"Whether internal or external - there is always a lot to chat about in business, right? This does not only cost time but also energy and money. So, I'll show you a solution to avoid the time-consuming inefficient communication: online meetings. Thanks to the digital revolution, we are moving into a super relaxed and exciting future of corporate communications. Here, you will get a first overview of what you need to know."

1. What do I get out of online meetings?

  • Saves time and money
  • Strengthens internal and external company communication
  • Increases productivity
  • Work where, when and with whom you want
  • They help to cope with unexpected scenarios - deal with the unexpected
  • They are a plus for our environment, since long journeys are no longer necessary

2. What do I need?

Online meetings can be held on either computer or mobile. This requires:
microphone, webcam and loudspeaker. If not already integrated your preferred gadget, you
should buy them. To do this, a video conferencing tool is on hand and it's ready to go
- with a lot of fabulous features!

Not all meetings are the same. There are:

  • Web conferences
  • Webinars (seminars, lectures or workshops) and
  • Webcasts, which are non-interactive events broadcast via streaming video.

3. How do we communicate?

You have the possibility of audio conferences (either via telephone or via Web over VoIP
- Voice over Internet Protocol) and video conferences (ie online meetings, where audio
and video are simultaneously transmitted).

What features are there?

There are many different features depending on the communication tool you are using.
Which tools are most useful for your business?

  • Desktop sharing
  • Virtual collaboration in real-time (collaborative work on documents and within applications)
  • Virtual Whiteboards
  • Chat
  • Transfer of presentations
  • Spokesman organization
  • "Raise-hand" feature
  • Surveys
  • Recording functions (as a protocol but also for later as a podcast)
  • Additional functions for the appointment organization (schedule, invite participants and register)
    as well as for participant feedback

Choose your application:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS - Cloud Service, externally hosted)
  • Local installation (data is stored in the data center provided by the customer, keyword data
    protection, especially for medium and large enterprises

4. Tools

Fundamentally, the selection of communication tools is infinite.
I've put together some of my favorites for you here.

I am using: Google+ Hangouts 

Advantages:

  • Chat function, pure audio, but also video calls (HD resolution)
  • Brings all the important business features like screen sharing and document sharing
    capabilities with group calls
  • Up to 25 people access via desktop and mobile
  • Possibility to stream video calls live via Youtube

Disadvantage:

  • Google account is required

Good to know:

  • Google+: free (scaled-down version);
  • GSuite: starting at 4 Euros per month with limited storage space, business version
    starting at 8 Euros per month with unlimited storage space

    5. Skype for Business 

    Note: Skype for Business is not the same as Skype or Skype Premium. Both tools are
    only a limited business solution as certain features are not offered.

    Advantages:

    • provides all essential features (desktop sharing, whiteboard, data transfer, etc.)
    • also compatible with mobile devices
    • events can be scheduled directly via Outlook or with Lync Web Scheduler, Lotus Notes or Google Calendar
    • up to 250 participants; max. 5 users are visible simultaneously via video stream

    Disadvantage:

    • web conferencing service of product suite "Office 365"
    • single license from 4.20 Euros per month
    • huge installation effort; therefore good for internal conferences
    • more suitable for smaller companies

    6. Citrix GoToMeeting / GoToWebinar 

    Advantages:

    • 30 days free trial
    • intuitive and user-friendly; basic features for online meeting
    • web or desktop client; also available for mobile and phone
    • integration with Outlook or Lotus Notes
    • adjustable handling and useful additional features, e.g. ScreenClean

    Disadvantage:

    • single license 39 Euros per month or 372 Euros per year (meetings up to 15 participants)
    • no built-in tool for recording

    Good to know:

    Citrix also offers other solutions for special usage scenarios such as: "GoToWebinar".

    7. Cisco WebEx

    Advantages:

    • 30 days free trial
    • different usage scenarios and very extensive features
    • offers different products depending on the situation (individuals, small businesses, large companies)

    Disadvantage:

    • very extensive functionality, therefore very complex and combined with quite large learning effort
    • comparatively expensive single-entry Europe 38 Euros per month or 360 Euros per year (meetings up to 25 participants)


    Good to know: It's the market leader.

    8. Video Chat via Facebook Messenger 

    Advantages:

    • up to 6 participants in split windows; up to 50 participants can at least listen and comment
    • free and simple

    Disadvantage:

    • no additional business features

    9. Whatsapp video chat 

    Advantage:

    • both video chat and telephone functionality
    • free and simple


    Disadvantage:

    • only face-to-face communication
    • no additional business features
    • function not available in desktop version

    10. FaceTime 

    Advantage:

    • Free and simple


    Disadvantage:

    • only face-to-face communication; it's not possible to make conferences
    • only with iOS devices

    Questions?

    Do you have any questions about online meetings? No problem - you can chat with me at any time.