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Zoom vs Cisco Webex: Which is Best for your Business?

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Zoom vs Cisco Webex
Dominic Kent

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Zoom vs Cisco Webex: Which is Best for your Business?

Zoom vs Cisco Webex

Trying to choose between Zoom vs Cisco Webex?

Both are excellent collaboration tools and great for bringing teams together. 

So how do you choose between a video conferencing titan and a communications giant?

Let’s find out. 

Zoom vs Cisco Webex: An introduction

Zoom began in 2011, launched by a Lead Engineer at Cisco, Eric Yuan. It became one of the fastest-growing tech companies of all time. Zoom usage peaked at 300 million daily participants in 2020. Since April, the company says it’s adding 100,000 users per quarter. 

While Cisco doesn’t reveal its user count for Webex, we do know there were 25 billion Webex meeting minutes in April 2020 alone. This tool delivers state-of-the-art conferencing, along with webinars, meetings, and messaging. 

So, how do you choose between the two?

Zoom overview

Zoom is a collaboration tool that embraces the importance of a video-first culture. 

Compared to old-fashioned video conferencing equipment, Zoom is a breath of fresh air. There’s no complicated provisioning or setup required. With this app, you can click a link and join a high-definition meeting in seconds. 

Over the years, Zoom has added countless features to its roster. Today, you can access things like hand-raising for webinars, and Zoom Phone for VoIP. There’s even Zoom Chat for real-time or asynchronous messaging. 

Zoom Chat

Not only that, but Zoom works on any device. Thanks to WebRTC, employees can collaborate with external users. 

Cisco Webex overview

Cisco Webex is another excellent option for simple online meetings. With Webex Meetings, you can access everything from one-click video conferencing to “cognitive” meetings. 

Cisco has recently begun to expand on its meeting and collaboration products with new AI. Tech like predictive dialing and people insights make meetings more intuitive. 

Cisco even has its own Cisco Webex Calling solution to compete with Zoom Phone. Here, you’re getting your telephony from one of the world’s leading comms companies too. 

The Webex Teams platform is much like Zoom Chat – where you can send real-time messages or enjoy an asynchronous messaging experience with message threads, GIFs, and emojis.

Is Webex the same as Zoom?

Both tools offer meetings, messaging, and file sharing. Webex and Zoom allow for video and audio conferencing. Each tool also supports cloud-based calling.

Despite many similarities, Zoom and Webex aren’t the same. Cisco positions Webex as a full solution for Unified Communications. The Webex portfolio includes chat, video, and phone functionality. Companies can access Cisco in-room hardware too.

Zoom started as a video conferencing platform. Today, the platform offers webinar software, third-party infrastructure, and chat. Zoom stands out for its ease of use. 

Here are some unique features from each tool:

Cisco WebexZoom
Advanced webinar administrationSupport for simultaneous screen sharing from multiple attendees
People Insights features for attendee profilesBreakout rooms.
Webex Calling telephonyZoom Phone
Native Webex Teams for messagingNative Zoom Chat
Native Webex endpointsZoom hardware through partnerships with approved vendors
Cognitive collaboration with People Insights and AI toolsIntelligent noise cancellation

Both Zoom and Webex are evolving. In 2020, both Webex and Zoom introduced background noise cancellation. As users demand more features from their messaging and video platforms, the Zoom vs Webex battle is really heating up.

Is Zoom better than Webex?

With both tools, companies can launch audio and video meetings, share files, and chat. Cisco and Zoom have cloud calling features too. Zoom provides Zoom Phone, while Cisco delivers Webex Calling.

Webex is the complete Unified Communication solution by Cisco. With Webex productivity tools, companies can access chat, video, and phone functionality. Cisco offers native hardware for meeting rooms and conferencing spaces. Users can also access Cisco contact center software.

Zoom started with a focus on video conferencing. Today, the tool supports webinars, third-party hardware, chat, and telephony. General feeling in the communications industry is that larger companies prefer Cisco for its comprehensive portfolio. 

In fact, when we surveyed 200 IT Managers, we found that 65% of organizations use Cisco endpoints

Of the organizations that indicated they are using Cisco endpoints, 74% said they use Cisco Webex Teams.

