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Zoom vs vs Switchboard: Get the best collaboration platform for your remote teams
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Zoom vs vs Switchboard: Get the best collaboration platform for your remote teams

Discover the pros and cons of Zoom vs vs Switchboard for your online meetings—and which is best for small remote team collaboration.

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Humans are only wired to do one thing at a time—and do it well. When we’re focused on one task, like participating in a meeting or brainstorming, we can be very efficient. But when we’re not fully engaged, our attention quickly shifts and we tend to multitask.*  

To make meetings more productive, limit tool switching and app toggling, and focus teams on the task at hand, leaders of small remote teams need a meeting and collaboration platform that acts as a home base. For example, a tool that supports a more engaging way of working with features like persistent rooms that save your work.

A lot of people think that the obvious choice of tool would be Zoom vs Gather, but that’s not necessarily true. Zoom is great for talking, and Gather is a good choice for recreating digital offices. But people don’t miss a floor plan and fake plants—they miss working with each other.

In this piece, we’ll walk you through both Zoom and Gather and compare their features and pricing. We’ll also show you how Switchboard helps you create a great remote culture by giving you a space where your teams feel more connected to each other and their work. 

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Zoom vs vs Switchboard: overview 

Before we dive into the details, here's a quick overview of each option. Check out this table for a visual features comparison of Zoom, Gather, and Switchboard.

Zoom vs vs Switchboard comparison chart

Want a more detailed comparison? Keep reading!

1. Zoom 

Online meeting on Zoom
Zoom is useful for large teams that want a basic, reliable online meeting tool. Source: Zoom

Zoom is one of the most recognizable video conferencing platforms out there today. As one of the biggest virtual communication tools, it offers online meeting solutions for various industries, from education to healthcare. Its paid plans come with tons of helpful features, like closed captioning and live transcription. But the free version keeps things straightforward with 40-minute meetings and up to 100 people on each call.

You can use Zoom for almost every type of meeting—from client calls to webinars, online training, and virtual events. But unfortunately, the app offers few engagement features and isn’t very interactive so meetings can be one-sided, instead of collaborative. 

2. Gather

A virtual meeting in Gather
Gather is a virtual workspace that lets you build and decorate a digital office and work together in real time. Source: Gather

Gather (also known as is a virtual workspace software that lets you create an interactive and immersive online office to bring your teams together. While it's not made specifically for video conferencing, you can use Gather for a wide range of purposes, including virtual events, team-building exercises, and even online co-working spaces. 

On Gather, you start by customizing your avatar, which you then use to move around in your virtual office and interact with others in real time. This creates a more engaging atmosphere and makes the platform like an indie video game alternative to Zoom.

3. Switchboard

Switchboard room with people working on multiple documents and apps
Switchboard goes beyond simple video chats by letting you work together in permanent virtual hubs. Source: Switchboard

Switchboard is a browser-based collaboration hub that lets you and your team work on documents and apps inside a virtual room—without having to share your screen. It’s designed to foster team connection, collaboration, and productivity through intuitive, persistent meeting rooms. 

Switchboard lets you communicate in real time with video, audio, and chat. You can also work side-by-side allowing everyone to scroll, type, and browse the same document at the same time. 

You can create cloud-based virtual rooms for brainstorming, host spontaneous meetings with your team, and connect with clients in an interactive space. Throughout the meeting, you can explore any file in the room, moving around and viewing whatever you want without getting in the way of others. 

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: engagement features 

Traditional online meeting tools are great for letting you talk to your team members, but the meetings aren’t always interactive. With that said, Zoom offers a few features like emoji reactions, polls, and hand raising to help you increase virtual employee engagement. 

Gather, on the other hand, gives you a more engaging experience than Zoom by letting you design your virtual office, add games and virtual activities, and create custom avatars that look like the real-world you. However, as of right now, you can’t record your Gather calls. To record a meeting, you need to use the app’s Google Meet or Microsoft Teams extension and hold your meeting there, instead of on Gather. 

