How to Pick The Right Virtual Presentation Platform

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Remote work is now requiring employees to have proficiency in video conferencing platforms for both everyday interoffice meetings and presentations to third-party attendees. These conferencing platforms have become a staple in business communications today and provide several benefits for employees, ranging from greater productivity to increased communication transparency. Users are reliant on these platforms to complete their tasks, communicate critical information to their colleagues, and maintain an office’s team atmosphere. However, the abundance of video conferencing software solutions on the market makes it challenging to find the best option for your specific needs. Below, we break down the major pros and cons of the most used video conferencing platforms and a few use cases of each one.

Zoom

Zoom is one of the most widely known and easily accessible video conferencing tools. It is known for being user-friendly and easy to maneuver. Additionally, users can access Zoom through the app and an internet browser.

Pros

  1. Zoom is free for anyone to access. All you need is an account to get started.
  2. Zoom has superior audio and video quality compared to other virtual meeting platforms.
  3. Zoom has built-in features like screen sharing, document sharing, whiteboard, remote screen controls, and screen recording. These features are accessible in the free version and can work among participants when the host allows these permissions.
  4. Hosts can allow people into the meeting through a waiting room. No other participants can add people, so the host has complete control. It is also easy to transfer host permissions to other participants in the meeting. Multi-user and host features are easy to use and enable meeting continuity.
  5. Zoom has options for background and face filters accessible in the free version. The options range from blurring your background to scenic landscapes. You can also upload your own photos to use as a background. You can also use the face filters. These filters are similar to the ones on Snapchat.
  6. If you’re looking for more in-depth advantages regarding Zoom, TrustRadius has a thorough breakdown of all that Zoom has to offer.

Cons

  1. Zoom has had issues in the past regarding meeting security. Any meeting is susceptible to “Zoom Bombing.” This is when people unaffiliated with your meeting join and aim to cause trouble. This can happen if your room number and password are leaked, through people bypassing security measures, or through one of your guests getting hacked.
  2. The basic version of Zoom limits meetings to 40 minutes or less. The basic version also only allows ten or fewer participants. Although it allows unlimited meetings, the free version may not be viable depending on the overall meeting length.
  3. The premium version of Zoom ranges from $15 to $20 a month, depending on the business or personal use. As these subscriptions are monthly, the cost can add up fast.
  4. Zoom has limited chat options and responses. Audiences can use emojis to signal to the host, but users report these options are limited and wish they had more variety.
  5. Some users complain that accessing the advanced settings is not as intuitive as the rest of the application is. Users report that Zoom’s customer service and FAQ section could be better.

Best Use for Zoom

Zoom is also the best option for numerous participants because the host has complete control over muting others and managing who can enter the meeting. Moreover, participants only need a basic account to log in and participate. Zoom has the best options for screen sharing and audience engagement when sharing information.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a suitable alternative to Zoom in terms of attendees allowed, video control, and overall productivity. However, Teams does require a Microsoft account and an invite to join a Teams video conference.

Pros

  1. Microsoft Teams allows meetings of up to 20 people and a time limit of 60 minutes.
  2. If you already use Microsoft Suite, then Teams is great for integration and productivity. Integration is when independent apps can work together. For example, if you schedule a virtual meeting over Outlook, then Microsoft will automatically upload that meeting into your calendar. Teams is convenient when you’re using Microsoft Suite because you are already working on a platform that keeps track of important dates and times.
  3. Teams is like one big chat room, enabling everyone to communicate with each other. The chat options are diverse and have great functionality.
  4. Teams offers features like file sharing, screen sharing, remote control, screen recording, and whiteboard.
  5. You can access a wide variety of backgrounds for your video calls. You can upload your own images or choose among the backgrounds available.
  6. Users have reported Teams to have great customer service and a robust FAQ for troubleshooting.

