Homework is the new standard, and the current pandemic will have a lasting effect on the way we work forever. Videoconferencing is a way of working and communicating effectively, which facilitates teamwork in a professional configuration. The two main applications in this segment are WebEx and Zoom.
WebEx has been owned and operated by Cisco, a leader in the field for several years. They offer a multitude of other IT services (hardware and software). Zoom is a newcomer who has grown wildly in recent weeks and has been unable to keep up with the increased demand. There have been several reports of hacks and security breaches with the team working to release security updates – more details below.
Let’s see how these two apps compare and why you should use WebEx even after Zoom has released a multitude of updates.
1. Join meetings
That’s what I like about Zoom. You don’t need an account or sign up unless you want to host meetings. Simply download the application, enter the code you received by message or link and join the room. The integration process couldn’t be simpler. Things are different if you want to organize a meeting. This requires an account and you must add your contacts before you can send invitations. It’s understandable.
WebEx has two versions: WebEx Teams for collaboration and WebEx Meetings for conferences. WebEx also allows you to join meetings without registering, but like Zoom, you must create an account when hosting a meeting. WebEx does better here by allowing users to join a meeting using “any Cisco or standard SIP video device.” Skype is a good example. No need to familiarize yourself with new technology to join a meeting now. WebEx also has the Call Me feature, which means you will receive a direct call at the time of the meeting.
Creating an account is easy with Google and other social media login options in both. WebEx Teams acts more like Slack where you can manage channels and initiate calls, text and share files. For this comparison, I leave aside because it will be like comparing apples to oranges.
2. Creation and hosting of meetings
There are two types of parts in Zoom and WebEx. One is an ordinary room that you can create at any time and send invitations to contacts. Another is a permanent personal room, allowing anyone to connect with you at any time. I recommend that you do not share your room with everyone for privacy reasons.
Once the meeting is activated, several options are available, such as recording meetings for future reference, screen and file sharing, and the whiteboard. Because WebEx was designed for enterprise users, it also offers People Insights functionality, which allows for in-depth analysis of participants.
Both applications provide video recording and transcripts, but WebEx will send the files to you immediately.
3. When the meeting is in session
Zoom and WebEx will allow you to raise your virtual hand if you want to say something during a meeting. No need to abruptly interrupt the speaker. WebEx takes it a step further here with a few additional tools like surveys, attendance and the attention indicator tool. The latter will try to determine whether or not you are paying attention during the meeting. Polls are also available on Zoom, as is the ability to stream the meeting live on YouTube.
Not satisfied with your journey? You can choose a virtual background during Zoom meetings, so that nobody knows how rich or poor you are or even where you are. Income disparity is real and can be embarrassing for some people. Very thoughtful.
4. Webinars and meeting rooms
Zoom comes with breakout rooms, where you can divide a large meeting room into several small rooms. Each room will have its own set of participants with their topics, discussions, etc. You can create up to 50 meeting rooms in the same conference. Examples can be marketing, sales, and finance or budget teams. WebEx misses out on this one.
Both videoconferencing applications support webinars, but Zoom also offers the ability to create webinars on demand. This means that you can record a webinar and that users can access it whenever they want. You can share files with the viewer, post them on YouTube, and viewers can ask questions in real time. WebEx also allows you to follow prospects, offer discounts on products / services, take attendance and display detailed analyzes. These additional features make it very useful for marketers.
5. Confidentiality and security
WebEx was designed for businesses and corporate users. This is why security and privacy were a key concern.
Zoom recently made the headlines for security breaches, hacks and several companies and even countries prohibiting it outright. Paint a very bad picture, but all hope is not lost.
Zoom has since released a statement with a number of security updates with more in the works. I wish they had done it earlier. I guess they haven’t anticipated exponential growth since December. However, this is no excuse for what happened.
Some steps in the right direction include a password to prevent Zoom bombing, a waiting room, the ability to dismiss and restrict users during the meeting, and hide the meeting ID, so that the captures are safer, among other things.
WebEx, unlike Zoom, offers end-to-end encryption using the TLS protocol. Zoom recently added the ability to remove attendees and password protection, but they are present WebEx. You can also force users to use OTP before joining a meeting in WebEx.
Fun fact: A former Cisco WebEx employee founded Zoom. While the recent security failure was shocking, I think the company takes security and its reputation seriously.
6. Prices, platforms and integrations
Zoom offers a free plan with one-on-one meetings and unlimited group meetings with a 40-minute limit. No more than 100 participants are allowed in this plan, but you benefit from screen sharing and collaboration tools. The price starts at $ 14.99 / month per host and goes up to $ 19.99 and offers features such as up to 1000 participants, brand customization, meeting transcription and cloud storage.
WebEx also offers a free plan for up to 100 participants, and prices start at $ 13.5 / month per host, up to $ 26.95 / month per host. Additional features include file sharing, transcripts, personal branding and cloud storage.
Zoom is available on all popular desktop, mobile and browser operating systems with add-ins for Outlook and IBM Notes. The same goes for WebEx, but since it integrates with more applications, there are more options.
Zoom integrates with many applications like Slack, Skype, Outlook, Google, and some select others. The same goes for WebEx which works with Gmail, Outlook, Office365, Salesforce, Slack, GitHub and Trello, among others. In between, WebEx offers more integrations again.
Zoom in Zoom out
WebEx offers more, whether you look at features or security or anything else for that matter. It’s also more expensive, but again, security and privacy are invaluable, and any breach can be even more expensive.
It should be noted that WebEx is better suited for businesses and corporate users. Zoom can be used by schools, small businesses, startups and even families. Part of the reason it went viral was the free plan and the easy integration process.
But the time for Zoom has not yet come. Recent security updates are useful, but gaining trust after losing it can be difficult.
Zoom is not the only free and easy-to-use video conferencing application. Check out our in-depth comparison of Zoom and Google Duo. And yes, Duo supports more than 2 participants in video calls.
Last updated on April 15, 2020