Best Tools for Online Meetings & Video Calls (COVID-19 Quarantine Freebies to Stay Connected)
Remote work is a current trend. With the high level of technological solutions offered by numerous vendors, individual entrepreneurs, as well as big and small teams, can be productive working from any place on Earth.
The flexibility of remote work is charming but for some freelancers, it's really challenging to create a distraction-free environment at home. However, they can always find exactly what they are looking for (i.e.: comfortable office space, advanced technology, supportive community, etc.) at your coworking space. Unfortunately, sometimes life is unpredictable and due to the coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic, your members are stuck in their homes.
The situation is stressful for both parties, all of us are kicked out of our comfort zones. The best thing a coworking operator can do now is follow a crisis-management plan and minimize losses via preserving the community.
Coronavirus crisis is a good chance for you to show members how much you care about their health and business success. Everything you are doing these days will be either rewarded with consumers' loyalty or ruin the trust to your coworking brand.
This article will provide you with an excellent excuse to get in touch with members and grab their attention with wholesome information.
In a time of public gatherings ban when entrepreneurs are tasked to balance work and life activities while staying isolated at home to prevent the infection spread, awesome tools for running the projects remotely appear as helpful as never before.
Big tech corporations like Microsoft, Google, LogMeIn, Cisco, and Zoom have already announced that their premium virtual communication tools are free for small businesses for the next three months or even longer.
You will find the list of those tools right under this text. Share it with your friends and residents, in a word, everyone considering sending employees to work from home for a few weeks and worried about having the systems in place to ensure connection. The good news is that the users don't have to spend a cent to use these premium services for remote work, online meetings, video calls, and conferences.
LogMeIn is one of the companies that contribute to the struggle with the spread of COVID-19. They are helping to organize efficient remote work providing their tools for free.
LogMeIn is well-known for its innovative products that fuel remote work for people all over the world. Their software is reliable enough to enhance productivity and communication when work conditions are unpredictable.
Who can use the free plans
Those are critical front-line service providers, including:
- eligible healthcare providers,
- educational institutions,
- non-profit organizations,
- current LogMeIn customers.
The above groups of people can enjoy free, organization-wide use of many LogMeIn products for three months through the availability of Emergency Remote Work Kits.
The tool enables face-to-face collaboration by means of online meetings. The participants can join from any device, be it desktop, web, or mobile.
The tool helps to transform any real-life even (conference, presentation, lecture, whatever) into an online gathering with up to 3,000 attendees. This is perfect for all-hands meetings or company-wide announcements.
- Pro by LogMeIn, Central by LogMeIn, and GoToMyPC
These easy-to-use solutions allow you to remotely access your work desktop from remote endpoints anytime, anywhere.
- rescueassist by LogMeIn
The tool will help to provide excellent support and resolve technical issues by delivering web-based support to customers, end users, unattended computers and servers no matter the crisis.
Livestorm can power meetings with Livestorm Meet (up to 8 participants), as well as large-scale events with Livestorm Webinars (up to 6 presenters and 1000 participants).
Livestorm Meet is a zero download video conferencing tool for remote meetings that is free during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Livestorm Meet has Instant Meeting rooms (rooms that have a single link and stay online 24/7, since they are always on, video recording is off on this product.) And also Scheduled Meetings, that's where you connect your calendar to automatically create meeting rooms that only stay online for the duration of the meeting. In this case, the recording is on.
Microsoft Teams chat app premium plan is now available for free six months trial period. That special trial subscription allows users to record meetings and use 1TB of storage, the benefits that were not available on the normal free version.
Microsoft Teams lets you make your meetings more efficient:
- You can meet with anyone, anywhere.
- Host one-one-one online meetings, teams, live events up to 10,000 people with consistent experiences across platforms.
- Add some intelligence to your meetings by sharing context and content and leveraging AI for assistance.
- Be sure that your meeting will comply with the highest business standards. Get high-quality audio, video, and screen sharing, and the same security and compliance of Office 365.
Google allows free access to the enterprise version of Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education users. The free plan includes up to 250 users per call, the ability to record meetings, and livestream capabilities for up to 100,000 viewers. The offer is valid until July 1, 2020.
Some key features of Hangouts Meet:
- Video meetings for your business from anywhere with easy-to-join video calls.
- Invite participants to join a video call by share a link. No need to worry about whether teammates, clients, or customers have the right accounts or plug-ins.
- Meet is fully integrated with G Suite, so you can join meetings directly from a Calendar event or email invite. All of the important event details are right there when you need them, whether you’re joining from a computer, phone, or conference room.
