In 2020, the demand for video conferencing tools increased by 500%. However, the coronavirus pandemic didn’t create the need for remote collaboration; it merely accelerated it. Employers and employees who now know that they can work from home may be more inclined to continue to do so to take advantage of its many advantages besides health and safety.
If your company is trending toward a hybrid workplace, you need a reliable video conferencing platform. Here is some guidance on choosing one that is most effective for your business while minimizing issues such as how to bypass zoom virtual background requirements.
What Are Your Specific Needs?
Each of the most common video conferencing platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, you need to figure out what you need from your platform before you can choose the one that works for your company.
Two of the most important considerations are cost and capacity. Some platforms have free versions that you can use as much as you want at no cost, but they have limitations on the number of participants or the amount of time that you can spend in a single meeting. Paid versions are usually available by subscription and offer a lot more features, but the monthly subscription cost can range widely.
You also need to consider the features that you need from your platforms, such as Google Meet office background and collaboration tools. Again, many of the features are only available with paid subscriptions, so you have to decide which capabilities you are willing to pay extra for and which you can do without.
Pros and Cons of Different Platforms
Here are some of the most popular platforms and the strengths and weaknesses of each:
- Google Meet allows you to hold unlimited meetings of up to 100 participants for free. It integrates with other Google products and comes with unlimited Google Drive storage for collaboration. It also offers automatic, real-time speech-to-text captioning, especially helpful for participants who may be deaf or hard of hearing. The subscription version is reasonably priced at $8 per month and allows you to record meetings. Even with a subscription, however, the maximum number of participants is 250.
- Microsoft Teams is the most comprehensive video calling platform, integrating collaboration tools, chat messaging, and audio conferencing. Once you figure out how to add virtual background in Teams, you can create a virtual auditorium in which all participants have the same background and can be seen at the same time. There is a free version and three paid versions starting at $4 per month, each with a maximum capacity of 300 participants and each with the ability to organize participants into smaller groups, hence the name “Teams.”
- Despite some flaws that needed to be patched early in the pandemic, Zoom is one of the highest-rated video conferencing tools available. For the free version, each meeting can only last 40 minutes if you have more than two participants, though you can work around that by scheduling multiple meetings in short succession. The maximum number of participants in the free version is 100. Paid plans lift these restrictions but are pricy, starting at $150 per month, and do not offer any collaboration tools.
Once you decide on your video conferencing platform, you need to find professional-looking backgrounds for use during meetings.