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If there was ever a critical time for businesses to need large scale video conferencing capabilities, it’s right now. The covid-19 virus pandemic has created a wave of work-from-home employees. There are a full host of products to choose from. Most are similar in many ways, but there are some key features to pay attention. Let’s compare three of the top video conference players – Zoom Meetings, Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams.

About Zoom and Teams

Zoom

Zoom is a cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices and desktops. It is a newer video conference technology that has gained popularity during the cover-19 pandemic as the need for remote work communications became necessary. You can create a one-on-one video meeting or have up to 500 meeting participants at the same time.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams live events that enables up to 250 users to broadcast video and meeting content to a large online audience. These are meant for one-to-many communications where the host of the event is leading the interactions and audience participation is primarily to view the content shared by host, according to Microsoft.

Let’s get pricing out of the way first.

Microsoft Teams: From $5 per month / per user at Microsoft

Zoom: From $15 per month / per host at Zoom

On the surface, what is the difference?

Microsoft Teams and Zoom both provide web video conferencing features, but also have unique features that set them apart.

Teams has a robust chat service that allows users to talk without actually setting up a video conference. If you are already a Microsoft 365 subscriber, you are able to share files and calendars.

Zoom is more focused on the video conference aspect. You do not need to be a service subscriber, at least for the moment. This means you can host a video meeting and you can attend even though you do not have a company account. Zoom also allows file sharing through chat.

Features and Functionality

Zoom

Very little effort to get up and going. Download the App or go to the web site and within a couple clicks you are ready to go. Compatible with all devices and operating systems.

  • HD video and Audio
  • Supports up to 1,000 video attendees
  • Up to 49 videos on screen
  • Screen and control sharing
  • Recording and transcription
  • Team chat rooms
  • File sharing
  • Searchable history
  • Advanced Encryption for Chat
  • Role-based security
  • Calendaring integration with Outlook and Gmail

Teams

Four packages to choose from. The free package does not let you host meetings; you can only attend meetings. In order to host meetings, you must pay for a subscription.

  • File and screen sharing
  • Instant messaging
  • Access from all devices
  • Video conference with background blur capability
  • Thorough security updates
  • Tabs make finding information easy
  • Recording capabilities

Collaboration Tools

Zoom

(Image credit: Zoom)

Zoom has many built-in collaboration tools that allow participants to share screens simultaneously and share who has control for a more interactive meeting. Breakout rooms can be created so that work groups can collaborate amongst themselves. Schedule and calendar meetings with seamless integration to Outlook, Gmail or iCal.

Teams

(Image credit: Microsoft)

If you are already a Microsoft 365 subscriber, Teams will integrate well with your expectations. Collaboration Tools include instant messaging and audio/video chat. Launch your meeting from Outlook or Exchange Calendar, and begin sharing ideas and document seamlessly. Meeting remotely is no problem with the use of Teams mobile app.

Video Quality

Zoom

HD video and audio capability. Can support 1000 video participants and 49 videos on screen.

Teams

HD video and audio capability. Can support video chat of 250 people at once, or present live to 10,000 people.

Security

Teams

Microsoft states that it does not track participant attention and deletes your data if you decide to unsubscribe. Teams does use your Teams data to serve you ads.

Zoom

Zooms states that you can meet securely with encryption for all meetings, role-based user security, password protection, waiting rooms, and place attendee on hold.

Which video conferencing tool is best for you?

If you are exclusively looking for a video conferencing service Zoom is a fantastic option as it stands today. Both for beginners as well as those that are looking to hold large video presentations, Zoom is going to deliver a better experience due to its ease of use and support for larger group chats.

Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, offers a solid video conferencing service. If video conferencing, and text or file collaboration (particularly Office files) is a must-have, then Microsoft Teams will serve you well.