As we are all settling in our new work-from-home routines, we are also realising our growing expertise with group video technology. Over the past few months everyone has developed an opinion on Zoom vs Teams as we all meet for work, for school and for social entertainment on the weekend. Personally, I have now attended 3 significant birthday parties and a few group trivia sessions, all on-line and all with varying degrees of success. And while it’s not the same as meeting (or partying) face to face, it is definitely a welcome distraction to our current daily routine.
The shortcoming of Teams’ 2x2 configuration is not new. In the Feedback Forum Microsoft Teams UserVoice!, the first comment to note this as a hindrance was made in November 2016. As of today, there are now 52,436 votes to have this addressed!
Zoom currently allows users to see up to 49 thumbnail displays of participants. When more than 49 users are in the meeting the thumbnails are spread to subsequent pages allowing you to scroll through the entire audience. This has obvious benefits for larger groups, especially schools, although as people come and go from the meeting, the changing screen can be disrupting. There is also the argument that seeing the faces of 49 participants is distracting from the presenter and the purpose of the meeting is often lost. However, for use socially after hours, no such problem exits.
A free plan with Zoom allows up to 100 participants (no wonder we’re all using it on the weekend!) and a paid subscription will enable that number to increase to 500. On the other hand, Teams meetings support 250 participants, and jumping through a few hoops will get you Teams live events where you can plan to broadcast to an audience of 10,000. But, for those of you sold by the benefits of the larger Zoom audience, make sure you’re aware of the latest associated security breaches.
The good news from Microsoft is that from now we will start to see the audience layout grid of a Teams meeting grow to 3 x 3. As recently reported, the larger audience view is now available in some production tenants. While it will take time for the software update to be delivered to every Office 365 tenant, we all will hopefully be working with the larger grid by the end of this month. Many of us enjoyed it for the first time in our daily 8.00 am meeting this morning with great success!
To keep abreast of all upcoming additions and improvements, check out the blog What's new in Microsoft Teams. Or, as always, contact your Client Services Manager for more details on how Teams can improve your efficiency. We also have Teams training resources available on the Sentrian Help website.