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5 video conferencing platforms to empower your remote teams
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5 video conferencing platforms to empower your remote teams

Your remote team isn’t holding too many meetings—just not productive ones. Here are the best video conferencing platforms for better online meetings.

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Which sounds more exciting: sitting on the sidelines watching your friends dance or busting a move alongside them? 

When you’re on the dance floor, everyone moves in sync with each other, dodging slightly-too-enthusiastic fist pumps and rockin' to the beat. But as an onlooker, you’re not involved, so you’re probably paying less attention to changes in rhythm. 

Traditional video conferencing platforms can feel a lot like watching your friends have a great time on the dance floor without actively participating. And choosing the right video conferencing tool for collaboration is a challenge when many don’t have the features you need. 

For example, being limited to screen sharing doesn’t help you get the most out of your meetings—and people have a lot of them, so you need to make them count. But having too many meetings isn’t the problem—unproductive meetings are. To fix this, leaders of highly collaborative teams need to invest in tools that save time and make meetings more productive by letting teams collaborate effectively. 

In this post, we walk you through popular video conferencing software tools and compare features, pricing, and advantages. We’ll also highlight what kind of team each is best for, and show you how Switchboard is a truly collaborative digital workspace where your teams can feel more in sync with each other and their work.

Want to make your remote meetings more productive? 
Switchboard is built for true collaboration—so it saves you time and lets you get more done together. 
Sign up for free

Video conferencing platforms: overview

If you’re running a remote company, instead of just aiming for fewer meetings, you need a video conferencing platform that helps you make them more productive. That means being able to collaborate asynchronously and in real time all in one place. 

Before we dive into product analysis and details, here's a quick overview of each video conferencing option.

Comparison chart of video conferencing platforms

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at how those tools stack up against each other. 

What to look for in a video conferencing platform 

The key to great remote meetings–and better collaboration–is choosing the right platform. There are plenty out there, but some are mainly designed for talking in real time instead of getting things done. 

For example, using video conferencing software with screen-sharing capabilities often results in one person taking control of meetings, which can cause others to switch off. It’s like trying to dance along with the music when the dance floor is full. In other words, you’ll likely be out of sync with your team if you don’t have the tools to let everyone participate in meetings.

Luckily, there are alternatives for remote and hybrid teams of different sizes, many of which are designed to foster more productive meetings through better team-building and communication

Here are some key features to look for:

  • Persistent meeting rooms. If the product you’re using saves everything previously shared,  you can start a call without having to set anything up beforehand. When the space is ready and waiting for you anytime you need, this saves the whole team prep time. Persistent rooms also make it easy to collaborate async and in real time, and keep everyone on the same page: you never lose track of the files and apps everyone was working on. 
  • A large canvas that supports multiple content types. Oftentimes you need to access different types of content during a meeting or project:  images, documents, websites, PDFs, and apps. An expansive canvas gives your team enough space to see everything side by side. 
  • Multiplayer experience. Make sure your whole team can view, share, and edit all the materials you'll need for effective real-time and async teamwork. Limiting one person to sharing one static piece of content at a time limits engagement and creativity.
  • Screen sharing and presenting. Sometimes, screen sharing and presenting are necessary, for instance, to walk colleagues through a sales demo or present a new strategy to leadership. It’s also worth looking for a tool that lets you share multiple screens inside a single room, which not all platforms do. 
  • In-room video and audio. Make sure your online meeting space has built-in video conferences and audio capabilities so participants don’t need to toggle between platforms to get work done. 
  • In-room chat. Text-based messaging can deepen the conversation going during and after meetings to inspire real-time collaboration and encourage people to ask questions. 
  • Compatibility with web-based apps. Make sure any virtual meeting tool you choose works with your existing tech stack, like Google Docs, Notion, or Canva. 

Video conferencing platforms for better online meetings

With these features in mind, we’ve put together a list of the top online meeting platforms for remote teams. We analyzed key features, who each tool is most or least suited to, and its pricing model to help you choose.  

