Perhaps the biggest business buzzword of recent years is ‘remote working’ or its associated phrase, ‘hybrid working’. More and more people are choosing to work outside the traditional office environment and that means that businesses need to adapt to these new models and maintain efficient and productive working.
At the heart of adapting to remote working, as well as ensuring good communications across your organisation, lies the idea of how you keep in touch. In a traditional office-based environment, it’s easy to schedule team meetings or meetings with clients. Even informal chats between colleagues can contribute to productivity.
The major way businesses keep in touch with remote workers or communicate with customers or suppliers not in the locale is with online meetings. But what are online meetings? What are the different types? And how can they benefit our organisations?
What is an online meeting?
As the name suggests, these are meetings that take place via the internet. It can also be called a remote meeting, a virtual meeting, or a web conference. They use digital technology to connect people from different locations.
With the growth of remote working and the need for organisations to operate internationally and globally, online meetings represent an easy and efficient way to communicate across those often vast distances. But are they all the same?
Benefits of hosting a meeting online
Let’s assume you don’t currently have the ability to host online meetings. You’ve put forward the idea of using RingCentral MVPTM in your organisation, but your CFO won’t cut you any slack and wants you to detail the benefits that would come with the ability to hold such meetings.
Location, schedules, holidays, multiple factors affect where your workforce is based and what they’re doing. But they still need to communicate and collaborate on everyday tasks. And that means not just meeting in real-time but having file sharing features so that you can share information, data, follow-up on points made, make transcriptions, etc.
When you consider some of the features available with RingCentral, you can quickly see how communication and collaboration are enhanced. The ability to screen share documents, applications, visuals, and other collaboration tools means that any team member can instantly access the info they need.
Communication is how we sustain our relationships with our clients. It is what makes us special—face-to-face, consistent communication.
Julie Galido, Senior Operations Manager, MyOutDesk
It's very easy to set up, the interface is intuitive to use, the audio and video quality is very good, and it works very smoothly.
How do you hold a meeting online with RingCentral?
Thanks to the handy web browser client, you can run HD video conferences from all your devices with ease without downloading a mobile or desktop app. Ease of use is key here: anyone can join a video call without having to download anything.
If you have an existing RingCentral account, you can download the app from the ‘Tools’ menu on your online account. For smartphones and tablets, you can do this from the iTunes® App Store or Google Play. Holding a meeting is a straightforward process that requires no technical knowledge. Simply follow the steps outlined below:
- Log in using your credentials and/or your RingCentral phone number.
- If hosting, select ‘schedule a meeting’, as per note 3.
- Enter details of the meeting and send invites. (You can send these to Gmail, so contacts can add details to their calendar).
- Start meeting.
- If a participant/invitee, select ‘join a meeting’, as per note 4.
- Enter the meeting ID you were supplied with in your invite.
*note: this can all be done from a desktop or mobile device.
As RingCentral is cloud-based, this means that it provides a unified communications system specially designed for businesses. It can also offer enterprise-level VoIP services without the need for installing secondary and expensive hardware such as PBX boxes or servers.
As a business, this allows you access to voice-based, text-based, and fax communications as well as HD video meetings and online conferences. This connects your entire workforce, regardless of location and devices.
With RingCentral, everything happens online, from initial purchase and activation to using and managing the system. Unlike conventional systems, this means you have the flexibility, scalability, and functionality that modern businesses need.
Work Anywhere. Productivity has no limits.
What do you need for an online meeting?
You want to host or join a meeting. What do you need to do this? Is it a simple case of downloading the right video conferencing software, or are there hidden hurdles ahead?
Secure meeting platform
The first thing you need is a reliable and secure platform where you can hold your meetings. And ideally, you want an all-in-one solution that’s accessible by multiple types of devices and easy to use. Choosing an efficient and unified platform, such as RingCentral, provides you with all the features you’ll need.
The right meeting equipment
Having the right equipment is essential to success. For audio or video-based meetings, that means good quality webcams or microphones. But it can also include location (quiet and well-lit is ideal). And a reliable internet connection is a significant factor.
You wouldn’t hold a physical meeting without some form of agenda, so why should a virtual meeting be any different? People have busy schedules, so setting out a plan in advance—and sticking to it during the meeting—is crucial to success.
Be ready and open to communicate
Just because there’s no need to attend the meeting physically doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate. Even at a conference, there will be opportunities to ask questions or make points. Be open and ready to discuss any topics raised.
RingCentral features to make your online meetings better
There are many solutions available on the market. Some of them are specialised and focus on a few features, while some offer a more unified approach. Here are some RingCentral features that might make it your first choice:
High-quality video means you see every detail, including those often subtle nuances of body language.
