Recent times have been unprecedented for mankind and it has changed the way businesses operate worldwide. Video conferencing has become an integral part of the communication strategy of any organization and it has almost omitted the need for physical meetings at the workplace. Yes, it might have been triggered because of the pandemic but we cannot discount various advantages it offers – cost-effective, instantaneous, and more collaborative, etc. Many organizations have adopted some or other virtual platform to cater to their needs and keep their employees productive during the work from home. In case you have still not decided on the virtual conferencing platform for your business, this article would help you with some key pointers to decide on the same.
Many platforms are available in the market. Cisco WebEx, Zoom, and Microsoft teams are some of the popular options. All the systems have their own set of advantages and disadvantages to offer. In this article, we would focus on WebEx vs Zoom in particular – their key features, distinctive interfaces, infrastructure requirements, etc – so that you can choose what best fits your requirements. While zoom has seen a humongous surge in the number of subscribers post the pandemic has hit the globe, WebEx has continued to be among one of the most trustworthy and dependable solutions out there because of its Cisco tag.
Overview of Zoom
Eric Yuan founded Zoom back in 2011 as a cloud-based system. It is one of the fastest-growing video conferencing applications out there. It recorded about 300 million daily participants in the year 2020 and the company is adding about 100,000 users quarterly. Zoom is a video conferencing collaboration application that leverages on 3rd party partners for infrastructure endpoints.
The key USP of Zoom is its extremely user-friendly and easy interface which often finds its place among small to medium scale enterprises. In comparison to other existing software, Zoom is pretty easy to set up with no complicated provisions required at the beginning. Even while joining a meeting, you just have to click the URL and that is it. With time, several features have been added to the system. One of them is its mobile app which is enabled for VoIP. The app also has a chat feature that works in real-time. One of the most common concerns users have with Zoom is related to its security environment for business communications. We won’t say it’s false but the system has evolved over the years and now, as an administrator, you can easily prevent these security issues.
Overview of Cisco Webex
Cisco is one of the most popular names in the field of networking and WebEx is its highly rated video and team collaboration application. It offers chat and video capabilities in addition to basic online meetings. The Company has revamped its AI lately and it has been used in the WebEx system as well. New features like people insights and predictive dialing have been added to its roaster which makes the online meetings even more intuitive. The system was created way back in 1995 and Cisco later acquired it in 2007. Since Cisco provides end-to-end networking solutions to enterprises, WebEx comes as a natural choice for such organizations which are already using Cisco’s networking services. The system is one of the most preferred choices for large organizations that invest high in their networking infrastructure.
Comparison: Zoom vs WebEx[table goes here]
Webex vs Zoom: Key parameters to decide what works best for your business
It is very important that as a user you select the right video conferencing solution that best fits your requirement. Various parameters can help you decide and we have narrowed it down to these 5 key parameters for easy decision making at your end:
WebEx was designed keeping in mind the requirement of an enterprise user and it is deployed in any organization with security as the most focused area. By default settings of the platform are configured in a way to provide the most secured experience to the user. The system considers user privacy as the most critical aspect and is committed to never sharing the data with any other entity. Other features such as password-protected meetings, participant removal, and TLS protocol to provide end-to-end encryption, clearly show that security is of prime importance for WebEx. As a business user, if security holds a key priority in your communication requirements, then WebEx wins additional points by some margin.
On the other hand, Zoom has been considered as a less secure application than its other competitors including WebEx. However, over the years, the platform has made some serious improvements in its security protocols and many additional security features have been enabled now as the default setting in the application. Also, it is advised that IT administrators of the organization need to proactively keep on checking on the new updates to improve the security configurations.
Costing is another very critical parameter that can affect your decision. Both these platforms have some very similar kinds of standard packages available for different kinds of needs in small to large enterprise customers.
For WebEx, the pricing for paid plans primarily depends upon the number of participants. Here are some typical plans:
- Free: up to 100 participants per meeting for 50 minutes, access to call-in audio
- Starter: USD 13.5 per month per user, up to 50 participants per meeting, access to call-in audio, recording, 5 GB cloud storage
- Pro: USD 17.95 per month per user, starter plus up to 100 participants, option to assign alternative hosts
- Business: USD 26.95 per month per user, pro plus up to 200 participants & 10 GB cloud storage
Zoom also comes with similar kind of plans with some basic difference:
- Basic: up to 100 participants for 40 minutes meetings, no bar on the length of meeting in case of only 2 participants
- Pro: USD 14.99 per month per user, up to 100 participants with group session limit up to 24 hours
- Business: USD 19.99 per month per user (min 10 users required), Pro plus support up to 300 participants
- Enterprise: USD 19.99 per month per user (min 50 users required), Business plus support up to 500 participants
In addition to this, there are also other pricing options available for conference rooms in the case of Zoom. With its flexible pricing, Zoom earns additional points on this parameter.
3. Features & User Experience
When it comes to user experience, Zoom has a variety of features to offer. It is not just a video meeting platform rather a visual meeting platform. It has features like virtual background, call recording, screen sharing, transcripts of calls, breakout rooms, zoom chat, zoom phone, webinars and town hall meetings, etc. It offers high-quality videos and the initial setup is pretty simple and easy. All such features make it a go-to choice for small to medium enterprises and other non-enterprise users.
Cisco Webex is primarily designed for enterprise customers. In addition to basic features like high definition video and audio calls, screen and document sharing, business directory, it also has some high-level features like people insights and predictive calling. It also provides integration to other app and bots. Since it comes from Cisco, it offers a high level of data encryption features which at times becomes a key requirement in large enterprises.
WebEx provides enterprise users with the flexibility to purchase and implement the platform as an on-premise, hybrid, or cloud-based solution basis your network infrastructure requirement. Needless to say, the cost differs for different environments. There is an online portal that provides complete visibility to the administrator. There are some improvement areas when it comes to administrator analytics but Cisco has been working on it.
On the other hand, zoom is a complete cloud-based solution, and similar to WebEx, it also provides an online portal to oversee the system. Administrator analytics is a strong area for Zoom and it provides quite detailed statistics. Unlike WebEx, endpoint devices are not manufactured by Zoom and hence endpoint integration and visibility depend on what kind of device is being used. However, for a general user, it is not a concern. Rather, being a cloud-based system, the infrastructure requirements are pretty minimal in the case of Zoom.
When it comes to deciding, no one solution is the perfect fit for all. Basis your requirements and budget, you can select what works best for you. Both the systems have their own unique and similar features. For a user, we would say it is a good problem to have. However, in the WebEx vs Zoom comparison, zoom works best when it comes to masses whereas WebEx, with its high focus on security and infrastructure, comes out as a preferred choice for medium to large enterprises.