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Google Meet vs Hangouts: Things You Need To Know

Google Meet vs Hangouts

With remote working gaining currency as the new norm, numerous web conferencing and meeting applications have come about. Google has not been left behind either and has a massive following on Google Meet and Google Hangouts. And therein lies the confusion; Google Meet vs Hangouts, is there a difference, or are they one and the same thing?

Both tools form part of the Web & Video Conferencing offerings available from Google. And yes, there are several differences between the two. In this article, we take a look at 10 of them. Keep it here to learn more about these tools to determine the most suitable one for your needs.


Is Google Meet the same as Google Hangout?

Google Meet vs Hangouts, what’s the difference? Meet is a top-quality video conferencing software offered by Google within Google Workspace – the former G Suite. It is a paid online video chat or meeting service available at meet.google.com for all Google Workspace users. You can conduct your meetings over voice or HD Video Call.

Hangouts, on the other hand, is an all-in-one voice call, instant messaging, and video conferencing software available for all Google users. So, if you have a Gmail account, then you can access the service. What’s more, it’s free.

But which one should you opt for? To answer this question, it’s important to understand that your choice will depend a lot on your type of organization, meeting style, and the features you deem necessary.

To help you make a more informed choice, we take an in-depth look at the two services. Below is a comparative look at Google Meet vs Hangouts highlighting each tool’s salient features:

Is Google Meet the same as Google Hangout


1. Number of Allowable Participants

If you want to hold a meeting with video conferencing on Meet, you have a limit of up to 250 users. For additional participants, you’d need to utilize live streaming, which can support about 100,000 participants.

However, Hangouts is better suited for smaller meetings or personal use since it limits you to 150 chat participants. Furthermore, it doesn’t offer streaming and only supports video chats with 10 people.


2. External Meeting Participation

Google Meet allows external participants; hence you can invite people outside your organization to join in. You only need to email them an invitation link or share the meeting code. Hence, non-Google Workspace plus Gmail users can join a Google Meet meeting though only members can create new meetings.

The only way to participate in a Hangouts meeting is if you have a Gmail account. This is because Google Hangout is a part of your Gmail account. So, no Gmail account; no access to Google Hangouts.  


3. Interface and User Experience

Google Meet boasts a sleek, intuitive, and user-friendly UI. Better yet, you can choose to view everyone on your screen, either in grid form or singly. But on Hangouts, you only view a single participant with the other video participants available on a smaller horizontal stripe.


4. Screen Sharing Options

While Google Hangouts allows you to share your full screen, Meet allows better sharing via a specific tab or window. The latter option comes optimized for video sharing, so you can even watch YouTube videos from your friend’s screen.


5. Internet Usage

Internet connectivity can be quite unreliable at times, but this is where Google Meets trumps over Hangouts. Meet allows you to join a meeting by typing in the meeting code without using the internet to dial in. With Hangouts, you need to have an internet connection to dial in the number to connect you to the meeting.


6. Recording Your Meetings

record your meetings

With remote working, meetings have moved online. Thus, the ability to save, record, and safely store meeting minutes for review later is vital. Google Meet allows you to schedule, record your meetings, and saves the recording to your preferred drive storage. However, this feature is not available on Hangouts, so you might want to use an online meeting assistant like Aira.

If any key participant fails to attend a meeting, they can always have the minutes sent to them to keep them up to date.


7. Auto Captioning

If your meetings involve foreign participants, language barriers might be a challenge. But with Google Meet’s live instant captioning, this is not an issue. You only need to activate auto-captioning to view a live transcription of what each meeting participant is saying.

Unfortunately, Google Hangouts doesn’t provide this feature as yet.


8. Price Difference

Google Meet vs Hangouts, which is more affordable? Pricing is a key determinant of the choice of software for most users. Fortunately, Google Hangouts is a free service, the only limitation being the number of meeting participants and users on active video.

Google Meet, on its part, is a paid software service packaged together with Google Workspace Suite. To use Meet for video conferencing, your organization needs to be on Google Workspace. Since the bundle integrates with email, it works out as a good deal overall.


9. Extra Integrations

Google Meet boasts several integrations with Google apps like Gmail and Google Calendar and third parties such as Zapier and Fireflies. But Hangouts doesn’t have such integrations on its platform.


10. Serving Different Needs

Hangouts and Meet help meet different needs. Hangouts is best-suited for casual calls between friends, while Meet is sophisticated and suitable for large group meetings. Also, its video web conferencing makes it excellent for businesses.


Wrapping Up

And there you have it. A detailed exploration into Google Meet vs Hangouts. So which option is the ideal one for you? You now have the details to make an informed decision at your fingertips.

10 Things You Must Never Google At Work For Better Work Efficiency

never google at work

The last two or three decades saw a lot of companies invest in information technology in a bid to improve productivity at work. At the same time however, certain advancements in technology, namely the internet, proved themselves to be a productivity bottleneck.

Ready access to the internet means that you can google anything whenever you want. This is a good thing. The downside though is that without strict boundaries at work, google can easily reduce your work efficiency. In this article, we have compiled 10 things you should never google at work if you want more work efficiency.


Don’t google these 10 things if you want to increase your efficiency at work

1. The history of google

While Google and other companies like Facebook, Amazon, Salesforce, Aira have such interesting foundation stories, you should probably only google them in your spare time.

The behemoth you know as google today actually started from a dorm room. Stories of such humble beginnings are always quite fascinating. We found this out the hard way when we stumbled upon Google’s “about page” while researching for this paper. 30 minutes later, we were way off track and still learning about google from back links in the original page.

2. Photos of cute animals

If you want to be sucked into an endless rabbit hole of whole-day googling, google photos of cute animals. The options that come up are… well, cute. Alongside the stock photos from pixabay, Shutterstock, etc., you will get a whole lot of cuteness to feast on from animal planet, bored panda, pinterest, among others.

On the results for this search for instance, bored panda had a list of “30 cute baby animals that will make you go Aww”. There is just something about cute animals that makes you want to see more cute animals, so after going through that post, all you’ll feel like doing is see more cute animals.

We recommend staying away from the videos tab if you are after better work efficiency.

3. Conspiracy theories

If you don’t know what a conspiracy theory is, here’s a definition from Oxford online dictionary, “a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an unexplained event.” Wikipedia also adds, “…when other explanations are more probable.”

Wikipedia has a bunch of conspiracy theories on practically every industry and topic. My personal favorites are “Israel animal spying” and “flat earth” (yes, flat earth is a real discussion by real people in the 21st century).  

The thing is, even if other explanations are probable, you still get pulled into the web of implausible explanations surrounding whatever conspiracy topic you googled.

4. Crime/ Real Murder mysteries

You probably enjoy a good murder mystery: From criminal minds, featuring extremely scary psychopaths committing gory crimes, to Midsomer Murders where the regular gentle folk of Midsomer have devised a bunch of ways to solve their little problems by murdering each other.

These fictitious stories also happen in the real world. In Thailand, the island of Koh Tao (now aptly nick-named death island), experienced 9 tourist murders in a span of 4 years according to this NYTimes Report.

This and other similar stories will keep you riveted for hours, so only google them in your spare time.

5. Disease

Googling about disease can quickly develop into quite an addiction which is why we don’t recommend going down this route while at work.

