Online Meetings
Online Meetings vertical

Online meeting tech options

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Given the need to work remotely, technology has changed the game by providing a platform for online meetings that present incredible features and versatility. The days of running around town or flying halfway across the country just to attend a brief client meeting may neither be possible nor necessary.

With a number of tools and applications at your fingertips, such as instant messaging, whiteboarding, video connectivity and collaboration, and web conferencing, you can conduct meetings with your clients anywhere, anytime, and with many people at the same time. You can also create a great experience that brings your clients and staff together in one place, providing efficiency and endless opportunities for ideas, innovation and strategic client service.

Here are some popular online meeting applications for consideration.

Zoom. Zoom allows those with “Large Meeting” plans to host up to 500 or 1,000 participants. Also, webinars can handle virtual events and broadcast to up to 10,000 attendees. The platform features many ways to communicate with your team or clients, including by meeting or chat, video webinar, phone, conference room, or through the app. The app’s four plans include basic, pro, business and enterprise. The latter two plans offer more dynamic and powerful features, such as company branding, custom emails and cloud recording transcripts.

Google Hangouts. Ideal for smaller teams, Google Hangouts allows for group video chat with 10 to 25, and as many as 150 in a text-based meeting. Features include instant messaging and video chats with maps, emojis, GIFs and more, as well as the ability to call any phone number in the world.

Cisco WebEx. More than 130 million people per month across the globe attend a WebEx meeting, according to Cisco. The four-tiered platform versions include Starter, Plus, Business and Enterprise. All plans incorporate video conferencing, mobile capability, Facebook Live streaming, security features and integration with calendars, Microsoft teams, Slack, and Workplace by Facebook.

GoToMeeting. GoTo Meeting features virtual meetings with up to 250 attendees across nearly 200 countries. Benefits include breakout rooms, drawing tools, screen sharing, no download requirement, cloud recordings, top-notch security, and more.

Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration platform, equipped with document sharing and storage, online videoconferencing, app integration, a cloud-based phone system called Business Voice, and more. The platform can handle teams of all sizes. While the Essentials plan allows for 300 participants across unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours, the Business Basic Plan brings in features such as live captions in more than 30 languages, team meeting recordings with transcripts, web and mobile Microsoft 365 apps like PowerPoint and Outlook, extra cloud storage, and more. And, the Business Standard plans brings in all of these features, as well as webinar hosting, desktop versions of the Microsoft 365 apps, reporting tools, and customer appointment management.

No matter what time of the year, keep these online application in mind. Don’t give up in-person meetings, but consider these options to maximize everyone’s time.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published Oct. 19, 2016, and republished with updates on June 11, 2019, March 23, 2020, and March 29, 2021. Technology has also enabled innovations in tax planning and preparation. Take a look at the Intuit® Tax Pro Center article “Learn How Connectivity Tools Can Transform Your Practice!” for more information.

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