Most social interactions in this pandemic season revolve mostly around video chatting. Truly, the novel coronavirus pandemic has changed the conventions by which society runs and thrives. As governments go on lockdown and people are forced to follow social distancing protocols, video conferencing has become the primary means of communication.
Businesses, schools, and even regular people are now turning to video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams in order to keep functioning. In fact, the video conferencing industry is booming right now as more and more people turn to the service to keep in touch with their familiars.
But with Zoom and Microsoft Teams at the front-line of this industry, this begs the question: which among them is the best video-conferencing platform? How do they compare in terms of features, security, and price?
Microsoft Teams, in a way, is similar to Google Meet as they are made for quick integration with other tools of their lineup, and in the former’s case, that’s the Microsoft 365. However, Microsoft Teams can be considered more as a rival to Slack than it is to Zoom. When it comes to video-conferencing features, Microsoft Teams is able to host a call of up to 250 participants, which would include screen sharing and call recording capabilities.
Unfortunately, as it is right now, Microsoft Teams can only accommodate smaller businesses, and its screen only allows four participants to be seen simultaneously in a call. This would soon change, though, as a late April 2020 will enhance this to viewing nine participants at once, which still sounds underwhelming compared to features from other platforms.
Microsoft Teams also allow live streams of up to 10,000 viewers as well as sharing meeting agendas, inviting external guests, and accessing meeting history (records and notes).
Zoom is currently the leading video-conferencing platform out there and for a good reason. The app allows a host to set a meeting of around 100 participants lasting for 40 minutes for free. Its paid tier is broken down into plans for small, medium, and large enterprises, which greatly increase the participant count up to 1,000 and removing the limit for meeting duration.
Meeting times can be adjusted, and multiple hosts can be selected. Zoom offers HD capabilities for both audio and video as well as collaboration tools in the form of screen-sharing and co-annotation. In Zoom, meetings can also be recorded and transcripts generated. Lastly, Zoom also offers chat features for participants that don’t wish to talk.
Microsoft prides its Team offering for its edge in security against Zoom. Microsoft Teams data is encrypted in transit and at rest, as per the company, and boasts that they “have a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data.”
Zoom, however, has been plagued with several security and privacy issues since it first entered the limelight. “Zoom bombing,” an act of infiltrating a Zoom meeting with the purpose of disrupting it, has become an ongoing trend. More than that, other vulnerabilities discovered were faulty end-to-end encryption, malware, and even sharing user data to Facebook.
The company received so much backlash that its CEO, Eric Yuan, had to issue an apology. Since then, however, Zoom has made big steps when it comes to making their app more secure. Waiting rooms are now default, and hosts have to manually let participants in. There is also a new “Security” option wherein a host is given the clearance to kick out participants or lock a Zoom meeting.
Furthermore, Zoom meeting IDs will no longer be displayed on the title toolbar.
As far as pricing goes, Microsoft Teams has the advantage, especially since it comes in a bundle. While the Teams app is free to download, its paid features come with the Office 365 Business Premium, which costs only a monthly of $12.50 per person. For the Office 365 Enterprise, that would cost around $20 a month.
Zoom, for the most basic of its features, is free to use. Its paid features start with the Pro Plan at $14 for 100 participants and 1GB recording capacity. The Zoom Business plan costs about $19.99 per month, per host and it allows a minimum of 10 hosts, phone support, optional vanity URL, custom emails, and company branding along with the features offered in the Pro Plan.
Zoom’s Enterprise Plan starts at $19.99 as well, and it is ideal for larger companies with more employees.
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