Welcome to 2023, where more and more offices are upgrading their hybrid work spaces to accommodate full in-office staff, the #WFH crowd, and those in-betweeners who commute twice a week. The number of employees that primarily work from home has tripled since 2019, with an astounding 27.6 million people having the option to remain out of the office on a regular basis.
As we continue to move into a normalized hybrid working environment, improvements to early conferencing tools, plus some up-and-coming technology, can change the way we view work, productivity, and collaboration.
See what our top five picks are for virtual conferencing platforms in 2023.
Zoom | Ease of Use
It's an oldie, but we still love it. After skyrocketing into popularity due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom has made online video conferencing a daily routine for most businesses, schools, and even tele-health professionals.
Since its rise in popularity, Zoom has built upon its platform to include several necessary tools to improve the video call experience, including simultaneous screen sharing and interactive annotations for quick edits.
Although Zoom had a quick rise to fame, its main draw is its familiarity, not features. Most people can intuitively use the Zoom platform without any technical issues. This is why Zoom is still the most popular platform for hosting large conference calls and marketing webinars.
Google Meet | Accessibility
As one of Google's many software offerings, Google Meet is a simple and reliable virtual conferencing platform that is automatically integrated with everyone's favorite online calendar.
When your company assesses its accessibility policies, Google Meet may be the best option for inclusive video conferencing. With increased care in developing accessibility features for the platform, Google Meet offers live captions for deaf and hard-of hearing attendees, various visual modifications made available via Google's Chrome Browser, and physical shortcuts like keyboard strokes and a push-to-talk feature.
Being a part of Google's expansive software applications, Google Meet has the unique benefit of being seamlessly integrated with online software that is used by over 270 million people.
Whereby | Customization
When it comes to underdog software, Whereby definitely takes the cake. While the world's most popular virtual conferencing platforms are Zoom, Google Meet, and MS Teams, Whereby has offered itself as an easy-to-use solution with a beautiful interface and several big name companies as users. In fact, Hypersign has incorporated Whereby into its rotation of internal conferencing solutions.
While Whereby offers popular features like most other video conferencing platforms (i.e. whiteboard, screen share, and breakout groups), its customization and integration abilities makes the software stand out.
Our favorite feature of Whereby is that your company can embed the service into any website or software service. The best part? Embedding is free (with additional charges for upgrades). You can also edit the user interface with your own branding, create a custom URL for personal meeting rooms, and name your online video groups (great for department meetings and lunch hangs).
Microsoft Teams | Feature Set
Unlike other virtual conferencing platforms, Microsoft (MS) Teams is an all-encompassing workforce management software that provides companies with tools needed for enterprise communication. While not necessary for smaller companies, MS Teams is a great solution for large organizations to stay connected, especially through video calls and meeting scheduling.
Using the MS Teams application lets you conduct meetings as if you were in the same space as other virtual attendees. As you utilize MS Teams in your company, the connection to other Microsoft applications, such as OneDrive and your calendar, help team members stay organized while seamlessly sharing important assets to between departments and amongst work groups.
One unique feature that we love for any organization is the MS Teams speaker coach. According to Microsoft, the speaker coach feature is designed to be your "private, personalized coach helping you bring your confident and best self into every meeting." This means silent prompts for speech pacing, speaker interruption notifications and post-meeting feedback.
Webex | Security
Like most online software, privacy and security is a huge factor when choosing a video conferencing platform. Webex, a Cisco collaboration solution, prioritizes cyber security for its communication platforms, making it a unique video conferencing solution.
To protect user data and privacy, Webex implements various authentication measures for individuals when sharing files and automatically stores data in locations approved by IT administrators. With technology designed to accommodate hybrid work environments, organizations are able to safeguard their employees' video conferencing experiences while protecting user data and information from loss and theft.
Stepping into 2023, we want to equip ourselves with the tools needed to thrive in hybrid work environments and get the most from our video conferencing platforms. While most virtual calling software have similar features, the five we mentioned above all excel in different areas.
For more information on collaboration in hybrid environments, check out our HuddleUP extension for enterprise, health care, and higher education.