For instance, google a symptom you have right now. You will realize that there’s a list of other likely diseases. If you click on those links, you will get more information but probably won’t learn enough to satisfy your curiosity. You’ll probably keep googling and only stop because your eyes are tired, or you realize you really aren’t getting anywhere.  

6. Productivity

Being productive is good because:

  • Results are tangible, e.g, you’ll make money, like a life of your dreams, etcetera
  • The sense of accomplishment boosts esteem

There are so many different “experts” in the field of productivity, all of whom recommend a bunch of creative ways for creating more efficiency at work. To find “the best method”, you have to explore the methods proposed by each of these gurus. In the end, you will realize that ironically, googling productivity results in an unproductive day. This is because it’s actually eating into the time you could be spending doing real work.

7. Diet, exercise and fitness

Like productivity, diet, exercise and fitness is one area where we all must just learn to “agree to disagree”.

Crossfit, Insanity, A-alert, Tabata, Warrior…the list of exercise regimens is endless. The same goes for diet and feeding schedules: Paleo, vegan, Dukan, HCG, low carb, no carb, calorie counting, intermittent fasting… another extra long list.

The point is, you simply cannot exhaust this subject. And quite honestly, trying to do so only further complicates your life.

If jogging has always worked for you, it wont stop just because there’s a new fancy workout regimen that is famed to work magic.

8. DIY anything

DIY means “DO IT YOURSELF”. Proponents of DIY maintain that it’s all about creating self-sufficiency while saving money.

It’s good to DIY. However, the reason why you shouldn’t google this at work is that there are so many ways to DIY any topic you choose. For instance, if you google “DIY hair growth”, you’ll get so many hair growth formulas, all promising to magically restore your receding hairline.

More so, we don’t recommend DIY googling at work because you’ll get the “DIY” bug. After your first successful DIY project, you’ll start googling how to DIY everything. Like how to tether a goat, how to build your own couch, paint your own walls, give your sofa a new look in a weekend.

9. Cooking/Recipes 

Here’s an exercise I did to prove why this is a bad idea.

I googled “vanilla cake recipe”. After a while, those cakes looked so boring, so I googled “best desserts to make”. I ended up at HuffPost’s 50 Of The Best Dessert Recipes Of All Time, and by the 7th recipe,

  • I had a long shopping list of dessert-making ingredients and no way to get them at that time,
  • I was too hungry and frustrated because all I wanted was cake.

What’s more, I still hadn’t decided on a single dessert recipe. So, in a sense, my cake-googling was unproductive, and so was my afternoon.

do not google recipes

10. Celebrity news

From fashion trends, to who’s marrying who, who’s divorcing who, who had a wardrobe malfunction, who wore what to the Grammys/Emmys/Oscars, who has a weird fetish, who has decided to ditch their makeup and go au naturelle, who’s interested in science and isn’t just a pretty face…the list of celebrity topics is as interesting as it is endless.

You can spend hours and hours on the internet and you’ll never get your fill of celebrity news, so the workplace is definitely not the place for googling such stuff. 


Last words

Now you know our list of things that you shouldn’t google at work if you want better work efficiency. Got anything to add to this list? Let us know.

What Is AIRA And Why Do You Need It?

what is aira

Meeting management, scheduling, note taking, minute taking are all tasks that until a few years ago, could only be carried out by a human being. Any time you needed to schedule a meeting, you or your PA had to do it. You also needed to assign someone to take minutes during the meeting.

The problem with this system was that meeting management and minute taking are very time consuming tasks. You could easily find your entire day consumed only by scheduling this meeting or that or taking copious amounts of meeting notes. In addition, there are operational challenges that come with conducting meetings manually. Some of them include:

  • Meetings can sometimes drag on forever if the agenda is not properly managed
  • During meetings, people can speak over each other, causing the note taker to miss important points. Even a person experienced at shorthand could find it difficult to keep up in such a situation.  

Today however, there is a solution to this problem. The development of AI as an industry has given rise to applications like Aira, an AI meeting assistant that automates all your meeting-related tasks. You will find that although Aira will help with meeting management and minute taking, it is, on the whole, helping you to improve time management.


What is Aira?

Automatic Meeting Transcriptions

Aira is many things in one: It is a:  

  • Meeting scheduler
  • Meeting management tool
  • Minute taking and note-taking tool
  • Voice recognition app. Aira is a highly accurate conversational AI as it is trained, through machine learning, to recognize human speech.
  • Recording and transcription tool
  • A storehouse for all your important business proceedings

Aira is an important addition to your martech stack as it can integrate to your CRM, email, etcetera. This ensures that anyone from your company can make meeting notes a part of their workflow.

Features of Aira

As mentioned above, Aira is many things in one. Its suite of features are what enable it to perform all these impressive tasks. Those features include:

1. Calendar syncing

When using aira, you don’t have to worry about having to use an additional mail client. This is because Aira will sync into your current email account.

What’s more, you don’t need to do any set up for your calendar to sync. Once you log into Aira for the first time, it will sync all your calendar details. All the meetings you have scheduled will automatically be uploaded to Aira and scheduled there. 

Once your calendar syncs into Aira:

  • You can join meetings without having to log into Aira
  • Meetings scheduled on, will automatically update on your calendar
  • Your teammates can see your availability. You can say goodbye to prolonged consultations about meetings times and questions like, “When is the best time for you to have a quick meeting on XYZ?”

2. Records meetings and shares notes

You will no longer need to drag your PA into every meeting just to have him or her take minutes. Aira will do that for you, as well as provide transcripts once you conclude the meeting.

Aira also generates keywords for every transcript. When you click on a keyword, it automatically highlights in the transcript. This gives you context and also allows for quick skimming in case you are pressed for time.

3. Join meetings virtually

You can autojoin Aira meetings from your calendar. As well, when on the move, you can simply join from your mobile phone or have the Aira attend the meeting for you.  

4. Action items

Aira scans meeting notes and generates a list of action items. You can make it easier for Aira to recognize action items by actually telling it to do so as the recording is going on.

Aira also automatically generates meeting minutes from the recordings.

In addition, with the auto mail function, you can also automatically email notes, minutes, and action items to all concerned parties.

5. Meeting analytics

You can make your meetings more efficient and productive in future by analyzing trends from your meetings.

6. Integrate into Zapier

Integration with CRM helps you to find and tap into new opportunities. It also allows your team members to execute their tasks with speed. For example, if a customer complains about slow customer service, a customer service rep can reach out with an apology or implement a speedier customer support system.


How your business will benefit from using Aira?

Introducing a conversational AI like Aira into your business has the following advantages:

  • You will save time

“67% of workers say spending too much time in meetings distracts them from doing their job” (Source: CNBC). If you are one of the many professionals who echo this sentiment, would you sign up for a demo with Aira if we told you that you can save up to 15% of the time you spend in meetings? I bet you would!

  • Collaborate better

CRM integration makes it easier for everyone to access account-relevant information from one platform.

As well, a shared archive for all meeting notes gives easy access to everyone.

  • 2X your Productivity

What happens when your attention is undivided during a meeting? You focus more, you pay more attention, and, ultimately, you increase your productivity.

  • Increase your sales

You can analyze the conversations from sales meetings and make better sales decisions. Aira promises up to 4x more sales.

