SEMA News—December 2020

INTERNET

By Joe Dysart

Four Quick Video Marketing Solutions Internet

Getting comfortable attending a web video meeting for the first time can take as little as five minutes.

Remote Work
Cool new tools have emerged for remote workers.

With remote workers now a critical component of many businesses, managers and staff are increasingly turning to easy-to-use video meeting software to assemble quick get-togethers over the internet. The tools differ from more sophisticated teams collaboration software in that they generally focus primarily on gathering people together for video meetings and perhaps working with a few barebones collaboration tools.

However, the tools offer a distinct advantage over many teams collaboration software packages in that the learning curve is extremely short. You can get comfortable with some tools (Zoom, for example) in as little as five minutes.

The good news about remote working facilitated by web video meetings is that increasing numbers of businesses are getting comfortable with the idea, and increasing numbers of firms are seeing that remote working can actually increase productivity. For example, a January 2020 survey from GetApp, a software review hub, found that 36% of those surveyed reported working remotely at least one day per week, and 58% reported working remotely at least once a month.

“The study uncovered just how profoundly technology is evolving our workplace,” said Thibaut de Lataillade, global vice president for GetApp.

Meanwhile, a July 2019 study released by the Centre of Economics and Business Research found that 93% of all workers surveyed said virtual/remote working enabled them to manage their time more effectively, and 68% of part-time workers in the same study said working remotely allowed them to get more work done, given that they would spend less time commuting.

“Remote work has long been heralded as a key productivity hack,” said Tim Manahan, chief marketing officer for Citrix Systems, an IT services firm. “Now there’s proof that workers with flexible arrangements are likely to get more done.”

Generally, you’ll find that the top web video meeting tools offer most of the same functions. Key distinguishing characteristics amid the offerings are audio/video signal reliability, security and special perks. The easiest way to unearth those differences is to narrow your choices to a few and put each through its paces to see its real-world performance in terms of signal reliability, security and any idiosyncratic perks.

Otherwise, you should expect to see an easy-to-use system no matter what top video meeting software you chose, along with standard features such as screen sharing, meeting recording, written transcripts of meetings, good security, and system ability to integrate with popular business applications.

Here’s a rundown of the top four web video meetings solutions according to G2 Crowd (www.g2.com/categories/video-conferencing/free), a software review site that features hundreds of thousands of reviews from business users:

Zoom (https://zoom.us); 4.5 of 5 stars; 22,000+ reviews; pricing starts at free: One of the most popular video meeting alternatives, Zoom saw the use of its service balloon from 10 million in March 2019 to 200 million in March 2020 (during the start of the coronavirus epidemic), according to Eric Yuan, company CEO. The company experienced some bumps along the way with reports of “Zoom bombers”—uninvited guests barging into Zoom video meetings to wreak havoc.

To be fair, however, most of those encounters arose from inexperienced Zoom users who did not know how to use the tool’s privacy controls. The result was that those controls have been reworked so they’re simpler to use, and the tool continues to experience wide popularity.

Logging onto Zoom requires little more than responding to an invitation to a meeting and then entering a short string of numbers and sometimes a password to enter. As with many video meeting tools, once inside you’re greeted with a screen filled with images of other meeting attendees that looks a lot like the format of the “Hollywood Squares” TV show.

A host runs the meeting, and you’re able to be recognized to speak by raising your virtual hand. You also communicate with other meeting members using text chat.

Hosts have other controls, such as the ability to mute and unmute members, allow or prohibit people to enter the meeting room, disable or enable anyone’s camera or audio, and similar organizational conveniences. Other cool tools include the ability to record video of a meeting, the ability to obtain a written transcript of the meeting, and the ability to integrate Zoom with Google Calendar, Workplace by Facebook, Salesforce and other popular apps.

If you’re entering a Zoom meeting for the first time, it takes about five minutes to become acquainted with how the tool works, and most computer-savvy people will understand how to run a meeting on Zoom after about an hour or two of study and practice.

Zoom is currently running a generous offering in which you can host up to 100 participants as well as unlimited one-to-one meetings for up to 40 minutes for free.

GoToMeeting (www.gotomeeting.com); 4.2 of 5 stars; 10,000+ reviews; pricing starts at $12 per month: GoToMeeting works a lot like Zoom and also offers users the ability to share a desktop and collaborate on popular applications while attending a meeting. You’ll also find whiteboard and drawing tools in GoToMeeting, along with controls that the host can use to administer the meeting.

With GoToMeeting, you can record and store an unlimited number of meetings and receive written transcripts of the meetings as well as shorter meeting recaps. Users who play back recordings of the meetings also have the option to see text of what’s being said during playback.

Like many video meeting apps, it offers good integration with Office 365, Google Calendar, Slack, Salesforce, HipChat and other popular applications.

Cisco Webex Meetings (www.webex.com/video-conferencing); 4.2 of 5 stars); 10,000+ reviews; starts at free: Marketing itself as a higher-end video meeting alternative, Webex also costs a bit more than its competitors. As with similar tools, you get screen sharing as well as call scheduling, calendar app integration, file sharing and polls.

Whiteboarding also comes with Webex, as does text transcriptions of meetings and beefed-up security such as optional multifactor authentication to enter meetings and mandated password changes for recurring meetings.

Webex integrates with Google Calendar, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Moodle, Canvas, Zapier and similar popular applications.

BlueJeans (www.bluejeans.com); 4.3 of 5 stars); 3,000+ reviews; starts at $9.99 per month, billed annually: BlueJeans has a reputation for extremely high-quality audio and claims that you can schedule, join and host a “one-touch” meeting in just six seconds.

BlueJeans stores your meetings in the cloud and offers meeting members the ability to break out into smaller meetings on the fly. As with similar tools, you’ll find app collaboration with BlueJeans along with content sharing, whiteboarding and screen sharing.

It integrates with a number of other apps, including Salesforce, Trello, Slack, G Suite, Hipchat, Outlook and Office 365.

Joe Dysart is an internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.

646-233-4089

joe@dysartnewsfeatures.com

www.dysartnewsfeatures.com

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