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Online Meeting Tools

Tools for Holding Web Conferences and Meetings Online

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There are so many advantages to holding meetings online, especially with the new features and cost savings made possible with VoIP. It saves you and your partners from travelling, it saves a lot of time, it allows quick collaboration, it allows you to meet and interact with people that you would never have met otherwise, it helps in social networking etc. Here is a list of tools that are available online, using VoIP technology, for organizing and holding meetings online. Some use voice only while others use both voice and video, and some allow for more features. Discover the list and make your choice.

1. MeBeam

MeBeam is free and very simple. Don’t expect to have shiny features as the other paid solutions. It offers basic video conferencing through its web interface, with very simple ways of building and organizing meetings. On its very homepage, you are asked to enter the name of the group you want to create. Once you get in, which is in fact the second page behind, you only have to call the other participants to the room and you are set. This is more for informal and simple meetings, but to my taste, it is a very handy, quick and useful solution for online meetings. It does not even require registration.

2. OpenMeetings

This is open source software that is free and that allows you to very easily and instantly set up conference calls, using either voice or video. It can also be used as a free collaboration tool, with the possibility to share desktop, share documents on a white board and record the meetings. It is an interesting tool, but it requires you to download and install a small package on your server before using. There is no limitation on the usage or on the number of persons participating in a meeting.

3. Yugma

You can register for free on Yugma and use its web conferencing tool to hold your meetings, but it has some serious limitations. If you need more professional service, you need to buy the premium plan. Then you will receive a complete set of features with the necessary support to make professional web meetings with full collaboration. It is a very rich tool but its wealth lies mostly in the part where it is not free.

4. MegaMeeting

This tool is fully professional and is not free. It is fully web based without any software to download and install. It offers web video conferencing and web seminar tools. The solution is complete with good quality voice and video and participants can feel as if they are together while being remote.

5. FreeConferenceCalling

FreeConferenceCalling offers voice calling in conferencing mode with up to 1,000 users for free. The most interesting thing with this service is that it is completely free. This means that you get to hold meetings with your whole workforce or group of friends for no cost at all, unless it be the cost of the phone call you make to participate in the conference. It is not a VoIP company like Skype or Vonage, but uses any phone network that can connect, mostly the traditional phone network. However, there is the possibility for participants to use VoIP to connect to the conference. Note that there is no video here, only voice.

6. Zoho

Zoho is a complete tool, with meetings being only one of the features. It has other features like webinars, video conferencing, collaboration etc. Obviously, with all this power, it cannot be free. For 10 participants, it costs $12 per month, which is not bad for a business which regularly holds meetings. It offers a 30 day trial. Online meeting is very easy and is browser based.

7. DimDim

This tool is also very easy to use. It is fully browser-based and requires no software installation. They claim to be the world’s easiest online conference tool. After signing up, you can set up a meeting and invite people to it. You also have some collaboration tools like sharing of the desktop and documents.

8. Ekiga

Ekiga is an open-source VoIP softphone app that includes the functionalities of a voice softphone, video conferencing tool and instant messaging tool. It is available for Windows and Linux, is completely free and is simple to use. Though it does not come with a ton of features, it offers user-friendliness and seamless SIP communication. To complete the package, the team behind Ekiga also offers free SIP addresses that you can use with your free softphone or with any other softphone that supports SIP. Ekiga was formerly known as GnomeMeeting.

9. GoToMeeting

This tool is a good professional tool and allows to hold meetings with voice and video. It also allows to record that meetings. It has apps for smart phones as well. It also has products for webinars, and training sessions. The price is quite low and there is a flat rate for unlimited meetings.

10. Speek

Speek shines by the simplicity with which someone can organise an online meeting or conference and for participants to join in. There is no need to download and install any software - it is completely browser-based - there is no PIN or access code, just a simple URL with the name of the organizer. It is also free for up to 5 participants.

11. WebHuddle

This is a tool for cost conscious professionals. It is Java based and is therefore cross platform. It is light on resources and also offers HTTPS data encryption. It also comes with all the benefits of open source software, and also offers recording capabilities. It offers only voice communication.

12. InstantPresenter

This is a full professional solution that is not very cheap but that offers a real lot of professional features, among which are survey and testing tools, registration forms, recording hosting, screen sharing, PayPal integration for billing participants, polls etc.
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