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Subject: online meetings tools during COVID-19
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Author Messages
AsafY
(Florida)

Posts:39


07/23/2020 4:34 PM  
Hi,
Any free tools the board can use for a remote 2 hours long meetings?
we were using Webex but it started to limit the duration to 50 minutes.

If no solution we may have to start paying.

Thanks

GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3925


07/23/2020 5:06 PM  
We've been thinking about using Zoom. The free version limits meetings to 40 minutes. The first step up costs $14.95 per month and has no time limits. There's a discount if you pay for 12 months in advance. Another option is to stick with the free version and start a new meeting after every 40 minutes. Our board meetings used to run about an hour-and-a-half, so it might not be too onerous if we could keep the meetings to, say, 80 minutes, and need only 2 Zoom "meetings" to do it. On the other hand we haven't had a board meeting of any kind since February and I think the pent-up demand of homeowners who want to know what's going on will result in a meeting of several hours when it's finally arranged.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3358


07/24/2020 7:23 AM  
I'm not aware of any. Since two hours is rather long for a meeting, you may have to bite the bullet and pay - if the meeting's once a month, that shouldn't break the budget.

To ensure you don't waste time (even with a shorter meeting), it's important that you set an agenda and people understand they must show up on time, respect speaking time limits (e.g. 2 minutes per person for resident forum) and board members must come PREPARED to discuss the issues and vote. That means sending them pertinent materials before the meeting and board members are expected to have read them in advance, so they can jot down notes and refer to them immediately during the dicsussion
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:997


07/24/2020 9:20 AM  
I don't know what conference call setup we used in May, but our property manager can access a dashboard that tells him how many people are logged in. That way we can conduct the executive portion of the meeting knowing that there are only the four of us on the conference call.
AsafY
(Florida)

Posts:39


07/24/2020 12:07 PM  
I guess for now we will also create two minutes.
Thanks folks!
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3925


07/24/2020 1:03 PM  
I found this article online about including online (remote) participants in on-site (in person) meetings. There's a lot to do and be aware of when setting up a meeting of this type. Anyone who simply says, "Use Zoom", is oversimplifying what needs to be done. It sounds like a significant effort even if you whittle down the article's recommendations to fit a "typical" HOA or Condo board meeting. Annual Meetings will need a different setup.
TamaraG6
(Florida)

Posts:2


07/28/2020 2:36 PM  
I have used Free Conference Call in the past. Easy to use either by computer or phone. My company uses Go To Meeting.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3925


07/28/2020 10:02 PM  
This is new as of a couple of weeks ago. "BigBlueButton with Greenlight 2.0" I saw it mentioned today somewhere and it looks pretty good. It's Open Source which means you have access to all the underlying software and code behind it.

You've got to have some Linux experience, though, since it has to be installed on a Linux server. Then anyone with the right internet URL can join the meeting (just like Zoom). It has to be configured, managed and maintained by someone, of course. But it is sort of free. It looks like there are firms that will, for a fee, get it set up and configured for your use. But there's no charge for the software license, even for commercial use, as long as you abide by the LGPL License.

In comparison, Zoom provides servers that set up and manage the virtual meetings that people connect to. Zoom manages their own servers and that's what you pay for if you use anything beyond the free 20-minute meetings. Their underlying code is also proprietary. Not that that's a huge concern in a condo or HOA.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > online meetings tools during COVID-19



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