Smooth, effective, and engaging virtual meeting platforms enable hybrid and remote teams to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
As someone who joins many remote meetings and is responsible for hosting the most engaging online virtual meetings, I understand the challenges of collaborating with remote colleagues and stakeholders through the screen.
Technical glitches, disengaged participants, and limited collaboration opportunities all can stand in the way of seamless collaboration.
This is why I've curated this list of virtual meeting platforms designed to address these challenges and enhance your remote work experience.
Sure, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are popular choices, but plenty of other options offer even more features to help you engage your team and collaborate from anywhere.
In this article, I give you the lowdown on top virtual meeting platforms to help take online meetings and remote gatherings to the next level in 2024. Here is the shortlist:
- Butter - for engaging workshops and collaborative sessions
- Whereby - for quick, hassle-free virtual meetings
- Tandem - for spontaneous catch-up meetings and seamless remote collaboration experience
- Mmhmm - for lively, interactive screen sharing and online presentations
- Around - for echo-free and distraction-free hybrid meetings
- Cisco Webex - for efficient, secure, and reliable virtual meetings
- GoTo Meeting - for high-quality meetings and webinars with 100+ participants
- Demodesk - for interactive demos and effective sales meetings
- Lifesize - for high-quality video conferencing and streaming
If you're looking for the big players, click here to head to our review of Zoom, Google Meet, and Teams. (2024 features update + AI advancements to save time and enhance your meeting experience and effectiveness).
The Best Virtual Meeting Platforms To Make Remote Work Effective And Engaging
Out of a plethora of virtual meeting platforms available on the internet, it can get daunting to identify which platform would best suit the requirements of your meeting.
To save you from the hassle, I have compiled a list of virtual platforms to help you unite with the best meeting software for future collaborations.
Butter for engaging workshops and collaborative sessions
Butter is a cool and easy-to-use virtual meeting platform perfect for conducting engaging workshops and collaborative sessions. Butter combines the power of artificial intelligence with a user-friendly interface, making it a top contender for enhancing working-from-home collaboration.
It integrates various facilitation tools, such as polls, flashcards, videos, and music, within a single window. This means no more switching between apps, which is a huge relief for keeping everyone's attention focused.
My team particularly enjoys Butter's interactive features, such as emoji reactions, sound effects, a hand-raise queue, and even GIFs. It makes our meetings more lively and fun, keeping the meeting fatigue away.
One of Butter's standout features is its agenda design capability. You can meticulously craft your meeting agenda with detailed activities, schedule them in advance, and ensure everything runs smoothly within your timeline. Whether for a team-building workshop, a training session, or a regular team alignment meeting, you can easily design a meeting and run it effectively with Butter.
Butter also employs AI within its platform. It automatically transcribes and summarizes your meeting discussions, and captures fun, highlighted moments of your team. Imagine having a meeting recap that feels like a highlights reel of your team's best moments — it's pretty cool.
Overall, Butter has transformed our online meetings from mundane to memorable. Its intuitive design, combined with a suite of engaging tools and AI-enhanced features, makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking to spruce up their virtual collaboration experience.
Suitable for: Small to medium-sized teams looking for intelligent meeting assistance and effortless collaboration.
- Supported devices: Web browser | Desktop app | Mobile app (limited host functionalities)
- Max capacity: 200 people (Pro plan).
- Integration: Calendars: Google Calendar, Cron, Calendly | Productivity: Slack, Google Workspace (Docs, Sheets, Slides), Miro and Mural.
- Privacy and security: AWS hosting, 256-bit TLS and AES-128 encryption for all calls, GDPR compliance, verification-required meeting entry
Butter’s Best Features
- Various virtual engagement initiatives and premade templates: Butter offers a variety of engagement activities designed to enhance virtual meetings. This includes creative icebreakers, energizers to maintain enthusiasm, brainstorming tools for idea generation, and structured formats for team meetings. You can also choose from its wide range of premade templates to start your engaging meeting in seconds.
- Interactive meeting tools: The platform focuses on interactive elements such as live polls, quizzes, flashcards, breakout rooms, and Q&A sessions. It supports you well in fostering your team’s interaction and engagement.
- Customizable and time-boxed agenda: What makes Butter different from other virtual meeting platforms is its customizable and timed agenda. You can design each agenda item and set times to ensure the sessions run smoothly. This feature is handy for facilitators who must manage time effectively across various meeting activities.
- AI-powered Summary, Transcripts, and Highlight: Butter uses AI to enhance its recording feature by auto-generating summaries and transcripts of meetings and highlighting key moments.
