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Five of the best meeting apps for working from home
28th July, 2020 |
Remote working is being seen by more and more companies as a way of offering employees a better work/life balance.
Advances in video conferencing mean that we can now hold meetings, minus the commute. But there are so many options available now, which one of these meeting apps should you choose?
We’ve highlighted five of the best below, each with a host of great features.
All can be downloaded onto your smartphone for use while you’re out and about – make sure you’ve got insurance for your iPhone to protect your device in case of any mishaps.
Zoom has become a byword for staying in contact remotely, with everybody from technophobic great-grandparents to tech firm CEOs now accustomed to its interface.
It’s currently serving 300 million daily meeting participants – and the chances are that you’re already one of them. However, you may be unaware of some of its more advanced elements.
While it’s free for personal use with time-limited meetings, businesses can sign up to monthly paid-for plans that unlock many more features.
The ‘Enterprise +’ plan for the biggest companies includes unlimited cloud storage and vanity URLs which contain your company’s brand name or keyword.
Zoom is known to be a reliable platform – even under the huge strain posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
There have been security fears, many of which centred around cases of unwanted guests ‘zoombombing’ meetings.
To avoid this, hosts can take steps such as enabling the “waiting room” feature, password protecting their meetings, limiting screen sharing, and locking the virtual meeting room.
If you’ve used Google Hangouts to chat to friends, you’ll get on just fine with Meet – it’s the upgraded version for businesses.
Many people find its polished looks more appealing than Zoom’s simple interface.
Its big advantage is that it’s highly integrated into other Google features. So if you create a meeting in Google calendar, you’ll get an automatic link you can click on to start or join your video call.
It’s easy to share items saved in your Google files without having to leave the call, too.
Another great feature is that it can add captions or subtitles that show the text of what’s being said, making it easier for people with hearing impairments to follow the meeting.
The disadvantage? It’s probably not as well suited to large video meetings as Zoom, though you can join in view-only mode.
In fact, it can host up to 100,000 viewers this way, making it a good option for very large lectures.
It’s free for 60 minutes and up to 100 participants, with paid-for plans offering greater capacity and more features.
As with all major platforms, there’s an app you can download to your smartphone.
Your mobile is your most important tool for staying connected with friends, family, colleagues and clients, so make sure it’s covered with an iPhone insurance policy.
Cisco Webex Meetings
This has long been regarded as the industry-standard service, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s got a very professional-looking interface, certainly more in keeping with a company conference than a cosy family chat.
It takes a little getting used to, so it’s not ideal for occasional use – but once you’ve got the hang of it, you might wonder how you ever coped without it.
Its best features are its crisp audio quality and, above all, its virtual whiteboard.
This latter feature enables meeting participants to share their screens as blank space, then use a range of text and sketching tools just as you would a flipchart.
You can even have several whiteboards at once, each on a different tab.
All participants can scribble down thoughts, making this great for a virtual brainstorming session or to boost innovation and productivity.
Another excellent feature is that participants can join online or get an audio-only connection via a regular phone call, making this a very versatile option.
Try out the free plan before deciding whether the enhanced features are what your company needs.
If you’re put off by the complexity of Cisco Webex Meetings, give BlueJeans a try.
It’s a simple interface that offers one-touch access to a series of rooms, meetings and events, making it highly intuitive to use.
BlueJeans offers great video and audio quality, and prides itself on high security. The downsides? It can suffer from lagging issues.
There’s no free plan, but you can sign up for a free trial before you commit to paying to see for yourself how user-friendly it is.
And of course, you can access it from all devices and browsers. So it should be easy to join in your work meeting from your smartphone even as you’re racing around doing the school run or essential errands.
Just make sure you’ve got iPhone cover in case you drop or damage your device while you’re multi-tasking.
Skype for Business / Microsoft Teams
Before “zooming” became our shorthand for staying in contact while physically distanced, we all talked about “skyping”. So what’s changed?
Skype was bought by Microsoft a few years back, and became part of the Office suite.
It’s now being upgraded into Teams: a workplace collaboration tool, with video conferencing as one element.
So if your workplace uses Microsoft products such as Word and Excel, then it makes sense to discuss your work via Microsoft Teams, too.
It’s not limited to those within your organisation, though: you can host conferences of up to 10,000 participants.
Video and audio quality are good, though Skype was previously famed for a tendency to freeze on occasion. Download the app to try out today’s version for free.
Get a quote from Gadget Cover today
Whichever app you choose, certain elements, such as video and audio quality, will only ever be as good as the hardware you’re using.
So it pays to have a great quality device – and to protect it with insurance for iPhones.
Gadget Cover provides cover for a range of mishaps, such as accidental damage, liquid damage, breakdown, unauthorised usage and theft.
For an extra premium, you can get your smartphone covered for loss, too.
Contact Gadget Cover today for a quote.