $18.99 a month with a minimum purchase of 10 accounts, allows up to 300 people to connect and includes automatic transcription of the conferences. The most complete plan is Zoom Enterprise, which increases the maximum limit of participants to 500 and offers unlimited cloud space for recordings. It costs $18.99 a month with a minimum purchase of 50 accounts.
Oscar Giacomin / General Manager, Facto Edizioni
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