- Engagement analytics and feedback: Butter provides real-time monitoring of participants’ talking percentages so that you can ensure everyone has a chance to talk. You also receive detailed insights into session engagement, including participants' metrics during and after the session and attendees’ activities and contributions.
Butter offers a 21-day trial and various pricing plans.
- The Free Plan is great for short meetings and includes essential features for up to 10 participants.
- The Starter and Pro Plans cost $14 and $29 per member/month (billed annually) for expanded participant capacity and additional features like longer recording and AI-generated summaries.
- The Enterprise Plan is $69 per member/month, catering to larger organizations with advanced needs such as custom integrations and dedicated support.
Whereby for quick, hassle-free virtual meetings
Whereby is a browser-based virtual meeting platform that offers you a hassle-free and customized experience.
The software cuts down lengthy steps in your installation process, making hosting and joining meetings quicker and simpler. The first time I created a meeting on Whereby, it took me less than 2 minutes to sign up and have a link ready. My teammates only have to enter their names to join the meeting via my shareable links.
Whereby provides enough video conferencing features you need (including screen sharing, interactive chat options, customizable meeting rooms, and more) to run virtual meetings with your teams or clients effectively.
A standout aspect of Whereby is its noise reduction (minimizes background disturbances when you talk) and HD mode (enhances video quality with advanced settings) features. These ensure that your meetings are visually appealing and audibly clear, making online interactions feel more like in-person.
The platform also provides customizable branding options, allowing you to create a professional and cohesive meeting experience that aligns with your brand.
Suitable for: Small teams, freelancers, and solopreneurs seeking a simple and intuitive online meeting solution.
- Supported devices: Web browser
- Max capacity: 200 people (Business plan).
- Integration: Calendar: Google Calendar (add room links to a meeting with Chrome extension) | Productivity: Google Drive, Trello, YouTube, Miro.
- Data security and privacy: ISO27001 compliance, AWS hosting, TLS 1.2 encryption for data transit and server disk encryption, end-to-end encryption for small rooms and encrypted media in transit for big rooms.
Whereby’s Best Features
- Personalized meeting rooms: Whereby allows you to personalize your digital look personally and as a team. You can create your own brand’s look by customizing subdomains, color themes, backgrounds, and logos.
- Multi-screen sharing: This feature allows up to 24 participants to share their screens simultaneously during a video call. This could be helpful in team meetings where many members need to showcase their work concurrently, for example, in workshops or training sessions where participants might work on different aspects of a project.
- Remote mic and camera control: Hosts have the ability to control participants' microphones and cameras, ensuring meetings run smoothly and without interruptions from background noise or unwanted video.
- Co-location groups feature designed for hybrid meetings: It allows team members in the same physical space to join meetings without experiencing echo or delay, while each participant connects using their own device.
- Embed video calls to your app: Whereby offers API & SDK to integrate video meetings directly into websites or your digital platforms. This was applied in various industries like telehealth, education, and customer service to enhance customer interaction and streamline processes.
- Meeting insights and notifications: You will receive browser notifications when someone joins your custom meeting links and metrics about video usage and activity over time. But the platform dedicates more insights to its embedded features, including real-time analytics and trigger alerts.
A free plan is available for 45-minute meetings with up to 100 participants, alongside paid plans that start at competitive rates:
- Pro plan: $6.99 per host/month for 3 rooms with up to 100 participants
- Business plan: $9.99 per host/month for unlimited rooms and up to 200 participants
Tandem for spontaneous catch-up meetings and seamless remote collaboration experience
Tandem is designed to bridge the gap between remote and in-person collaboration. If you're working remotely and looking for a virtual meeting platform that can replicate the ease of communication in physical office spaces, Tandem is worth checking out.
It offers a seamless collaboration experience and allows for spontaneous conversations without the need for scheduled meetings.
One of the things I love about Tandem is its instant screen sharing, shared cursors, and remote control features, which make collaborative work as effortless as working side-by-side.
Additionally, Tandem offers a range of virtual spaces like tables, rooms, and music rooms, which enable diverse interactions from focused group discussions to casual hangouts.
I find the interface to be intuitive and designed for ease of use. You can set a notification for when your teammates are free for a chat, and screen share or talk to your teammates in a click.
Tandem’s focus on recreating the office environment in virtual fosters natural conversations and enhances teamwork, making collaboration through online meetings engaging and productive.
Suitable for: Remote and hybrid teams looking for a virtual office environment to facilitate seamless collaboration.
