With the proliferation of video communication platforms, it can be difficult to decide which ones will work most efficiently for your business. The main ones companies weigh up are Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. Often companies will use all three, while some religiously stick to one and swear by it.
While they all essentially provide video communications, when deciding which one to base your remote operations on, there are a few subtle differences between each platform. Here’s a look at each platform:
Zoom came on the scene back in 2011 but shot to prominence around 2015-16 after raising $30m and integrating with key applications such as Salesforce and Slack, giving it substantial global reach. The appeal of Zoom, compared with its main rivals at the time, being Cisco Webex and Skype (acquired by Microsoft in 2011), was that you didn’t need to download a software client to get it working. You just set up a link and attendees click on it and “voila”, your VC session launches and just works. These days, Zoom remains a great platform allowing large numbers of participants (up to 1,000), the ability to share your screen, record video sessions, run webinars and offers seamless integration with Outlook and Gmail. Apart from some well publicised security issues, Zoom is a fantastic and reliable video conferencing platform for both business, and increasingly during COVID-19, consumer audiences. Zoom is free to up to 100 participants provided you don’t go over 40 minutes, and is very well suited to most meeting formats. Over and above that it comes with a price tag starting at $21 per month, per host and with a whole range of other service options for businesses of all sizes.
This one is probably my favourite for general day-to-day video collaboration with other team members. As I am a self-confessed fan of Google and its suite of apps, I like the ability to launch this service from Gmail quickly and easily, as well as its slick integration with Google Calendar. I also find the HD quality of Google Hangouts to be the best on the market and the instant messaging feature is a bonus as well. It’s basically a free service when you have a Google account and very popular amongst small businesses and individuals.
This is perhaps the fastest growing and most popular communications platform that I have observed amongst the advisers that I have spoken with during the myprosperity@home interview series. I do use Microsoft Teams with a number of tech companies and it is particularly attractive for large team meetings where you want to collaborate whilst working remotely. Microsoft has had a checkered history with its various video comms platforms efforts, including Office Communications Server, Lync, then paying a hefty price tag with Skype (US$8.5B) only to find it lagging behind the others. Of recent times however, Microsoft has done an awesome job with Microsoft Teams combining the strength of its other Office 365 features such as email/calendar/contacts integration, file and screen sharing, instant messaging and recording capabilities, all built on a strong security framework. As a result there is no wonder that over 90% of the Fortune 500 companies use Teams, leveraging the familiarity of its very popular Office 365 product suite.
And so the verdict? At the end of the day I really can’t pick a winner, and like me you probably use all three. But whichever your preference the thing we all need to appreciate they’re all seeing rapid up-take. In order of share price increase during COVID-19, Google is up 25%; Microsoft up 45% and Zoom a whopping 93%. In the case of the latter, the growth is made even more crazy by the fact that Zoom’s PE ratio is tracking at an insane 1,213. This makes the tech bubble of the early 2000’s look insignificant and I’d imagine the profit takers are on red alert with this one.
Valuations aside, each of these vendors have done a great job of making their respective products easy to use and cost effective for the average punter.