Virtual meetings have hit the mainstream amongst UK SMEs. The meteoric rise of the flexible workforce means people (business owners and employees) are plugging into meetings from all over the place; so the necessity of travelling in for a conference is on the wane.
According to research from technology brand Brother, half of the UK’s small businesses will be using video conferencing by the end of 2015. As well as the ability to enable working from home, reduced travel costs are seen as a key benefit of video conferencing by 62 per cent of respondents.
If you haven’t already dived into the world of video conferencing there are a number of fantastic services on the market to make it possible for you.
Here’s my top five:
GoToMeeting – Is the offering from US cloud giant Citrix. It’s relatively simple to use and can be used across any device including smartphones and tablets. It integrates HC video conferencing and audio conferencing with screen sharing which means everyone can follow on their own devices. The service also lets you create webinars if you want.
Adobe Connect – Adobe products are widely used and trusted by the creative business community and there’s no reason why their web conferencing can’t be just as essential as Photoshop.
It’s a little bit more expensive than Citrix but that that it’s used by the US Department of Defence speaks volumes about its quality. As you might expect is has good encryption technology behind it. If you already use Adobe products such as Reader or Acrobat it is integrated with that as well as Windows.
Skype Conferencing – If you want to save some pennies then Skype is a perfectly good alternative to the paid versions.
Given its popularity you can almost guarantee that others will already have the service downloaded on their devices. You can make video conference calls in the same way you can on the other platforms, one aspect that is lacking is screen sharing but this is in beta and will be available soon.
Webex Meet Me Now – This is the offering from renowned networking champs Cisco. It’s quite a powerful tool and has a lot of functions.
To save you time it is integrated with Microsoft which means you can start a meeting from within Word or Outlook but it is compatible on Windows based PCs only. The system is one of the most reliable available in terms of good, clear service. It is also great on safety as all communications are encrypted.
Glance – This is the more lightweight of the options which makes it quick to download and one of the fastest to start running once you’re in a meeting.
As part of the standard package you can add up to 100 participants which is more than most standard offerings.
It also works well across Windows and Mac operating systems which can be essential if you have a varied workforce. It doesn’t have quite so many functions as some of the others but if you want a simple option it offers good value.
June 11, 2013