Zoom is often the go-to choice for customers in search of simplicity. Following rapid adoption during the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom is now sought out as a leading video conferencing platform – and communications platform in general.

Zoom offers breakout rooms for separating groups in a meeting. Zoom Phone is available to tie in telephony, and it has its own chat tool for messaging.

Both Zoom and Webex introduced background noise cancellation in 2020. This intelligent feature suppresses background noise in meetings. 

Zoom vs Cisco Webex features

Zoom features

While you can do a lot more than have a video meeting with Zoom, visual meetings is where Zoom excels. It’s usually the go-to choice for companies connecting with external parties and contractors. 

Zoom’s technology goes beyond the basics of video conferencing. It delivers everything from transcripts for your calls to recording and virtual backgrounds

Zoom virtual background

The plans available from Zoom start with a free version for up to 40 minutes of conferencing. You can also pay a tiny $14.99 a month for the basic plan. 

Zoom is popular for its high-quality video, ease of use, and accessibility. You don’t need any software or training to join a Zoom call. It’s a click-and-go experience. 

The leading features of Zoom include:

  • Meetings for web conferencing
  • Zoom Phone for VoIP access
  • Zoom Chat for messaging 
  • Rooms with one-click access
  • Support for up to 10,000 viewers and 1,000 participants
  • Zoom integrations with leading tools
  • Webinars and town hall meetings
  • Zoom breakout rooms
How to make breakout rooms in Zoom

With Zoom breakout rooms, hosts can split meetings into up to 50 sessions. As a host, you can place participants in each room. Zoom can also automatically distribute users among your rooms. Or you can let employees choose the room they want to be in.

To create Zoom breakout rooms, start by enabling the feature in the Zoom web portal.

Go to the Account Management tab, then click Account Settings. Toggle the Breakout Rooms switch on. Check the box that allows hosts to pre-assign participants to rooms if you want to.

Return to your Zoom portal to start or schedule a meeting.

Click Breakout rooms and choose the number of rooms you want to make.

Decide how you want to assign participants to each room (automatic or manual).

Click Create Breakout Rooms.

Hosts can broadcast messages to all rooms by clicking Breakout Rooms.

Tap Broadcast Message to All, enter your message, and choose Broadcast.

Cisco Webex features

Cisco created Webex Teams as a complete environment for collaboration. 

According to independent research, 31% of Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype, and Webex users prefer the Webex Teams interface.

You can use Webex to launch high-definition video, and audio conferences. These include access to things like in-line transcription, people insights, and predictive calling. 

Sharing files and screens is quick and easy – as you’d expect.

Webex screen sharing

What’s more, searching through content is simple too. Just tap the search bar at the top of the screen and type a keyword. You can refine your searches with a person’s name, or look in specific spaces. 

The top features of Cisco Webex include:

  • Access to Cisco Webex Calling for Voice
  • Enterprise-class IM for group and one-to-one messaging
  • File sharing and screen sharing
  • Business directory for finding contacts
  • Cognitive collaboration features with AI integrations
  • Integrations with various apps and bots
  • HD video and audio calling

Cisco also features unparalleled levels of secure data encryption. Safety measures include state-of-the-art network security protocols and access control. This is key for companies in regulated industries. 

Zoom vs Cisco Webex pricing

Zoom pricing 

Available in four different packages, Zoom has a great range for all sorts of companies. Your choices include:

  • Basic: For up to 100 participants with a meeting limit of 40 minutes on group sessions. One-to-one meetings can be as long as you like. 
  • Pro: $14.99 per host per month for up to 100 participants with a 24-hour group session limit. 
  • Business: $19.99 per host per month (you need a minimum of 10 hosts). All the features of the pro package, plus support for up to 300 people. 
  • Enterprise: $19.99 per host per month (you’ll need a minimum of 50 hosts). Here you get all the features of Business, with support for up to 500 people. 

Zoom also offers two software-based pricing packages designed for conference rooms. The flexible pricing of the Zoom packages make it accessible to anyone. 

Cisco Webex pricing

Cisco’s pricing is also flexible. Both Cisco and Zoom have free plans with similar capabilities. 