- Supported devices: Web browser | Desktop app (macOS only)
- Max capacity: is not clearly mentioned.
- Integration: Tandem boasts over 200 integrations, including remote collaboration tools like Google Docs, Asana, Trello, Slack, Miro, and Canva.
Tandem‘s Best Features
- Customizable virtual rooms: You can create a variety of virtual rooms tailored to specific needs, such as Coffee Break, Team Standup, and Meeting Rooms. This feature helps in organizing different types of team interactions effectively.
- Team availability and interaction: Tandem provides a clear overview of what’s happening in the virtual office and who’s available to chat, along with upcoming meetings visibility. The 'Wave & Talk' feature and the 'Notify Me When Free' option facilitate easy and spontaneous team interactions.
- Enhanced meeting experience: Tandem supercharges meetings with widgets like timers, standup agendas, polls, airtime (how much everyone is speaking), and music. Features like High-Five & Rockets also add a fun element to break the ice and celebrate achievements during meetings.
- Meeting management tools: The platform includes meeting reminders and an auto-join feature to ensure participants stay on schedule and never miss a meeting.
With free, small, medium, and large team options, Tandem offers a wide variety:
- Free for up to 4 members in a meeting
- Small Teams plan: $49/month for up to 10 members
- Medium Teams plan: $99/month for up to 50 members
- Large Teams plan: $399/month for unlimited members
Mmhmm for lively, interactive screen sharing and online presentations
Mmhmm is a virtual meeting platform that offers a unique and innovative approach to virtual presentations. You can use it on top of your existing meeting software like Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, or Webex to add an extra layer of interactivity and visual engagement to your typical meeting calls.
The menu bars are very intuitive and easy to use, even for non-tech team members. It allows you to blend live video with digital content such as slides, images, and screen shares to present your content captivatingly. With features like multi-person video, special backgrounds for interaction, screen recording, built-in editing, and smart video sharing, you can keep your audience hooked while ensuring the message is delivered effectively.
You can get sharable links or store your asynchronous meetings in the team video library, which makes it even more useful for teams who work remotely and prefer to learn at your own pace.
Suitable for: Presenters, trainers, and individuals who want to enhance their online presentations and make a lasting impact.
- Supported devices: Web browser | Desktop app | Mobile app
- Data security and privacy: SOC 2 Type 1, GDPR, CCPA compliance, data encryption.
Mmhmm’s Best Features
- On-screen appearance and interactions: The best outstanding feature of Mmhmm enables you to appear on-screen in front of your content, such as presentation slides, PDFs, images, etc. You can also add text or fun GIFs together with your appearance.
- Multi-person video sharing: Mmhmm allows up to ten people with diverse and customizable backgrounds to join on screen.
- Big hands modes: This mode lets you communicate virtually over the video by identifying specific hand gestures and turning them into giant emojis.
- Team video library: You can publish your records to shared channels, making them accessible to your team anytime. You can see how many people viewed your video (public mode) and who they are (team mode).
Mmhmm offers 30-day free trials with no credit card required. Paid plans include an individual option ($12/month) and a business option ($18/month/user).
Around for echo-free and distraction-free hybrid meetings
Around is a virtual meeting platform offering a simple, distraction-free video conferencing experience.
One standout feature of Around is the AI-based sound filtering technology. It effectively identifies and suppresses background noises like barking dogs or traffic, ensuring your audio experience is crystal clear during meetings. The platform's ability to detect and eliminate echo is particularly useful for hybrid teams when many team members might be in the same room.
Around offers other features to better virtual meetings of any form, such as designated audio rooms for audio-only calls and automatic face framing to keep participants' faces in view.
Besides, it also provides collaborative features like screen sharing, collaborative notes, and integrations with popular tools, making it a comprehensive solution for remote team collaboration.
Suitable for: Hybrid teams seeking an immersive and interactive video collaboration experience.
- Supported devices: Desktop app | Web browser | Mobile app
- Max capacity: 50 participants for meetings and 500 attendees for webinars (the ‘Event’ mode)
- Integration: While there are many built-in tools for collaboration and engagement, Around only has Miro as a third-party software integration (allowing you to work on Miro whiteboard on the sharing screen).
- Data security and privacy: TLS and AES-128 encryption for calls, optional meeting PINs, one-time IDs, lockable meetings, and controlled room access.
Around’s Best Features
- Productivity boosters: Around offers a robust set of features to power effective collaboration, including collaborative note-taking, timers, hand-raising tools (count everyone’s hand), breakout rooms, and premade templates.