1. Switchboard: Best for intuitive collaboration in small remote or hybrid teams

Screenshot of Switchboard room and virtual canvas
Switchboard lets you work side-by-side with your team on any type of project. Source: Switchboard

Switchboard is a browser-based collaboration platform that lets you and your team work together on documents and apps inside a virtual room—without having to share your screen. It’s built to foster team connection, collaboration, and productivity through intuitive meeting rooms. 

Switchboard lets you communicate in real time with video, audio, and chat. You can also work side-by-side and allow everyone to scroll, type, and browse the same document at the same time. Think flash mob-level collaboration: everyone comes together at different times, but they’re all dancing the same steps. 

You can create cloud-based virtual rooms for brainstorming, host spontaneous meetings with your team, and connect with clients in an interactive space. 

Throughout your meetings, you can explore any file in the room and move around and view whatever you want without getting in the way of others. Best of all, Switchboard saves all your files after every meeting is finished, so you never need to download anything or repopulate the room again. All of this helps boost the quality of your real-time meetings and async collaboration to improve productivity on your remote team.   

Key features:

  • Shared online workspace and rooms for recurring meetings
  • Web-based canvas to add multiple apps, websites PDFs, and images side by side
  • Persistent rooms that save your work
  • In-meeting video, audio, and chat
  • Secure, fast multiplayer browsers for instant collaboration
  • Screen sharing for native apps
  • Built-in whiteboard 
  • Presentation mode
  • In-app support
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Unlimited rooms for 1:1s, meetings, and projects
  • Meeting recording
  • No integration required for web-based apps—they all work
  • Room permissions for members and guests
  • Sections to organize documents and apps
  • Host not required for members to enter a room
  • Up to 50 participants 

Pricing:

  • Free: Includes limited features, rooms, and members for small teams or individuals.
  • Pro: $15 member/month for up to 200 rooms and 500 members plus Switchboard AI and additional storage.
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing.

Why we like it:

Switchboard is perfect if you’re looking for a comprehensive, all-inclusive workplace for meetings and projects. It goes beyond one-sided, single-screen sharing to act as an always-open collaborative hub where your people can always find each other and get work done—before, during, and after meetings. 

Best for: 

Switchboard is designed for remote and hybrid companies of up to 50 people that want to feel like they’re working together in the same room. It's a great option for teams that need a dedicated, interactive digital space to collaborate on meetings and projects. This way, you can all get down together without leaving anyone behind. 

Who isn’t Switchboard for?

Since Switchboard is built for small, highly collaborative remote and hybrid teams, it’s not the best option for big companies or corporations that prioritize top-down meetings and one-way presentations. 

Video conferencing platform alternatives for larger teams

If you’re a larger team or company and need to host more than 50 participants, you’ll want to look for a video conferencing platform with the functionality you need to keep meetings productive and focused. 

Let’s explore some options! 

1. Zoom: Best for big corporations

Online meeting on Zoom
Zoom works well for large meetings, 1:1s, and webinars. Source: Zoom

Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing platforms on the market. It became popular in 2020 as a reliable online meeting tool for companies in industries from education to healthcare and more. 

Its paid plans come with plenty of advanced features like polls and live streaming and the free version lets you host quick, 40-minute meetings with up to 100 participants per call. 

Whether you’re organizing online training sessions, company-wide team meetings, client calls, or webinars, Zoom is a straightforward, easy-to-use option. However, it doesn’t offer many interactive features, so meetings are more like watching people dance out on the floor instead of trying out the steps yourself.  

Key features:

  • Audio and video conferencing
  • Built-in online whiteboard
  • In-meeting chat
  • Automated captions
  • Call recording
  • Screen sharing
  • Breakout rooms
  • Polls 
  • Webinars
  • Integrations with popular tools 

Pricing:

  • Free version with limited functionality and attendee numbers
  • Pro: $139.90/year per user
  • Business: $189.90/year per user
  • Business Plus: custom priced 
  • Enterprise: custom priced  

Why we like it:

Zoom’s built-in whiteboard and screen-sharing annotation features make it easier for people to interact on calls. You can also access Zoom meetings via the app or a shared link on a web browser, so anyone can join them quickly and easily.

