Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped thousands of businesses choose the right online meeting software so they can reduce conferencing costs and host webinars.

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RingCentral MVP

RingCentral Office is a cloud-based business phone solution that offers business communication tools for video, voice, fax and text. Core features of the solution include conferencing, auto-recording and unlimited long-distance an... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 31 recommendations

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Nextiva

Nextiva is a platform that brings communications together with business applications, intelligence, and automation. This helps businesses communicate and build deeper connections with their customers. The platform brings all ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 30 recommendations

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GoToConnect

GoToConnect (formerly Jive) delivers a cloud-based unified communication solution to organizations of all sizes across the U.S. GoToConnect includes integrated products for business VoIP, video conferencing and contact center whic... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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Vonage Business Communications

Vonage Business Solutions is a cloud-based communications solution suitable for small and midsize companies. The solution offers a business phone system that enables businesses to connect their VoIP phone system to internet-enable... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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8x8 Virtual Office

Virtual Office is a collection of comprehensive web-based business VoIP solutions from offered by 8x8. Enterprise grade phone service, virtual meetings, mobile applications, virtual contact centers and more are available to help c... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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net2phone

net2phone’s cloud PBX VoIP phone solution enables businesses to communicate in a variety of methods, whether voice, texting, messaging or web chat, over an array of devices, in the office and on the go. The net2phone solution feat... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Business Plus

Business Plus is a cloud-based VoiP solution created by PanTerra, which allows users to take or make calls from their office phone number, communicate with their team, and have file access, all from any device with an internet con... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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CallTrackingMetrics

CallTrackingMetrics is a cloud-based call tracking and contact center solution for businesses and agencies that helps with tracking campaigns, reaching new audiences through integrated text marketing and online forms and using int... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Dialpad

For quickly growing businesses looking to efficiently scale their support teams, Dialpad provides a cloud-based call center with access to real-time customer insights. Dialpad allows users to onboard quickly and focus on deliverin... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Twilio

Twilio's Voice API is a fully programmable VoIP system that helps companies make, manage and route calls to a browser, app, phone and more. Key features include call monitoring, call transcripts, call routing, PBX, auto dialer / p... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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SpitFire

Designed as a hybrid call center solution, SpitFire Enterprise utilizes powerful dialing tools to assist call centers in the telemarketing, financial services, healthcare, and education industries launch blended inbound and outbou... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, is a suite of office collaboration and productivity applications. The software encompasses modules that enables the use of Microsoft Office suite and cloud-based solutions such as Skype, Exchang... Read more

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GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is a video conferencing and collaboration software that can launch meetings from various locations such as email, Microsoft Office, and instant-messaging tools. The solution is suitable for businesses of all sizes and ... Read more

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TeamViewer

TeamViewer is an online meeting and video conferencing solution that connects any PC, mobile and server to each other globally. The solution is available in nearly all countries and supports over 30 languages. TeamViewer is suitab... Read more

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Google Meet

Google Meet is a video conferencing app. It is the business-oriented version of Google's Hangouts platform and is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution enables users to make video calls with up to 30 users per high-de... Read more

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Zoom MeetingsFrontRunners 2021

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing software solution that allows organizations in the educational, financial, health care, and government sectors to conduct virtual meetings and collaborate in real-time using integrated comm... Read more

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Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex is a video conferencing software designed for all types of business. It is equipped with layouts that can be customized and allows for active participation in the meetings. Users can organize or join conferences v... Read more

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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based group chat solution that helps teams collaborate on documents. Its key features include messaging, conferencing and file sharing. Microsoft Teams has replaced Skype for Business as Microsoft's onli... Read more

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ConnectWise Control

ConnectWise Control is cloud-based operations management solution that allows technicians to perform remote support, gain remote access and run remote meetings. It acts as a meeting point for technicians and customers, enabling th... Read more

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Join.MeFrontRunners 2021

Join.me is an online meeting platform that helps businesses manage meetings and team collaboration. Key features include real-time presentations, mobile whiteboards, scheduling, toll-free audio, chat and more. Designed f... Read more

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: June 2, 2021

There are a number of different software products on the market for online conference calling and video conferencing. In this guide, we’ll explain how online meeting software can facilitate a variety of business processes, including:

  • Internal collaboration
  • Remote work
  • Webinars
  • New employee training
  • Broadcasting presentations to large audiences

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Online Meeting Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Common Features of Online Meeting Software
Pricing Options

What Is Online Meeting Software?

Conference calling and video conferencing are two of the most important technologies in contemporary workplace collaboration. In fact, Software Advice research found that one in four employees in the U.S. uses audio or video conferencing at work.

Online meetings enabled by conferencing software can take a variety of forms, from simple collaboration between employees to complex presentations for potential investors. Generally, screen-sharing and audio and video conferencing applications are all that is needed for one-on-one meetings.

Larger meetings, on the other hand, require specialized Web conferencing products, which offer audio and video conferencing functionality along with special features for hosting webinars.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The market for conferencing solutions is vast, and there are different solutions available for different business needs. To find the solution that best meets your needs, you need to consider how you plan to use the software. Most businesses use conferencing solutions for one of the following activities:

Internal collaboration. Online meeting software for employee collaboration includes basic applications, such as audio conferencing, video calling and screen-sharing. These applications are also found in many VoIP phone systems. Unified communications (UC) clients, such as Microsoft Lync and IBM Sametime are the most complete internal collaboration tools, as they integrate conferencing and other communication channels (e.g., instant messaging, presence, voice calling) within a single user interface. However, many UC solutions are designed (and priced) for enterprise-level rather than small businesses.

