Virtual meeting platforms have become one of the most important software solutions in modern history. Both remote and hybrid teams rely on them to communicate with colleagues, clients, customers, and other stakeholders around the world.
They have broad use cases that cut across all kinds of operations within organizations, including hiring and onboarding, strategy and planning, client relations, events, and project management.
And with the pandemic causing travel restrictions and increasing the adoption of remote work, more individuals and organizations are recognizing the benefits of virtual meeting platforms.
But every online meeting platform has unique features that make it better suited to different teams. So, you want to make sure that the platform you select is right for your team and its needs.
In this article, we will help make your selection easier by highlighting:
What you should look for in a virtual meeting platform
The key features/functions of virtual meeting platforms
Best-in-class virtual meeting platforms and
FAQ relating to the virtual meeting platforms for remote and hybrid teams
Let’s dive in!
Even though what you need in a virtual meeting platform might vary depending on your team's needs, structure, and operations, the following are basic things to look for:
You must consider what applications are compatible with the meeting platform and how easily they can be integrated. This is especially important if you already have existing tools that your team relies on for communicating and managing projects. The most basic integrations that a virtual meeting platform must have are Calendar and Email so that you can plan your meetings, share the agenda, and notify participants.
While you might sometimes be able to train your team members on how to navigate a virtual meeting platform, you might not be able to do the same with a client or a prospect. So it is best to consider how intuitive and easy to use a virtual meeting platform is for a lay person before using it for your meetings.
Video and Audio Quality
You want images from your meeting to be crisp and your audio clear. Using platforms with poor video and audio quality will not deliver the virtual meeting experience you desire.
Pricing is an important thing to look out for. If your preferred platform is not within your budget, you can consider better-priced close alternatives.
The platform you select must conveniently accommodate your current team size and other stakeholders. It must also be able to host additional participants if your team or stakeholder base grows.
Mobile Phone Compatibility
Be sure that the platform can be accessed on mobile phones so that participants can easily join in wherever they are. You should also test the platform to confirm if the mobile version performs optimally.
Permissions and Control
Usually, the host in a meeting is responsible for granting permission such as admission access, screen sharing, muting, moderating sessions, and ensuring the overall smooth running of the meeting. This could be a lot of responsibility and could also affect the flow of the meeting if the host has some problems with their network. Some platforms help the host ease this burden by giving them the option to let other participants co-host.
Be sure to look into what provisions a platform makes to support its users. The two main things you need to consider are how helpful and how prompt the support they provide is.
The following are the top virtual meeting platforms:
Zoom: Best and most consistent performance
Microsoft Teams: Best for Microsoft 365 users
Google Meet: Easiest to set up
Skype: Best for lightweight and personal meetings
Zoho Meeting: Best user interface
Webex: Best for diverse teams
Zoom is one of the best-known cloud-based video conferencing services. With an estimated 300 million daily meeting participants, Zoom helps teams all over the world host various activities, including meetings, webinars, and events.
Zoom ticks all the boxes on all the key features of a virtual meeting platform. It also has additional features that distinguish it as a best-in-class virtual meeting software, including its meeting recording and captioning options for users.
But these services have limitations, such as accurately transcribing some accents and the quality of the live recordings. So, using a third-party meeting management software like Airgram, which offers these functions and more, is advisable.
Zoom also has live streaming options that allow you to broadcast your video on Youtube Live and Facebook Live so that you can reach a larger audience.
It also has breakout rooms that make splitting participants in a meeting into smaller groups possible. This is often used for virtual events to facilitate group discussions, panel sessions, and networking.
In addition to its more serious features, Zoom has fun features like virtual backgrounds and “Touch Up My Appearance” that offer you quick fixes when you need them.
It is easy to use
Zoom has several features to guarantee the privacy of its users and subscribers including the waiting room that allows the meeting host filter participants they want to admit, end-to-end data encryption, and notifications when meetings are being recorded.
It has in-built meeting recording and live-transcription options that help teams document meetings
The live chat options, polls, Raise Hand feature, and emojis allow participants to ask questions and share reactions without interrupting the speaker
It is perfect for businesses of all budgets and sizes
Meetings can last for up to 30 hours
Offers great value for money
The free version only allows meetings to run for 40 minutes
Requires additional payment to access some of its best features including audio conferencing and large meetings.
