Though online meeting technology may seem rather ho-hum at this point, there are actually some exciting developments in the works. The developers may be sheltering in place, but the applications continue to move forward.
The market is no longer just Zoom, Skype, and WebEx. Newer entrants like WhereBy, UberConference, BlueJeans (from Verizon), and LoopUp are giving the technology a fresh new look and making their presence felt.
If you are less than thrilled with your current remote meeting tools, or are just curious about the emerging alternatives, check out these 16 tools for online meetings and videoconferencing.
A quick note on the ranking methodology: These 16 tools were searched across five popular software comparison sites: Capterra, G2Crowd, TrustRadius, SoftwareAdvice, and GetApp. They were then ranked on both the number of total reviews (popularity) and average ratings (quality). Those scores were then combined to produce an overall rank.
Total reviews: 45,666
Average user rating: 9.08 (out of 10)
Primarily a tool for online meetings, Zoom also offers capabilities for hosting webinars, online chat, file sharing, and even enterprise phone system technology. Simplicity of use combined with timely and clever marketing, this tool zoomed (pardon the pun) ahead of its more established rivals to take the top spot in early 2020. Even some significant and well-publicized privacy and security concerns couldn’t derail its widespread adoption.
Pricing: free; $15/$20 per month per host
2. Google Meet
Total reviews: 30,141
Average user rating: 8.90
Google’s replacement for Hangouts is now the default online meeting tool in Gmail, which no doubt contributes substantially to its popularity. It doesn’t offer much in the way of features beyond basic video calling and screen sharing, but it’s simple to use and scores well with users (notching the fourth-best overall satisfaction ratings).
Total reviews: 34,077
Average user rating: 8.74
Instantly join, host or manage a video, audio or web meeting from a conference room, your desk or a remote location via your Mac, PC or mobile device. A mature and widely adopted platform, GoToMeeting offers a boatload of features including meeting transcriptions, screen share and drawings, calendar integrations, and more.
Pricing: $12/$16 per organizer per month; enterprise pricing by quote
Total reviews: 496
Average user rating: 9.19
For those who want to venture off the beaten path of online meeting tools without getting lost in the woods, Whereby is definitely worth checking out. It scores the highest overall user satisfaction rating of any tool in this group. There’s no app or software download required, and you can select your own personalized URL. Features include custom branding, recording, and floating emojis for quick feedback.
Pricing: free; $10/$60 per month
Total reviews: 2,975
Average user rating: 8.87
In addition to requiring no PINs or downloads, UberConference’s built-in AI technology provides a complete, searchable transcription of your meeting. You can c customize your on-hold music, and this tool integrates with G Suite, Office 365, Salesforce, and Slack.
Pricing: free or $15 per organizer per month
Total reviews: 24,388
Average user rating: 8.59
Built by Cisco, WebEx is one of the five most widely used online meeting tools. It’s simple, secure, and provides bullet-proof reliability. It’s also one of the most scalable systems: beyond meetings, you can host webinars with up to 3,000 participants or webcasts to as many as 100,000 viewers. WebEx integrates with as range of tools including Salesforce, Box, Slack, and Google Calendar.
Pricing: free; $14/$18/$27 per month per host
Total reviews: 29,392
Average user rating: 8.57
It’s one of the most mature tools and free, though connection quality and reliability has traditionally been notoriously dodgy. You can record calls and use live subtitles to read the words that are spoken, and call international phone numbers at very low rates. Skype works on almost any device (including Xbox).
Total reviews: 5,496
Average user rating: 8.63
Built and backed by Verizon, BlueJeans helps improve productivity with meeting highlights (in-app intelligence that allows you to flag the most important discussion points and assign action items) and transcription, and simplify management with live meeting controls, analytics (an enterprise-level management console that displays meeting performance, network conditions, and other metrics), and automated alerts.
Pricing: $10/$14 per host per month; enterprise pricing by quote
Total reviews: 295
Average user rating: 9.13
LoopUp promotes it’s ease of use (“really, really simple to use”) and absolute audio reliability, and its users seem to agree: this tool has the second-highest user satisfaction score in this group. There’s nothing to download, no need to dial in, and the unique interface lets you always know who’s on and who’s talking. You can link guests to their LinkedIn profiles for additional context.
Pricing: $22/$44 per month; enterprise pricing by quote
Total reviews: 7,907
Average user rating: 8.49
Create a personalized, branded URL for your meetings, and customize your meeting background. join.me integrates with a wide range of business tools including Outlook, Office 365, Slack, Trello, Salesforce, Highspot, Yesware, and HubSpot. It scores slightly below average on satisfaction; most users like it, but some note its limited feature set, lack of a free version, and occasionally poor connection quality.
Pricing: $10/$20/$30 per month
Total reviews: 795
Average user rating: 8.40
Conduct your online meetings with security (available end-to-end encryption), simplicity (nothing to download), and clarity (4K video conferencing). Like other enterprise-class solutions, Lifesize integrates with applications like Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and Slack. Unlike most other providers, Lifesize also offers video conferencing hardware including HD cameras and audio devices.
Pricing: free; $13/$15 per host per month; enterprise pricing by quote
Total reviews: 581
Average user rating: 8.05
Easily navigate your meeting online with a centralized control bar that allows you to turn on your webcam, share content (like screen sharing, file presentation, or whiteboarding) and even record your meeting (with unlimited cloud storage). There’s no download required for participants, and GlobalMeet integrates with GSuite and Microsoft Teams. Unfortunately, this tool scored 15th in satisfaction out of the 16 tools here, as some users complained about video connection quality and attendee management.
Pricing: free; $12/$24 per user per month; enterprise pricing by quote
Total reviews: 136
Average user rating: 8.42
Built by Intermedia, AnyMeeting provides features like screen annotation, the ability to record meetings with unlimited storage, custom branding, transcriptions, the ability to capture meeting notes (like action items and next steps) in real-time, and integrations to Outlook, Slack, GSuite, and Microsoft Teams. Unlike most other online meeting systems, it also offers remote control: the ability for the presenter to give participants direct control of his/her keyboard and mouse. Market penetration is low so far, but this is a tool to watch.
Pricing: free or $8-$13 per user per month based on level and number of users
Total reviews: 107
Average user rating: 8.42
ezTalks offers video conferencing and webinar software with all the basics plus an interactive whiteboard. Like Lifesize (see above), the company also sells video conferencing hardware. Users generally praise the HD video quality and whiteboard functionality, while noting that it’s light on features and has occasional connectivity issues.
Pricing: free or $10/$30/$50 per month per host
Total reviews: 385
Average user rating: 7.67
Fuze is a unified communications platform vendor that offers video conferencing for meetings with up to 1,000 participants with dynamic screen and content sharing. It integrates with popular tools like Slack, Outlook, Google Calendar, and Dropbox. Unfortunately, Fuze scored dead last among the tools in this group for user satisfaction: users had some complaints about functionality and ease of use, but customer support problems were the biggest issue.
Pricing: $15 per user per month
Total reviews: 25
Average user rating: 8.26
MegaMeeting offers a single platform for videoconferencing and webinar delivery. Meetings are secured by end to end encryption (and HIPAA compliant), can be recorded, and can be privately branded. Invitations can be sent by email or text, and there is no software for participants to download.
Pricing: $19/$29/$79 per host per month
This was the first in a series of four posts focused on remote work technologies. The next three will cover webinar / webcasting software, team collaboration apps, and virtual event tools.