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Conferencing Recommendations

Northwestern provides a variety of conferencing solutions for effective collaboration among members of the University as well as external colleagues.

The table below offers conferencing scenarios and the recommended conferencing service for that scenario. A comparison of conferencing service offers and service features is provided in the Conferencing Service Comparison section at the end of this page.

To request a consultation for your particular conferencing needs, contact the IT Support Center, or your school or department technical support representative.

Conferencing Scenario Recommended Service

I want to have a videoconference where sensitive, regulated data will be shared (e.g., health information, export-controlled research, and data regulated by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)).

Teams

Zoom (Additional steps required. Please contact the IT Support Center for assistance.)

I want to have a one-to-one videoconference call.

Teams

Zoom

I want to have a videoconference for multiple people, but with fewer than 300 people.

Teams

Zoom

I want to have a videoconference for multiple people, and with more than 300 people.

Teams

Zoom

I want to hold a small-group meeting from a conference room.

Zoom

I want to run a synchronous video session for my class in Canvas and collaborate on content (white boarding, polling, remote access, etc.) Zoom
I want to offer virtual office hours.

Zoom

I want to record a videoconference.

Teams

Zoom

I want to share content in a videoconference.

Teams

Zoom

I want to have a three-way, audio-only conference call.

Zoom

I want to have an audio-only conference call with four or more people.

Zoom

I want to host a videoconference with a remote presenter.

Teams

Zoom

I want to collaborate on content in a videoconference.

Teams

Zoom

Conferencing Service Comparison

While the services listed for each conferencing scenario above are recommended by Northwestern Information Technology, you or your department may decide to use another conferencing product. Please see the following tables for a list of the features of each conferencing service.

Service Overview

Zoom Teams
Description Zoom is a cloud videoconferencing service for online meetings and classes, support of breakout rooms for project-based learning, and telephony support for audio conferencing. Teams is a communications service that connects people anytime, and from virtually anywhere, by delivering collaboration capabilities. It provides users access to presence, instant messaging, audio and video calling, rich online meetings, and extensive web conferencing capabilities.
Usage Scenarios
  • Collaborative sessions
  • Internal/external meetings
  • Presentations
  • Events
  • Employee communications
  • Distance learning
  • Collaborative sessions
  • Internal/external meetings
  • Product and project coordination, demos
  • Presentations
  • Events and conferences
  • Employee communications
  • Remote employee and customer IT support
Recommended number of attendees*
  • Up to 300
  • Up to 250
  • Teams Live Events up to 10,000*

*Requires Microsoft 365 audio licenses.

Information Sharing

Option Zoom Teams
Real-time desktop, application, document, and web-browser sharing Yes Yes
Whiteboards and annotation tools Yes Yes
Video Streaming Yes Yes
Text chat and Q&A (managed and moderated) Text Chat Yes; threaded Q&A in Teams Live Meetings only
File Transfer No Yes
Breakout Rooms Yes No

Audio and Video

Option Zoom Teams
Audio Phone conference, audioconferencing Yes; peer-to-peer audio using VoIP
Audio Features Dial-In, Connect with My Computer, Computer Connect, Voice Recognition, Intelligent Video Switching, Mute/Un-mute participants, Robust Security Options Expanded audio features not provided through Microsoft Teams license offering at Northwestern.
Video HD video; multipoint; full-screen view; expanded full-screen view, upload videos, full frame-rate content sharing HD video; multipoint; full-screen view; expanded full-screen view
Video Devices WebClient, Mobile Client, and Desktop Client Desktop, web browser, and mobile app

Specialized Features

Feature Zoom Teams
Personal room Yes No
Avatars No Yes
Participant List Yes Yes
Polling Yes Yes
Program and campaign management and post-event surveys No Yes, via Microsoft Forms
Lead source tracking and enrollment scoring No Yes
Registration management Yes Yes
Testing, instant grading, and instructor scorings No Yes, when using the Teams Classes template
Breakout sessions and hands-on labs Yes No
Permissions-based remote control Yes Yes
Reports Yes Yes
Background adjustments Yes Yes
Language support English, Spanish, French, German List of supported languages
Meeting transcription Yes Yes

Connection Options

Option Zoom Teams
Operating system support (Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris) Yes; but no Solaris Yes
Join and attend from mobile devices Yes Yes
Join and attend from web app (no download) Yes Yes
Invite People Email only Yes Yes
Inbound support request N/A N/A

Other Tools and Options

Option Zoom Teams
Network-Based Recording Yes Yes
Recording File Format MP4 N/A
Access to Recordings Online/Download Local
Microsoft Outlook integration Yes Yes
Enterprise Integrations Cisco Jabber, Cisco Endpoints, H323/SIP Surface Hub
Single Sign-On Yes Yes
Multi-factor Authentication No Yes

Management

Option Zoom Teams
User Management Yes Yes
Site Management Yes Yes
Site Report Yes Yes
Encryption 128-BIT SSL Encryption, 256-BIT AES Encryption 128-BIT SSL Encryption, 256-BIT AES Encryption
HIPAA Compliant No Yes

Last Updated: 1 June 2022

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