- AI meeting summaries and automated follow-ups: Around auto-generate AI-powered meeting summaries for you when the meetings are recorded. Then, it automatically sends summaries with action items directly to attendees’ email inboxes to keep projects moving forward seamlessly.
- Audio sharing feature: Around makes it easy to liven up meetings by toggling available background sounds or sharing music from your device.
- Fun reactions and integrated games: Have more fun with your meeting by entertaining gifs, reactions, sound effects, and built-in games like Boom Party and Codenames.
- Free for meetings less than 45 minutes and up to 50 participants
- Pro plan: $8.97 per host/month
- Business plan: $15.97 per host/month with Echo Prevention feature included
Cisco Webex for efficient, secure, and reliable virtual meetings
Cisco Webex is a well-established virtual meeting platform, best known for its reliability and feature-rich experience. It is ideal for both internal and external business communication and can accommodate from small team meetings to large company-wide gatherings.
With Webex, you can host high-quality video conferences, share your screens with various team members, and work together on documents in real time.
The platform also includes features like breakout rooms for group discussions, virtual backgrounds for added customization, and integrations with popular productivity tools.
Cisco Webex recently enhanced its meeting solutions with generative AI technology to drive productivity and simplicity.
The new features include AI-powered summarization capabilities, enabling users to catch up on missed interactions and provide intelligent meeting summaries with key points and action items. This feature will save you time on pre-meeting tasks and is particularly convenient for those unable to attend the meetings.
AI-powered meeting summaries by Webex virtual meeting platform.
In addition, Cisco Security Cloud is unveiling new AI capabilities to simplify policy management and improve threat response.
Suitable for: Businesses, enterprises, and teams that require a feature-rich and reliable virtual meeting solution.
- Supported devices: Desktop app | Web browser | Mobile app
- Max capacity: 1,000 attendees (Enterprise plan).
- Integration: Webex integrates with hundreds of third-party applications and services, enhancing its functionality for diverse business needs.
- Data security and privacy: E2E encryption for meetings, data loss prevention methods to safeguard sensitive information, ISO/IEC 27001 and GDPR compliance.
Cisco Webex’s Best Features
- Real-time translation in multiple languages: Webex breaks down language barriers with real-time translation, supporting simultaneous interpretation in multiple languages for globally inclusive video conferencing.
- Seamless transition from phone call to full-featured meeting: You can easily move a phone call to a full-featured meeting in case the conversation arises into more structured meetings.
- Automated note-taking: The platform includes automated note-taking capabilities, which ease the process of documenting meeting discussions and key points.
- Built-in digital whiteboarding: This feature allows for interactive presentations and collaborations, where you can draw, annotate, and share ideas in real-time.
- Message highlights: Using Webex Meetings, you can track critical information during and after meetings by highlighting essential messages in the integrated chat.
Cisco Webex Pricing
Webex has a free plan for meetings up to 40 minutes and 100 participants. Paid plans include:
- Webex Meet plan: $14.5 per host/month for up to 24-hour meetings and 200 attendees
- Webex Suite plan: $25 per host/month with additional features for business calls.
- Webex Enteprise plan: custom price for meetings with up to 1,000 attendees.
GoTo Meeting for high-quality meetings and webinars with 100+ participants
GoTo Meeting is among the best virtual meeting platforms for conducting webinars, online training sessions, and sales presentations with large audiences. You can host meetings with up to 150 attendees in its trial and minimum package.
What makes GoTo Meeting ideal for webinars and larger video conferences is its reliable high-definition video and clear audio, capable of handling sessions with 100+ people without quality degradation.
It has helpful collaboration tools built in, like screen sharing, drawing tools, live chat, and the ability to record and auto-transcript meetings.
The 'Smart Meeting Assistant' auto-generates meeting transcriptions and allows for easy searching of specific terms.
There is also intelligent noise cancellation that automatically mutes background noises from a speaker's microphone to keep sessions disruption-free.
Plus, GoTo has GoTo Webinars dedicated to organizing virtual events and webinars with advanced features and capacity.
Suitable for: Businesses and teams needs to host high-quality, large-scale meetings and webinars.
- Supported devices: Desktop app | Web browser | Mobile app
- Max capacity: 250 participants (Business plan).
- Integration: Calendar & Productivity: Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, and Teams, Google Calendar, Calendly, Slack. | Workflow: Salesforce, Zoho suite.
- Data security and privacy: bank-grade encryption, SOC 2 Type II & SOC 3 compliance.
