With the recent massive shift to remote work on a global level, video conferencing software and apps have gone from nice-to-have to essential work tools in a very short space of time. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the video conferencing industry was set to exceed $20 billion by 2024. Two of the most popular options, Skype and Zoom, have seen their number of users spike recently.
As you’re navigating this new environment with your newly remote team, it’s important to have a good video conferencing tool available so you and your team can stay connected and communicate effectively, and build a strong remote work culture. To help you make an informed decision, here are some of the pros and cons of Zoom vs Skype, and how each adds up in terms of usability for remote teams.
What is Skype?
Skype is an app from Microsoft that allows multiple people to communicate with each other at the same time. You can voice call, video call, and instant message through it. It was designed to allow people to communicate with each other for free, wherever they were. The app is compatible with Windows, Linux, Android, Mac OS, iOS, Amazon Alexa devices and Xbox. Skype has been around for years (it was launched in 2003) and chances are your team is already familiar with it.
You access the app by downloading it onto your device and creating an account. Skype is free - unless you want to call people on their landline or cellphone, then you can get a paid account. Skype has recently created the option of joining a call as a guest - so you don’t have to create an account. However, as a guest you have very limited options and features, but it’s a great way to try it out. Skype for Business has recently been integrated into Microsoft Teams, so if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, the video conferencing function comes with it.
What is Zoom?
Zoom, on the other hand, hasn’t been around as long. The cloud-based video conferencing tool was launched in 2013 and its user base has recently seen a huge uptake from 10 million daily meeting participants in December to 200 million in March (paired with a host of security issues).
With Zoom, you can also take part in voice calls, video calls and instant messaging, but the app was built with large organizations and teams in mind. There are a heap of innovative features in Zoom, from meeting control and analytics to hosting webinars and recording meeting attendance. The app works with Windows, Android, Mac and iOS. You can either use Zoom in your browser or by downloading the Zoom desktop app. Not every member of your team necessarily needs to create a Zoom account as they can join meetings via link, but anyone who wants the ability to schedule and create meetings will need an account.
If you're looking for a Zoom tutorial, check out our comprensive guide on how to use Zoom.
Both pieces of software offer very similar basic communication features, but one is overall better for smaller organizations and teams (Skype) and the other works well for larger organizations (Zoom). However, one isn’t necessarily better than the other and they’re both easy to use.
Which communication tool will work best for your team and organization depends on specific features you’re after, the size of your organization and specific requirements you have (such as adequate security measures for instance, or budget).
Tip: Whichever one you choose, you can link to virtual Zoom training sessions or Skype meetings from your LMS (such as GoSkills). This makes it easy for your team to find all the information about the training or meeting in one place.
Pros and cons of Zoom
- You can start with a free plan.
- Organizers have the power to fully control a meeting, they can mute all microphones, control access to presentations and more.
- You can have live video chats with up to 100 people in Zoom’s free plan. In paid plans the amount of participants is 300, 500 or 1000 per call.
- Participants can virtually raise their hands to take part in the conversation.
- You can access analytics about the calls that you’ve hosted (such as top users by meeting minutes).
- Participants in a call can easily share their screen with others on the same call
- Video calls can be recorded
- There’s a whiteboard feature that allows people to brainstorm on-screen while on the call
- The cloud-based software is designed to promote collaboration with features such as web conferences, group messaging and online meetings.
- You can integrate Zoom with productivity tools such as Slack and Zapier.
- Live support through their customer service team.
- It can get expensive if you need more features than the free plan offers. The next tier up (Zoom Pro) is $14.99 per user per month and allows you to also host up to 100 participants per call, with more features to manage user settings and reporting. The highest tier (Zoom Business and Enterprise) is $19.99 per user per month.
- Zoom security has been under massive scrutiny the last few weeks.
- There have been reports of some of the more innovative features (such as the whiteboard tool) not being available all the time while in a meeting.
- Many users have noted poor video quality with many calls being blurry and pixelated. This depends in part on your internet connection.
Pros and cons of Skype
- Skype for Business vs Skype:
- You can start with a free version (which by the way, is really comprehensive). Great if you have a small team and you just need a way to communicate with them remotely without much fuss. You can have up to 50 people in a video chat.
- The paid version, Skype for Business (which gives you more control over your video conferencing), comes as part of Microsoft Microsoft and is integrated into Microsoft Teams.
- You don’t need an account to use Skype, you can sign up as a guest to try it out.
- It has handy features such as screen and document sharing (and it supports large files).
- You can use a white-board for brainstorm sessions, post a poll or hold a Q&A session.
- Video calls can be recorded, which is helpful when one of your team can’t attend for instance.
- You can integrate Skype with Slack, Agile CRM and more.
- No live customer service team to help (unless contacted through Microsoft instead of Skype). The closest to live help you’ll get is contacting the AI bot.
- Even though Skype has better video and audio than Zoom, it does frequently freeze up.
- The app takes up a lot of bandwidth to install, there’s known connectivity issues and the app’s UX has been described as clunky.
How do Skype and Zoom compare?
Which piece of software works better for you and your organization really depends on your circumstances. They’re both easy to use and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. If your team works fully remote at the moment, you might be in need of more specific features in your video conferencing software, than if you were only using it to dial in with external stakeholders from time to time.
Let’s say you’re a small organization that employs 10 people and aside from using a video conferencing tool for team meetings, you also use it occasionally to connect with external stakeholders. You may not need a lot of innovative features, so Skype might be a more cost-effective option for your organization as it’s free. And if you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, then the video conferencing tool comes with it for free as well.
If you’re a large organization in need of a video conferencing option that allows you to take control of the meeting, mute people’s microphones when needed and run analytics on attendance, Zoom might be a better fit.
Free or part of Microsoft 365 subscription
Free, with the highest tier $19.99 per month per user
Amount of people in call
Up to 50 - 250 (in Teams)
Up to 100
On-demand support (but not live)
Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, various browsers, Windows, Windows mobile
Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, various browsers, Windows, Linux
Microsoft Teams (and any other Microsoft systems), Slack, Agile CRM and more.
Google Drive, Dropbox, Zapier (through which you can integrate many other apps) and more.
Screen sharing, whiteboarding, group video calls
Screen sharing, whiteboarding, HD video & voice, group video calls
Large file sharing, real-time and private chats, presentation features
Record meetings, playback, analytics, real-time and private chats and presentation features
Wrapping it up
For any team, but especially newly remote teams, it’s important to have a good video conferencing tool available so that your team can stay connected and productive while working from home. Depending on the size of your organization and the needs your team has in terms of innovative features, security and budget, both Zoom and Skype are viable options.
Whether your company will be working remotely for the near future or long-term, the GoSkills LMS is an indispensible tool to keep your team in-sync, connected and productive. You can easily add links to virtual training sessions and meetings from the LMS, add your own compliance training and courses, and get access to GoSkills' award-winning course library.
It's free to sign up and add an unlimited number of learners. Check the GoSkills LMS out today!
Train any size team
It's easier than ever to track and manage your team's training with the GoSkills LMS.Start for free