RingCentral lets you hold video conferences with larger groups of participants, making it perfect for virtual events or webinars.
Enables you to see up to 25 video streams at once. Multiple screen sharing options mean that you can view up to 25 of the participants simultaneously, making for better discussions.
desktop, documents, applications, dual-monitor screen share. Meetings are not just about talking. RingCentral’s screen share option means it’s easy to share data, graphs, and information.
When there are at least 3 participants, this feature means that the active speaker is highlighted to all viewers.
Phone call-in. Cloud-based calls for your RingCentral account can be made from your desk phone or mobile, thus saving your airtime minutes.
Call Me and Call Out
Call Me means you can switch meeting audio to your mobile without dialling in. Call Out lets you invite someone to a meeting room simply by calling their number.
Audio dial-in access
This makes it easy for people to join a meeting simply by calling a dedicated number. This works for both local and international participants.
RingCentral Video allows for messaging to be integrated so that you can send text messages to other participants or write a text that all can see.
Markup or draw on shared documents and applications. With the ability to add multiple boards, you can add information to existing screens or make completely new ones.
Schedule meetings using our plugins for iCal, Google, or Outlook. Easy integration with any calendar app you use means that meetings scheduled on one app will be instantly synced to your other systems.
Schedule meetings for another host
Simplifying admin tasks, this allows you to schedule meetings for someone else if you’ve been authorised to do so in account settings.
Compatible with Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. With compatibility across most operating systems, RingCentral is accessible from almost every device.
Meetings can go for up to 24 hours
With a maximum time limit of 24 hours, RingCentral offers the time flexibility you need. Need more time? Simply dial in and start another 24-hour cycle.
Integrations with many other apps, including CRM options like Zoho and Salesforce.
It goes beyond file sharing. You can also fax documents across to your clients, either online with Adobe PDFs, or to physical fax machines.
Meeting the constantly evolving demands of business—and your workforce—can be a challenging task. With people increasingly choosing remote or hybrid working, you need efficient conferencing software that promotes communication and encourages collaborative working.
With RingCentral’s video conferencing solution, you have a platform that helps you meet those challenges. From simple audio conferencing to multi-participant video conferences, you can do everything you would do in a face-to-face meeting and more.
Online meeting FAQs
The type you choose can depend on several factors. These include the device you’re using and whether you have a unified communications system such as RingCentral Video installed. You can also have a hybrid meeting where one participant uses one type while other participants use others.
1. Web Conferencing
Web conferencing refers to any type of meeting where two or more people are taking part. Participants can be in different geographical locations. Using a reliable internet connection and appropriate web conferencing software, they’re able to communicate in real-time using audio or video.
Web conferencing is a generic umbrella term that covers the various types of online meetings available to you. Using technology, you can host a presentation, screen share, send and share files, etc. Participants may present content or just view it.
RingCentral offers a range of intuitive solutions in their office suite to cover every aspect of web conferencing. Whether you want to communicate by text, audio, or video calls (or a hybrid of these), RingCentral is the perfect choice for any business that requires regular web conferences.
2. Virtual Conferencing
Virtual conferencing generally involves a special event hosted online. Employing technology and the internet, this allows people from anywhere in the world to take part in the event. It may utilise a special event website or standard video meeting/ conferencing tools to bring people together. It can be especially beneficial for online events, such as sales conferences or webinars.
In some cases, a virtual conference call may be a hybrid event. There may be physical attendees as well as those participating via an online conferencing platform. This opens the event to a far wider audience and can be especially useful when a company has multiple physical locations but wants staff from those different locations to be able to participate.
RingCentral Video is the perfect platform for any business that aims to host virtual conferences or events. The available plans with RingCentral allow for a large number of participants, anywhere from 100 up to 500. And even if it’s a video meeting, people without a webcam can still join and participate via audio-only.
Teleconferencing is a live/real-time meeting that can be audio-based or sometimes audio-visual. Participants access the meeting using telecommunications networks and can use any web browser or device, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, etc. In some circumstances, the meeting may take place in an especially tech-enabled virtual meeting room.
There are a few different types of teleconferencing that you may consider using:
- Audio. A voice-only meeting with no visual inputs. RingCentral offers simple and flexible audio conferencing calls that allow you to host a meeting with multiple participants.
- Whiteboard. Often used in online teaching, this version needs an audio and data connection. Whiteboarding can help create a digital classroom that enables remote staff training.
- Video. Feel like you’re in the same room as your team with perfect audio and video. RingCentral Video offers the highest quality with an impressive 99.999% uptime, meaning you get a great user experience.
- Computer. A basic text conference between two or more computers. Participants need to be using the same application, and communication is by keyboard inputs - similar to instant messaging.