Organising virtual meetings and events is a must for the hybrid workplace. As organisations find new ways to manage remote workers and diverse teams, virtual meetings are the new norm.
With advances in technology and event marketing, we’ve seen many new virtual event platforms keeping businesses running.
Virtual events are not limited to hosting webinars, training sessions or connecting with remote team members. They are about opening new communication channels that promote audience engagement and transform the virtual workspace into a visually rich digital environment.
The percentage of ongoing virtual events skyrocketed in 2020. As a result, many companies are looking into the best platform for hosting a virtual event.
Whether you’re planning to host training sessions, breakout sessions, a training webinar for internal employees, an industry-wide conference, virtual conferences or a virtual meeting, the virtual online event platforms will include a variety of features, such as:
- Live and pre-recorded video streaming
- Mobile accessibility
- Chat messaging
- File sharing capabilities
- Virtual whiteboards
- Shared screen
- Virtual waiting room
- Breakout rooms
- Pass presenter tool
- Polling tools
- App integration
- Audio and video recording
- In-app conference registration
- Automated reminders
- Q&A tools
- Engagement analysis on attendance and lead generation
- In-app offers
- Integration with live streaming social media platforms
- Active speaker view
- AI and gamification features
- Backgrounds to create a branded virtual environment
When looking at the available virtual event platforms, one stands head and shoulders above the rest with its audio and video quality and software versatility.
Zoom supports live events and webinars with up to 50,000 viewers and a maximum of 100 live video panellists. In addition to broadcasting online conferences on YouTube Live and Facebook Live, Zoom Events also integrate with Salesforce, Hubspot, Eventbrite and other popular CRM tools for any pre or post-event messaging or enquiries.
To prevent the act of ”Zoombombing”, the platform is password-protected and has virtual waiting rooms along with AES-256 encryption.
Zoom’s event technology has many additional features, such as:
- Pass presenter features
- File and video sharing
- Virtual backgrounds
- Polling and Q&A tools
- List of participants
- Attendee engagement analysis
- Reporting metrics
- Screen share capabilities
- Chat messaging
- Closed captioning
- Active speaker view
- Local and cloud recording
- Whiteboard tool
Zoom’s best feature is the ability to divide attendees into breakout rooms for a group chat. This separation changes the attendee experience to focus on the direct engagement of your audience. It’s ideal for conferences highlighting attendee collaboration, networking, and company-wide training.
Most organisations like Zoom are a comprehensive solution for all virtual meets within the team and others outside the organisation. It has enjoyed increased popularity among educational institutions, and it is the preferred virtual meeting platform for schools and universities post-covid. Freelancers and independent contractors also widely use Zoom to schedule meetings with existing and potential clients.
The multitude of valuable features places Zoom among the top video chat services for both business and pleasure. A convenient yet straightforward feature is hiding your background, which proved a novel way of hiding your messy living room as people transitioned to work-from-home life. Then there is the "touch up my appearance" setting, which smoothes your features to make you look more presentable. Other video chat apps don’t usually have that option.
We also enjoy Zoom’s easy-to-navigate interface. As a meeting host, you can easily switch from speaker view (a big window focused on the active speaker) to gallery view (a grid of video rectangles from everyone on the call). Participants can mute or unmute their camera, turn the video on and off, record the meeting, share their screen, virtually raise their hand and use the chat function or emoji reactions to respond.
Meeting hosts have the freedom to create smaller breakout rooms and enable much-needed security settings like a waiting room.
Zoom offers several tiers that support additional participants, with the maximum number being 1,000. Most people are pleased with the free version of Zoom. Compared to other virtual meeting platforms, the free version offers all the necessary features to enable effortless communication for remote teams and participants. Anyone can sign up for a free account and host up to 100 participants for up to 40-minute group meetings or unlimited one-on-one meetings.
If you're looking for more features, you can upgrade to Pro ($150 a year for each license), Business ($200 a year per license) or Enterprise ($200 a year per license). All licenses come with unlimited group meeting times.
The Benefits of Zoom over other virtual event software
Zoom has enjoyed great success across businesses, schools and consumers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s straightforward to get started with the platform.
You open the app and create a meeting or join one through a link. You're then automatically placed into the meeting dashboard, which is minimalistic and easy to use -- you'll see the buttons to turn your mic and camera on or off, and tabs for security, participants, chat, share screen, record, breakout rooms and reactions. You don't have to deal with calendars or a lengthy sign-up process.
Even with the recent security issues it experienced, Zoom released an update to patch existing vulnerabilities. Since then, Zoom has been the preferred video conferencing software for global organisations. On top of its current functionality, Zoom is powering forward with new features and services.
The refining and development of new features have evolved Zoom into more than a simple video chat mobile app. In October, the company launched a beta version of OnZoom, a platform for posting and finding quarantine-friendly in-person and virtual events, ranging from concerts to cooking and fitness classes. New Zoom Apps, coming by the end of the year so that you can access tools like Dropbox, Slack and Asana directly from video chats for easier workplace collaboration.
In 2021, Zoom is just as popular as it was at the beginning of the pandemic. People use it on their desktop or mobile app, Amazon Echo Show devices, Google Nest smart displays and the Facebook Portal. The video conferencing platform is fast becoming an at-home service for connecting socially rather than just a workplace tool.
In times of continued lockdown and social distancing, organisations and people find new ways to stay connected. And apps like Zoom are making it possible wherever you are in the world.