Help Desk - Which video conferencing or webinar tool should I use? Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Hangouts Meet, Cisco Webex , Microsoft Teams, Zoom

There are a number of web conferencing tools available to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students. This document compares the major features of five web conferencing tools: Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Hangouts Meet, Webex Meetings, Webex Events, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.

IMPORTANT - If possible, password protect your meetings and only share the URL as needed. At this time of remote meeting and learning, we are finding that uninvited guests are joining some public events and are sharing content without permission. If you must host an open event, be sure to verify who can present during the meeting and restrict access as much as possible.
ALSO Many if not most web conferencing technologies will experience issues with users in China. Please see this news item for further details.

Please also look over this policy about collaboration technologies and recordings as they relate to students in particular. If the technology you want to use is not listed in this policy, do not use it for instructional purposes.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is the official web conferencing of UW-System and is integrated with Canvas. For more information on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, click here.

Google Meet is available to faculty, staff, and students through the UW-Madison G Suite. You must activate a UW Google+ account to use Meet. For details about Meet, click here.

Cisco Webex (Meetings / Events / Trainings) is available to faculty, staff, and students. This software can be installed on all UW-Madison owned systems and is accessible for download either via the Campus Software Library or via the UW-Madison Webex portal. For more information regarding Webex, click here.

Microsoft Teams offers chat, calls, and meetings and is available to faculty, staff, and students through the University's Office 365 license. For more information, click here.

Zoom is now available at UW-Madison, starting with the Fall 2020 semester. For more information, see UW-Madison Zoom-Getting Started. See Zoom announcement in IT news.

Non-UW-Madison tools:  Due to FERPA, HIPAA, and other data privacy considerations, campus policy prohibits the use of other, non-sanctioned web conferencing software such as Skype for any University academic or business purposes.


FeaturesBlackboard Collaborate UltraGoogle MeetWebex MeetingsWebex EventsMicrosoft TeamsZoom
Max. # simultaneous video (Visible at a time)++250 (4)100 (16)1000 (25)1000 (25)250 (16)300 (49)
Max. # simultaneous audio51001,0001,000250300
Max. # participants250 regular room. For Large Events up to 500 (or, see Blackboard Collaborate Ultra - What to expect with large attendance events (250+ participants))100 (250 through 9/30/2020)1,0001,00010,000 (several live event settings must be configured first; see here for instructions)1,000 (requires licensing configuration, process to be determined)
Chat featureYesYesYesYesYesYes
File sharing capabilitiesYesNo##YesYesYesYes
Screen sharing capabilitiesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Breakout rooms (Total Number)Yes (20)NoYesNoNoYes (50)
CostFree to UWFree to UWFree to UWFree to UWFree to UWFree to UW
Integrated with CanvasYesNoNoNoNoNo
Remembers contentYes (some)NoYes (some)Yes (some)YesYes (Some)
Browser based (no download required)YesYesYes^Yes^Yes^Yes^
Live/closed captioning integration for captioners (e.g. CART)YesNoYesYesNoYes
Students can create a sessionNoYesYesYesYesYes
Live streamingN/ANoYesYesYes (Live Events)Yes
Record meetingYesNoYesYesYesYes
Allow external participants (non UW-Madison)YesYesYesYesYesYes
Bandwidth RequirementsBBC UltraGoogle MeetWebex MeetingsWebex EventsMicrosoft TeamsZoom
Application integrationCanvas, My UW-Madison PortalG Suite (Docs, Sheets, Drive, and more)Microsoft Outlook, Cisco Jabber, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, IBM Cloud, Microsoft OneDriveMicrosoft Outlook, Cisco JabberMicrosoft Suite (Email, OneDrive, and more)Microsoft Office 365, Box, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft OneDrive, Eloqua
Dial-in optionYesYesYesYesNoYes
Dial-out optionN/AYesNoNoNoYes
PlatformWeb, Mobile (iOS and Android)Web, Mobile (iOS and Android)Webex Teams, Webex Desktop, Web, Mobile (iOS and Android)Webex Desktop, Web Mobile (iOS and Android)Web, Mobile (iOS and Android)Web, Mobile (iOS and Android)
Blur backgroundN/ANoYesYesYes (Mac OS/Win desktop clients)Yes (iPhone only)
CaptionsYesYesYesYesYesYes
FERPA Data AllowedYesYesYesYesYesYes
HIPAA Data Allowed+NoNoYesYesYesYes (configuration requirements)
Security InformationBlackboardMeetWebexWebexTeamsZoom
TrainingModerator TrainingGoogle Meet TrainingGetting Started: Webex MeetingsGetting Started: Webex EventsVideo Training GuidesZoom Video Training
Accessibility and Usability
Blackboard Accessibility and Usability
Google Accessibility and Usability
Webex Accessibility and Usability
Webex Accessibility and Usability
Microsoft Accessibility and Usability
Zoom Accessibility and Usability

## While Google Meet has no native file-sharing feature, you can share files through Google Drive.                                                           

^ These all have a desktop, browser, and mobile version. Attendees can choose to join via any option. Setting up the room and accessing the full functionality of the product requires the desktop version.

+ HIPAA regulations apply to businesses and individuals in the health care industry such as health plans and health care providers. These are called “covered entities,” meaning they are covered by HIPAA. UW-Madison is a “hybrid entity” because it includes units that perform HIPAA-covered functions (such as providing health care) and units that do not. As a hybrid entity, UW-Madison has designated units that perform covered functions, and individuals or units that perform support functions on behalf of those designated units, as its “Health Care Component.”

++Max # Simultaneous Video/Audio refers to the maximum amount of participants able to stream video or audio at the same time.



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