GoTo Meeting’s Best Features
- ‘Call Me’: This feature means you allow GoToMeeting to dial your phone numbers to remind you to join, ensuring that you won’t miss any important meetings.
- Customizable meeting links: You can create custom meeting links.
- Meeting drawing tools: The platform includes interactive drawing tools during screen sharing. These tools enable you and your team to engage, highlight, collaborate, and brainstorm in real time.
- Meeting transcriptions: GoToMeeting provides AI-powered meeting transcription services, converting spoken content into text for easy review and documentation.
GoTo Meeting Pricing
GoToMeeting offers 14-day free trials with limited features (no credit card required) and discounts for professional and business plan. Price after discount is:
- Professional plan: $12 per organizer/month for up to 150 participants.
- Business plan: $16 per organizer/month for up to 250 participants.
- Enterprise plan: custom packages for your company’s needs.
Demodesk for interactive demos and effective sales meetings
Demodesk is a web-based virtual meeting platform ideal for sales enablement and customer engagement, making it a top choice for remote sales meetings.
With Demodesk, you can host interactive demos, share screens, and collaborate with prospects in real time. The platform offers features like document sharing, note-taking, and analytics to help you deliver compelling sales presentations and track engagement.
One of its standout features is letting all meeting attendees collaborate on the same screen without apps or file downloads (while interactive features on other platforms require app installation). This ramps up customer engagement, as they can interact actively with the software.
Plus, it's super easy to set up and integrates smoothly with major CRM systems like Hubspot and Salesforce.
Suitable for: Sales teams and professionals seeking a dedicated platform for remote sales meetings and demos.
- Supported devices: Web browser
- Max capacity: is not clearly mentioned.
- Integration: Demodesk has an open API and can integrate with various collaboration tools from Office 365 and Google Workspace to CRM systems (Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive).
- Data security and privacy: GDPR and ISO 27001 compliance.
Demodesk’s Best Features
- Automated preparation and CRM follow-up: Demodesk automates meeting preparation by loading the appropriate playbooks at the start of a meeting. Standardized follow-ups are sent automatically after meetings.
- Real-time sales guidance and coaching: The platform provides real-time coaching from your preset standardized playbooks during meetings. Your team can also access customer information from the CRM during meetings.
- AI-based sales coaching and onboarding: It uses AI to transcribe and summarize meetings, providing coaching along conversational metrics and scorecards.
- Efficient scheduling and lead qualification: It facilitates scheduling customer meetings without email back-and-forth, qualifies website leads, routes them to the right person, and automates handoff processes.
- Insights dashboard: Demodesk offers an insights dashboard that provides an overview of meetings scheduled, held, canceled, interactions, meeting quality, and other key metrics, helping teams track performance, time spent in meetings, and customer engagement.
Demodesk provides different pricing tiers based on your sales productivity needs:
- Scheduling plan costs €39 per user/month. With this plan, you integrate with existing meeting platforms (Zoom, Teams, Google Meet) and use Demodesk for scheduling, lead qualifying, and meeting analytics only.
- Coaching & AI plan costs €59 per user/month. With this plan, Demodesk brings visibility into how your sales reps interact with customers through AI call analysis. This is helpful to improve your sales meeting quality over time without sitting in on sales calls every time for feedback.
- Professional plan costs €99 per user/month with full access to all functionality, including automated meeting scheduling, integrated video calls, and AI coaching insights packages.
- Enterprise plan with custom pricing for large teams with over 30 reps or need complex security, controls, or support needs.
Lifesize for high-quality video conferencing and streaming
Lifesize is a cloud-based video conferencing solution that can significantly enhance the quality of your virtual meetings. I love seeing colleagues even through the screen (and I believe you do, too!), and I'm impressed by Lifesize's 4K UHD video conferencing capability.
This feature guarantees ultra-clear, lifelike video quality for your meetings, supported by a robust IBM cloud infrastructure that promises stable and reliable connections.
But what sets Lifesize apart is its interoperability. Lifesize Connect allows the platform to seamlessly integrate with popular virtual meeting tools like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom. This means you're not limited to Lifesize's ecosystem; you can connect Lifesize's superior video quality to the platforms you already use. This flexibility is a game-changer for businesses that operate across multiple conferencing systems.
Lifesize works well as a standalone virtual meeting platform, too. It's designed with simplicity in mind – one-click meeting starts, intuitive navigation, and easy screen sharing are just some features that make it user-friendly.
The platform's collaboration features, including live chat, Q&A, meeting recording, and support for multiple webcam streams, cater well to various meeting formats. Additionally, the integration of AI-powered virtual assistants for automatic recording and transcription is a productivity booster.
