Video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have greatly assisted the UCT community to work and study remotely.

Teams – which is available to all staff and students – has been used extensively for meetings, collaboration and even hosting conferences and staff assemblies. On the other hand, Zoom has been used primarily for teaching and research.

In many instances, these two offerings overlap in that they have similar features. The benefit of using Microsoft Teams is that it forms part of the Microsoft 365 productivity suite, allowing it to easily integrate with other Office applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This allows Teams to be a central location to access information, communicate and collaborate.

Teams has also become UCT's preferred virtual classroom solution, as it provides a wider range of features and is well integrated with the next Learning Management System – Amathuba.

Comparison guide

The following table compares and contrasts Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Cost to customer Microsoft Teams Zoom
  Free of charge on a basic plan (part of UCT’s Microsoft 365 plan).

Licence costs on the educational plan vary from US $18 to $600 per year (along with more expensive options).

See: Zoom licence options at UCT.

Feature Microsoft Teams Zoom
Available for use by Staff and students Staff 
Online meetings Up to 1000 participants Up to 300 participants on a UCT basic licence, capped at 40 minutes per meeting
Live events (Teams) /Webinars (Zoom) participants Up to 10 000 participants for a Live Event

Up to 10,000 participants for a Webinar.

Separate licence required. Contact ICTS Acquisitions for pricing.


Interaction such as speak and answer polls for up to 1000 people. View mode for up to 10 000 individuals.

Registration option available.

Up to 10,000 participants for a Webinar.

Separate licence required. Contact ICTS Acquisitions for pricing.

Guest access Yes Yes
Supported devices and browsers    
Desktop app Windows, Mac Windows, Mac & Linux
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android
Accessible via browser Yes Yes
Recommended browsers Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome are fully supported Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Chromium Edge
Main features    
Video conferencing & meetings Yes Yes
Voice calls Yes Yes
Schedule meetings Yes Yes
Chat functionality Yes Yes
File sharing Yes Yes
Collaboration on documents Yes No
Search capabilities Yes, you can search for any content Yes, but only meeting chats
Video conferencing: Scheduling and joining    
Finding contacts Yes – all UCT staff and students Yes – other Zoom users
Schedule for a group For a Team For a Vula course site
Schedule via calendar Yes - find meeting time via Outlook No
Join a meeting Outlook calendar or link Link or meeting ID
Waiting room Yes Yes
Video conferencing: Features in meeting    
Screen and app sharing Yes Yes
Number of videos that can be shared 7x7 grid 7x7 grid
Together mode Yes No
Virtual backgrounds Yes Yes
Raise hands Yes Yes
Whiteboards Yes Yes
Polls and surveys See apps (Polly, MS Forms) Yes
Closed captions Yes Yes
Breakout sessions Yes – 50 breakout rooms, covering a maximum of 350 participants in total for all rooms Yes – 50 breakout rooms of up to 300 participants each - via desktop app
Video conferencing: Recordings and transcripts    
Meeting recording Yes Yes
Transcription Yes Yes (not in Vula)
Cloud storage Yes Yes (for a limited time)
Security and privacy    
End-to-end encryption Yes Yes
Two/multi-factor authentication Yes Yes
Chat functionality    
One-on-one chats Yes Yes
Group chats and calls Yes Yes (called channels)
Chat for attendees during a meeting Yes Yes
Chat with attendees after a meeting Yes Only on desktop app
Emojis and GIFs Yes Yes
Group/Team management    
Manage teams Yes No
Channels Yes Yes - via desktop app – but operates as a group chat
Activity feed Yes Yes
Tabs Yes, each team and channel comes with default tabs and the option to add more. No
Third-party app integration Yes Yes, with limited apps (subject to UCT approval)
PeopleSoft integration Coming soon N/A
Vula integration No – link to team page Yes
Bots Yes Yes - via desktop app