With the majority of us working from home in some capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic, video meetings have become our new normal. In fact, tools that allow audio and video calls, as well as chat features, are now a vital component of our productivity toolkit. When it comes to video meeting platforms there are many providers, four of which are dominating the Australian market at present–Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Webex. Deciding which platform best suits your business can be tricky, so with that in mind, we’ve created a quick summary of each tool to help you find the right fit.
Zoom (https://zoom.us/) has definitely had the lion’s share of media coverage in 2020. With friends and family using it to catch up remotely and businesses quickly creating policies to allow its download and use amongst employees, Zoom is extremely user friendly and has quickly become the go-to name in video meetings during the corona virus crisis–the ability to add backgrounds and filters has had people entertained and kept them engaged (even making appearances in some work meetings, possibly accidentally) and video quality does stand up well.
The downsides to Zoom? There were some questions initially around security–bugs that allowed hackers to control webcams and microphones on Macs, and the ability for users to join meetings they weren’t invited to. Comedian Hamish Blake’s ‘Zoom for One More’(https://www.smh.com.au/culture/tv-and-radio/hamish-blake-he-s-here-he-s-there-he-s-zooming-everywhere-20200401-p54g1o.html) gags, while hilarious, highlighted serious security risks that some businesses just weren’t willing to take. The Air Force had an unexpected visit by Blake and(while not necessarily related) The Australian Defense Force banned Zoom soon after.
Measures are being taken by Zoom to improve security but could be months away from deployment across the platform.
Google Meet (https://support.google.com/meet/?hl=en#topic=7306097) (or Meet for short), as with all Google products offers good UI, is easy to use across devices and integrates seamlessly with other Google services. The enterprise version of Google Hangouts, Meet offers free meetings for up to 250 participants (until 30 September 2020) for businesses that are on G Suite.
But therein lies a problem-if your business isn’t using G Suite, the setup required to add users might be time better spent elsewhere. Other downsides to Meet include reports of lower image quality as more bandwidth is needed for video meetings, high CPU utilisation and the fact that it is reported not to work as well in Internet Explorer, which some businesses are still tied to using.
If you’re already using Office 365 across your business, you’ll probably already have access to Teams(https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software) (which replaces Skype for your video and chat needs). And if you’re already using it, you’ll know how easy it is to access files and edit documents including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. With a more complex than some of the other tools we’ve listed, Teams has depth when it comes to breaking users into groups and locking down access to certain information as is often required amongst businesses.
As part of Microsoft 365, Teams is wrapped in best practice security measures, which are listed in great detail (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-security-guide)for anyone worried that their meetings might not be secure, especially after media reports on security shortfalls in Zoom’s behalf.
The downside? It might have more features than your business needs at the moment, and that complexity could challenge any change averse employees, especially during this period of uncertainty.
Webex (https://www.webex.com/) may be a tool you’re familiar with if you’ve worked in a larger organisation. It has some key benefits, including simple integration with Outlook that makes meeting setting a breeze and also integrates well with Office 365 and Salesforce.
Screen sharing is simple to set up for the host and easy to view by other participants and there are lots of support documents available for users and IT admins.
If your corporate platform is Google G Suite however, Webex may not be the option for you. While Webex integrates with Google Calendar, there are some known issues around adding Webex Meetings to single occurrences of recurring meetings and there is some double up required within Google Calendar and on the Webex site to allow for additional functionality such as delegating meeting scheduling permissions.
Limited internet connectivity and speed at home is one of the universal complaints being heard by Australian IT managers during this lock down period. Home internet plans that once existed purely to fuel Netflix binges often don’t stand up against multiple people working and learning from home at the same time, especially when video is in such high demand.
While we can’t fix the overarching issues with Australia’s internet, we can talk you through the bandwidth requirements for each of the above tools if internet instability is a concern for you or your employees.
If you’re interested in learning more about which video conferencing tools are best for your business, now and beyond Covid-19, we’d love to have a chat.