  • Improve your ROI by up to 100 times more

When there’s 100% visibility into client data and when that data improves team collaboration and improves customer handling, you are bound to experience more revenue growth.

  • Have at your disposal a 100% accurate AI assistant 24/7.

If you need to confirm something, you don’t need to do any guess work or consult yours or teammates’ memories. Simply refer to past meetings. 


Bottom line: Who is Aira for?

As long as you need to schedule or conduct a meeting, you can use Aira regardless of your profession. For instance: 

  • Entrepreneurs running online businesses, small and medium-sized companies, can benefit from using conversational AI
  • HR companies can conduct online interviews and access those files later on.
  • Aira is also without a doubt a great addition for anyone in sales and IT, not to mention marketing and customer service. With Aira, you will get access to customer feedback, queries, and requests. You can use this information to tailor your offering to them.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a Demo today and experience the transformation that comes with using conversational AI in your business!

How To Extract Minutes From Google Meet With AIRA

extract minutes from Google Meet

Zoom’s quick rise from obscurity to international stardom has been the talk of the year. A conspicuous move, it has caught the eye of rivals like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Consequently, all virtual meeting apps are responding to Zoom’s meteoritic rise in various ways.

Google is also cashing into the year’s vast online meeting, yoga classes, and birthday party needs. It is tapping into the online get-together space using Google Meet. An enterprise-only product, it is now free to all Google account owners.

This makes Google Meet a perfect meeting tool for businesses. Leverage the power of artificial intelligence meeting tools like Aira for productivity, and you have the perfect meeting setup. Unlike Zoom, Google Meet is free from privacy and security concerns. 

This app will support a free hour of meeting time for a minimum of 100 people. Its view displays sixteen meeting participants. To enhance security, your team members will need to log in to Google to join your meeting.

No Zoom like invite links. This way, the hosts have total control of the meeting’s privacy. Goodbye Zoombombing. Additionally, you can join a Meet meeting via a calendar invite. If you do not have one, the app will take you to a green room, until the host allows you in.

Google Online Meeting might soon become a more popular online meeting app for businesses. This begs the question; can you draw meeting minutes from the meeting platform?


How to extract minutes from Google Meet?

Image credits: unsplash.com

Video conferencing tools have become a critical part of everyday life. For this reason, businesses need to make the content that their employees create within them easily accessible. Schools, on the other hand, have to ensure that students, teachers, parents, and the authorities can review these items at the drop of a hat.

Any person without a video or internet connection should access Meet’s transcriptions. You can put your Meet content in writing by allowing your app’s advanced features to record the meeting. The G Suite or Google Workspace members can record all meetings through the process below:

  1. Start the meeting and go to the screen’s right-hand side. You will see three vertical dots. Click on them.
  2. A few settings features will pop up. Choose “Record Meeting”
  3. The app will ask you to consent to the recording. Follow its instructions and accept.
  4. A “REC” red rectangle will appear on your screen’s top left. This is a sign the Meet is recording your app.
  5. When the meeting is over, go back to the right-hand side and click on the three dots.
  6. Select “Stop Recording” from the menu
  7. The app will save the recorded content to Google Drive
  8. Google Meet will inform all meeting members when a session is recording.
  9. To transcribe your meeting minutes, you can either listen in and type or pay for transcription services.
  10. To reproduce your recordings in writing, upload your files to a transcription app of choice
  11. Set up all the in-app parameters
  12. Check out and wind up the order
  13. Review and download your transcripts

Google Meet
Google Meet


Extract minutes from Google Meet with AIRA

Aira is an intelligent meeting assistant that will manage all your business’s web meeting needs. Powered by AI and machine learning algorithms, Aira will write meeting notes and capture action items. She can intelligently pick up a meeting’s keywords and can join a meeting automatically.

All she needs to arrive on time, every time, is access to your calendar app. Aira also records all the meetings she is in attendance. Need transcription services? No problem, leave it to Aira. She integrates with amongst other tools, Gmail.

Accessing meeting notes via third party transcription services is not a seamless process. Aira can make this process straightforward in both Google Meet and Zoom. Synchronize your Meet’s recordings to Aira and she will automatically extract meeting notes from them.

Aira for online meetings
Aira



Why should you extract meeting minutes from Meets using Aira?

  • To enhance collaboration

If any of your meeting members misses the meeting, they will receive the meeting minutes to keep them up to date. They will not need to scroll through the whole recording for enlightenment.

  • To save time

Minutes are more digestible and allow their readers to quickly zone in on matters that concern them the most.

  • For multipurpose use

You can send the meeting minutes to all stakeholders to keep them up to date. The error-free notes can also work as training or educational content.

  • Accountability

Meeting minutes keeps every meeting member accountable. Aira intelligently highlights action items for review before and during the next meeting.


Conclusion

Google Meet is not a new kid on the block. It has been there for ages, under its old title; Hangouts Meet. In the past, Google only lets in educational and enterprise users. The American multinational tech firm has now made Google Meet free for Google account owners. Use it alongside intelligent meeting assistants to enhance productivity and collaboration.

Image credits: Unsplash.com

5 Best Meeting Assistant Apps That Will Rule The Web In 2021

meeting assistant apps

Do you know that over 78% of meeting participants find their meeting schedules unmanageable? Upper management is setting meetings times that leave workers feeling out of control. Disorganized meetings are so unpopular in the workplace, that most employees would rather visit the dentist than attend them.

The best meeting assistant apps can change the business meeting processes. They can enhance collaboration, engagement, and productivity. Some of the best meeting apps in 2021 include;

1. Aira

Aira

Minute taking can be a significant challenge for any meeting leader or participant. For this reason, every business should have a tool like Aira at hand to handle all minute writing. This app can also record video and transcribe.

As an illustration, you could attend a meeting expecting a conversation to follow a linear pattern. Then the participants diverge from the topics at hand. Such a situation will leave the minute taker confused about what to write. They cannot humanly transcribe every word and sift through the minutes later for gems.

Minute taking is also very distracting. If the person taking minutes has a deep involvement in the agenda, it will limit their contribution. Intelligent meeting assistant tools like Aira can ease these challenges. Aira is an artificial intelligence-powered tool that records meeting proceedings.

It will transcript all conversations and produce a voice recording at your meeting’s end. The perfect meeting assistant, it uses AI technology to track the agenda and topics.

It will then make succinct notes from your meeting. Aira will also analyze the meeting’s action items and email them to all attendees. Aira increases productivity, encourages collaboration, and keeps every meeting member up to date and accountable.


2. Calendly

Calendly

Scheduling meetings can be a tremendous source of frustration. There is nothing as worse than “Sorry, can’t make it”, heard ten times over. There is always a person too busy to attend a meeting in a particular moment.

Consequently, the meeting leader has to keep going back to the drawing board to suggest new meeting times. Then, they have to undergo the whole peeving process once more. Platforms like Calendly can make meeting scheduling much easier.

This app shows other meeting members your availability and offers them meeting times that suit all parties. If you have one too many meeting requests and need to manage your replies, go for Calendly. It will connect to your calendar app, and is compatible with Microsoft Office, iCal, and Google Calendar.

Design a meeting via Calendly and send scheduling links to all people that need to attend. The app will synchronize all confirmations to your calendar and that of your invitees. To help you connect to customers and clients, Calendly integrates with Zoom, HubSpot, GoToMeeting, Salesforce, and Zapier.