Whether you're using Lifesize as a standalone tool for its superior video quality or leveraging its capability to integrate with other platforms, it stands out as a versatile and powerful solution for modern remote communication needs. Lifesize is definitely worth considering for anyone prioritizing both quality and flexibility in their virtual meetings.
Suitable for: Teams of all sizes looking for a reliable, high-quality video conferencing platform.
- Supported devices: Desktop app | Web browser | Mobile app
- Max capacity: up to 500 participants.
- Integration: Scheduling: Outlook, G Suite, Office 365, and Slack | Productivity: Kaptivo (digital whiteboarding), Fireflies.ai, Zoi Meet, and Avoma (AI virtual assistants). There is an open API for further integrations.
- Data security and privacy: end-to-end AES 128-bit encryption, SSO authentication for secure access control, GDPR and HIPAA compliance.
Lifesize’s Best Features
- 4K UHD video conferencing: Lifesize is renowned for exceptionally clear and reliable video quality. This is a huge plus for a virtual meeting platform to enhance your face-to-face interactions.
- Recording and playback: Lifesize enables recordings of meetings, including shared screens, with searchable transcripts available. Recorded meetings can be played back later as videos.
- Scales with your business: Built to handle large businesses' demands, Lifesize can reliably manage high call volumes, thanks to AWS cloud infrastructure. This feature is key for companies with extensive global communication needs, ensuring consistent performance and security.
Lifesize has no free plan and free trial. Lifesize’s price as a virtual meeting platform starts at $14.95 per host/month with:
- Minimum of 10 hosts for Plus plan for up to 300 participants and 1-hour cloud recording storage.
- Minimum of 50 hosts for Enterprise plan for up to 500 participants and unlimited recordings.
- Custom price (with discount!) for advanced meeting and livestreaming features and add-ons
The Most Popular Virtual Meeting Platforms
A few big players have become household online meeting platform names. Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams dominate the virtual meeting space, and for good reason.
I recently explored Zoom One, which has impressively transformed from its video conferencing roots into a full-fledged business communication platform.
It's a game-changer for those dreading the hassle of juggling multiple apps, a phenomenon I like to call the "toggle tax."
Pitting itself against giants like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 with Teams, Zoom One offers a rich mix of features.
Think audio and video meetings, AI-powered transcriptions, seamless integration of mail and calendar, handy note-taking, text chat, whiteboards, and an expanding array of third-party apps.
What Makes It Unique:
Zoom One isn’t just about video calls. It supports multiple languages and offers a free version, which is great for small teams or individual use.
The platform includes whiteboard tools, desktop sharing, instant messaging, private chat, calendar sync, and both audio and video recording options.
Plus, it provides round-the-clock phone support, cloud storage options, and even fancy virtual backgrounds.
In September 2023, it launched a free AI Companion, which means even more value at zero additional cost.
AI Companion includes GPT-like suggested responses to messages, instant recaps for ongoing meetings, answering questions about what's being discussed, and assistance in generating new ideas on the Zoom Whiteboard. Very cool, and did I mention free?
Key Strengths and Features of Zoom:
- User-Friendly: Its interface is a breeze to navigate and is easy to connect to, especially compared to Teams.
- Security: I appreciate the peace of mind of Zoom's end-to-end encryption.
- Value for Money: Their competitive pricing offers great bang for the buck.
- Rich Integrations: Enhances productivity by connecting with numerous apps.
- Zoom AI Companion: The real-time transcription, translation, and suggested responses are lifesavers.
Areas for Improvement:
- Integration Inconsistencies: Some external apps don’t mesh well.
- Web Interface Challenges: Finding specific settings can be a bit of a treasure hunt.
Free: Zoom offers a range of pricing options, including a free tier with basic features and a 40-minute time limitation on meetings (great to keep them short!)
Pro: For teams needing more, Zoom's paid plans don’t limit meeting durations, accommodate more participants, and add valuable tools like cloud recording. These upgrades can significantly boost your team's collaboration and efficiency.
Best For & Overall Verdict:
Zoom is best for teams that, for one reason or another, don't want to use the other two major virtual meeting platforms. With all its features, it can replace most virtual meeting tools that Microsoft and Google provide – including chat and collaboration.
Zoom is also great for working with outside partners, like in sales functions, so you can let people connect to your meeting regardless of the platform they usually have.
Overall, the Zoom features are impressive, enough to compete as a full-fledged digital HQ. However, if you or your company already pays for Microsoft or Google, investing in Zoom may not be worth it.