- You can join meetings on the go. Meet offers iOS and Android apps where you can see your meetings for the day with all the important information from Calendar, then join with a tap. G Suite's Enterprise edition also creates a dial-in phone number for each meeting. This means a great experience for every guest, even those who are on the road without wifi or data.
Hangouts Meet works with other meeting solutions. Teams using Skype for Business or meeting systems based on SIP and H.323 standards (e.g. Polycom and Cisco) can seamlessly join a Hangouts Meet meeting through the Pexip Infinity Platform.
Cisco Co is offering the free version of its WebEx service with no time restrictions. Besides, it allows up to 100 meeting participants and provides free dial-in features with a 90-day license for businesses that are not Cisco customers yet.
WebEx is a video conferencing tool that provides video-first experiences that bring you face-to-face, elevate your brand, showcase the best you, and increase your business reach. The technology integrates with the apps you use every day, so your work remains connected.
Zoom started to offer a free version of its videoconferencing software long before the coronavirus crisis. Currently, the company is working to ensure network reliability amid any capacity increases.
In addition, the company offers resources and information sessions to help small businesses use Zoom more efficiently. It has extended its free plan in China. Now it allows unlimited meeting times and breakout rooms without any restrictions on the number of participants.
Key reasons to use Zoom
- One consistent enterprise experience for all use cases.
- Engineered & optimized to work reliably.
- Up to 1,000 video participants & 10,000 viewers.
- Easy-to-use, buy & scale.
- Most affordable, straightforward pricing.
PowWowNow is one of the most reliable conference call providers that have extended the free trial period of services from 14 to 60 days. The decision was taken to help employees that work from home stay productive during the pandemic.
PowWowNow technology suite includes web meetings, video and conference calls.
Main features of online meeting tool:
- HD video,
- timescreen sharing,
- collaboration tools,
- instant messaging and analytics,
- no burden of contracts or downloads,
- easy to join.
Intermedia cloud communications service provides technology solutions for video conferencing and webinars at no cost through December 31, 2020. The offer is aimed to decrease the risks and facilitate the well-being of the business community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What exactly is given away?
- Free Intermedia AnyMeeting Video Conferencing Pro licenses for customers and partners. The software allows remote workers to hold global online meetings using high-definition video & audio conferencing, screen sharing, call recording, chats, note-taking, and more, with no restriction on meeting length.
- One free Webinar Pro license per account. The technology enables companies to hold larger live broadcast events for up to 200 people, such as corporate all-hands meetings, webinars, lectures, religious services, and other virtual events.
8X8 is a cloud communication company delivering innovative solutions for business continuity that allow people to work safely and productively from anywhere around the globe. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company noticed a significant increase in demand and usage of 8x8 Video Meetings. So, they expanded the global reach of free Video Meetings to help individual entrepreneurs, educators, and organizations worldwide.
New and enhanced features of 8x8 Video Meetings include:
- Unlimited usage - no restrictions on a number of meetings or meeting duration.
- International dial-in numbers in more than 55 countries including local and toll-free options.
- A browser-based interface that allows users to start or join meetings in a single click or touch.
- Calendar plugins for Google and Outlook that allow users to schedule and join 8x8 Video Meetings directly from their calendar.
- Cloud storage for meetings recordings.
- Support for live streaming of large meetings to YouTube.
- A permanent personal URL to a private virtual meeting space.
- Real-time meeting closed captioning and transcription.
- Machine learning-based noise detection and alerts for enhanced meeting experience.
Avaya Spaces remote collaboration app is now available for free to all educational institutions including colleges and universities along with non-profit organizations worldwide. The company provides a cloud meeting and team collaboration solution that enables people and organizations to connect and collaborate remotely.
The technology offers more than integrated chat, voice, video, online meetings, and content sharing. It gives users additional meeting and team collaboration features including voice and video conferencing for up to 200 participants. The solution is mobile-enabled which gives users a simple, secure and effective way to track communications and manage tasks in today's environment of limited travel and connectivity opportunities.
So, these were the results of my meeting software research. Staying at home and working remotely is the best way to avoid COVID-19 infection. However, it can get lonely sometimes. The above virtual communication tools will help your members to safely engage with teammates, coworking community, and customers.
Be supportive and caring, don't lose connection with consumers as this is the best way to get them back to your coworking space right after the quarantine.
If you feel like sharing tips and advice on how to help members survive the crisis and win their trust, please feel free to post them in the comments along with more free tools for remote conferencing I have missed on my list.