3. Slack

Slack

Slack is a business messaging app that makes internal communication between colleagues effortless. Meeting members can send real-time messages to each for collaboration in an intuitive user interface. 

A team-messaging app, Slack has many useful features that include its groups and channels features. You can also video call your meeting members via Slack for quick chats. Slack integrates with a horde of beneficial business platforms.

One of its newest integrations includes the Zoom app. You can use Slack to manage your Zoom meetings or make calls through the popular meeting platform. As an illustration, the meeting leader can launch a Zoom meeting from the Slack interface.

On Slack, all meeting participants will view all meeting details, including the call’s participants. Zoom-Slack integration will enhance problem solving and decision-making. Slack has smart calendar integrations with the Google and Outlook calendars.


4. HubSpot

Hubspot

Time management and scheduling are very important skills in today’s high-stress environments. People have tons of deadlines and tasks to complete. They have to handle their core jobs and prioritize time for meetings.

They also have health, family, and other social issues to deal with. HubSpot’s meeting scheduling application is free and makes quick work of the time-consuming coordination process. Using the HubSpot CRM, you can set up a personalized meeting-booking link. Share it via email.

The link will act as an invitation and scheduler, highlighting the most suitable meeting time. Meeting members will then notify you of their availability via this link. The HubSpot CRM integrates with a wide range of useful business tools.

Of critical importance to its meeting, scheduling functions are its Office 365 and Google Calendar integrations. Consequently, you can use this 100% free tool to build contact records that you can track.


5. Arrangr

Arrangr

Arrangr is a top-notch meeting assistant tool with “intelligent” scheduling features. It has an Intelligent Spot Finder that analyzes ratings, reviews, distances, and pictures. It uses this data to suggest the perfect meeting spot.

Arrangr will also share half waypoint ideas with all meeting members to ensure convenience. This app has a flexible invite feature that sends a variety of meeting times and dates to members for choice. It also allows all members to notify each other of their online conference call or video platforms.

When the best meeting times are set, Arrangr will release the leftover slots. Some of its turnkey features include the creation of automatic meeting pins and numbers and video call links. This meeting assistant tool integrates with iCloud, Google, and Office calendar applications.


Conclusion

Meetings are at the heart of creativity and problem-solving. Productive meetings can positively affect your bottom line and enhance your company’s culture. Use the five meeting assistant apps above to schedule and manage your meetings today.

Resolved – 5 Biggest Challenges of Working from Home

challenges of working from home

Amongst the many benefits of the new ‘working from home’ normal is a positive impact on the sustainability of a myriad of initiatives. Economic growth has, in the past, exacted a heavy toll on climate change, sustainable urban living, and responsible consumption.

This drastic reduction of employee and employer carbon footprint has led to a remarkable improvement in intra-city congestion and pollution. Remote work is a sustainable economic growth feature and is the future of the labor landscape. Despite all its benefits, working from home has unique challenges as well. Some of these challenges include:

1. Coordination and communication challenges

According to David Heinemeier and Jason Friend, the founders of Basecamp, communication is foundational to the success of a remote working team.

The authors of REMOTE: Office Not Required, say that bad blood can easily develop between work from home teams when the bulk of their communication takes place through email. This set up will quickly snowball small blunders into full-blown melodramas if they are not quickly nipped in the bud.

Fortunately, a whole industry sprung up around team collaboration tools that make it easier for employees to communicate effectively. Aira, for instance, is a meeting assistant that automatically records and transcribes meeting dialogue.

This robust voice AI platform will save all your meeting notes in one location. She will also help all remote working teams keep track of all online meetings deliberations. Aira doubles team productivity, info sharing efficiency, and multiplies sales increase. Team collaboration tools ensure that no member of the team feels left out of the loop.

2. Distractions

Source
Professor Robert Kelly’s BBC interview that earned him the title of ‘BBC Dad” is a perfect example of how distracting the work from home environment is.

In the 2017 live interview with the British news channel, the professor’s two children made a comical entrance to his home office as he talked about the ouster of Park Geun-Hye of South Korea. Parents working from home watched in amusement as Kelly kept composure during the brief scene, keeping the show running.

Most parents can relate to the live TV blooper because they all struggle to maintain a work and home life balance when they have work near their children. One of the major reasons some employees embrace working from an office is to build a firm barrier between their home and work life. To work successfully from home with fewer distractions, you need a designated work spot, devoid of all disturbances.

Have some noise-canceling headphones to eliminate auditory distractions. Set up firm rules with your family and politely ask them to behave as if you were away at work when you are at work from home.

3. Time management

Employers have the innate fear the remote work employees will slack off in the absence of oversight. Most times, the opposite is the reality.

Most work from home employees will overwork because they find it harder to switch off. Surrounded by all the tools needed to put in extra work, they will have a harder time drawing the line. This challenge becomes even more complex when you are working for yourself.

Every remote worker needs to establish a work schedule that keeps them from overworking or slacking off. This rota will keep you productive and give you ample time to be with family and friends. Use tools such as an AI meeting assistant, Trello,  Asana, and Evernote to schedule, manage time and tasks, and organize your work hours.

4. Lack of social interaction

social interaction

Co-workers are often an employee’s main social circle if they do not have a close family. If you are working from home, isolation can be a challenge if you spend days by yourself. To lessen the feeling of being a hermit, have social breaks in your work schedule.

Go out for lunch with friends or grab yourself a snack from a friendly food shack attendant down the street. Take your computer with you to a co-working space occasionally, or work from a coffee shop and enjoy the social environment. Join local organizations and groups for meet-ups and recreation.

5. Technology hiccups

Challenges such as internet outages can make remote work a problem. You do not want your connection or computer to crash right in the middle of an important zoom meeting. To avoid such inconveniences and for your peace of mind, have a backup plan. You can, for instance, a mobile hotspot device for an alternative internet connection and a backup tablet or laptop at hand.

Conclusion

Ditching the daily commute, working from anywhere in the world, and a flexible work schedule are some advantages of working from home. The challenges above, however, can make remote work unproductive if you do not use them to create structure, routine, and discipline.

Top 10 Effective Tricks to Transform Your Normal Meetings Into Smart Meetings

smart meetings

Long before the onset of the ongoing global pandemic, dispersed teams were slowly becoming common in the workplace. The online meeting in the age of the pandemic is now a staple. Unfortunately, some of these virtual meetings are more unproductive than their traditional meeting counterparts.

Collaboration has a great advantage in the workplace, but it is not an easily achievable attribute amongst dispersed teams and their virtual meetings. The speedy chat by the water cooler has evolved into 30-minute video meeting on an online meeting platform.

Work hours have been lost to awkward video chats with data showing a massive increase in the use of virtual meeting tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. By the end of March, Microsoft teams had accumulated over  2.7 billion minutes of use while Zoom downloads had blown up by 1330%

It is not unusual to have these gawky meetings go out of hand as familiar sounds of “your screen was frozen for a minute, kindly repeat your point” or “kindly turn on your mic” bring the meeting to a standstill.

Zoom fatigue has now become a new phenomenon, eating away at dispersed team’s sanity and ensuring the meeting productivity stays at an all-time low. Did you know that once distracted, the human brain requires 23 minutes to get its focus mojo back? This data point is a good explanation of why the 30-minute online meeting is often extremely unproductive. 