For many, Microsoft Teams is something they have to use for work, whether they like it or not.
But recent developments show that the platform made significant strides in 2023, establishing itself even more as a vital tool for dynamic teams.
During this review, I explored the platform and discovered both strengths and challenges, despite the fact that we use Google Meet and Zoom.
What Makes It Unique:
Look. Let's be clear.
Teams works so well as a virtual meeting platform because it's deeply embedded in the Microsoft ecosystem, which many companies use.
But even beyond that, it has many features that put it at the same level or higher as Teams and Zoom.
It's also extremely secure, which is critical for enterprises, governments, and organizations. For example, you'll need a second Microsoft app, Authenticator, to sign into your account. You won't see that on Zoom or Meet.
In October 2023, Microsoft rolled out an all-new Teams app. The Windows and Mac desktop app delivers improved performance (two times faster while using 50% less memory) and enhanced reliability, security, and IT management.
As one of the leaders in AI, Microsoft will ensure that Teams will always have the most cutting-edge AI features. (See below.)
Key Strengths and Features of Microsoft Teams
- Global Collaboration and Communication: Microsoft Teams connects people no matter where they are with features like colleague search, instant messaging, voice and video calls, and organizational details. One recent addition is "Collaborative Notes" on mobile, which allows meeting attendees to co-create and collaborate on the meeting agenda, notes, and action items. I can see how it's one of the meeting platforms that is particularly effective for large teams and enterprises with a global workforce.
- Leading AI Features: As mentioned above, as one of the leaders in AI, Microsoft will ensure that Teams will always have the most cutting-edge AI features. Currently, you can already enjoy meeting summaries and live meeting updates including who is aligned and who's not, custom bots to answer internal questions, quickly review the main points, action items, and decisions in long threads. Copilot can also find and use info buried in documents, presentations, emails, calendar invites, notes, and contacts.
- Microsoft 365 Integration: For businesses that are already part of the Microsoft ecosystem, Teams offers deep integration with Microsoft 365 apps like Outlook, OneDrive, and Office. This makes it an efficient tool for those relying heavily on Microsoft products.
- Customizability and Third-Party Integrations: Teams supports various apps and plugins, enhancing its functionality and adaptability to different business needs.
- Cost-Effectiveness: With its Essentials plan starting at only $4 per user per month, Microsoft Teams offers a very competitive package, especially considering the features it includes that are often found in more expensive plans.
Areas for Improvement:
- Consistency and Stability: I've experienced occasional issues like crashes and camera freezes, particularly in the mobile app experience, and from my research, it seems like others have as well. (After trying for months, the desktop app still doesn't work for me.)
- Interface and Usability: Some users find certain features, like the search function and navigation through previous pages, could be more intuitive. It's not Google, and it's clear.
- External Collaboration Challenges: When adding non-company individuals, like volunteers or subcontractors, Teams isn't very user-friendly.
Microsoft Teams Pricing and Plans
- Free Plan: Teams offers unlimited 1-on-1 meetings (up to 30 hours), a 60-minute limit for group meetings, up to 100 participants, 5GB of cloud storage, and essential features like file sharing and team messaging.
- Paid Plans: Ranging from $4 to $12.50 per month, these plans increase participant limits, meeting duration, storage, and add features like live captions, breakout rooms, and more advanced collaboration tools.
Best For & Overall Verdict
Microsoft Teams is best for businesses that want an all-in-one collaboration platform, especially if they are already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.
Its integration capabilities, extensive feature set, focus on security, and competitive pricing make it a good choice for many companies.
However, exploring alternatives might be worthwhile for those not deeply integrated with Microsoft products or requiring a simpler online meeting program.
In summary, Microsoft Teams in 2023 stands out for its global connectivity, Microsoft 365 integration, and cost-effectiveness, while areas like external collaboration and user interface could see further enhancements.
Click here to sign up for Microsoft Teams for FREE and experience the fun of Together Mode during online meetings!
Google Meet has become a significant online meeting program player, especially in 2024.
Its platform seamlessly integrates with Google Workspace, making it an ideal choice for those already using Google's suite of tools.
As a daily user of Google Meet, here are its unique aspects, strengths, features, and areas where it could improve.
What Makes Google Meet Unique:
- Google Workspace Integration: Google Meet's deep integration with Google Workspace, particularly Gmail and Calendar, stands out. This makes scheduling and joining meetings incredibly efficient for those already in the Google ecosystem.
