Hands up of you’ve used a video conferencing application during lockdown. I think many of us will have tried this out recently, whether it’s been for work meetings or catching up with family and friends. So which video conferencing app is best? A lot of people have been using Zoom, but if you already have Microsoft Office then you also have access to Microsoft Teams. Let’s compare…
Zoom is very easy to get and fairly easy to use as well. You can sign up for free with an email address or through your Google or Facebook account. Then you create a meeting and email out invitations. My kids have been using it for virtual class catch ups but one problem they’ve run into is that the sessions are limited to 40 minutes. This will be because they’re using the free version. If you want your meeting to go longer than that you can pay a subscription. This also allows you to edit your meeting times and have more than one host. However like any successful application, Zoom’s vulnerabilities have been tested and security has been found to be lacking. If you’re looking for a super-secure platform from which to conduct your highly classified meetings on national security, Zoom is probably not the platform for you. This is because it’s possible to break into sessions you’ve not been invited to. There are some extra precautions you can take when using Zoom to manage this risk but if you’re conducting a class catch up for your primary school kids or a chat to your Grandma, it’s probably not a big deal.
Zoom Summary: Most suitable for pre-arranged short-ish personal meet ups if you’re not too concerned about security
At Green Mouse we’ve been using Teams very successfully while we’ve all been working from home, primarily as a messenger-type App for typing quick chats to each other, but also as a video conferencing platform. It’s been great. The picture quality is better than Zoom and it’s very easy to have a chat thread going on in the Teams section, then throw in an impromptu video call using the ‘meet now’ button at the bottom (it looks like a video camera). It’s a much more integrated system; more suitable for a workplace situation. You can also do a ‘phone’ call which doesn’t show participants faces if you prefer. It’s been a great platform for that random chatting about the weather etc that you don’t get while all working independently from different locations, but which isn’t important enough to put into an email. It’s a tool that allows you to keep your team connected and enjoy that social interaction that is actually pretty important for a business. Once you’ve got that going it’s very convenient to throw in a video call as required. Teams has a better reputation for security than Zoom and if you already have Office 365 (now called Microsoft 365) then you already have access to it. You can get Teams now for free but if you’re a business then you might as well have the full Microsoft 365 suite with all of the classic apps like Word and Excel. If you’re looking for a free chat app to use personally and you don’t have (or want to get) the MS365 suite then you might as well just use something like Facebook Messenger.
Teams Summary: Most suitable for businesses as part of a larger team contact strategy