Why you need to have smart meetings

There are nevertheless many advantages to online meetings amongst dispersed teams. When workers in diverse locations, separated by time and space collaborate, they can develop products, services, and information faster, cheaply, and more efficiently.

By distributing employees, businesses become more agile in production and customer requests management. The virtual collaboration will also enhance key stakeholder involvement in a business’s decisions and work processes.

When smart meetings become a norm, both the employee and stakeholder will experience more satisfaction and an improvement in the quality of work.


Ten of the best tips on how to hold smart meetings

1. Have a meeting facilitator

AIRA

Most normal meetings are not collaborative because most professionals do not have basic meeting management information. In a physical meeting room, however, this shortcoming is surmountable. The meeting’s members will fumble, stumble, and will eventually make the meeting work.

An online meeting is less forgiving. When you have a variety of professionals in diverse time zones and geographies, a few hitches can throw the whole meeting into disarray. You can put an end to awkward silences and sudden bursts of speech with a meeting facilitator.

The facilitator will put an end to the free-for-all environment, ending discussions that hijack and that throw the agenda out of the window. The smart meeting facilitator will develop the meeting’s agenda and ensure that every member has an opportunity to contribute.

They will keep every participant from going off-topic and ensure that all meeting notes are taken, shared, and followed up after the meeting. Aira is a virtual meeting assistant that intelligently takes meeting notes and shares them with meeting participants.

She will turn your normal meetings into smart meetings via her state of the art machine learning and artificial intelligence technology. This virtual meeting assistant will join your online meetings, transcribe the meeting’s dialogue, and highlights the action points discussed.

With Aira at hand, your human facilitator can enjoy sharing and solving problems with other team members. They will not spend their meeting moments on minute writing tasks. Aira integrates with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier, to ensure easy access to meeting documents and analytics.

2. Use participant’s names

Participants

According to research done by Wil Schuz, when individuals gather to collaborate they need to feel in control. They also require openness and inclusion. These three needs can be naturally meet in a physical meeting but are harder to meet in a virtual meeting.

The need for inclusion for instance can be met by ensuring that all participants are called by their names. This smart meetings feature will cut down on the fear of being marginalized or ignored. Most online meeting members join meetings with the sneaky suspicion that no one recognizes or knows that they are present.

Use names to foster the feeling of inclusion. Online meeting tools like Zoom will display names automatically during meetings.

3. Poll the participants

Virtual meetings could have cross-cultural elements opening up a wide door for cultural challenges. There also virtual meetings that are held across international airwaves, bringing about language and time differences to the already challenging virtual meeting mix.

Virtual work also has many personal challenges. Humans assimilate 65% of communication via their eyes by translating a speaker’s body language. Non-verbal communication helps to foster a sense of team and trust.

Most online meetings kill most non-verbal communication cues, which encourages a breakdown in the interpretation of dialogue. You can meet the meeting member’s need for inclusion by polling the group. The meeting facilitator can ensure that they speak to each person in the virtual room and ask them whether they have ideas to share or whether they agree to the agreement at the table.

Since the virtual space lacks visual cues, the facilitator needs to cue in members when it is their time to speak. Polling every person in the room will increase the feeling of control and inclusion and cut down on boredom and dozing members.

Use smart tools such as Lean Coffee Table that allow members to vote and suggest on the ongoing discussions. The tool will enhance inclusion, and enhance feelings of influence, competency, and control.

4. Timebox your meetings

Most meetings are too long, a disastrous mistake when it comes to virtual meetings. You need to schedule a meeting time and use it accordingly. Do not extend your meeting time. Try whittling down the time until you have the perfect time schedule fit.

Timeboxing helps in dedicating blocks of time to a specific meeting agenda and topic. This practice keeps the meeting productive, meeting all goals laid. Use smart time management tools such as TickTick Premium to time box your meeting’s schedule.

5. Lay down meeting rules then optimize them

meeting rules

There are many conflicting online meeting facts out there. Some say that members should mute their microphones to reduce distraction. Others say that the use of video enhances concentration, preventing distractions such as selfies or multi-tasking. 

Rules are necessary for group management but you will not know how effective they are until you test them. Smart tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, can help you test, analyze, and optimize your meeting rules.

6. Use virtual whiteboards

You can create a common visual focus to increase participation. The visual documentation of ideas will increase participation and collaboration. Visual focus can be enhanced via screen projections or virtual whiteboards. WebEx has a smart whiteboard feature that allows its users to sketch their feelings or ideas on it.

7. Allow members to chat

Short online meetings have very little time to spare for adequate inclusion procedures. Tools such as GroupMe helps dispersed teams to chat among themselves on the go. It has a video, picture, and emoji feature as well as location sharing.

8. Have a technology guru at hand

Many businesses are grappling with the implementation of an effective virtual workplace. These companies are holding meetings without a plan in the hope that they will reap the benefits and opportunities of collaboration.

Unfortunately, all that they are gleaning are the pitfalls of unproductive meetings. The online meeting is very dependent on technology. Most employees on the other hand lack the technological know-how required to operate these virtual tools.

 Since few users understand how to make the best use of these tools, the technology will ‘go down’ when it is needed the most. It pays to have a technology guru to handle your distracting technology glitches and reduce delays.

9. Inspire joy!

inspire joy

There is never a dull meeting in smart meetings. Eliminate any boredom by marking events to enhance satisfaction amongst participants. Some businesses will for instance call for a virtual candle lighting session to inspire joy and contemplation.

Since online meetings do not have organic socialization, encourage non-work activity, and catch up sessions after the meeting. Let them introduce their babies or fur babies or sing Baby Shark. They can utilize GroupMe to enhance direct messaging and coordinate private chats across diverse device platforms.

10. Make the meeting proceedings actionable

Use tools such as Aira to share meeting notes afterward and to ensure that all deliberations are followed up on. Aira will share your meeting notes and transcriptions via email to all team members. You can also upload your meeting documents to Google Drive to enhance real-time document sharing and collaboration.


Conclusion

Smart meetings are productive and enjoyable and are a formidable part of a business’s growth strategy. Use these tips above to create smart meetings that enhance collaboration, productivity, and feelings of inclusion amongst members.

The 7 Major AI Companies of Web Conferencing Apps Every Marketer Must Know

web conferencing app companies

AI meeting tools are founded on some key premises:

  • That meeting can and do waste time, but shouldn’t waste time
  • That meeting can cost less money and take less time to run

From your own experience, you probably agree that meetings can be a headache and they also get in the way of daily work. Your employees or teams probably agree the same thing too. Korn Ferry, a consulting firm, conducted a study on 1945 workers, and only 11% of the study participants said that they had productive meetings.

In some cases, meetings indeed are the answer. In other cases, employees can find themselves sitting in meetings that are neither relevant to their daily responsibilities nor their overarching goals. In addition, even where meetings are scheduled and attended diligently, discussion points can tend to be forgotten and follow up of action items never initiated. Without sufficient follow-up, important ideas, that come out of meetings die.  

