Dan KallenDecember 18, 2020December 18, 2020A year ago if you would have mentioned the term “Zoom Meeting” to me it’s likely I wouldn’t have had the faintest idea what you were talking about. But fast forward 12 months and we’ve moved from an exciting new technology to being burned out on yet another video call with coworkers or customers. A top complaint among business professionals is ‘Zoom Fatigue.’ If you are Zoomed Out, this blog will help you understand the some of the top Zoom alternatives that can help you bring life, and even excitement, back to your meetings.Before we look at the various Zoom alternatives let’s review the Zoom competitors and show you a couple of ideas to make your Zoom meeting look and sound better.Top 3 Zoom CompetitorsIf you’re happy with the same old video conferencing type solution for your meetings there are three main competitors to Zoom which essentially offer slight variations on the exact same solutions. The Zoom alternatives for webinars include:BlueJeansMicrosoft TeamsGo To MeetingRegardless of which Zoom alternative host you might select, there are ways that you can make your meeting look and sound much better. At Hartford Technology Rentals, we offer a best in business Virtual Meeting Kit. From 4K cameras to studio quality microphones and ring lights, we’ve got everything that you need to make this ordinary video chat meeting look and sound better. Everything is conveniently delivered right to your home or office and includes an easy to follow Quick Start Guide to make setup and use a breeze. And if you need additional support, a tech from HTR is as close as your phone.Virtual Reality Meetings vs. Zoom Video MeetingsBy now most everyone has experienced a Zoom meeting or something very similar like a FaceTime conversation. The premise is simple…multiple people on a video conference call able to interact simultaneously. You can share computer screens and other graphics so all of the participants can view the same thing at the same time. The waist up view allows for more comfortable work from home but can also lead to unexpected intrusions like pets or children walking in to the frame. While those situations can often times be humorous, they most certainly are not professional and can distract from whatever content is being communicated. Zoom meetings also offer very little in the way of visual cues that human beings incorporate in to interpersonal engagement.A virtual reality meeting is completely different than a Zoom meeting. First, each participant is represented by a customizable avatar. This avatar, or virtual representation of you, is free to move around the meeting room and interact with other attendees. This personalization can actually have a huge impact on the way meetings are conducted and the results that are generated.Next, Virtual Reality Meetings afford the opportunity for small subgroups of attendees to meet in separate locations while simultaneously being in the same meeting. Think of the break out rooms during a conference. There will likely be several happening at once. A Virtual Reality Meeting will give your participants the chance to attend separate sessions and have separate conversations all while the other attendees are sharing in the content that is of interest to them.Lastly, Virtual Reality Meetings are not encumbered by whatever background your camera sees behind you. Instead, you can virtually attend meetings inside a wide array of different room settings and breakouts while you interact with whiteboard, 3D objects and other customized content. The possibilities are merely limited by your imagination. All the while, each room can have separate content such as a speaker, PowerPoint presentation, video, etc. The technology is truly amazing and is literally getting better every day from both the software and the hardware side.VR Meetings give you the sense of presence that Zoom meetings cannot provide. With VR you actually feel like you are in the same room with people whereas with a Zoom call you do not. The feeling of presence is a big deal and with VR and it’s done by appealing to participants visual, haptic and auditory senses. This level of immersion is just not possible in a Zoom meeting.Top Virtual Reality Zoom AlternativesWhile there are already many options to Zoom meetings, including open source Zoom meetings, we are going to focus the rest of this blog post on the Virtual Reality Zoom Alternatives that seem to be the most popular to date.MeetInVR Meeting AppMeetInVR has a tag line that says “Business meetings better than in real life. We’re making human interaction more intuitive and effective for real life by creating a new reality, optimized for teamwork and collaboration.” “The MeetInVR virtual collaboration software enables remote teams to meet and work together in the same virtual office. In this day and age, organizations are constantly looking for convenient, powerful and price effective solutions to connect their global teams. They are also looking into avoiding “Zoom Fatigue” and maintaining high team spirit which can sometimes go down when working at distance. MeetInVR is one of the potential solutions since it makes people feel more connected and they can interact just like if they are really together in the same room. They can