According to statistics, last year the popularity of joint work over the internet has increased by 30% as compared to the year before. This reflects that web conferencing systems for small businesses are gaining popularity. Company owners can see that this type of system can boost the productivity of their employees and add to the convenience of communication.
These services are indispensable for coordinating meetings between people from different cities and countries, as well as webinars, lectures, distance employee training, and other occasions.
What is Web Conferencing Software?
Web conferencing applications are tools and techniques that allow us to arrange online-meetings and co-operate remotely in real-time. You can do presentations online, collectively work on documents and in special programs, watch videos, view images and websites using web-conferencing.
Usually, a web-conference is made possible by using an internet service. To implement it into the working process, you have to install a specific web-application into the PC, tablet or smartphone of each of the conference participants. Some services allow users to benefit from the program using a web-browser or special plugin.
Web conferences are often used in conjunction with some other services allowing for audio and/or video communication.
Why Should You Use Web Conferencing Software?
By utilizing web conferences in your work process you unlock the following possibilities:
- Shared access to the applications or entire screen;
- An interactive board available for all the participants;
- Showcasing web presentations;
- Joint web pages review;
- A presence check for all the members;
- Text chatting;
- VoIP or video communication;
- Ability to change the host of a presentation;
- Shared control over the keyboard and mouse;
- Accessories for feedback arrangement;
- Accessories for planning;
- Inviting new participants to the conference;
- Moderating a meeting;
- Keeping a record of the whole conference.
Benefits of Web Conferencing Software
Implementing web conferences implies some substantial benefits apparent for the employees and the executive team right away. These include:
- Enhanced employees mobility owing to the ability to participate in corporate discussions from any place in the world;
- The ability to work not only from a computer but also from a tablet, smartphone and even video codec;
- Considerable reduction in business trip expenses.
- Web-conferences allow to save time for both your colleagues and yourself;
- Solving any given task much faster owing to efficient cooperation provided by implementing a contemporary way of communication;
- Automated report building and client profiles accounting.
Features to Look For
There are some specifics in working with web conferencing programs to look for. They can vary depending on the type of application, but their basics are always the same.
Usually, to enter a system you have to install a specific application of some sort on your computer or another device. After you have done that, the first thing you want to do is just sign up or sign in if you already have an account. Enterprises often make use of their own single sign-on systems that simplify the utilization of the system.
This feature allows all the other conference participants to see your computer’s screen from anywhere. It is extremely convenient when it comes to showing a video, photo or text, or making some adjustments in real-time.
This function allows capturing the entire course of a web conference or particular pieces of it in the form of audio files. All the files are saved on the hard drive of the host, which allows reviewing the conference materials when needed.
Such a program often allows users to change microphone settings and adjust them to reduce different noises and enhance the sound. You can also switch the audio channel between the present loudspeakers.
In a private chat, you can discuss some questions with a specific employee during the conference, so you won’t distract anyone else. These chats are usually available at any given time, this means you won’t have to arrange a specific time and gather people to convey your message.
Web-based video conferencing software always has some kind of technical support that will help you online and answer your questions if something goes off-track. It also usually has a FAQ section, which saves a considerable amount of time and effort when you are still trying to make sense of a program.
If you are wondering what is the best web conferencing software, there are some criteria to help you to decide on the optimal option for your business. The choice depends mostly on the specific requirements a company puts on a program’s functionality.
Some of the basic requirements:
- Functionality — the range of possibilities a given software solution can provide and how well it fulfills the needs of the client company;
- Reliability — how stable a program is during the use, how well it performs its alleged features failure-free and what are the chances of malfunctioning;
- Operational efficiency — this implies optimal utilization of given hardware and the time required to complete a task;
- Ergonomics — the amount of free space on a hard drive needed to install the software;
- Modifiability — how many special tweaks, add-ons, and extensions are being released for a program;
- Portability — ideally, the software has to have a version for each of the devices you use: computers, tablets, smartphones.
Top 13 Web Conferencing Software
There are a lot of applications and programs for coordinating web conferences for small businesses. We will review some of them below.
