Comparison of the popular conferencing tools for conducting virtual training – SWOT Analysis

The power of technology has changed the way we do business nowadays. In particular, it has changed the way we conduct meetings and organize trainings. Over the past few years, many organizations have been gravitating from instructor-led training to virtual instructor-led training (ILT to VILT) and other online teaching mediums such as Elearning and video-based learning.

However, the recent lockdown around the world due to covid-19 has turned the world’s attention towards video conferencing tools as anideal means of conducting meetings and trainings. And a lot of names that were around for the past few years have suddenly come into the forefront. We’ve had Zoom gain immediate popularity when their user base zoomed up from 10 million to 200 million in a matter of few weeks – but Zoom has been riddled with data security concerns. Another tool that has gained prominence is Microsoft Teams which set a daily record of clocking 2.7 billion minutes, which is an increase of 200% from earlier – but Teams doesn’t have all the features to conduct a VILT.

Before deciding to move their businessesand trainings to a virtual mode, the big question on everyone’s mind is which conferencing tool is best suited for their needs.

So let’s spend a few minutes in comparing these tools, not in terms of the complete feature set (I’m sure there are a plethora of sites that already do that), but from a meeting and training perspective. For those organizations wanting to initiate ILT to VILT conversion efforts or those planning to subscribe for conducting their daily meetings, here a quick cheat sheet. The table below gives a SWOT analysis of the best web conferencing tools.

Note: A (L) represents those features that have a direct impact on conducting training. This is particularly for those wanting to move from ILT to VILT and want to pick a conference tool.

  Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat Price plans
Zoom – Allows video conference with up to 100 people for free
– Available across all platforms
– Allows screen sharing (L)
– Meetings are easy to create (L)

– The interface is not very user friendly
– Rising security concerns
– Free meetings have a time limit (40 mins, which is too less)
– Low market share when compared to Webex.
– Offers a free version so users can try out zoom meeting before purchasing a plan.
– Customer preference to try a new product
– Increasing use of online-based teaching/learning(L)

– Competitive market
– Since Zoom is a new product, customers might switch to a more popular product if they are not satisfied.  
– For small teams: $14.99/month/host
– For small and Med Businesses: $19.99/month/host (starting at 10 hosts for $199/month)
– For enterprise: $19.99/month/host (starting at 100 hosts for $1,999/month)
Note: Free video conferencing allowed with a maximum capacity of 100 participants.
Cisco Webex – No time-out restriction for individual meetings
– Easy to host and join (L)
– Allows data and file sharing (L)
– Whiteboard that allows users to take notes (L)
– Cisco Webex Training available for online training purposes.  (L)
– Cisco is a reputed brand
– UI needs to be improved.
– Installation of a browser extension/ software is needed.
– Difficulty in file-sharing as not all formats are accepted
– Meetings recorded using WebEx are difficult to edit, download and convert.
– Rapidly increasing popularity of AI and Machine Learning
– Increasing use of online-based learning/teaching(L)

– Competitive market
– Webex meetings must meet the brand standards to retain its customer base.
– Other video conferencing apps allow better file-sharing capabilities.
– $13.50 per host a month for up to 50 participants
– $17.95 per host a month for up to 100 participants
– $26.95 per host a month with support for up to 200 participants.
– It also has an “Enterprise” offering for larger meetings for up to 1000 participants, with flexible subscription plans for interested businesses.
Adobe Connect – Allows extensions such CC support, MP3 player, and Word cloud.(L)
– Allows users style their meeting rooms
– Users can add polls, quizzes, and games to the meetings (L)
– Sharing the screen freezes the meeting
– Audio and video experiences are poor
– Performance is not the same across all platforms
– Increasing use of online-based learning/teaching(L)
– New trends in the consumer behaviour can open up a new market for the Adobe.
– Customers preference to HD video and audio in meetings.
– Competitive market  
– Adobe Connect Meetings range from $50/mo up to $370/mo.
– Adobe Connect Webinar ranges from $140/mo to $580/mo, from a webinar with 100 participants to one with up to 1000 participants.
Microsoft Teams – Available for free during the pandemic
– Offers 10GB of team file storage along with 2GB of personal file storage per person.
– Allows creation of assignments, maintenance of a student grade book (L)
– Allows real-time collaboration with Office apps (L)
– Multiple users cannot share screens at once, one at a time only.
– Connectivity issues during voice conferencing
– Poor voice quality
– Microsoft is a leading product company in the market
– Constant updates to features
– Increasing use of online-based learning/teaching(L)

– Lacks features that other conferencing tools have
– Competitive market

– $5/user/month as a part of Microsoft Business Basic
– $12.5/user/month as a part of Microsoft Business Standard
– Teams is also available as a free application with some limited features.
Skype Meet Now – Skype allows background blurring, voice and text translation (L)
– Skype can be easily integrated with Cortana
– Skype allows people to send SMS texts to the mobile app
– Recurring technical glitches
– UI needs to be improved
– It can leverage the strengths of its parent company, Microsoft
– Increasing internet penetration and number of smartphone users (L)
– Increasing use of online-based learning/teaching(L)
– Many similar apps give people more choices & limited brand loyalty
– Voice Over Internet Protocol is restricted in some countries
– Intense competition from other similar apps & social media platforms
– $5/user/month as a part of Online Plan 2
– $12.5/user/month as a part of Office 365 Business Essentials
– $12.5/user/month as a part of Office 365 Business Premium
– Skype is also available as a free application with some limited features.
Google Hangout – Easy to use
– High-quality audio and video (L)
– Reliable software
– Video calls are limited to 10 participants
– Recurring bugs
– Can only be used if you have a Google account
– Google is a well-known brand in the market
– Increasing internet penetration and number of smartphone users (L)
– Increasing use of online-based learning/teaching(L)

– A large number of people cannot join a meeting at once
– Other conferencing tools offering better features
– Can only be used if you have a Google account
– Does not offer virtual classroom features like whiteboards, quizzes, polls etc.
– Hangouts is offered as a part of G Suite with pricing plans ranging from Rs.125/month to Rs.1650/month. 

If you are still confused and want to talk to some experts particularly on choosing a tool to conduct online training, reach out to our VILT designers at Apposite. Also, if you want your ILT to be converted into a VILT with fast turnarounds and flexible budgets, our VILT experts will be able to provide the ideal solution for your needs.

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