Best for:

Zoom’s large meeting capacity makes it ideal for large companies wanting a reliable web conferencing tool for company-wide or external events. On the Basic and Pro plans, you can invite up to 100 attendees, while Business and Enterprise let you host 300 and 1,000, respectively.

Who isn’t it for?

If you’re a small, highly collaborative team that prioritizes working together in real time and async, Zoom meetings lack the functionality you’ll need for true side-by-side collaboration. 

2. Google Meet: Best for companies using Google Workspace

Screenshot of a Google Meet meeting
Google Meet lets your team gather in real time and on-the-go for quick catch-ups, team meetings, and 1:1s. Source: Google Meet

Google Meet (previously Google Hangouts) works well for companies that already use Google Workspace products. It’s widely accessible and includes high-quality video and audio conferencing and live chat features. 

You can use Google Meet for team check-ins, 1:1s, and top-down meetings and presentations like company all-hands meetings. It also provides plenty of dial-in options so your team can call in from their mobile devices if necessary. 

Also, meetings created in Google Calendar automatically come with a meeting link, so you don’t need to worry about sharing this with attendees. The Google Meet app also lets team members join in on the go. 

Key features:

  • Up to 500 participants
  • Live captions (in English)
  • In-meeting whiteboard capabilities and Miro integration
  • Screen sharing
  • Event live-streaming 
  • Seamless integration with Google Chat

Pricing:

  • Google Meet is free to use with access to premium features when you sign up for Google Workspace. 
  • Business Starter: $6/month per user
  • Business Standard: $12/month per user
  • Business Plus: $18/month per user
  • Enterprise: custom priced  

Why we like it: 

Google Meet is perfect for quick catch-ups and working in real-time with your team. Dial-in options and the ability to adjust the quality of the call to your network speed also made it a great choice for on-the-go meetings. 

Best for: 

Google Meet is a convenient solution for companies that already use Google Workspace products.

Who isn’t it for? 

Google Meet is less suitable for highly collaborative teams as you can’t work together on the same documents and apps side-by-side. Instead, you need to rely on sharing in Google Drive before the meeting so people can access meeting materials in separate browsers or apps during it. 

3. Microsoft Teams: Best for companies using Microsoft 365

Online Q&A session on Microsoft Teams
With Microsoft Teams, you can create private spaces to communicate and share files with your team. Source: Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is one of the biggest names in video conferencing after Zoom, lending itself to everything from Q&A sessions and webinars to group meetings and 1:1s. You can run large-scale presentations and break-out sessions on paid plans. Meanwhile, the free version is ideal for simple virtual meetings. 

Teams integrates with the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, so you can easily access and work on your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, which helps ensure everyone is working on the most up-to-date version of a task or project. 

You can also tailor the platform to meet your specific needs, like setting up customizable channels and workspaces for your team. This way, you can better organize your projects and make sure important information doesn’t slip through the cracks. 

Key features: 

  • Unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours
  • Up to 1000 participants per meeting
  • Unlimited chat
  • Wireless sharing
  • Real-time collaboration
  • File sharing
  • Customizable workspaces and team channels

Pricing:

  • Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Teams Rooms with limited functionality: Free   
  • Microsoft Teams Essentials: $4/month per user
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $6/month per user
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50/month per user 
  • Microsoft Teams Rooms Pro (without Audio Conferencing): $40/month per room 

Why we like it: 

MS Teams is a reliable video conferencing platform that lets you organize your internal communication channels to suit your team’s workflow. Customizable channels and file-sharing capabilities also mean you can collaborate with your team async and in real time.

Best for: 

Microsoft Teams works well for all types of businesses that need to host webinars and create collaborative meeting rooms. It’s particularly useful for companies that already use Microsoft products, like Microsoft 365. 

