Webex vs Zoom

Author: Gina Cunsolo

Videoconferencing has become a central fixture in today’s work world. Although such tools have been around for years, their popularity increased as the COVID-19 pandemic and employees did their jobs from home. More than half of the U.S. workforce uses video conferencing software regularly, and the three most popular services saw their daily user base total nearly a half-billion people in 2020.

Even though the pandemic appears to be on the decline, videoconferencing tools are expected to be a part of our work lives for the foreseeable future. Polls indicate that those employees working remotely want to continue and are even willing to take a pay cut to do so. At the same time, a Global Workplace Analytics study found that businesses could save a collective $500 billion a year by allowing workers to do their jobs from a home office, thanks to increased productivity and greater agility and reduced real estate, absenteeism, and turnover costs. Businesses are increasingly adopting a hybrid model, with staff working from home part of the week and in the office the rest.

Video conferencing tools serve as the foundation of those benefits, and there are a variety of platforms on the market. Each of those has strengths and weaknesses, and a platform that excels in one area may fall behind in another.

Among the powerhouse players in the video conferencing arena are Zoom and Cisco Webex. If your business is deciding which videoconferencing platform to use, and the choice is down to Zoom vs. Cisco Webex, here are some factors to consider:  

Pricing & features

Although Zoom is likely the more well-known of the two, with even the word “Zooming” commonly used to refer to participating in a videoconference, Webex has been around much longer. Webex was founded in 1995 and acquired by Cisco in 2007, while Zoom first launched in 2013. Both platforms catered to the business market, and the user base for both exploded in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe.

And while both offer many of the same capabilities, there are some differences between Zoom and Webex.

Zoom offers a free plan that limits group meetings (up to 100 participants) to 40 minutes, although there is no time limit for one-to-one sessions. Zoom offers unlimited chat as well.

Zoom offers three video conferencing-only plans ranging from free, for 40-minute sessions that can include up to 100 participants, to $14.99/month for sessions that can last up to 30 hours and include 100 participants, to $19.99/month for a minimum of 50 licenses (total $999.50/month) for presentations that can include up to 500 people. Zoom United plans also begin with Pro at $25/month for unlimited video meetings with up to 100 participants, 1GB storage for meeting recordings, unlimited chat, and unlimited calling to local phone numbers. The Business plan at $30/month (for 10-99 licenses) offers the same features, plus meetings with up to 300 participants, custom URLs, company branding, transcription, and more. In contrast, the Enterprise plan offers the same features but increases the maximum number of participants to 500. That plan costs $30/month per user with a minimum of 100 licenses.

Webex offers five plans, beginning with the free Webex Basic. With the free plan, users can hold meetings as long as 50 minutes, with a maximum of 100 participants. The $15/month Meet Plan offers meetings of up to 24 hours and a maximum of 200 participants and includes 10 GB of cloud storage.

Webex’s $17/month Call Plan drops the meeting time back to 50 minutes and maximum participants back to 100, but includes advanced calling features such as a unique cloud-based phone number along with call waiting, call forwarding, visual voicemail, and more. At $25/month, the Webex Suite – Business combines features of the Call and Meet plans

Both Zoom and Webex also offer customized pricing and services for enterprises.

Integrations & security

When considering Webex vs. Zoom, both have many choices when it comes to integrating with other applications. Both integrate with popular business apps, including Dropbox, Zendesk Notifications, Salesforce, Stripe, and Calendly. Zoom keeps its app offering in its App Marketplace, while Webex has its App Hub.

Both services require desktop users to download a desktop app or browser plugin to participate in a meeting. The process is a bit more complicated with Webex. In Zoom, joining a meeting is as simple as clicking on a link and either joining by browser or downloading the Zoom Meeting application. You will need to create an account if you plan on hosting a meeting.

Both services offer security features such as user authentication, password requirements for meetings, and end-to-end encryption.

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint specifics, reviewers give Zoom high marks for ease of use. Webex features that garner kudos include complete control of features such as co-browsing, file transfers, and the ability to remove attendees from the meeting. Those features, though, come with a steeper learning curve.

The verdict

Addressing the question of “Why use Cisco Webex?” or “Why use Zoom?” naturally includes discussing how the organization plans to use either platform. Both have features that make it a better choice for a specific task.

Overall, Zoom gets points for its intuitive interface and ease of use, while Webex has an edge for more sophisticated features.

Whatever the choice, the performance of those applications depends not only on how they’ll be used but also on the tools on which they’ll be used.

Yamaha Unified Communications offers a wide variety of conferencing tools that can enhance any meeting. If you’ll be joining a meeting from home or you’re on the road, there’s the YVC-200 Personal or Work-From-Home Speakerphone. For huddle rooms or conference rooms, there’s the YVC-330 Portable USB & Bluetooth Conference Phone. Yamaha UC also has strategic partnerships with other technology providers, helping to bring high-quality conferencing to nearly any situation.

Whichever conferencing platform you choose, Yamaha UC has the technology to help get the most from it. If you have questions, reach out to the experts at Yamaha UC!