One of the best web conferencing software for small business that allows to set up meetings, have discussions in chats and make calls both within a company and to other organizations that use the same program. Using Amazon Chine SDK, you can install the extensions for voice calls and video calls, and also for sharing the screen, directly into the applications.
The program has the following advantages:
- you get to choose the contact method you like;
- all types of communication in a single application;
- you pay only when you use the program.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business has been the best web conferencing solution for small business for some people in recent years. The application has the whole set of functions essential for a company’s successful operation. Skype supports the Office package programs and also the Outlook service which allows users to arrange meetings online. With this software, you can exchange instant messages with your colleagues at any time of the day and connect to a conversation in just one click. It also has the feature to record a conference to review it later if needed.
Meet by Google Hangouts
By means of this meeting software, you can easily host video conversations and invite other users to join you. To do this, just set up a meeting and share the link with your colleagues. No special tweaking or auxiliary applications are required: the app is available to anyone with a Google account. This software positively differs from all the other programs by its simplistic controls and interface that is easy to understand intuitively.
This program provides services for remote co-working. These include online meetings, online events, and remote technical support. Using this software you can share your monitor screen with all the participants of a conference, as well as share access to applications and documents in real-time. All the service packages provide users with unlimited online meetings, VoIP, video-conferences with multiple webcams and the recording feature.
This program’s main objectives are providing services of web-conferences and remote screen sharing. It also allows communicating with groups of people online: conferences up to 25 participants and webinars for as much as 1000 people at a time. The application also provides its users with the administrator’s tools to manage the participants of a hosted conversation.
One of the best online video conferencing software available on the market. Its main functions are creating online meetings, video conferences, and group chats. Besides that, this application allows to share the screen, create rooms for joint working, exchange messages, send emails, work with internet networks and connect to mobile devices.
Join.me is a service that can be used to initiate online conferences or VoIP-based meetings.
Among other features of this program are the following:
- sharing screen and mouse control on any computer;
- inviting new participants to take part in group discussions;
- recording negotiations, putting sessions on hold and planning meetings;
- Outlook, Google Calendar, and Salesforce integration option.
This application helps to establish a connection between its users using local, international and non-geographical phone numbers. You can also set up a shared screen, integrate the program with a CRM, and route the phone answers.
ClickMeeting is a platform that works on the basis of a web-browser. It can be used for starting planned or unplanned meetings, training sessions, and webinars. An online negotiation room is fixed to connect up to four participants at a time. You can also draw, make notes, work with presentations, pull some slides on the screen and so on.
One of the best web conferencing tools developed specifically for organizing interactive conferences and remote education. For this application to work, Adobe Flash Player has to be installed on a computer. If it isn’t there the program will offer you a free trial.
HIghFive is a service that allows for initiating video-conferences, works with different devices, records conversations and notifies you of any incoming calls or planned meetings. The remote screen sharing is in there, as well as the features of showing presentations and slides. Users can also participate in group chats and share their files with each other.
A versatile application combining the abilities to initiate web-conferences, webinars and online discussions. It is perfect for small business needs. It can also work with local phone numbers. There are versions for computers and smartphones available for download.
The application allows for making calls from any point of the planet on any device. The program can be installed on a computer or smartphone.
Tips for Deciding on the Best Option
To choose the appropriate application for conducting web conferences, you should consider their video conferencing options for small businesses.
Keep in mind the following features:
- The functionality available and which of the functions your company will make use of in the work process;
- Portability is important, watch for the most cross-platform options;
- Integration with other systems can be extremely useful;
- International calls available;
- Cost: always look for an optimal price-to-functionality ratio.
Installing one of the applications for organizing web conferences available on the market right now will save you a lot of time and effort and help you become more flexible and swift with your business affairs.
Keep in mind that any of these options will show the best results if combined with a CRM system such as Nimble.
Web conferences are a great way to make your business more adaptable and mobile, while also saving your money. There is no more need to go on a business trip to negotiate with your partners: all it takes is the right software and internet connection, and you can do the job in real-time.
Nowadays, there are numerous applications for initiating web conferences available to choose from. Some of them are perfect for small businesses as they meet the basic requirements and some additional functions that allow for more convenient business management.
Make your workflow even faster by installing Nimble: the CRM that’s tried and trusted by numerous small businesses.