Zoom’s main selling points are its wide feature set and inclusive pricing structure that makes it suitable for a broad range of teams and video conferencing needs.
Free - $240 annually.
Microsoft Teams is a part of the Microsoft 365 line of products designed to help individuals and teams collaborate and work better.
It has an impressive collection of features including a dashboard, calendar, messaging, contact sync, and file sharing that makes it function as both a video conferencing platform and a workspace.
You can invite participants to meetings by copying and sharing the invite link on any messaging platform of your choice or by sending an invite via Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, or email.
Meetings are equipped with screen sharing, noise minimization, transcription, privacy, control-sharing, and reporting features to deliver high-quality meetings. Its whiteboard functions are also better than most other alternative apps. This makes collaborating and brainstorming for remote and hybrid teams more efficient.
Another noteworthy function is the Together Mode which allows users to view all participants side-by-side as if they’re in the same place. There are different backgrounds you can choose from. It’s a cool feature that makes the meeting more engaging.
It has breakout rooms that allow participants to further divide the meeting into smaller groups when necessary. This adds another layer of communication to the existing chat box and general meeting room
The meeting recaps feature summarizes the meeting and includes notes taken, files shared, the recording, chat, and transcription. This helps with documenting the meeting and keeping stakeholders in the loop
Easy to use and does not require much training to navigate
You do not need to sign up to participate in meetings
The free plan offers a decent amount of features at no cost
Meetings, chats, calls, and files are data-encrypted for security and privacy
The mobile app version has an inconsistent performance with many lows. It made signing into and remaining in meetings difficult
The transcriptions are estimated to be about 70 - 80% accurate
It sometimes slows down when meetings go on for too long or when there are too many participants
You need to be on some Microsoft programs to get the best out of it
Microsoft Teams stands out for its easy access and visualization features, such as joining as a guest without signing up on the platform, spotlighting important participants and the together mode.
Free - $150 annually
Google Meet is another well-known video conferencing platform. It is Google’s solution for remote and hybrid teams.
Google Meet does not require users to go through a special sign-up process once they have a Gmail account. You can simply start a meeting by creating one on your Gmail account or Google Calendar. You can invite participants with an automated email or share the unique meeting link with them via any messaging platform.
Like Zoom, Google Meet also has video recording and live transcription tools. But it too isn’t always adequate and requires a third-party meeting management tool.
Overall, Google Meet is a great video conferencing platform for businesses of different sizes.
Calls can last up to 24 hours
Closed captions are available in multiple languages so its inclusive of non-English speakers
Easy to use
The free version is mostly sufficient to cater to most of your needs
Has quick messaging options
Supports integrations with all other Google apps, making it easy to share data across different work tools
Performs well across different devices
Has an intelligent noise cancellation feature on paid plans
Limited attendee capacity
Screen sharing is limited to only one participant
Sometimes, meetings you scheduled do not start for no apparent reason
Google Meet has one of the most useful feature sets among competitors on its free plan and does not require a special sign-up process.
Another major selling point is the impressive background noise filter function on its paid plans.
Free to custom pricing
Skype has one of the most diverse feature sets of all the platforms reviewed in this article. It might be inaccurate to regard it simply as a video conferencing platform because it is more than that.
Skype supports multi-channel communication for individuals and teams with its video conferencing, messaging, and call functions across different devices - including landlines.
Its interface is clear and intuitive. This makes the entire process of signing up and starting meetings easier. However, you can still start a meeting and add participants without signing up.
Skype meetings allow up to 100 participants on a call - making it a better fit for small and medium organizations and teams.
No signup is required to start a meeting
Calls can last up to 24 hours
Call quality is consistent across devices
You can access its most important features for free and additional functions can be accessed at a low price
You can get a Skype Number that anyone can call from their phone
Free file sharing
Easy to use
The quality of its live video recording is low
The subtitling function is not consistent
The meeting host has to maintain control because they can’t share it with other attendees
The bandwidth requirement for video calls is high
Skype is quite different from most video conferencing platforms because it was designed originally for personal calls. So, while many of its unique functions reflect this, they are also quite useful for businesses and teams.
