5 Best Virtual Meeting Apps in 2022
During the peak of the pandemic, businesses and individuals across the world were forced to adjust to the disruptive realities of a global lockdown. And with social distancing and remote work becoming the new norm, virtual meeting apps saw an upsurge in popularity.
According to TrustRadius, the virtual meeting industry saw a 500% increase in buyer activity, with 67% of organizations increasing their investment in web conferencing software.
Three years have gone by, and the throes of the pandemic are slowly wearing away. But not much has changed in the virtual meeting sector. In fact, a report by Gartner predicts that by 2024, only 25% of enterprise meetings will be held physically.
However, your ability to get the best results out of virtual meetings and remote collaboration largely depends on the quality of the virtual meeting software you’re using.
This guide will explore the best virtual meeting apps you can leverage to supercharge collaboration and achieve productive meetings with your remote teams.
Why a Quality Virtual Meeting App is Crucial for your Organization
Virtual meetings are convenient, cost-efficient, and productive. And if you're a fully-remote startup, they're downright necessary. However, without the right tool, your efforts with virtual meetings can be counterproductive.
Let’s get into the specifics of why a quality virtual meeting app is a must-have.
Better Employee Engagement
A quality virtual meeting app improves employee engagement by delivering high-quality video and audio streaming experiences, glitch-free file sharing, super-interactive integrations, and customizable experiences.
Your software needs to be able to facilitate productive meetings and engaging conversations.
This improves employee retention and reduces hiring costs.
Stronger Company Culture
The best virtual meeting apps offer enhanced experiences for hosts and participants. By allowing its users to communicate as naturally as possible, it helps team leaders build stronger company cultures.
This translates into better ideas, more seamless collaborations, and growth.
What to Look for in a Virtual Meeting App
Before settling with any virtual meeting app, you need to ensure it meets the criteria discussed below.
Your go-to virtual meeting app should deliver high video quality. You do not want to use an app that constantly freezes frames because it degrades the entire experience for participants and makes virtual meetings more stressful than productive.
Audio is a crucial component of virtual meeting apps. Your chosen app must be built with features that consistently deliver clean audio throughout the virtual meeting. This ensures everyone is able to share their thoughts and contribute to the success of every session.
A chat box within a virtual app is a handy feature, especially in a meeting with several participants. The chat feature allows you to jot down your thoughts while someone else is speaking. That way, the speaker can see and address what you had in mind without anyone disrupting the flow of the meeting. Also, if you want to share a link to an external resource, the chat box is one place to do so.
Virtual Office Features
If you’re managing a remote team, this is the most important set of features to look out for in a virtual meeting app. This is because the basic video, audio, and chat features are no longer enough as more employees report meeting fatigues and loss of social connections, making it hard to keep them engaged in the long run.
A virtual office takes collaboration between remote teams to another level by mirroring the experiences of a real-world workplace. Your go-to app should offer features like dedicated, customizable desks for employees, meeting areas, resource-sharing functionalities, and more. That way, the team can feel more present and connected throughout the workday.
The 5 Best Virtual Meeting Apps You Should Check Out
Now that you’ve seen the importance of using a high-quality virtual meeting platform alongside things you need to look out for, this section will explore some of the best virtual meeting apps on the internet.
Let’s get into it.
Zoom ranks as one of the most popular virtual meeting solutions for companies in the last decade. It is best known for reliably handling a large number of participants and providing essentials like screen-sharing, chat, and local recording for free.
The platform exists as downloadable software for all devices and is also accessible through a web browser. It is important to note that Zoom offers only 40 minutes of virtual meeting time on its free plan and three editable whiteboards with a limit of 25MB of cloud storage on its Pro plan.
In 2020, when its usage skyrocketed, Zoom suffered several security breaches as intruders constantly disrupted virtual meetings held on the app. It has, however, plugged its leakages by rolling out advanced security measures like E2EE for everyone on the platform, including the free users.
Owned by Microsoft, Teams has established itself as a favorite for companies in the education industry, thanks to its generous pricing and features.
For organizations with a remote workforce, Teams fosters collaboration by offering robust video conferencing, audio conferencing, and virtual events functionalities. One of its most impressive virtual meeting features is its "together mode,"—which uses AI to fit participants into a virtual shared space like a conference room, café, or lounge.
Teams offers up to 60 minutes of virtual meeting time and 5GB of cloud storage on its free plan.
Google Meet is popular for its simplicity and generous free features that allow teams to have virtual meetings for extended periods, share screens, use 15 GB of cloud storage, and access live captions during sessions.
Its premium version offers more advanced features like intelligent noise cancellation, hand raising, breakout rooms, and live streaming to YouTube. It also provides up to 24 hours for group meetings with a max of 100 participants.
When it comes to security and encryption, Google Meet tops the chart with anti-abuse features, encryption in transit and at rest, security dashboards, and more.
Google Meet is downloadable on mobile devices and accessible as a web app on desktops.
Around is one of the more recent entrants in the industry. The app comes with the vision of making video calls less obstructive and more productive by enabling workers to carry on with their daily tasks while connecting and collaborating with teammates over a video call.
This is achieved by cropping down participants into small circles that float on the screen, allowing them to carry out their tasks without being obstructed by the video call. Its noise cancellation tool makes it possible for participants to collaborate in the same workspace without echoes.
Around’s web version has limited features compared to its native apps. Also, its floating mode can become counterproductive when too many people are floating on the screen.
The platform is currently in beta and is available for free. However, the team confirms that the actual pricing will be released this year.
Most Engaging: Gather
The other mainstream virtual meeting platforms provide all the essential features that usually get the job done. But several studies have shown that workers are tired of drawn-out, boring video calls and constant meetings that leave them feeling more fatigued and socially disconnected than ever.
Gather fixes this problem by providing a virtual space for your team to collaborate. This 2D virtual workspace is populated with objects and structures that simulate a real-world office.
At its core, participants communicate and collaborate through video calls. However, the platform takes virtual meetings a step further by letting users create and use animated avatars within the Gather office. This essentially creates the feeling of connecting and working in the same space with your teammates.
Gather is flexible enough to fit everyone, whether it's a team of 50 or 500. Just as it is with real-world offices, the platform allows avatars (company staff) to communicate in private rooms, decorate their workspaces, brainstorm ideas on a whiteboard, share files, and even play games.
Gather has a free version for small teams (up to 25 persons), offering password-protected access, customizable maps, and unlimited interactive objects.
Grab your team and try a meeting in Gather today
Virtual meetings are here to stay. And while it’s had its ups and downs (Zoom fatigues, technical issues, etc.), the virtual meeting industry has continued to grow and innovate.
Platforms like Gather exist to reinvent the way virtual meetings and remote team collaborations are done in the modern world. The ultimate aim is to help remote teams rediscover the fun in video conferencing and empower leaders to build the best remote team cultures.