even shake hands and get haptic feedback!”Glue VR Meeting AppOf all the VR Meeting Apps that we have tested so far, Glue seems to deliver the richest and most immersive experience while simultaneously achieving a level of intuitive operation not seen on other platforms. According to the Glue website, “We believe good collaboration is inherently creative. Glue is a platform that adapts to your needs. Built-in tools enable you to set up the space for most common use cases instantly. What’s more, the flexible architecture of Glue allows for the development of a wide array of sophisticated and highly customized globally accessible spatial scenarios for your specific use case. Glue is designed to meet the security, privacy, reliability and availability standards of the most demanding global enterprise users. Glue’s universal connectivity with multiple devices gives your team the ability to collaborate with a fraction of the network bandwidth requirements of a video call.”Frame VR Meeting AppAccording to FRAMEVR “Virtual Reality can be used by any industry. How you imagine its use is the first step of the journey. We help your organization understand VR and make it your own. VR simulates presence more powerfully than any other medium. Frame builds worlds. Utilizing 3D models or building them custom, Frame creates environments that harness the affordances of VR and put them to work for your organization.”ENGAGE VR Meeting AppENGAGE has a unique look towards the future. “The company’s vision for the future is to see virtual reality become a staple tool for education and corporate training globally. The core objective is to provide students, educators and corporate trainers with an alternative to attending brick and mortar institutes or expensive onsite simulated training.” Engage excels when it comes to “providing private training to clients, fully branded virtual reality experiences, fully assimilated training in a VR environment, provide employee training and inductions protocols via recorded content, conduct multiple off site intuitive remote meetings all while reducing costs for training equipment and travel.”Rumii VR Meeting AppRumii believes that less distraction leads to better interactions. In VR Meetings, the distractions are highly limited and controlled. Each meeting attendee is a captive audience member throughout the duration of the virtual reality experience. The intrusions of the real world are held at arm’s length leading to better focus and a more engaging experience. “Forget video calls, 3D simulated meetings make it feel like you’re actually there. You can present PDF documents, video, audio or images through our signature widget board. The interactive whiteboard allows your team to mark up important documents in real time. You can demonstrate a skill or share your actual reality by streaming your live video, import custom environments or 3D objects via content creation modules and even save your work to revisit or share at a later date.BigScreen VR Meeting AppBigscreen VR is a very fun sort of social media VR experience. While serving as a virtual gathering point, the main objective of this meeting app seems to be the shared experience of enjoying things like movies, rocket launches and sporting events. You can interact with people from around the world as you hang out together sharing an experience. In the days of the pandemic, this seems like a much needed way to engage and interact in a very social way that can serve as a temporary replacement for many of the activities that we used to enjoy in person.Try Before You Buy VR Headset ProgramIt’s very clear to us at Hartford Technology Rentals that virtual reality is here to stay. What used to be a novelty is now morphing in to a highly useful business tool. Think of how 15 years ago YouTube emerged as this novel website where you could watch music videos or TV shows from your youth. Then gradually the potential started to shift from strictly entertainment to education and productivity. Today you can watch a video of a keynote address or a tutorial on how to build or fix some piece of equipment that is crucial to the success of your job or company. That’s the exact same shift that is happening with virtual reality. What started as an alternate form of entertainment is now rapidly morphing in to a business tool that increases efficiency and productivity and reduces the costs of business time and travel.So what’s the best way to explore VR Meetings without making a huge investment? At HTR we offer many different virtual reality and mixed reality headsets that available to rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Each headset comes with a Quick Start Guide to help you get up and running quickly so you can take the time to properly evaluate the different VR Meeting apps. If you look at the Zoom alternatives Reddit has to discuss you will see that there are many different options available. But they all start with the headset. At HTR, we will help you find the headset that is right for you, ship it out fully charged and ready to go right out of the box.When you are ready to talk about VR meetings, please give us a call at 888-520-5667 and one of our highly trained sales professionals will help you get started down this exciting path of new discovery.