Subscription varies across regions
Zoho Meeting is one of the best meeting and web conferencing platforms for businesses.
It combines audio and video conferencing, screen sharing, and chat functions to help teams communicate and collaborate easily. It also has a basic in-app note-taking feature and template that can help make your note-taking more efficient.
Zoho caters to the needs of organizations of different sizes and can accommodate up to 3,000 participants. Its pricing tiers also ensure that teams can both pay for the participant volume they have and scale when they need to.
Zoho Meeting helps you keep your webinars and meetings secure with its admission permission and lock meeting functions. But this control does not exclusively have to be one person’s responsibility. The host can give control to another participant during the meeting.
It has several functions that are useful to both individuals and teams including international dial-in numbers, screen sharing, live recording, and cloud storage
Hosts can permit other parties to share their screen and control during meetings
It has a tidy and intuitive interface that makes it very easy to navigate
It is cheaper than most alternatives with similar offerings
Detailed meeting and webinar reports complete with network performance
Poor quality of live-recording
Requires high internet speed
The virtual background feature is not well-developed
Requires significant cost to accommodate additional participants
Zoho Meeting main stand-out feature is its simple and enjoyable interface.
Free - $196 annually for 25 attendees.
You will be required to pay $3,600 annually to host up to 3000 attendees, which is the maximum attendee number.
Webex has some things in common with Microsoft Teams. Like Microsoft Teams, it is a part of a line of products designed for teams.
It has a dashboard and messaging function that allows you directly message team members or create spaces to manage your team communication and work.
Webex meetings have added functions for collaboration within teams such as breakout rooms, whiteboards, and control sharing, and guarantee high-quality meetings including low bandwidth requirements and HD video display.
Webex's commitment to diversity and inclusion is noteworthy. With the real-time translation add-on, you can enable live translation by selecting one of the 13 spoken languages for your meeting or webinar to be translated into more than 100 other languages in closed captions.
You also have an array of skin tones to select from for your animated reaction emojis. This is both fun and considerate of different racial identities.
Makes meetings engaging with gesture recognition, emojis, and polls
Its attendee volume is customizable under the enterprise plan so you can set your maximum number of attendees to a figure of your choice
It has noise removal and voice enhancement features that elevate the meeting’s audio quality
It has built-in meeting productivity tools such as notes, highlights, and transcriptions
The live translation function is available in over 100 languages. This makes it suited to diverse teams and makes meetings and events more inclusive.
Its low bandwidth requirement makes it possible to run meetings, even when your connection is not at its best
Free calls to other Webex users
Webex is quite pricey and might not be suited to some teams’ budget
Like Microsoft Teams, using Webex on mobile phones might slow down
Webex distinguishes itself from close alternatives with its advanced security features and customizable attendee figure.
Free to custom pricing
As important as selecting the right meeting platform is to having high-quality and productive meetings, what happens during the meeting is more important.
You need to pay attention to structuring your meetings using the right meeting template, highlighting important talk points, staying on course, keeping participants engaged, and leaving with clarity on the next steps.
You also need to ask the right questions to get the conversation started and keep it on what is important. The questions you ask might be determined by the type of meeting, how familiar you are with the participants, or what you hope to achieve at the end of the meeting.
These articles offer great examples of questions you can ask and when they are appropriate:
What is a virtual meeting platform?
Virtual meeting platforms are video applications and software that serve as a point of convergence for individuals and teams to discuss online.
Which virtual meeting platform is the best?
Most people agree that Zoom is the overall best virtual meeting platform.
It ticks all the boxes of what you should look for in a virtual meeting platform and edges out close competitors with its price point, consistent performance across all devices, feature set, and scalability.
What is the most important thing to consider when choosing a virtual meeting platform?
The most important thing to consider is what you and your team needs. This will guide you on what features you should prioritize when making your selection.
Michael started his career as a product manager and then developed a passion for writing. He has been writing on technology, remote working, productivity, etc., hoping to share his thoughts with more people.