Tools that make video conferencing collaboration easier

Video conferencing is now one of those tools that is as essential for modern teams as email. However, that doesn’t mean integrating video conferencing into your workflow is always easy. It can be difficult to find the right hardware and software combinations that consistently work for all of your team members.

What are some of the common challenges with collaborating via video conferencing?

There are distinct challenges that come with creating a successful video conferencing workflow, whether your team is in-office, remote, or hybrid. 

These include:

  • Hardware incompatibilities (outdated cameras, microphones, etc.)
  • Limited team collaboration features
  • Poor image quality
  • Poor sound
  • Confusing meeting links
  • Scheduling problems
  • Lack of support for either remote or in-office workers

Thankfully, more and more companies are addressing these problems through better hardware and software that is designed to make the video communication experience feel closer to in-person meetings than ever before. 

We’ve scoured the web for some of the best tools available in 2022 that make it so much easier to successfully collaborate with your team via video conferencing. 

Software tools

Evercast

Evercast is a remote collaboration and communication platform specifically designed for creative teams. It not only includes your standard video and chat communication capabilities but has advanced screen-sharing, annotation, and live-feed features that can adapt to any creative workflow, from game development to movie production.  

Top features:

  • Can stream any creative workstation (Adobe Premiere, Pro Tools, etc.)
  • On-screen drawing for visual notations on assets
  • Real-time video conferencing, HD project streaming, and comments/visual note-taking all under one platform
  • Record and review function for easy referencing
  • Simultaneous streaming and screen-sharing 

How it helps:

If you’re a creative team, you’ve likely noticed that most video conferencing software just isn’t built for your needs. 

Evercast is a game-changer for this because it prioritizes being able to share your professional editing workstations and even stream live remote camera feeds, so you can collaborate through every step. Evercast is a fit for your everyday schedule as a meeting solution, or to work on complex creative projects like film and TV production or game design. 

Google Meet

Google Meet has exploded in popularity largely due to one factor: it’s included with every Gmail account. 

This not only means that every business that utilizes Gmail can immediately get video conferencing up and running, but if your business uses the G Suite for Business, you get access to enterprise-level tools that allow you to run massive meetings and even live stream to large audiences. 

Top features:

  • Included with every Gmail account
  • Easy scheduling
  • Works on any device
  • No software install required
  • Can accommodate large and small teams
  • Affordable

How it helps:

Google Meet is great for teams that want to be able to collaborate via video calls but contain one or more people that are “bad at technology.” Since it doesn’t require a software install and can be accessed from any device, no team member will be left behind or have the excuse of “not having that program.”

Zoom

Zoom is always there for us when we need it, and now more businesses and teams than ever before are using it for meetings, collaboration, and even webinars. Zoom continues to expand its features and capabilities to make it easy to collaborate and integrate into your existing workflow. 

Top video conferencing features:

  • Easy to set up
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Password-protected meeting rooms
  • Works on any device
  • Reactions, filters, and polls allow participants more control over their experience and participation

How it helps:

Zoom is great for when you need to collaborate with a lot of team members and fast. It’s also super affordable in the landscape of video conferencing systems, which makes it appealing for small businesses and organizations that want to collaborate in both large sessions and smaller “breakout” groups, but can’t handle the costs associated with more “feature dense” platforms. 

BlueJeans

Verizon got in on the video conferencing and virtual meeting space with its launch of BlueJeans as a collaboration solution It includes “Smart Meeting” features that allow you to assign actions, target key moments, and even build out “highlight reels” to make meeting review easier for people who could not attend or need a quick refresh. 

Top hybrid work features:

  • Highlight reels for easy review
  • End-to-end encryption for secure connections
  • Interactive collaboration tools including digital whiteboard
  • Award-winning audio and video clarity 
  • Easy “breakout sessions” to allow for smaller group meetings inside of larger ones
  • Accessibility features to assist participants with disabilities

How it helps:

BlueJeans is a highly expandable video collaboration platform that gives you total control over your meetings. We especially love the “highlight reels” feature because it makes meeting reviews actually possible without eating up tons of precious time.  

