One app is prized above all others in today’s business environment: the video conferencing platform. With fully remote and hybrid workspaces becoming a reality for many organizations, a powerful, reliable video conferring platform is a critical communications tool.
Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Webex by Cisco are perhaps the most popular choices for SMEs and enterprise clients. However, at first glance, it can be difficult to distinguish the features that set them apart. In this article, we’ll do just that. By reviewing each platform’s critical performance and accessibility features, we can better determine which one ranks highest.
What are the Core Components?
As you might imagine, all three platforms provide HD video and audio. This facility is a given in the video conferencing space. Anything less is under par. All three services include instant chat and messaging facilities. These features enable users to share links and make critical notes during meetings.
On all three apps, users can share screens and record meetings. However, only Zoom and Cisco Webex have breakout rooms so users can continue discussions away from the main meeting space.
In terms of integrations, all three platforms integrate with multiple business and productivity apps. However, not all apps are the same across the board. That’s why it’s worth checking which ones you are already using in your business if integration is important to you.
And the Standout Features?
The unique features of Cisco Webex are high performance and call integration. As a Cisco product, it’s not surprising that performance is so commendable. Many users note the seamlessness of file transfers and other in-call features. The interactive whiteboard technology is also impressive.
Another exciting feature is the Webex call settings. Regular calls using the Cisco Webex app can be transformed into Webex meetings. Additionally, six-way conference calls make an excellent alternative to video meetings.
Perhaps the biggest draw for Microsoft Teams is Office 365 integration. As a Microsoft service, users can collaborate live on documents in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and more as well as schedule meetings across Microsoft email and planning apps.
Teams also includes the highest storage quota, a massive 1TB per organization plus 10GB per business license. In comparison, Zoom offers 1GB of clouds storage while Cisco Webex’s comparable business plan offers 10GB.
Critics have scrutinized Zoom for security instabilities. During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, when so many people used Zoom as a lifeline, the so-called ‘Zoombombing’ was becoming a real issue for many users.
Since then, Zoom has released version 5.0 with advanced security features that include, by default, 256-bit encryption and meeting passwords as a requirement for accessing recorded sessions. There are also other security features that users can turn on or off, such as meeting locks and waiting rooms.
Beyond this, Zoom is packed with extras. Some of the most interesting include language interpretation, auto transcripts, in-call video pinning, and single-sign-on (SSO).
How Accessible is the Technology?
Ease of use is a crucial factor when deciding on the best video conferencing software. Because so many people operate online out of necessity now, it’s impossible to predict experiences.
By far, the most accessible service to use is Zoom. Users can rapidly set up meetings and all attendees need is a Zoom link to log on to a call. The interface is also very intuitive and straightforward to navigate.
Cisco Webex has a straightforward and clean interface, but logging on to a call can be tricky for some users. Users have mandatory passwords and can’t simply join a call. Instead, they must use a dial-in number and download the Webex app.
Like Zoom, using Microsoft Teams is very simple. Meeting invites include a joining link, and users don’t need to download the Teams app to join a meeting. If the app or web app is unavailable, there are other call-in options. Although simple to use, the Microsoft Teams interface isn’t as intuitive as Zoom’s.
How Much Does the Technology Cost?
For most organizations, Zoom’s standard business plan would be sufficient. It includes all of the core features. If the 300 person limit is too small for your needs, you can boost participation up to 1,000 with an add-on. The cost of Zoom’s Business plan is $19.99 per month per license.
Cisco Webex has a similarly priced plan. Its Webex Suite Business option is available at the cost of $25 per user per month. Although some of the meeting features are limited compared to Zoom, the addition of out-of-meeting VoIP calling features could be a bonus to companies who wish to combine their calling and conferencing capabilities.
Microsoft Teams is by far the most affordable option. Teams has a comparable business plan that costs just $12.50 per user per month. In addition to extended participant limits and calling times, the subscription gives users access to business email and the Microsoft Office suite.
And the Winner is?
Microsoft Teams is best suited to groups already using Microsoft products. Although not particularly complex, it works well as an essential communication and collaborative tool.
On the other hand, Webex is better for enterprise clients because of the added business features and high performance. However, the technology is not accessible, putting off many new users in the online comms space.
So, our winner is Zoom. Although security issues in the past could have cost it the top spot, Zoom 5.0 shows a massive improvement on this front. The technology is easy to use and intuitive, which is incredibly important for widespread adoption and the smooth running of meetings.
Beyond this, Zoom has some seriously advanced features, and its collaborative tools are some of the best, as are the integrations. Zoom may be the choice of the masses and not necessarily a business tool, but that’s why we’ve given it the top spot.
In the acceleration economy, businesses need to adapt and onboard technologies quickly. So, choosing a recognizable, intuitive platform like Zoom is a smart choice for companies.