- Browser-Based Functionality: Google Meet's strength lies in its seamless browser functionality, offering ease of use without downloading additional software. (I'm looking at you, Zoom and Teams!)
Key Strengths and Features of Google Meet:
- User-Friendly Interface: Google Meet is known for its intuitive and easy-to-use interface, making it accessible for all skill levels.
- High-Quality Video and Audio: The platform provides high-quality video and audio, ensuring clear communication during meetings.
- Effective Collaboration Tools: Features like screen sharing, whiteboard (Jamboard) functionality, live chat, audience polling, and Q&A enhance collaborative efforts during meetings.
- Live Captioning: One notable feature is its live captioning, which is highly accurate thanks to Google's data and computing power.
- Mobile Accessibility: Google Meet supports mobile devices, allowing attendees to join meetings or webinars from their phones or tablets.
- Security: Robust security features ensure secure communication, including user authentication and different participant roles and permissions levels.
Areas for Improvement:
- Limited to 250 Participants: The platform is capped at 250 participants, which may need to be increased for larger organizations or events. MS Teams, for example, offers high-capacity Town Halls.
- Integration Outside Google Workspace: While excellent within the Google ecosystem, it may integrate less seamlessly with non-Google products.
- Accessibility: It also can be challenging for enterprise employees to access Google links, often prompting people we work with to log in from their phones or personal laptops.
Google Meet Pring and Plans:ic
- Free Plan: It offers a free version with basic functionalities, including 60-minute meetings and up to 100 participants.
- Pro: Google Meet is $6 per month with Google Workspace, providing additional features like breakout rooms and live translated captions.
Best For & Overall Verdict:
Google Meet is best suited for those already using Google Workspace and looking for a straightforward, user-friendly video conferencing solution.
It's particularly effective for small to medium-sized businesses or teams; many startups and scale-ups love Meet.
However, exploring alternatives may benefit those requiring more advanced features, larger meeting capacities, or enterprise-grade security.
Choose The Best Online Meeting Platform for Your Remote Team
We've done the legwork for you and compiled a list of the top 12 online meeting platforms that are sure to keep your team engaged and productive.
- Online meeting platforms are crucial in facilitating remote work and effective collaboration.
- While popular platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are widely known, other innovative solutions can enhance your meeting experiences.
- The top 10 engaging platforms, including Butter.ai, Whereby, Tandem, Mmhmm, Around, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, Demodesk, and Lifesize, offer unique features and capabilities to cater to different team sizes and meeting purposes.
- Some tools can be used as a booster for your virtual meetings in existing systems, such as Mmhmm (better presentation) and Lifesize (better video quality).
- Besides features, consider meeting capacity, integrations, video and audio quality, security and privacy, and pricing when selecting the best virtual meeting platform for you and your team.
Remember, consider these platforms based on your specific needs and preferences to elevate your remote meetings.
If you want to transform the remote experience from today with your next 1:1s or weekly team meetings to a more engaging and uplifting vibe, give Butter.ai, Whereby, Mmhmm, Tandem, or Around a try and use its innovative features.
Platforms with automated meeting transcription and summary (or can integrate with such tools) can reduce post-meeting tasks and save you lots of time.
What Makes Online Meetings Fun And Engaging?
Online meetings have come a long way from being dull and monotonous affairs.
You can transform virtual gatherings into engaging and interactive experiences with the right tools and platforms. So, what exactly makes online meetings more fun and engaging?
- Collaborative Features: Virtual whiteboards, screen and document sharing enable real-time collaboration and brainstorming, creating an environment where ideas flow freely.
- Engaging Presentation Tools: Modern online meeting platforms provide dynamic presentation tools to engage your audience with multimedia content, interactive polls, and engaging visuals.
- Interactive Breakout Rooms: These allow participants to collaborate in smaller teams, share ideas, and work on specific tasks. Breakout rooms encourage active participation and engagement from everyone involved.
- Fun Meeting Formats: Online meetings don’t have to follow a rigid structure. Some platforms offer unique meeting formats, such as virtual team-building activities, icebreaker games, or themed sessions.
By leveraging these features and tools, online meetings can become dynamic, interactive, and enjoyable experiences.
In conclusion, it's very important to pick the right online meeting platform to help you and your team work together smoothly, whether you're in the same office or miles apart.
Our recommendations have all the features you need to overcome any challenges you might face, like technical glitches or feeling disconnected.
The goal is to make meetings fun and productive by building relationships, generating ideas, and achieving your goals. With the perfect online meeting platform, you can bring your team together no matter where they are.