Hardware tools

Meeting Owl 

The Meeting Owl is a newcomer to the video conferencing hardware space, but it’s quickly gaining popularity thanks to its ultra-simplicity. It contains a 360-degree camera and eight smart microphones that use AI to automatically focus on any speaker around the table with impressive clarity. 

Designed to upgrade any meeting room with a single device, this is the simplest way to upgrade your video conference game. 

Top features:

  • 360 degree HD video camera with automatic speaker zoom 
  • 18-foot audio pickup radius
  • Works with any video conferencing platform
  • Simple “plug and play” interface

How it helps:

If you want to upgrade your virtual conference rooms with the least headaches possible, this plug-and-play solution is it. It delivers clear, focused sound and picture whether there are two people in the room or twenty, and it can be managed completely remotely. 

Facebook Portal for Businesses

The Facebook Portal is an incredibly useful video conferencing collaboration tool for remote and in-office workers alike. Thanks to its small size, it can easily be set up on a desk and serve as an all-in-one video conferencing hub. 

Top features:

  • The automatic smart camera adjusts to keep each participant in frame
  • All-in-one device eliminates the need for additional hardware and cable clutter
  • Built-in security features make privacy control easy
  • Works with most popular video conferencing platforms
  • Calendar display makes meeting scheduling simple

How it helps:

Thanks to its small size and total flexibility to accept most of the most popular video conferencing and collaboration apps, this is a highly scalable solution for teams of all sizes that spend a lot of time in virtual meetings. 

Cisco Webex Desk Series

Cisco has been a longtime leader in communication hardware, and they’ve brought an incredible lineup of collaboration devices into the market. From a monitor-attached camera to an all-in-one desktop video collaboration device, they have hardware solutions that make remote collaboration a breeze. 

Top features:

  • A dedicated video conferencing device allows for touchscreen interactions while video chatting so you can work together in real-time
  • Portable desktop solutions allow you to collaborate from any room
  • The desk hub allows you to manage your “hot desks” with advanced precision and safety via touchless controls
  • Voice commands improve accessibility 

How it helps:

The desk hub, in particular, is a game-changer for hybrid workplaces that are trying to cut down on wasted space by utilizing shared desks but don’t want to compromise on safety protocols. 

Not only does it allow you to display signage telling employees whether a desk is available, needs sanitizing, or is already reserved, it allows them to view and join meetings with a contactless voice control interface. 

Logitech Rally

The Logitech Rally conference camera and sound system bring everything we’d expect from this decades-long leader in webcam technology. 

Everything is plug-and-play and syncs with your existing video conferencing software in just a few clicks. They have solutions for tiny to cavernous meeting rooms and use AI-led robotics to create a camera that focuses on what’s important. 

Top features:

  • The camera has both optical and digital zoom
  • AI technology helps the camera focus on the speaker
  • Works with popular video conferencing software (Google Meet, Zoom, etc.)
  • It can be managed from a single remote hub
  • 24/7 support available

How it helps:

This Logitech conferencing system is great for providing the feeling of “being there” to remote workers who dial into in-office meetings thanks to the highly intuitive camera. The crystal clear speakers assure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle of papers. It’s a seamless conferencing solution that can be used by small and large rooms alike. 

Crestron Mercury

The Crestron Mercury is truly a next-gen conference room solution that makes controlling video meetings a seamless experience. The tabletop hub serves as an HD microphone and virtual command center, while a wide-angle camera and high-definition soundbar make your remote participants feel like they’re in the room with everyone. 

Top features:

  • Syncs with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or the VC software of your choice
  • Simple setup
  • The tabletop hub can control everything from room temperature and lighting to presentation tools
  • HD soundbar gives unbeatable clarity
  • The wide-angle lens on the webcam shows everyone at the table
  • Multiple devices/rooms can be deployed, monitored, and managed from a single dashboard, saving IT a lot of running around

How it helps:

If you’re working with a hybrid team and want to upgrade all your meeting spaces to seamlessly join both remote and in-office workers, the Crestron Mercury devices are a perfect solution for the modern workplace (especially if your team uses Microsoft Teams or Zoom for video conferencing solutions).

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