The difference here is that Webex’s free plan comes with access to meetings of any length. Pricing starts with a free option for up to 100 participants in each meeting for 40 minutes. You can also access call-in audio on the free plan. 

Zoom limits you at 40 minutes for group sessions. 

After the free package you can choose from:

  • Starter: $13.50 per host per month. Here you get support for up to 50 participants in each meeting. There’s also call-in audio, 5GB of cloud storage, and recording. 
  • Pro: $17.95 per host per month. This package comes with all the features of Starter. Plus, there’s support for up to 100 participants. You can also assign alternative hosts. 
  • Business: $26.95 per host per month. With this package, you can host up to 200 participants, get 10GB of storage, and access all the features of Pro. 

Zoom vs Cisco Webex security

Both Cisco Webex and Zoom offer security and privacy features for users. With each service, users can access:

  • SAML-based single sign-on
  • 2FA or MFA
  • User and group provisioning with SCIM/JIT
  • Domain claiming
  • Domain allow/block
  • Device management
  • End-to-end encryption in video calls
  • FedRAMP Moderate

Cisco Webex and Zoom offer control over user permissions. Admins can decide who can share screens, record information, and use private chat.

Zoom also supports breakout rooms. In breakout rooms, admins can broadcast messages to up to 50 rooms at once. You can also set a session duration limit. When the time limit is up, the room will shut down and remove all participants. 

Is Webex compatible with Zoom?

Webex and Zoom have some compatibility. Users can join a Webex meeting through Zoom Rooms hardware. This means you use Zoom room audio and video input, with Webex software.

To enable third-party conferencing, go to the Zoom web portal and sign in. Click Room Management then Zoom Rooms. Click Account Settings.

Choose the Meeting tab. Toggle Support 3rd party conferencing dial-in for Zoom Rooms.

Go into your Zoom Rooms dashboard and click Meeting Settings. Turn on the Support 3rd party conferencing dial-in option. Click Save changes.

Next, send the room a calendar invite with the Webex H.322/ SIP address and meeting ID. Tap Join from the Zoom Rooms controller. 

Read more: How to Connect Zoom with Cisco Webex

Which Option Should You Choose?

Zoom vs Cisco Webex is a tough one to call as they are similar products. There’s a lot of overlap between the two. The services compete with access to a business phone, messaging, and video. There are some major differences to consider too. 

The Cisco solution works alongside other Webex communication tools. It’s a good choice for buyers who want to combine their stack. You might also want Webex if you’re interested in things like AI and cognitive collaboration. 

Zoom is a good fit for businesses of all sizes who want a quick and easy way to launch meetings.

Zoom is ideal for meetings with external contractors and freelancers. The software is flexible, and it can integrate with a bunch of your existing tools. 

Here’s How You Can Have Both

So, what if you can’t make a choice?

You want both Cisco Webex and Zoom. 

Well, there are ways to connect Zoom and Cisco Webex.

Connect Zoom and Cisco Webex

Your first option is to use the Zoom connector for Cisco. The Zoom connector uses Zoom’s API technology to embed meetings into Cisco Webex Teams. This means that when you launch a meeting from Cisco, you can switch your to a Zoom video call instead.

It’s a bit of a convoluted process. Additionally, with this strategy, you can’t combine every aspect of Zoom and Cisco. 

You can launch Zoom calls from Cisco Webex environments – but that’s about it. 

For a more comprehensive connection, you’ll need an external solution. 

Message interoperability for Zoom Chat and Webex Teams

Message interoperability connects the messages you send in Webex Teams to Zoom Chat.

This means that when you message someone from Webex Teams, and they use Zoom, they still see that message. 

The same is true vice versa. You can send messages from Zoom Chat to Webex Teams.

And it’s not just messages. Message interoperability includes all parts of the messaging experience – like threads, edits, files, GIFs, and reactions.

By installing Mio in the background, you can ensure you don’t need to switch between Webex and Zoom based on what each member of your business uses.

Employees can use the tools that they like most, without compromise. 

While we’re working on message interoperability for Webex Teams and Zoom Chat, join our waitlist to be the first to know when it’s live.

Read Next: How to Connect Zoom and Cisco Webex in 2020

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