In a global business market or even for small town branches of larger entities, the need to meet is imperative. A meeting can unleash solutions, give a platform for shared ideas, and keep everyone on the same page. However, having all important players of any given company sit down across the conference room table just isn’t feasible in today’s business climate. Thanks to technology, it doesn’t have to be.
Web conferencing provides an effective, easy to use, and affordable way to have everyone at the table and on the same page without actually being at the table. If you plan to utilize this technology to brainstorm, share files, or essentially improve communications between offices and individuals, you need to explore which best web conferencing service is right for you. Two well-established and impressive contenders are WebEx and Join.me.
Both companies have 3 separate plans to choose from.
Join.me has the following options:
- Free—this options gives users up to 5 video feeds and 10 total participants. It also comes with screen sharing, video conferencing, VoIP and Whiteboards (for iPad only). It also includes file transfer and mobile apps. Join.me is the only company to offer a free plan.
- Pro—this plan can allow up to 50 participants and 25 users. It includes all the free features plus customization of personal link and background, 10 video feeds, screen and window sharing, annotation, presenter swap, meeting scheduling, meeting lock, and no in-meeting ads.
- Business—this plan can accommodate 250 participants and up to 1000 users. It includes all the features of the free plan and pro plan plus enterprise authentication, enhanced reporting, and 5 TB Cloud storage.
WebEx has the following plans which are all called premium:
- Premium 8—this plan allows for 8 people per meeting.
- Premium 25—this plan allows for 25 people per meeting
- Premium 100—this plan allows for 100 people per meeting
All 3 plans include 7 video feeds, shared application or shared whole screen, free mobile apps, shared presenters, VoIP or phone call-in, mark-up tools and Whiteboard. Shared files are also included.
Join.me has a ton of features that make it the ideal service for a fast-paced business, but it also has standard easy to use features that prevent it from being overwhelming or too tech-heavy for the smaller group to use effectively.
Some of the features with Join.me include:
- The ability to add presenters or swap presenters during a meeting
- Screen, desktop, or window sharing (which keeps other items on the screen private)
- Recording of meetings
- High quality video and audio for up to 10 webcams (not specifically High Definition)
- Ability to lock meetings (any extra attendees need to ‘knock’ to gain access)
- Scheduling of meetings through Google, Outlook, or Office 360
- Ability to expel attendees
- File sharing
- Whiteboard capabilities to share ideas in real time with drawing tools (but only with iPad or iPhone. The free version gives whiteboards, but the two priced plans give unlimited whiteboards)
- Meeting room branded
- Mobile app download on Android, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and tablets (but no video on mobile devices)
- Software needs downloaded to use web conferencing
WebEx also has extensive features which make the web conferencing process beneficial for businesses that require attendance of less than 100 people per meeting, as that is the maximum capacity for their highest level plan.
Some of the WebEx features include:
- Ability to switch or share presenters
- Desktop, web page, and browser windows sharing (can share entire screen if wanted)
- File sharing and screen shot saving
- Recordings of meetings (recording becomes a link that can be watched later)
- High Definition video and audio for up to 7 webcams
- Ability to schedule reoccurring meetings through Microsoft Outlook and invite instantly appears on calendar
- Ability to lock meetings and invite people after meeting has started
- Sketching on virtual whiteboards
- Ability to post comments on live chat without leaving meeting space
- Ability to create tasks to share with other attendees during meeting
- Files added during meets can be uploaded afterwards to add notes or ask others to view
- Mobile use for Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, and tablets (but no file sharing on mobile)
- No software needs to be installed for web conferencing
Join.me has a mobile app so users can tap into meetings on the go. The app can be downloaded onto Android, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or other tablets. But, the mobile capabilities do not allow for video feed on a mobile device.
WebEx also has a mobile app that can be downloaded on Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, and tablets. Mobile capabilities do not allow for file sharing, which can be a downfall if files are needed for viewing during the meeting.
Join.me has a leg up on the competition with a free plan. Its other two plans cost between $20 and $25 a month.
WebEx does not offer a free plan and its monthly cost is higher than Join.me. However, they offer a discount if paid annually, something Join.me does not. Its premium plans range from $24/month ($19 when paid annually) to $69/month ($49 when paid annually).
Ease of Use
Join.me has all of the features and capabilities that make it perfectly fine for most businesses. However, having to download software to use the web conferencing feature may pose issues for some invited to meetings. The inability to schedule reoccurring meetings may make it more work-intensive for those who have to manually schedule each and every meeting. Screen sharing can only be done from desktop, which may also be inconvenient for some, as can no video feed for mobile.
The convenience of unlimited Whiteboards, which allows for sharing ideas and thoughts in real time, may make Join.me the easiest way for teams of people to share what matters or what needs discussed immediately.
While WebEx can only accommodate fewer users, its ease of use is well-documented. They advertise lots of tutorials and there are no software installs needed to invite attendees or join meetings.
WebEx has a tiny ball visible which actively shows who is presenting and is easy to ‘toss’ to the next presenter. The ability to schedule reoccurring meetings and send invites after a meeting has started may make it easier and less cumbersome to manage compared to services which don’t offer those capabilities. Inviting people only requires entering their email and an invitation automatically gets sent.
Deciding the Best Web Conferencing for Your Business Needs
Both companies offer a variety of plans which can be well-suited for today’s business environment where technology and web conferencing is simply par for the course.
Join.me has a leg up over WebEx when sheer numbers can be the deciding figure between the two. Join.me also has a free plan, which may entice those new to web conferencing and those who want to try it out to be sure of exactly what features they may need.
WebEx may have less in the way of video feeds, but this service comes with no software download requirements and the ability to schedule reoccurring meetings, which can be a bonus for busy team leaders who what that duty taken off their shoulders. Also, the ability to chat privately without leaving meeting space may be a crucial deciding factor.
Getting the best web conferencing service for your needs, now and as your business grows, can be a big decision. We have taken the time to research and compare several of the most popular and comprehensive web conferencing services in order to better understand what they provide, the cost effectiveness, and how these companies are meeting the needs of today’s businesses.
If you are weighing your options, reading our web conferencing company reviews and ratings is the best way to find all the information you need in one convenient location. Once you weigh your options, invest in one of our reviewed and trusted web conferencing service providers to take your business to the next level.