But there are companies out there that have invested time, money and effort to innovate solutions to turn meetings into the value-add they should be. We will discuss them in this post:


The Top 7 AI Web Conferencing App Companies

1. Testfire Labs

Testfire Labs is an award-winning, Canadian-based company that creates innovative AI solutions that increase business efficiency. Testfire is the company behind CANARI.AI, an AI-powered solution that focusses on plant health, and Hendrix.AI, an AI solution that automates and optimizes meeting outcomes. Hendrix.AI leverages Natural language processing to perform meeting-related tasks such as:

  • Transcribing notes
  • Organizing, recalling and summarizing meeting action items
  • Analyzes trending topics by going through meeting transcripts

“Meetings are broken”, is the simple maxim on which Testfire labs was founded. The company’s CEO believes that meetings take up a lot of unnecessary time and money investment, a factor that propelled him to create solutions to enable people to achieve more with speed.

Testfire’s target market for its solutions are enterprises with more than 1000 people.  Some of its ardent users include companies lie NAIT, that tend to be meeting heavy.


2. Across Labs Inc

Across labs, inc is an AI company based in San Francisco, California. According to Across Labs team, company managers and executives usually have an average of 62 meetings per month. Yet 50% of meetings they attend are failures for reasons such as:

  • Being involved in meetings that are of no relevance to them
  • Lack of clear action items
  • Key discussions points are not captured
  • Meeting monopolization by certain individuals
  • Getting sidetracked from main discussion agenda

Across Labs team consider Acrossio the answer to these problems. The company seeks to transform “the future of work” through their “content in context” flagship AI meeting software, Acrossio. Users of Acrossio can accelerate knowledge sharing and learning collaboratively.  

Acrossio records discussions that happens during a meeting, including meeting minutes, file shares, etcetera, and stores it to a collective cloud. Users add context to the discussions by appending their comments, bookmarks, and chats to the recorded sessions. The stored collective group knowledge is then transformed into intelligence that can be used by the company.

With Acrossio,

  • Capturing opportunities, risks and ideas coming out of discussions is made easier
  • You can also build up on old knowledge/meetings with points from new discussions
  • Acrossio can listen, record, transcribe and share content from meeting and discussion sessions
  • You get to know your team better and learn their strengths in problem solving, idea generation or visionary thinking
  • You can find out what teams are talking about and their moods and opinions around topics


3. Second Rise LLC

Second Rise LLC is an innovations company that provides services such as research, training, software development and publishing to over 5000 organizations including governments and non-profits.

Based in Portland, Oregon, SecondRise LLC is the brains behind Lucid Meetings, a cutting edge AI tool that improves team reporting and collaboration. Lucid meetings:

  • Facilitates meeting efficiency before, during and after a meeting
  • Keeps track of meeting results, through real time action items and keeping records in shareable formats
  • Distributes meeting items via email
  • Focusses on training to equip employees with knowledge on how to run efficient meetings
  • Provides templates for running meetings


4. MeetingSift

MeetingSift was founded by individuals with:

  • An urgent need to eliminate time wastage during meetings
  • A need to ensure that every meeting yields value by running efficiently.
  • An impressive level of collective expertise in communication, technology and collaboration, to make these two needs a reality

Although meeting minutes in MeetingSift are recorded by humans, assignment of note-taking duties is done intelligently to ensure meetings are captured collaboratively and with ease.

MeetingSift team seeks to make meetings more engaging and productive by:

  • Providing company executives with useful meeting intelligence
  • Encouraging individual output within groups
  • Enabling visualizations of what is happening in the group in real time
  • Integrating content in slide format. This also includes other presentation formats such as keynote and PowerPoint

MeetingSift also uses the Eisenhower quadrant and the effort vs impact quadrant to help teams prioritize what they choose to focus on.

A very important feature of MeetingSift is the “Linked activities”, which allows you discuss your brainstorms within the context of the quadrants, and rank projects by priority levels.


5. Cisco (Voicea + WebEx)

Cisco is a technology giant behind several innovative software products, including WebEx, an AI-powered meeting assistant.

Recently, Voicea, a company whose founders are from FaceBook, Oracle and LinkedIn, became part of Cisco’s WebEx platform.

Voicea are the creators of EVA, an AI meeting assistant that takes notes for you, allowing you to stay focused on your meeting. According to Voicea, 40% of your time is spent following up on meetings. Voicea’s ability to follow up frees up that time for you to use more efficiently.

Webex is a leader in video conferencing and when combined with Voicea’s note-taking and activation feature, it becomes a powerful tool for turning conversations into actions that leave an impact.


6. LogMein

LogMeIn is a Boston-based company that enables customer engagement, IT management and team collaboration through its cloud-based and SaaS remote connectivity products.  

LogMeIn owns a couple of products and solutions, among them GotoMeeting, an online tool for hosting web, video and audio meetings.

GotoMeeting has many innovative features, some of which include:

  • Commuter mode for people attending meetings while travelling or just out of the office
  • Siri voice command for joining meetings
  • Cloud recording, for seamless on the go meetings
  • Secure web conferencing that requires you to log in through your company’s page
  • Admin center for managing user access and monitoring app use

LogMeIn is currently being acquired by Francisco Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation, in a $4.3 billion deal that was slated to be finalized in mid-2020.


7. Eduba

AIRA

Eduba was founded in 2020 and for such a fairly new company, it has made quite an impact in the nascent field of AI meeting software.

Eduba is the team behind Aira, an AI meeting software that:  

  • Records meetings
  • Transcribes the recordings
  • Manages meeting attendees
  • Tracks action items
  • Manages meeting agenda
  • Integrates with your CRM to improve service delivery

Eduba serves brands across the software industry, sales and marketing, web development, digital marketing, lead generation, among others.


Final Words

There you have it. The field of AI meeting tools may be new, but it is still growing. As such, with time, we are likely to experience an upsurge of new AI meeting solutions.

Featured Image Credits: Freepik.com

How AI Machine Learning Helps You to Have Progressive Online Meetings

ai machine learning helps online meetings

Innovations in Artificial intelligence (AI) technology have progressed so fast that it does boggle the mind, what the future holds. In a decade, we have intelligent computers that through neural learning technology can diagnose diseases, transcribe speech, or translate a language. Coupled with AI and machine learning, a computer’s smart capacity can modernize telecoms, financial, management, and healthcare industries.

The AI sector is the new frontier in industry and will be worth over $190 billion by 2025. This technology is critical to virtual assistant, predictions, surveillance, customer support, fraud detection, e-commerce, and social media applications. We use AI for image curation at Yelp and content discovery at Pinterest. Google’s neural matrix Deep Mind, powers amazing machine-learning aspects that include robust speech translation, natural language processing, prediction, and search ranking processes.

Twitter is dependent on bots for its curated timelines, while Facebook Messenger chatbots are taking the world of e-commerce by storm. Gartner estimates that by the end of this year, chatbots will manage over 85% of customer service needs. 


Why office meetings need AI tools support

One business sector that needs AI tools support is office meetings. Workers often associate meetings with time wastage, spending that time sending emails or dozing off. A study by Fortune shows that most employees will send at least three emails during a 30-minute long meeting! They complain that these conclaves are too long and unproductive. 

Most meeting chairpersons also do not prepare for meetings, wasting the participant’s time with an agenda-less gathering. Video chat meetings might be time-limited but they do have their complaints as well. Did you know that 43% of attendees on a conference call spend some of that time on social media? A large 65% of them will spend that time on other work related tasks.

