5 Free Online Meeting Apps You Need to Know in 2021

By Bells Zhai

It has been over a year since COVID-19 changed every aspect of our personal and working life. Although the process of the vaccine has begun in most countries slowly, it will still take some patience till the day that we get rid of the physical restriction caused by the pandemic. For a year, remote working is the transition that companies need to make. To work remotely, meeting colleagues or clients online is a day-to-day issue.

COVID-19 Led the Digital Transformation Meme from medium.com

Working from home could be a big challenge for most people. It is hard enough to communicate with people face-to-face in the office sometimes, let alone contact each other online in scattered locations. Therefore, finding a good online meeting app is crucial. A good online meeting application can both support your daily communication need within the team and offer you smooth voice/video calls experience for work as if you are talking to each other without the screen in between.

In today’s comparison review, LSBC wants to share some honest user experiences with you. If you are trying to decide which online meeting apps to switch to for a change, just read on!

We Recommend 5 Free Online Meeting Apps for Teams Who Work Remotely in 2021

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a business communication platform that used by many companies. It offers multiple functions, such as workspace chat, video conferencing, file storage, and application integration. Microsoft Teams operates on most computer systems, for example, Windows, macOS, Linux, and IOS… Moreover, it can hold up to 250 people in one meeting.

Basic Interface Display from onlinemagazin.wagner.ch

Besides, it offers the scheduling function. Microsoft Teams syncs with your calendar and pulls in all existing appointments, it also displays suggested times, when all the other attendee’s within each dedicated Team are free. Moreover, it supports Real-time document collaboration, which allows employees to collaborate, co-author, and edit documents seamlessly at the same time, making teamwork easy and effective.

Zoom

Zoom, founded in 2011, is a relative newcomer in the video-conferencing application landscape. However, in early 2020, Zoom’s software usage saw a significant global increase following the introduction of quarantine measures adopted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. After surging 635% in 2020, Zoom became the most well-known video conferencing app.

Zoom Meeting Display from www.fool.com

One of the biggest advantages of Zoom is that it supports a large audience. It is especially popular among Universities and large enterprises. If you are using Zoom for Webinars, it can allow up to 10,000 virtual attendees to sign up. Another appealing feature of Zoom is that it does allow you to hold unlimited 45-minute long meetings (actually longer) for no charge. For many small businesses under the financial pressure brought by the pandemic, Zoom is also a rather good choice. It allows you to share your screen and audio. You can record the video call too.

Despite the strong video call functions, Zoom’s chat function is not the most comprehensive. It is very simple but allows you to save the chat history. But hey, that’s life, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Google Meet

Honestly, what would our world become without Google?

This online meeting app is specially developed for video call purpose, together with another app called Google Chat, they combined as the replacement for Google Hangout.

Example screenshot from YouTube

Compared to the other online meeting apps, Google Meet seems a bit plain with its super basic video call functions. However, the absolute winning feature lies in the fact that the app allows users to join pre-scheduled meetings from calendar events. Choose a link, enter the meeting code and even dial in from their phones if the invitation includes a phone number. Furthermore, with the invitation Gmail you sent/received, you can see a real-time update of the availability (accept/reject/maybe) of the attendees invited.

Skype (for Business)

Skype is one of the earliest video calling apps that ever existed. Developed by Microsoft, Skype for Business is an enterprise software application as a part of the Microsoft Office suite. But what’s the difference between the two apps? In short, Skype is great for home and works well for very small organizations (up to 20 participants). Meanwhile, Skype for Business is great for larger organizations and lets you add a lot more people (up to 250 participants) to online meetings. Secondly, Skype for Business gives you enterprise-grade security and allows you to manage employee accounts. Lastly, it is integrated into your Office apps (Microsoft 365, Outlook, and SharePoint).

Skype for Business Display Example from www.techrepublic.com

So if you have doubts about your cybersecurity using Skype for an important work meeting, then make sure you try Skype for Business.

Discord

The last one is an honorable mention. As an international non-profit organization located in Europe, LSBC’s young talented interns come from all over the world. In other words, remote working” or “online meeting” is not a stranger to us. No matter if there’s a Corona lockdown or not, our work is mainly carried out remotely. Thus, we value the flexibility, simplicity, and communication versatility of a co-working App that suits a small team of 15-20 people. Other than Trello, the platform we use as our task board, in our daily communication, Discord is our choice. Although Discord enjoys its reputation as a game streaming app, it’s not inferior in a working environment.

Screenshot of LSBC’s Discord Channel

Discord mainly supports Text Channels and Voice Channels. Voice Channels are like separate rooms, click to join, which makes voice calls super easy. Besides, what I like the most is its color-coding function. It is very easy to identify colleagues who are from the same department. That is to say, it works perfectly for an organization like LSBC with frequent personnel changes.

Some Takeaway

In general, all apps mentioned above are great competitors in the market. Each one has its specialty and weakness. But what’s most important is to know which one makes you most happy. After reading this comparison review, we hope that you learned a bit more about these online meeting apps and find the right app for yourself or your business.


References

Giaquinto, R. (2020, June 2). Pros and Cons of Using Zoom, Keeping Businesses and Events Going. GreenGeeks Blog. https://www.greengeeks.com/blog/pros-cons-using-zoom/

Microsoft. (n.d.). Do I have Skype or Skype for Business? Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/do-i-have-skype-or-skype-for-business-997e00a7-4a6c-4733-87c1-7d8addd11ab0

Mitchell, E. (2021, February 2). The business benefits of Microsoft Teams | Infinity Group. IT Support Kent | IT Support London & Sussex | Infinity Group. https://www.infinitygroup.co.uk/blog/business-benefits-microsoft-teams/

What is Google Meet? How does it work and what are its features? – Quora. (n.d.). Quora. Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://www.quora.com/What-is-Google-Meet-How-does-it-work-and-what-are-its-features

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, April 6). Microsoft Teams. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Teams

Wikipedia contributors. (2021b, April 12). Zoom Video Communications. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_Video_Communications

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