We’ve seen a huge uptick in the usage of video conference apps since the onset of COVID-19. “I’m hopping on another Zoom call…” has become the new buzz-phrase in households across the world as millions of people have transitioned to working from home. We’re no different here at MC – we’ve never been on more video conferences! This includes the free calls we’ve been holding every week for our community.
If you’re needing to communicate face-to-face in this new era of work, you are probably asking “What video conference app is right for me?”
Finding the right video conferencing system for your work, education or social interactions will make the difference between a smooth, hassle-free experience or needless frustration. Today, we break down three of the most popular video conference apps available today – which one is right for you?
Which Video Conference App Is Best?
We’re looking at three very capable video conference apps: Microsoft Teams, Zoom Meetings, and Cisco Webex. All three of these apps have a free version that will be satisfactory for many people’s needs. Let’s look at Zoom first.
Zoom has become a household name with how broadly the technology has been adopted since the outbreak of COVID-19. While Zoom was initially designed for business use, it works like a charm for everyday interactions as well – the ability to quickly set a meeting up, share screens, live chat, and record is intuitive.
Be aware that Zoom will require you to download its software – you can’t connect to a meeting from your browser alone.
This ease of use, however, has also led to security concerns. This is understandable since Zoom went from 10M to 300M active users in a matter of weeks. “Zoom-bombing” has become a common occurrence, with unauthorized users accessing meetings and causing trouble. Zoom has said it’s working on security issues, and has brought on former Facebook CSO Alex Stamos as an advisor.
Overall, Zoom is a solid option for those looking for a reliable video conference app with little setup.
If you’ve never heard of Microsoft Teams, you’re not the only one. Teams is a great Zoom alternative, particularly if you are already in Microsoft’s software ecosystem. If you have Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud subscription service, you will be able to integrate your Office apps with Teams. This provides a seamless experience for businesses that are heavily integrated into Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Teams isn’t purely a video conference app, leaving it lacking in some areas when compared to dedicated apps like Zoom. However, it’s no slacker, as it packs a real punch when it comes to group collaboration, file sharing, and integration with the Office suite. You’ll find teams as part of the 365 Business packages.
Furthermore, Microsoft Teams has a better video conference security track record than Zoom. Part of this is because it’s backed by a large organization, but in addition, Teams has focused more on integrating enterprise-level security into its software, instead of relying on client IT departments to configure settings.
If “getting things done” and collaborating with your team is most important (especially if you use other Microsoft solutions), go with Teams.
Cisco Webex has been around for a while longer than most video conference apps. It is best-known by enterprises that already use Cisco technology. Similar to Zoom and Teams, Webex incorporates most of the features you would expect to see in any video conference app.
With that being said, the user experience is generally not as straightforward as those other apps – unless you are someone who is already familiar with the Cisco environment. Cisco Webex comes with a free version for up to 100 participants – similar to Zoom’s free tier. At the end of day, Webex is a great choice for companies and enterprises already invested in – or planning to transition to – the Cisco technology ecosystem.
Each of these three video conference apps is a viable option for your WFH needs. Still, each one brings its unique strengths and weaknesses to the table.
Our favorite for internal use is Microsoft Teams because of its collaboration and security features. We can imagine that if we were inside of a Cisco ecosystem, Webex would be the choice.
Zoom is our favorite for external use (when folks from outside of our team are joining us). The ease of use lessens headaches for people who may still be new to video conferencing, and the large meeting controls make the experience as host seamless.
No matter your situation, we hope your video conference app keeps you productive and connected in today’s ever-evolving workplace!
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