Meetings seem to bring out the worst in workers! Participants of the ongoing global video meeting wave are up in arms over Zoom meetings. They have described them as extremely tiring. Why? Between freezing screens, and staring faces, focus during video calls is a challenge. Processing the tone, pitch, and non-verbal cues during a video call meeting is harder than it is in a traditional meeting setup.

Online meetings are shorter but their attendants have to dispense more energy studying the body language of their meeting partners, which drains them and creates a dissonance of conflicting emotions. Add minute writing to this painful set-up and the person in charge of minute taking will not have any opportunity to make valuable contributions or engage with other meeting attendants.


Reasons why artificial intelligence is an online meetings game changer

1. You can delegate some pre-meeting tasks to the AI meeting tool

AIRA

Meetings are essential to meeting business objectives and promoting positive company culture. They encourage teamwork, and every business owner should encourage mechanics that promote meetings, making them a source of productivity rather than a distraction. In the office set up, you can delegate your minute writing tasks to personal meeting assistants like AIRA.

AIRA will join web conferencing calls, record all the meetings proceedings, and transcribe all data on your behalf. She will keep track of all your online meetings and notes. Your favorite meeting companion will jolt down all meeting records, share them with all the meeting participants, and provide meeting analytics to help you optimize your processes. AI meeting tools can for instance;

  • Handle all the mundane but time-consuming tasks such as joining the online meetings, adding people to video calls, and calling all meeting participants prior to the meeting.
  • Identify meeting participants and usher them to the meeting room. With AI meeting bots at hand, you will have fewer online meetings where participants log in and hardly know half of the faces on their screens.
  • The AI tool will also connect your meetings to your company’s digital knowledge assets, to assist in the setting of an agenda as well as the organization of meeting notes. 


2. The AI tool will also make your meeting more productive

You probably have been in a meeting where one participant forgot to mute their microphone and every participant had to listen in to a transcription of their doctoral thesis. Some meetings also go on for too long as each person gets their stand-up moment to discuss business matters. Such talkfests often go beyond the 90-minute meeting mark. In a disorganized meeting, you will have a large number of presenters going off-track.

Meetings are often unproductive because its convener did not do their homework. Hopping people onto an online conference room, when you have not stated the meeting’s purpose is a recipe for disaster. There should be a detailed and thoughtful agenda that should encompass the subject of the meeting, the subject’s topics, and the people responsible for each topic discussion.

The leader should highlight the time allotment for each presenter, write down each question beforehand, and set down the meeting’s expectations. Knowing when and where to mute sound during online meetings is a grey and highly contentious area. It needs definitive guidance because workers are spending more time than ever before in remote work video meetings.

Consequently, you will have meetings where some participant disrupts the ongoings with a joke (which will be more annoying than funny) or there will be background noises from barking dogs, construction, or happy children.

Some of the attendants may also be interrupted and have to put the meeting on hold to go deal with real-life issues. Often they will do so, and leave the microphone on. According to Zapier, there might not be a need to mute microphones in a small meeting with five or fewer participants. Since video conferencing software can only show a few faces on the screen at the same time, you can only read essential non-verbal cues from the visible faces.

In the absence of these non-verbal cues, an attendant might be tempted to talk out of turn, especially when the video begins to lag. A larger online meetings need to have an automated system that mutes all other sources of sound and leaves the presenter’s sound on.

Can you imagine the cacophony of sounds that can arise from the microphones of 200 or more online meeting participant’s backgrounds? How can AI and machine learning tools fix these challenges and make your meetings distraction less and productive?

  • AI meeting assistants can automatically mute microphones of meeting members and only enable a presenter’s microphone. The AI tool can also perform selective muting by detecting noises such as barking dogs, keyboard tapping, then alerting, and requesting the offending party to mute their mic.
  • AI meeting assistants can also use facial recognition to put names to faces. This feature can be very useful in online meetings that have multiple participants in them, making identification easier.
  • The AI can also supply each participant’s designation, work history, and contact information to any member that requires it, to ensure that all members spend less time asking or digging for information during meetings.
  • These tools are also maturing and acquiring situational context knowledge. Consequently, they will automatically know about the agenda in question and make better and more accurate meeting notes than human minute writers can.
  • They will also table useful documentation such as financial projections or analyst reports at a moment’s notice. AI tools will also supply past meeting notes, deliberations, conclusions, and action points to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly.
  • Since intelligent bots will be taking notes and transcribing all discussions on your behalf, you will have more time on your hands to focus on the meeting and to share your brilliant ideas with the rest of the team.
  • Voice interaction with an AI tool will free your mind and hands, making the tiresome video conferencing sessions less of a hassle. An AI assistant like AIRA will become part of your work team relieving you of mundane and routine team chores and making your meetings better and enhance growth.


3. Handling after-meeting chores

Your artificial intelligence and machine learning meeting tool of choice will automatically gather information on your behalf ensuring that all meeting members stay focused during the meeting. The tools will do away with haphazardly done or hand-scrawled notes. Some of their after-meeting benefits include;

  • Sharing meeting transcripts to all members that highlight all action points
  • Fostering camaraderie, trust, and collaboration, by enabling the sharing of a meme or two, business files, and meeting records.


Conclusion

AI machine learning helps online meetings to be more productive and more efficient in delivering positive results. AI machine learning technology benefits for personal and office use are endless. Virtual personal assistants like Alexa or Google Now can set up your schedule and remind you of items on it on time. Siri is a fantastic personal assistant and is particularly useful during travel.

She can check the weather, your flight information, find your lost luggage, and grab that great parking spot for you. AI meeting assistants like AIRA or Hendrix will also bring your office workers closer allowing focused interactions that enhance productivity during meetings.

Top 10 Platforms for Hosting Online Meetings

Online meetings

Meetings in a company are inevitable; they sustain continued business. But with company operations and offices spread over wide geographical areas -some even global- it can be a challenge to conduct meetings.

Traveling for a meeting is always an option -and it has been done before- but the cost of travel is high, and the ROI is hardly ever justifiable given the length and/or output of the meeting. In addition, as the world grapples with how to do business in the era of covid19, online meeting tools are useful now more than ever. Travel is not an option for anyone and even when travel resumes, having the option to hold online meetings while saving costs will still remain a preferable option.

In this article, we will explore online meeting tools that make having business meetings easier, cost-effective, collaborative, and productive.


Top 10 platforms for hosting online meetings

1. ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting is a reliable meeting platform that comes loaded with many useful features. It’s ideal for video conferencing, hosting webinars, online conferences and holding online meetings.

It’s easy to use, making it ideal for anyone with little to no technical skills. Click meeting runs online, so you do not need to download or install anything.

Features:

  • Host online conferences with thousands of attendees and multiple presenters
  • It works straight from your browser
  • Customize with your logo and colors to suit your business or event
  • Stream live on FaceBook and Youtube and reach new audiences through those channels
  • During Q&A sessions, use “question mode” to control your audience 
  • Translation feature allows attendees speaking a different language to participate
  • You can share your screen
  • Recording feature is available, making it ideal for record purposes and future analysis
  • A call-to-action feature, to increase productivity
  • Record up to 10 hours of meetings

Pricing:

Free: for 30 days

Live: $25

Automated: $40

Enterprise: Contact for more details


2. Skype

Skype

Skype has been around for a long time. It is online meetings platform that is trusted by brands and individuals alike for its reliability and security (thanks to the Microsoft brand name). Though skype is great for chat, its video conferencing capability is its most hyped feature.

