The current situation across the world with COVID-19 has put an emphasis on businesses to be able to communicate and collaborate remotely, most notably for people to be able to see colleagues and clients via video to break up the feeling of isolation.
As it stands, there are many different products that can achieve this but, naturally, they all have their pro’s and con’s depending on general functionality as well as business use case context.
As one of Bremmar’s Productivity Consultants, specialising in Microsoft Teams, I thought it would be helpful to compare a few products and share my opinion. Before we continue, I would like to make clear that even though I am a Teams specialist, this article is unbiased, and my intention is to clarify some of the questions that we have been constantly asked by clients.
Here are the products I have compared:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Meet
Using collaboration as my top criteria for comparison, my votes don’t go to GoToMeeting. The product has been compartmentalised, meaning that you can’t get a complete set of functionalities without paying for multiple products or a larger suite that you aren’t likely to utilise – so it’s not cost-effective. See below: They all have their own pricing and platforms. GoToConnect, for example, is an actual phone system from what I can see so is some weird combination of VC needs and actual calling needs.
Slack, on the other hand, is a great tool and does have the functionality required for good collaboration, however, there is a crucial limitation that makes me cross it off the list – Not being able to have video calls via the mobile app. This is a big downside from my perspective as it limits the ability to maintain the same level of collaboration on the go.
When evaluating a solution, companies should not only consider the current market situation, which now is working from home, but also think of long-term requirements. At Bremmar, we wouldn’t recommend a solution that has mobile limitations, especially if your business needs to cater its systems for frontline workers.
Microsoft Teams is a great platform that integrates heavily with Exchange Online (Emails) and SharePoint Online (Documents in the cloud) alongside other new tools like Power BI for analytics and reporting, PowerApps for business apps and Flow for automation, allowing for a powerful platform to access all your business applications.
Teams is a platform that delivers much more than just a video conferencing tool with the main benefit of it being included in all Microsoft 365 subscriptions – that’s what I like about it. It is particularly effective in bringing frontline workers into the digital landscape and includes the ability to collaborate online via chat, video calls, online meetings and file sharing, as well as on third-party apps if you have Teams set up to be a central hub for teamwork. That is why sometimes it is hard to compare apples with apples when talking about Teams vs Zoom as Zoom is purely a video conferencing tool.
There’s a limited free version for people wishing to try it out and guests can join meetings for free via a web browser, so this makes it a rather quick product to adopt.
As of this month, May 2020, Google has made Google Meet available for free for everyone with a G suite account – until September. But you can also use Meets with a personal Google account for free. Meetings are limited to 60-minute and there’s no recording functionality to save meetings for later. Google Meet is a great program if you have participants that need to call in rather than join via video because Google doesn’t charge an additional call-in fee whereas Zoom does.
As Zoom and Google Meets are very similar, Bremmar recommends Zoom over Google Meet as it integrates with conferencing equipment to allow a lot more participants to join without having them tap in from individual devices while allowing up to 500 devices to stream the meeting at once. Also, the ability to split up participants mid-meeting into groups and record meetings are more suited to our clients’ needs.
Ultimately, both Zoom and Google Meet have close to the same features and tools available, which is important for those working from home or in the office.
Zoom has seen a lot of traction in recent months due to COVID-19 and its main selling point is being able to host massive meetings with the capabilities to have over 40 people visible on video at one time. It’s pretty amazing!
On top of that, Zoom users have the ability to split up participants mid–meeting into groups and simulate a classroom – by having different groups working separately whilst in one video call.
Only the meeting host has to pay for the product in order to host meetings effectively and anyone can create free accounts to join hosted meetings.
What do we recommend?
After evaluating our clients’ needs, the features, security and collaboration options of all tools, my preferred options are Microsoft Teams or Zoom. If there’s a need for both tools that’s what I would recommend and below I’ll expand why.
Zoom or Teams…
When to use Teams
It totally depends on the business needs and uses case context. Teams can be applicable from small to large businesses as an internal teamwork hub for the company. It would be more than just a video conferencing tool and your business can enable channels for different departments and teams, files in the cloud and in some cases, even have your landline phone migrated to Teams (like we do at Bremmar).
It can also be expanded as an external tool, for example, for companies that work on projects with external parties. At Bremmar, we use Teams as a collaboration tool with our Marketing agency, so all files, approvals and communications are there – not one email sent!
Industry–wise, I feel it again can be applied to any industry but here are some examples from our clients:
- Not-for-Profits can use Teams to communicate and collaborate effectively between centres and Head Office, most notably influential for Child Care or Aged Care companies with multiple centres across the country.
- Engineering can effectively use Teams to split up projects to self-contain data and tasks whilst also allowing external parties to be invited to collaborate in the same place ensuring data consistency.
When to use Zoom
Use case for Zoom ties directly into industry use case as well because it has become a platform that is perfect for the Education and Fitness industries, and running classes through it. Both industries need to see more than 4 participants in a video call and need to be able to split the meeting into groups to engage in activities online. Teams doesn’t have that capability.
As a general rule of thumb, what we recommend to our clients that need Zoom’s functionality but also have Microsoft 365 or Teams is to:
- Use Teams if having 1:1 meetings
- Use Teams if discussing confidential or sensitive matters
- Expand on Teams if using it just as a video conferencing tool
- Use Zoom if hosting large meetings or conferences
- Use Zoom when engaging in activities that require interaction from separate groups
Security for both platforms is as important as their use case, especially with current times.
Both platforms allow for a lobby in meetings ensuring that unwanted participants do not join without the hosts approval. Both systems are protected by passwords which is either 2FA via a Microsoft 365 login for Teams or a password directly on the meetings for Zoom. Both platforms are encrypted as well to ensure everything is protected.
There have been lots of media around Zoom’s security, which is expected, and here’s Bremmar’s view on the topic:
- Zoom is a good product and for video conferencing it has more features than Teams right now.
- Zoom is campaigning to get their security up to speed. It is likely for this month that there will be more security vulnerabilities but we are confident that Zoom will fix this quickly.
- Zoom has fixed a major flaw very quickly which shows they are proactive and on top of the flaws.
- Zoom has recently released version 5 which has patched a significant amount of security issues and released a large subset of security features.
If Zoom is required as a new video conferencing solution for your business, you can use it. HOWEVER, ensure that the software is up to date and that meetings are private, with passwords for guests to join. If Teams can cover all the required features this is definitely a preferred option. In short, Teams is perfect for any size business which wants to collaborate across multiple applications and people in a single space, whereas Zoom is perfect for those in need of massive training meetings allowing for the simulation of a classroom.
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