As Learning and Development (L&D) practitioners, we are often asked to make recommendations about which tools are best or most effective to use when sharing information. One tool most every organization has been grappling with is the selection of a virtual meeting platform. One of the most well-known tools on the market today is Zoom. However, Remo is a new kid on the block, giving the heavyweights a true battle.
Video conferencing tools have a significant impact on everyone in an organization. When considering the financial investment and the potential frustration of a steep learning curve, choosing the right platform is critical and should not be done without research and testing.
Even though recent data shows that 78% of companies have already adopted video calling software, our workplaces have been reshaped due to the pandemic. As virtual meetings and events have become a staple in the business world, L&D professionals should be aware of the various options because they are not all created equal.
This article will explore two such options for delivering effective virtual meetings and events. I will compare the two platforms side by side, Zoom vs. Remo.
While there are many features available for comparison, I will focus on the breakout room functionality for both tools…let the battle begin!
Zoom has become one of the most popular virtual meeting options for many professionals in every sector, including L&D. It has even become a household name synonymous with video calls.
On the other hand, Remo is a newer platform providing many of the same features. Still, it does so with a focus on creating a more open, interactive experience for participants.
Both platforms offer some of the standard functions we have all become familiar with when running or attending virtual meetings like:
- Polls and surveys, presentations, and sharing other multimedia
- Participant control over the camera, microphone, and background images
- Communication via chat with everyone or directly between participants
These features are becoming the norm and should be expected to work well regardless of the tool you are using. That is why for this comparison, I will not be addressing these functional areas specifically.
While not technically a breakout room, hosting a 1 on 1 call is a core function of many virtual meeting platforms and a necessity for any primary video conferencing solution. In this area, Zoom is the better option.
When it comes to 1 on 1 interaction and meetings, Zoom excels at doing these sorts of tasks easily. It is an established platform that has already gone through the growing pains caused by the unprecedented strain of a global pandemic and came out the other side with flying colors.
The reality is that Zoom was built to simplify virtual meetings. Beyond having a conversation, the ability to record calls for future reference is also a helpful feature. Personal meeting spaces with a consistent link and password-protected rooms make the experience more customizable for frequent online meetings.
While it is a virtual meeting platform, Remo was not designed to host 1 on 1 meeting experiences. So, if you are looking for one tool you can use in various ways, the Remo experience will not be a good fit. You could make it work, but it is an overly complex solution for a 1 on 1 situation.
Small group interactions are where things get interesting, and the challenger becomes a closer match. Remo is designed to help facilitate face-to-face group experiences online. The layout provides a user view which is a top-down look at a large banquet hall complete with tables, chairs, and even sofas set up throughout the space.
Participants can gather in small groups and have the freedom, if granted, to move around without restriction. When meeting with a small group of professionals, there isn’t much need to move from table to table. However, for groups splitting into smaller subgroups, Remo and Zoom provide the space for these types of interactions to occur.
When it comes to small group virtual meetings, Zoom and Remo offer similar features, just in different packages. Both platforms give users the ability to leave a breakout room and rejoin the host in the “main” room. While Remo users can make these transitions without the host, Zoom just loosened its requirement for the host to move participants from room to room.
Depending on your subscription level, Zoom participants can select from a dropdown list and select a new room to join in the latest update. While the functionality is there, the transitions are not as seamless as in Remo due to the visual layout of the virtual space.
Much like Zoom with 1 on 1 types of calls, Remo was built for this. So while Zoom is making efforts to close the gap here, it is playing catchup for now.
With so many options for creating learning experiences for large groups, it is essential to use a critical eye when evaluating various platforms. For years Zoom has been one of the go-to tools for many organizations, and the look and feel of the platform have remained constant.
Although familiarity is a positive thing, audience engagement rests solely on the facilitator’s ability to create an experience to remember. This is where a Virtual Producer can help ease the learning curve and minimize frustrations for new users.
As demand for a unique virtual meeting experience rose, Remo stepped in and began providing a very different look and feel. With a bird’s eye view of tables and chairs helping participants identify individuals within each group, it feels a lot like walking around an in-person networking event or conference.
While the aesthetics seemed to generate a buzz of excitement among participants, long pauses before transitions and the ability for people to leave a virtual table mid-conversation made things a little awkward in my personal experience.
Sometimes too much freedom is not really a good thing, especially in virtual spaces. While the host of the event can control this type of behavior to a certain extent, doing so would render a lot of what makes Remo unique useless.
With Zoom, the host usually controls all of the participants’ movements. Transitioning from breakout rooms to a larger group can be done on a timer or with the click of a button.
In Remo, users have more autonomy and can evaluate factors like who else is at the table. The platform requires producers and hosts to plan more, but these events can be a memorable experience for the audience if they are run well. Using a timer and notifying participants when the main presentation is getting started is a best practice highlighted in Remo’s tutorials.
The tutorials are a great place to start. They have suggestions and many other tips and tricks to help shorten the learning curve for Virtual Producers, facilitators, and hosts.
In the end, the winner here comes down to personal preference and need. Zoom and Remo both offer toolsets to successfully run webinars, training, and other types of larger-scale events.
When it comes to connecting with others 1 on 1, Zoom is unquestionably the better option for these types of interactions. After years of development, Zoom is a proven industry leader who can support organizations of all sizes and deliver a first-rate virtual interaction experience on a more personal level.
Small group interactions are where Remo begins to really shine. If your company hosts larger events with a higher participant count, Remo can be a great choice. It allows a lot of freedom and feels less stifling. The only downside is facilitators will need to have a firm grasp of the tool, or it could easily become chaotic.
Finally, learning events, conferences, and all-hands type of gatherings brings new challenges. Zoom does have the capacity to deliver an exceptional user experience for these events. The tool is simpler and more straightforward, but there is nothing really flashy about it.
The nuance of a different look and feel will no doubt make your event more memorable. However, with Remo, due to the freedom users are given, leveraging the skills of a Virtual Producer is really a must.
The bottom line is that both of these tools have their strengths, and both are solid choices depending on what your goals or requirements are. Knowing why your organization requires a virtual meeting solution and what you want participants to do will guide you.
Don’t be afraid to consider layering multiple platforms if it makes sense.
What virtual conferencing platforms are you using? Have you used Zoom and Remo? If so, which platform did you prefer and why? We would love to hear your thoughts.