Most people use the free version of skype, but paid options are available for meetings hosting 50 or more participants.

You need to download and install Skype on your computer, although the process is quite easy to follow. After installation, you can sync Skype to your address book, making it easy to access and call your contacts in one step.

The search feature allows you to find and invite anyone who is not in your contacts, to connect witty you.

Features:

  • Free for up to 50 people
  • You can chat, group chat, call or video
  • File sharing enables collaboration
  • It has versions for web and mobile
  • Skype has subtitles feature
  • You can call phone numbers from skype

Despite its popularity, Skype is a bit of a heavy app and may sometimes have unclear output on calls having many users.

Pricing:

Free for up to 50 participants. Otherwise, contact for more details


3. BlueJeans

BlueJeans

BlueJeans is an online meeting and video conferencing app trusted by enterprise brands like Facebook, LinkedIn, Zillow, among others. BlueJeans was acquired by Verizon in April 2020, a move that will see the app leverage Verizon’s 5G technology for better video conferencing.

Its analytics, live meeting controls, minute-taking and enterprise-level security are some of the features that make BlueJeans an enterprise meeting tool of choice for most.

Other features include:

  • One-touch-access allows users to join from their browser or device
  • It is integrable with more than 30 apps
  • Confiture to suit many meeting room systems
  • Make phone calls for free to more than 40 countries
  • Customize to suit your brand
  • Record meetings and save to the cloud

As with most enterprise-grade apps that host many users, video and audio quality may be unclear when using BlueJeans. However, the acquisition by Verizon may just fix this issue.

Pricing:

Standard: $9.99/month

Pro: $13.99/month

Enterprise: contact for pricing


4. Aira by Eduba

AIRA
Aira

Aira is an online meetings platform that offers quite a number of interesting features that make it unique. These include:  

  • Its Voice AI feature automatically records meetings. The AI continuously upgrades, enhancing performance and productivity
  • Recordings are available as transcriptions.  Therefore, you don’t have to miss out on meeting discussions or take minutes later on
  • Aira will attend multiple meetings for you, allowing you to still keep up with your busy schedule without missing out on important meeting details
  • Aira uses Zapier to integrate with your CRM
  • The analytics feature allows you to suggest ways to optimize future meetings and improve performance

To use Aira for online meetings, you can sign up for a free trial.

Pricing:

Available during the demo.


5. Blizz by TeamViewer

Blizz

The Blizz Collaboration Companion™ is a video, voice and instant messaging application created by TeamViewer.

TeamViewer specializes in providing remote support through cloud-based technologies to businesses around the world. Boasting installations on more than 2 billion devices, TeamViewer’s popularity as a collaboration tool is unquestionable. Blizz leverages some of TeamViewer’s features, allowing screen sharing and remote access to all your essential meeting and communication tools.

Features:

  • Blizz is free for up to 5 participants but has the capacity to support up to 300 people on one call.
  • It supports sharing on multiple 4K screens
  • Records calls and store in the cloud
  • It’s a secure application that uses 256-bit end-to-end encryption
  • Message indexing for easier tracking of conversations and ideas

One downside with Blizz is that it doesn’t support whiteboarding, which limits interactive use of shared documents during video conferencing.

Pricing (billed annually):

  • Free: for 5 users
  • Core: 6€ / Month
  • Crew: 14/€month
  • Company:19€/month

6. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams is an ideal online meeting tool for large businesses, as it supports as many as 10,000 participants on one call.  Microsoft teams support chat, call, video and file sharing on iOS, Windows, Android and web, all while ensuring the privacy and security of participants.

Features:

  • Navigating within Microsoft team is easy; with just one click, you can for instance navigate from group chatting to video.
  • File sharing on Microsoft teams makes team collaboration easy even when traveling or away from your workstation, as you can access and edit relevant files through TeamViewer.
  • Powerful search,
  • Live training online
  • Task management

Although Microsoft Teams has great features, it does not do audio calls, nor does it integrate with third-party software.

Pricing (annual commitment):

  • Microsoft Teams (free): free
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: USD$5.00/ user/month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: USD$12.50/ user/month
  • Office 365 E3: USD$20.00 user/month


7. Google Meet

Google Meet

Google Meet is a free service that started off as a secure meeting service for businesses. It is now open to everyone. Google Meet integrate with Gmail, google drive, docs and google calendar, letting you manage your video calls straight from your communication resources.

Features:

  • Live streaming on google meet supports up to 100,000 participants.
  • In addition to enjoying Google’s security feature, GoogleMeet benefits from extensive AI research by google, giving the app powerful abilities like adjusting to environmental noise, so that calls remain clear even in noisy environments.
  • GoogleMeet can adjust Performance to suit different network speeds. This ensures high quality calls in spite of network strength.
  • You don’t need to download googlemeet.
  • G Suite integration allows participants to join calls without internet

GoogleMeet is reasonably priced, making it ideal for a small budget

Pricing:

Free


8. GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is an online meeting tool through which users can host or join audio or video meetings from anywhere. It works on MacOS, Windows OS and mobile.

GoToMeeting has a high price tag, making it suitable for enterprises or businesses that can meet the budget.

Features:

  • The GoToRoom kit allows you to turn your meeting room into a collaborative space.  
  • GoToMeeting helps you to fully leverage your video conferencing hardware
  • Integrate with third-party apps like google calendar, salesforce, or Office 365.
  • Use Siri voice commands
  • Enjoy unlimited meeting time with screen sharing and HD video
  • Get MP4 recordings of your meetings
  • Enjoy end to end security feature

Pricing:

Professional: $14/organizer/month

Business: $19/organizer /month

Enterprise: Call for details


9. Zoom

Zoom

Zoom only went public in 2019 and has in a very short time soared in popularity as online meetings and conferencing tool.

Features:

  • Zoom offers free 40-minute calls for up to 100 participants
  • It is intuitive and easy to use
  • You can hold video calls, voice and chat
  • You can share files and make presentations on zoom.
  • Video and audio quality on zoom is good even on slow connections
  • Supports dual screen sharing and HD video

One downside of zoom, according to the intercept, is that it does not offer end to end security encryption.

Pricing:

Basic personal meeting: Free

Pro: $14.99/mo/host

Business: $19.99 /mo/host

Enterprise: $19.99 /mo/host


10. EverWebinar

EverWebinar

EverWebinar is a reliable and fast online meeting platform that allows you to set up calls and webinars in as little as 3 minutes. it’s a great tool not just for meetings but also for offering live training and webinars.

EverWebinar can automate your trainings, all while giving your audience flexible scheduling options for specific dates, managing recurring events and managing time zones.

Other EverWebinar features include:

  • Manage all your chats, videos and statistics in one compact screen
  • Access all your communication and analytics safely and securely
  • Download previous chat history
  • Send notifications by email or sms

EverWebinar however requires a bit of time to learn the features but when you do, the ROI will be worth it. The testimonials on the app’s webpage bear this out.

Pricing:

Installment plan: 3x$199/year

Annual plan: $499/year

Biennial plan: $799/2 years


Final Words

That’s it for now.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right software. But this list of 10, feature-rich online meetings apps has something for everyone, and should make doing business in 2020 and beyond a lot easier.