Cons

  1. Although the chat features are more diverse, users complain that chat notifications are delayed or do not appear at all.
  2. Some users complain that Teams has too many interfaces, which is less intuitive for those unfamiliar with video meeting platforms.
  3. The multi-user options for Teams are poor. You cannot transfer host permissions to other users, and you cannot give specific people permissions in a Teams group.
  4. Permission settings for allowing specific actions for certain users on Teams could be better.
  5. While Teams use less bandwidth, the video and audio quality may not be great depending on how many participants you have.

Best Use for Microsoft Teams

Use Teams when all your participants already use Microsoft Suite. For example, work and school environments have numerous participants and a need for quick communication. It’s practical for longer meetings and for sharing information.

Google Meet

Google Meet is a great, affordable alternative to other platforms. There is a free version as well as a paid version, both of which give you app integration and meeting quality. It requires all users to have a Gmail account to join meetings.

Pros

  1. Users report Google Meet as an intuitive and easy-to-use platform. Basic and advanced settings are easy to navigate both on the desktop and the app.
  2. It works well when you already use Google Suite. It’s easy to integrate this platform with other Google apps, like the Calendar or Docs app. App integration allows your team to be more efficient because they will not be switching between apps often or be confused about where the meeting is taking place. Additionally, meetings will automatically be scheduled in their Google Calendars.
  3. Google Meet has better meeting security compared to other video conferencing apps. Google Meets follows Google’s internal and legal standards for safeguarding privacy. If you’re curious about these standards, check out this article.
  4. Google Meet has great audio and video quality for your meetings for both one-on-one meetings and presentations.
  5. Google Meet has features like a whiteboard, screen share, host controls, and different backgrounds to choose from.
  6. Google Meet is affordable for small businesses that may not have the funds to purchase a license for most other video conferencing platforms. The basic version is free. You can invite up to 100 participants for a one-hour meeting with the basic version.

Cons

  1. Advanced features, like screen recording, polls, and breakout rooms, require the premium version. Individual plans start at $7.99, but business plans vary.
  2. Compared to other video conferencing apps, you get fewer features for free. You have to upgrade to get features like recording and breakout rooms.
  3. All your attendees require a Google account to access the meeting.
  4. The multi-user options are complicated and require the premium version to access. If you have multiple presenters, this complicates the flow of your presentation.

Best Use for Google Meet

Use Google Meet as an alternative for one-on-one or short meetings with others. It also works great in work or school environments with less than 100 attendees. If you are already using Google suite for productivity, use this app.

Webex

Webex is a functional and secure option often overlooked by other platforms. Webex differentiates itself through audience interaction and real-time language translation. Webex’s strongest selling point is the security it offers in its video chats.

Pros

  1. Webex has high video and audio quality while consuming low bandwidth.
  2. The application has features like screen, document, and whiteboard sharing. Additionally, hosts can hide certain screens from audiences and easily transfer host permissions.
  3. Webex has automatic video transcription, real-time language translation, and the ability to take notes within the app, which is convenient for international calls.
  4. Users report Webex to have greater meeting security among competitors because of its login process, guest list, and host permissions.

Cons

  1. Webex requires a paid subscription for unlimited meetings with several participants. This subscription starts at $25 per month for businesses.
  2. It is challenging to integrate Webex if your team uses other platforms for productivity.
  3. Some users report the functionality and intuitiveness of Webex to be poor and confusing for meeting participants. Some users feel that Webex has too many features that serve no additional purpose.

Best Use for Webex

Webex is great for information-sensitive meetings or webinars where security is important. Webex permissions allow you to stop people from entering the meeting after a certain period, so it’s great for classes or minimizing disruptions.

The best video platform will depend on the meeting you’re hosting, the number of participants, and what is being shared. If your team already uses software with built-in video conferencing software, like Microsoft, then it might be easiest to use Teams for functionality and integration. If you’re hosting a long webinar or sharing sensitive information, then Webex is the best option for security and assurance. Zoom is the best option if you’re sharing information with an audience with multiple presenters or holding repeat meetings. The best meeting platform will work best with your shared information, ease of use, and meeting intention. I encourage you to research each platform to decide which is the best for your organization.