Connect remote and onsite workers with video collaboration tools.

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex—Which Is Best?

Although remote work or telecommuting has been around for years, it wasn’t a priority for many companies until this year. The COVID-19 pandemic fast-tracked remote work and video conferencing as the safest tool for the modern workforce.

To address the urgent need for virtual collaboration, many companies implemented a short-term fix just to get the surge of newly remote workers up and running. There wasn’t time to consider longer-term implications, like how the technology supports a limited or full return to the office. Or whether the technology would help their employees productively communicate long-term. 

In this article, we’ll compare three popular video conferencing platforms: Zoom, Microsoft Teams® and Microsoft Teams Rooms, and Cisco Webex®. 

How Are These Video Conferencing Platforms Different?

Each solution has many features necessary to make work easier whether you are remote or onsite. Upon a quick glance, they seem similar as they all include these basic features:

  • A free version
  • Screen sharing
  • Whiteboard
  • Meeting recording
  • Virtual backgrounds

However, there is more to these platforms than the basic features you expect them to offer. Let’s look at pros and cons of each solution.

Zoom:

  • Pro: You can have up to 1,000 video participants and up to 10,000 viewers
  • Pro: Encryption, role-based security, passcode protection, and waiting rooms
  • Pro: Host live and on-demand virtual events like webinars
  • Pro: Multiple App Integrations
  • Pro: Easy to use
  • Con: Zoom Video Webinars is an add-on and pricing varies depending on the amount of attendees.
  • Con: The free version limits your group meetings to 40 minutes
  • Con: Cloud recording only available for paid versions
  • Con: Usage reports and user management only available for paid versions

Microsoft Teams:

  • Pro: Data encryption at rest and in transit
  • Pro: Multiple App Integrations
  • Pro: Access to web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Pro: Microsoft 365 and Office 365 include Microsoft Teams 
  • Pro: Easy to use
  • Con: Enforced multi-factor authentication only available for paid versions
  • Con: Desktop versions of Outlook, Word Excel, and PowerPoint only available in the paid upper pricing levels
  • Con: Ability to host an online event for up to 10,000 participants only available in the top paid level
  • Con: Meeting recordings only available for paid versions

Cisco Webex:

  • Pro: End-to-End encryption, HIPAA/BAA compliance, ability to enforce meeting password when joining a call, ability to lock personal meeting rooms
  • Pro: Multiple App Integrations
  • Con: The free version limits your meeting to 50 minutes
  • Con: Cloud recording only available for paid versions

Ask Yourself These Questions To Understand What Functionality You Need

Before you can choose a video conferencing solution, you need to consider the types of online meetings you conduct. Thinking about how many meeting participants need to join and where the meetings happen is a step in the right direction.

Here are additional questions to consider when choosing your collaboration solution.

  • How will you use the software? The needs for meetings that are one-to-one differ from the needs of meetings that are one-to-many. Ask your video conferencing power users what tools they need to get their job done.
  • Do you need multiple device access? Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is prevalent in the modern workplace. Many employees expect to launch an audio or video call from their smartphone or tablet and be able to share content at the same time.
  • Do you need to share digital content? Whether you are in a training classroom or a conference room, users often share digital content during a video conference call. 
  • Who will use video conferencing? Will you use the contents of the meeting for internal collaboration, or will customers and other partners see it as well? 
  • How often will you use it? Ask your team members how often they plan to use video conferencing to collaborate with their teams. Find out if this is something they plan to incorporate in their daily communications or if they only have a need for weekly meetings.

Getting the answers to these questions will take time. Create a list of needs vs wants to understand what your team needs to collaborate efficiently. Here are some additional questions to consider.

Talk to AV Solutions about Video Conferencing Software

We’ve provided some guidance in this article on what you should consider. The right solution for you depends on your unique use case.  Your best option is to talk to AV Solutions. We’ll discuss your business needs and objectives, your current video conferencing environment, and help you make the best choice for your business.

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