Webcasts. Webcasts are streaming broadcasts of content over the Internet. While webcasts usually deliver pre-recorded content, businesses can also webcast live events to reach a greater audience. Some Web conferencing platforms offer special functionality for webcasting, such as streaming slideshows combined with audio conferencing (where participants can view a slideshow and discuss it with others in real time).

Webinars. Webinars are online seminars that allow for more participants than webcasts. They also allow participants to interact with the presenter by asking questions and making comments. Webinars can be used to build brand awareness by presenting information on trending topics, to educate users about a product or to provide updates to customers and investors, among many other purposes.

Web training. Some Web conferencing vendors offer solutions with dedicated functionality for training employees. For instance, presenters can split participants into “breakout session” groups for closer, more interactive collaboration. Reporting functionality also allows administrators to see how well employees are performing on tests and to track if employees are attending sessions, and for how long.

Common Features of Online Meeting Software

Conference calling and video conferencing can be supported by private branch exchange (PBX) systems, which are the basic components of business phone systems. Using a PBX system designed for use with VoIP service (known as an Internet Protocol PBX, or IP PBX), businesses can make and receive conference calls via hardware conference phones and video phones, or through software applications that have been configured as extensions of the phone system.

Software applications are also used in some stand-alone Web and video conferencing products, such as Skype.

An emerging technology known as Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) promises to make it possible to use standard Web browsers to make and receive audio and video calls and participate in online meetings. This technology wouldn’t require client applications or even browser plug-ins to be downloaded. While some vendors already offer plugin-free Web conferencing with WebRTC, other Web conferencing products depend on plug-ins and extensions, and some require users to navigate to Web portals in their browsers in order to join conference calls and video meetings.

The table below lists the most fundamental online conferencing applications:

Audio conferencing Allows users to make calls between more than two participants. Some phone systems limit users to three-way calling, while others offer true audio conferencing that can support thousands of participants.
Video conferencing Allows users to make calls and coordinate meetings involving streaming video and audio, and is offered as part of some phone systems. Stand-alone solutions may require installation of on-premise hardware (e.g., recording equipment and widescreen displays) to ensure high-quality video and audio for participants.
Screen-sharing Allows a user to view another user’s screen and activity in real time. Included in most stand-alone video conferencing solutions and some VoIP phone systems, this application is particularly valuable for remote workers.
Recording Allows participants in a conference to record audio and video for later review. Web conferencing solutions also allow users to broadcast pre-recorded content.
Moderation Allows conference hosts to do things such as add, drop and mute participants.

Though Web conferencing products offer screen sharing, recording, moderation, audio and video conferencing functionality, they’re used in different contexts than basic audio and video conferencing solutions. Thus, they also offer a number of specialized applications, such as:

Interactive polling Allows presenters to instantly administer polls to webinar participants and show the results in real-time.
Email invitations Allow presenters to send emails with information on how to join the webinar, or with “click-to-join” links that allow participants to join directly from the email message.
Persistent conference rooms Allow presenters to design a “virtual conference room” by uploading materials and recording content before the webinar.
Annotation tools Allow presenters to highlight/mark up slideshows, images and other materials used in presentations.

Most stand-alone Web conferencing products include some or all of the applications in the above table. Additionally, some enterprise UC systems offer Web conferencing within a broader integrated suite of communications applications.

Pricing Options

Pricing options for online meeting software vary according to solution type:

Stand-alone video and Web conferencing applications. Pricing for these products is on a per-user, per-month basis. Users have presenter privileges, so you only need to license employees who will be presenting webinars or regularly using video conferencing.

The price for a stand-alone video conferencing solution depends primarily on the number of employees you want to license. Pricing for Web conferencing software products, on the other hand, follows a tiered scheme that factors in both the number of hosts and the maximum number of participants allowed in the conference room.

Stand-alone audio conferencing services. Stand-alone audio conferencing services are priced somewhat differently, as they tend to follow a per-minute, per-line pricing model (businesses pay per-minute rates for each participant in the conference room).

Business phone systems including conferencing. Audio, video and Web conferencing functionality is also included as part of some on-premise and cloud-based phone systems designed for VoIP service. These systems are generally priced on a per-user, per-month basis.

Telepresence systems. High-end video conferencing systems (also known as telepresence systems, due to the fact that their advanced widescreen displays allow participants to appear virtually “present”) generally involve custom, on-premise installation work. Pricing depends on factors such as how many physical conference rooms will be equipped for telepresence and how many screens are needed. These systems generally involve a steep, one-time investment in equipment and installation, though some vendors allow businesses to rent equipment on a monthly basis.

Cloud-based vs. on-premise. Most stand-alone audio, Web and video conferencing solutions are cloud-based. Maintenance, upgrades and support are provided by the software vendor (generally for an additional fee). Business VoIP systems that include conferencing applications can be deployed either as cloud-based or on-premise solutions.

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Online Meeting Software, January 2021

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Online Meeting Software products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

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“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: The reviews analysis period spans two years and ends on the 15th of the month prior to publication.