5 Fantastic Free Online Meeting Tools
Technology & Software
Modern business demands that you provide flexibility for staff. Office 365 and other tools allow collaboration with staff in remote offices or those working from home. But, sometimes you need a bit of face to face time with staff, either one-to-one or as a group, so you may well resort to calling people in, which rather defeats the object.
So, what about using an online meeting tool?
Online Meeting Tools allow you and your team to hold a virtual meeting wherever they happen to be. With either voice, or voice and video, these tools save time and travel and ensure that you’re all keeping on track.
Whilst these tools can be expensive there are a number of free options available that can compete with their subscription-based counterparts.
Featuring voice conferencing and screen sharing, Uberconference is a useful web conferencing tool. Also included in the free offering are some excellent features such as call recording, international conference numbers, and up to 10 participants per call. Also on offer are unlimited numbers of conference calls per month and you usually do not require a PIN number to initiate or join a call.
The downside of Uberconference is that it doesn’t offer video conferencing, but it does provide users with lots of features and controls.
Tokbox is a video conferencing tool that allows up to 20 participants at a time. Users can also send text and video messages, share screens and record live communications so they can be played back later.
The free version is not specifically made for business but it will work fine, and there is a paid business offering if you need further features.
A cool feature is that Tokbox integrates with social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, so you can let contacts know about upcoming conferences through these channels.
Tokbox is available on your desktop PC as a Web application and as an app for Android and iOS.
Team Viewer is one of the most user-friendly meeting tools out there and this makes it one of the most popular. TeamViewer is also a powerful remote access tool, and this is the feature that seems to be most popular.
We debated on whether to include Team Viewer as the Free version is only available for a ‘friends and family’ account and TeamViewer uses an algorithm to detect commercial use. Commercial plans are expensive in comparison to other offerings however this reflects the fact it’s multifunctional and very good at everything it does.
In the end, we decided to include it as it is worth a look and you could utilise the free offering to ‘try before you buy’.
TeamViewer users can share screens, work on documents, schedule meetings, chat and start video conferences. It features beyond industry standard security and is very easy to use.
Anymeeting is a feature rich tool that can easily stand up to paid-for competitors.
Allowing meetings for up to 200 people, AnyMeeting is web-based and includes all of the essential functionality such as screen sharing, VoIP, and phone conferencing, meeting recording and it even includes a follow-up tool.
Compared to other free offers it has a much wider variety of tools and also includes free support so any users who are struggling can get assistance.
The downside? In order to offer the tool free to users, AnyMeeting has used an ad-based model so you will have to put up with some advertising. This is not massively intrusive for either hosts or attendees, but it might put some off.
You also have to download a small plugin to allow screen sharing which may cause problems dependant on firewall settings and administrator privileges.
These are however fairly minor irritations considering the quality of experience the software provides.
If you have an Office 365 Business Premium or Essentials subscription then you have Microsoft Team. Meetings in Teams includes audio, video, and screen sharing. They’re one of the key ways to collaborate in Teams. And you don’t need to be a member of an organisation (or even have a Teams account!) to join a Teams meeting—just look in the invitation for instructions about calling in. .
In addition, Teams is integrated with other Office 365 apps to enable you to do things like schedule a Teams meeting from your Outlook calendar, see your colleagues’ presentation, and share and collaborate on documents.
Our recommendation would be Microsoft Teams for anybody already on Office 365 – it’s a premium product and you’re already paying for it! If you’re not using Office 365 (and why not?!) then to be honest Teams with a free account would still be our top choice, though Any Meeting would run it close.
If you’ve not got Office 365 then we’d recommend taking a look at it.
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