Last week I was in a conversation when someone asked: “What web conferencing software do you use? What’s the best one, especially for work in the international arena where bandwidth can be an issue?”
This question comes up a lot, and I’m not sure there is a “best” web conferencing software. I responded by sharing what I’ve used in the past as well as the web tool that is my current favorite.
I’ve really been enjoying Zoom lately.
I’ve used WebEx and Adobe Connect and those platforms seem needlessly complex and I’ve found participants often have a hard time either logging on or using some of the interactive features. Plus these systems are pricey!
Blackboard Collaborate was an interesting solution at one point because it could adjust based upon a user’s bandwidth, but in the end it was truly a pain because you needed to download something every time you had a meeting. People were entering the meeting room 5 or 10 minutes late because they couldn’t log on without downloading the software each time.
Skype isn’t really a web conferencing tool, but for small meetings it works well for several reasons. First, people use Skype naturally for calling others socially, so it’s a technology people already have on their computers and are familiar with. Second, you can share screens and chat during Skype sessions, so you can certainly collaborate or show others what’s happening on your screen.
All this leads back to the platform I’ve grown fond of over the past several months: Zoom. It’s free to sign up for (you obviously need to upgrade if you want to use many of the more advanced features). It’s easy to schedule meetings within the platform. The learning curve to use the features are pretty simple. There’s a mobile app which works quite well for participants who want to join a session but aren’t in front of their computer. You can chat and poll people and divide groups into breakout rooms for small group discussion. You can draw on the screen.
Zoom has everything without being too complex in the Presenter or the Participant interfaces.
There are a lot of tools out there, but Zoom definitely seems to do the trick, and the premium service is quite reasonably priced.
How about you? What web conferencing platform do you prefer (and why)?
While we’re on the topic of web conference meetings, make sure your meeting doesn’t look like this!