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Best virtual classroom software 2020

Bryan Smith
Aug 24, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Lately, the need for high-quality virtual classroom software has ramped up drastically. Courses and even full study programs are moving online. A lot of professional training is being done remotely too.

What we want in 2020 from our virtual meeting software

In these kinds of environments, you can’t just use a simple video call all the time. So what is it that we actually should expect from our software that brings our face-to-face presence live online?

High quality audio and video

We expect software that can push a high bitrate, and work really well with other limitations that we might not even know that we have. A camera only has a certain resolution, and an internet connection only has a certain bandwidth as well.

While these things are true, well optimized software can compress high resolution (HD) video down to fit in smaller bitrates, and that video compression can be done in such a way that doesn’t interfere with the detail that our web cams pick up.

Usability

When you’re working with a lot of people, you want to use software that just works, and doesn’t assault your eyes with overwhelming complexity.

We fundamentally want something simple. We want our face and voice next to other peoples’ faces and voices on the internet. It’s nice to have other features, but the UI for those features shouldn’t get in the way of the core of what we want.

We can’t stand technical issues. In the year 2020, there are free solutions that do at least 80% of what we want that can be implemented in seconds. If your software trips over itself, lags, crashes, or otherwise doesn’t seem to take care of all of our needs; it’s on to the next option for us.

Rich feature set

We want to be impressed. There are things you can do on the internet easily that we can’t do so easily in real life. Those features such as easy breakout sessions, whiteboards, and file sharing should be available if and when we want to use them.

We also don’t want an overwhelming number of pieces of software. We only want to have to manage a few apps on our phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. So if we get a piece of software that does virtual meetings, it should also do classrooms, webinars, web conferencing, and be a management system for our online communications. We don’t want to have to go to too many different places for what we need.

Be affordable

If we’re using something for our classes or business, we expect to have to pay something – but we want to get something in return. With so many free options available, why would we settle for anything less than everything we want if we’re paying for it? The value has to be there.

We have to be able to start out with a free trial, and then have payment options that aren’t outrageous that we can grow into, no matter the size or scale of our organization.

Look elegant

This isn’t 1995 anymore. No gray boxes, or anything that harkens back to the days of Clippy. This software is what we literally put our faces on. Put us next to something that looks elegant out of the box.

Give us options

If we want to commit to your software, we want to be able to customize it. We want to be able to self-host it, if needed. We want complete control over it. 

We also want top-of-the-notch support to be able to help us through these steps of self-ownership when we’re ready to make that transition should we ever get to that point.

What kinds of options out there fit that bill?

While there’s tons of candidates in that space, that is actually a tall order, where there’s only a few real candidates. But first let’s explain what separates the hundreds of options down to the few.

Not all software vendors build their own software

Most of these options out there that claim to satisfy this growing market are quickly made from other people’s software components. These types of vendors are kind of fly by night, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll be around next year, or can even satisfy your technical support needs, since they don’t fully make their own software.

Seek software from innovators

Digital Samba is a well-known innovator in the video conferencing and virtual classroom industry. They've been around since the days where you had to dial in with a phone to watch webinars.

While you might not have heard of Digital Samba before, you have heard of some of the other companies that they provide software for.

What is Samba Live?

Samba Live is Digital Samba’s flagship software product. It handles just about everything that involves video conferencing – from virtual classrooms to webinars.

It can also be considered as a valuable addition to any learning management system. While this sounds like a huge monolith of a software system, it’s actually a really streamlined and intuitive experience, because it’s been crafted over many years to be the leading example of the industry.

And the best: It’s available to try with a free trial. The hands-on experience of playing around with Samba Live has no substitute.

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