Published on Apr 20, 2020

Digital meeting options

Contact: Jacob Ewing

Below is a non-comprehensive list of free and paid services that could potentially allow your governing body to convene meetings remotely.

As you consider your options, we encourage you to review guidance provided by the Attorney General’s Office:

 

Local telecom


Consider reaching out to your city’s telephone provider to see if they have away to provide you with conference call capability or a call-in line number.

 

FreeConferenceCall.com


This service must initially be set up via computer, but once you have an account you can host both web and/or phone conference calls with the conference call number provided to your account.

Website: www.freeconferencecall.com
Company phone number: 1-844-844-1322
Cost: Free
Features:

  • Audio conference calling
  • Video conferencing (can accommodate 25 different video screens)
  • Screen sharing
  • Meeting recording option
  • Mobile and desktop app
  • Participate by phone or web
  • In-call chat (be mindful of public record obligations)
  • Call capacity = 1,000 participants
  • Host controls (mute non-speakers, queue questions, etc.)

Check out their user guide, user FAQs and tutorials.

 

Freeconference.com


This service must initially be set up via computer, but once you have an account you can host both web and/or phone conference calls. Many of the plans include smart summaries that included anything that was shared or recorded during your meeting. This means you can access content like uploaded and shared files, the audio or video recordings, along with their transcripts.

Website: www.freeconference.com
Cost: $9.99 – $34.99/month (Free version available with less functionality than listed below)
Features:

  • Audio conference calling
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Meeting recording option
  • Join by web browser or mobile app
  • Participate by phone or web
  • Call capacity = 1,000 total participants, 15-100 web participants
  • Host controls (mute non-speakers, queue questions, etc.)
  • Text reminders
  • In-call chat (it automatically saves, which is good for public records retention)
  • YouTube live streaming compatible
  • Pin-less entry

Check out their user FAQs and tutorials.

 

GoToMeeting


This service must be set up via computer, and once you have an account you can only host meetings by web or app. That means whoever is setting up the meeting must an internet connection. Participants may still call into the meeting with just a phone.

Website: www.gotomeeting.com
Company phone number: 1-800-514-1317
Cost: $12 – 16/month (Free 14-day trial available – no credit card required).
In response to COVID-19, LogMeIn the parent company of GoToMeeting has decided to offer free emergency remote work kits to eligible healthcare providers, educational institutions, municipalities, and non-profit organizations. The emergency remote sork kits include select LogMeIn products (like GoToMeeting) for three months. Call to inquire if your city is eligible for a free emergency remote work kit.

Features:

  • Audio conference calling
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Meeting recording option
  • Mobile and desktop app
  • Participate by phone or internet based app
  • In-call chat (be mindful of public record obligations)
  • Call capacity = 150-250 participants
  • Host controls

Check out their user guide.

 

WebEx


This service must be set up via computer, and once you have an account you can host meetings by web or app. That means whoever is setting up the meeting must an internet connection. Participants may still call into the meeting with just a phone.

Website: www.webex.com/video-conferencing
Company phone number: 1-866-229-3239
Cost: $0 – $26.95/month
Features:

  • Audio conference calling
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Meeting recording option
  • Mobile and desktop app
  • Participate by phone or internet based app
  • Calendar integrations
  • Q&A and raise hand features
  • In-call chat (be mindful of public record obligations)
  • Call capacity = 200 participants
  • Host controls

Check out the Webex help center.

 

Zoom


This service must initially be set up via computer, but once you have an account you can host both web and/or phone conference calls with the conference call number provided.

Website: zoom.us/home?zcid=2478
Company phone number: 1-888-799-9666
Cost: $14.99 – 19.99/month (Free option available but only allows for 40-minute meetings with thre participants and does not have full functionality).
Features:

  • Audio conference calling
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Meeting recording option
  • Mobile and desktop app
  • Participate by phone or web
  • Call capacity = 100 participants
  • In-call chat (be mindful of public record obligations)
  • Host controls
  • Closed captioning (requires a host or participant to live type captions)

Check out Zoom tutorials.

 

General tips


Some of these platforms have been experiencing issues when participants try to join a conference call via telephone. Please note that phone bridges and related networks are experiencing increased call volume. Many calls will connect on the first try, but if that is not the case, recommend to participants to dial back in (sometimes multiple times) if the experience issues getting through. Given the circumstances, and to further increase success of calls, here are some tips to help ensure important calls are successful:

  • Schedule calls at non-peak times (i.e. 11:20 am versus 11 am)
  • Schedule calls earlier in the morning (i.e. 8 am)
  • Schedule calls later in the day (i.e. 4 pm onward)
  • Connect to calls via your web browser, mobile or desktop apps
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