Who isn’t it for? 

MS Teams isn’t the best option for large companies that aren’t using Microsoft products. Asking employees to adjust to a new operating system or tools (when there’s a learning curve) won’t help make your meetings more productive in the short term and can, in fact, inhibit true collaboration.

4. Skype: Best for international organizations

Online meeting on Skype
Skype helps global teams that want free and reliable video conferencing get together. Source: Skype

Many people probably made their first video call with Skype’s audio and video conference software as it was one of the first virtual meeting platforms to come on the market. With Skype, you can host up to 100 participants on a video call and interact with people around the world if you pay for Skype Credit. 

Key features: 

  • Audio and HD video calling
  • Smart messaging
  • Screen sharing
  • Call recording
  • File sharing
  • Live subtitles and real-time translation

Pricing

  • Skype video conferencing for non-business users: Free 
  • Skype for Business is included in Microsoft Teams 
  • Skype Credit offers a range of paid plans for calling phone numbers around the world

Why we like it: 

Skype helps international remote and hybrid teams stay connected with multiple dial-in options and reliable audio and video quality. It’s easy to turn in-platform chats into quick video calls for meaningful face-to-face interactions—no matter where you are in the world. 

Best for:

With capacity for up to 100 participants, Skype is ideal for medium and large businesses that have remote international teams. The real-time translation feature is also handy if you work with international or multilingual teams and clients.

Who isn’t it for? 

Skype lacks collaboration tools that let you work on documents simultaneously or brainstorm with colleagues like you’re all in the same place. That makes it better for meetings or presentations that rely on talking more than doing.  

Video conferencing platforms: The key to boosting productivity through true collaboration 

If your remote team is struggling to stay on top of their workload, you might be tempted to see where you can trim time-consuming meetings from their calendar. But, before you do that, consider this: maybe the problem isn’t too many meetings, but the fact that these are unproductive. 

This can happen if you’re relying on traditional video conferencing solutions that only offer a single-player experience—so people feel like they’re watching from the sidelines instead of moving to the beat with the rest of the team. 

That’s why small business leaders with highly collaborative teams need video conferencing platforms that help keep meetings productive and empower people to get things done together—async and in real time. That means working side-by-side, interacting spontaneously, and sharing more than just screens. 

In this post, we reviewed Switchboard as the best option for highly collaborative remote teams. We also highlighted Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Skype as viable options for larger companies. While these big names are all popular, reliable solutions for getting distributed teams together and aligning in real time, they’re less suited to moving the needle on work together or on your own.   

Switchboard makes meetings, co-working sessions, and game-time more dynamic, enjoyable, and productive with features like easy file sharing and persistent rooms that save your work.

Want to make your remote meetings more productive? 
Switchboard is built for true collaboration—so it saves you time and lets you get more done together. 
Sign up for free

Frequently asked questions about video conferencing platforms

What is the best platform for video conferencing?

If you’re part of a remote team or company of 50 people or less, the best platform for video conferencing is Switchboard. It lets you collaborate on multiple projects, files, and documents with your remote team—and all from a persistent meeting room that saves your work and makes it easy to come back to. 

What are the benefits of using video conferencing platforms?

There are many benefits to using video conferencing platforms. For one, they help remote and hybrid teams stay connected across the globe. For example, most platforms have video conferencing features such as: 

  • Audio and video calls 
  • Dial-in numbers 
  • Free video conferencing 
  • Digital conference rooms
  • Cloud storage
  • The ability to schedule meetings 
  • Text chat 
  • User-friendly user interfaces
  • Virtual events and webinars

What is the best video conferencing platform for businesses?

The best video conferencing platform for businesses is Switchboard if you have a small, highly collaborative company of up to 50 people. It lets you host meetings where you feel like you’re working side-by-side, in the same office with your team. If you’re a larger company that needs to host large-scale events, other options include: 

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet 
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Skype

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Want to make your remote meetings more productive?

Switchboard is built for true collaboration—so it saves you time and lets you get more done together.