Video conferencing platforms have become a staple in the modern workplace as organizations are tasked with giving employees the ability to collaborate seamlessly with their colleagues who are often not in the same physical location. While all platforms contain many similarities, such as the ability to record meetings and share those recordings afterward, there are some subtle features and interface items that separate them. Choosing the right video conferencing platform for your company and having the infrastructure in place to properly deploy the solution is imperative in today’s world.
A great choice for larger businesses is Microsoft Teams, which delivers a complete collaboration app included in most Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Teams has great features, such as users having the ability to choose which video feed is displayed during the call. This can be done for multiple feeds so that both the administrator and speaker can be displayed, for example. The integration that Teams has with Microsoft 365 is a huge benefit that can end up being a decisive factor when picking between platforms.
This means appointments in Outlook, for example, are synchronized so users will be displayed as “busy” when they are currently booked. OneDrive, SharePoint, Outlook and other productivity tools, such as Excel and PowerPoint, are integrated with Teams as well. The ability to chat and view the history of the conversation paired with the ability to collaborate with clients, vendors and suppliers as a guest user helps reduce the dependency on emails.
However, a few cons with Microsoft Teams include the lack of intuitive nature of online meeting experiences and reduced flexibility when it comes to replicating a team or moving a channel. Recent developments for Teams include the new Tasks app, improved noise suppression quality, the ability for users to login with multiple accounts and the new data saver on the Android app. Teams is a great option since it can be accessed across all devices and is very secure with two-factor authentication and data encryption both in transit and at rest.
Another option for video conferencing is Cisco WebEx, which offers an intuitive interface that is similar to other services during a call, but a bit different beforehand. You will be given a clear dashboard where you can choose Start Meeting, Plan Meeting or Join Meeting. Agenda items can be added, as well as a password for the meeting. Completely cloud-based content and video sharing cloud solutions are what WebEx offers, along with access to Cisco WebEx Teams.
With WebEx, participants can be muted during the call and have the ability to chat while hosts can share their desktop, a specific app, or files/videos from their computer with those on the call. A nifty feature of this platform is the notification for administrators to view if sharing is enabled or not. Leaving this feature on after the call has ended can lead to a possible awkward situation, so thankfully this feature greatly reduces the chances of that happening.
Sharing of notes is also possible with the help of a virtual whiteboard. Your screen, files, and specific applications can easily be shared, and WebEx allows you to join meetings with a “Call Me” feature as opposed to using long meeting passcodes. Additionally, an elaborate administrator interface can enhance the participants experience during the meeting and exhaustive metrics are provided about the performance of your web conference. A potential downfall of WebEx is there is often reduced call quality on low bandwidth networks.
End-to-end encrypted cloud collaboration is ensured by WebEx with many advanced integrations and controls available to keep information secure. A major update to WebEx a few months back enabled automatic transcription as well as improved noise reduction. Additionally, real-time translation is being developed and perfected by Cisco.
The popular platform Zoom also provides a video conferencing solution. The recent support for end-to-end encryption and the addition of two-factor authentication has helped ease some of the privacy concerns the company endured in the past. Joining a call is easy if the app is already installed and just takes a few extra clicks if you elect to use the web app instead. The administrator has the power to turn off a participant’s microphone or camera at any point and the attendees have an opportunity to chat and connect with each other before the host joins.
With Zoom, online files can be sent and content can be shared through chat, and messages can be recorded in a TXT file. Security buttons are made available to the host so they can lock the meeting, create a waiting room for additional new participants and allow attendees to share their screen, amongst other things. Information about the connectivity of everyone in the call is made transparent to the administrator, this can help troubleshoot where a possible problem with the connection is. Participants can customize their screen to show relevant information, such as the chat box. There’s also an option for full-screen mode.
Zoom is a great choice since it allows screen sharing while you are on a video call, and its free plan allows for up to 100 participants in a meeting. However, on the free version your meeting duration may be restricted. Also, the co-annotation option on shared screens is a great feature, and brainstorming sessions with your remote teams are made easy with the on-screen whiteboard function.
Unfortunately, Zoom’s chat feature has a tendency to act slow during the meeting sometimes and as your team size increase the enterprise plans can get pricey. Zoom provides users with a personal meeting ID with which a call can start at any given time.
Although this may be a convenient option, utilizing the unique meeting ID is the more secure option. Linking to calendars, such as Google calendar and Outlook, is possible as well. Zoom also gives participants the option to join by phone with dial-in numbers displayed. Having participants register for a Zoom webinar with a quick survey filled with customizable questions is another great feature which can come in handy for online events.
ACP CreativIT is happy to help your organization choose the video conferencing solution that best fits your needs. Contact us to talk to one of our experts today or visit our video conferencing page here.