What makes Switchboard different, and more engaging, than either Zoom or Gather is its multiplayer experience. During meetings, coworking, brainstorming, or even playing games, everyone can work together instead of just listening to one person talk. Switchboard’s persistent rooms also save every window or app you have open so you can go back and work on them anytime—before, during, or after meetings and collaborative sessions. Plus, you can record your meetings with Switchboard—something you can’t do with Gather.

Zoom engagement features:

  • Meeting recordings
  • Virtual backgrounds 
  • Audio, video, and screen sharing 
  • Breakout Rooms 
  • Live captioning only available with a Zoom live transcription license 
  • Hand raising 
  • Polls
  • Q&A
  • Emoji reactions engagement features:

  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Audio, video, and screen sharing 
  • Hand raising 
  • Emoji reactions 
  • Public and private spaces 
  • Interactive objects like whiteboards, timers, game stations, and even office pets

Switchboard engagement features:

  • Meeting recording
  • In-meeting video, audio, and chat
  • Screen sharing for native apps
  • Dedicated, persistent rooms
  • Sections to organize documents and apps
  • Host not required for members to enter a room
  • Room permissions for members and guests
  • Presentation mode
Pro tip: Switchboard works with any browser-based virtual employee engagement app, like Bonusly, Lattice, Loom, Board Games Arena, and Slack, so you can use it as the foundation of your company’s employee engagement tech stack. This saves a ton of time jumping back and forth between tools and having scattered information.
A screenshot of a virtual room in Switchboard, including eight web-based app logos
Switchboard works with every browser-based app so you can engage your team from inside your virtual workspace. Source: Switchboard

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: collaboration features

Zoom and Gather are great for talking, but small remote teams might find it challenging to work together effectively using these tools. That’s because they only provide a limited number of collaboration features like whiteboards, in-meeting chat, and screen sharing. And with Gather, you might even spend more time on interior design and decorating your digital rooms than getting things done.

Switchboard on the other hand, not only gives you real-time communication through video chat and virtual spaces, it also lets you work together on all the apps you normally use without sharing your screen. No more link sharing and jumping from one platform to the other—everything is ready for you in one place. As an added bonus, Switchboard’s persistent rooms save everything you put in them, so you don’t waste time getting everything together again. 

Zoom collaboration features:

  • Screen sharing
  • Private and public in-meeting chat
  • Whiteboard 

Gather collaboration features:

  • Screen sharing
  • Private and public in-meeting chat
  • Link and document sharing
  • Whiteboard 

Switchboard collaboration features:

  • An interactive canvas to add documents, files, web apps, websites, and games
  • Built-in whiteboard plus the ability to use your preferred browser-based whiteboard
  • Secure multiplayer browsers for instant collaboration
  • Sticky notes and comments
  • Unlimited rooms for 1:1s, team meetings, and projects  
  • Persistent rooms that save your work
A screenshot of a FigJam board in Switchboard
You can use any browser-based whiteboard apps your team knows and loves in Switchboard. There’s nothing to install or set up. Source: Switchboard

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: async working capabilities

Zoom and Gather are made for real-time communication, so they don’t offer any async working features. For example, with Zoom, you can only record meetings and refer to them later to catch up on what was said.

With Gather, you can only use a whiteboard to brainstorm during meetings, although you can download its contents as a pdf, png, or svg file to view later.

Switchboard async working capabilities:

Switchboard is more than an online meeting tool. It’s a virtual workspace and home base for your team that lets people find each other easily and work together whenever they want—on or off calls. 

Switchboard lets you share and open multimedia files, documents, or web browsers directly in dedicated rooms. It saves them all so you never need to download anything or repopulate the room again. You also don’t need to message your team members to get ahold of the materials you looked at on the call since it is all in a Switchboard room.

You can prepare a room, enter it anytime, and work alone or with other people knowing that you’ll always have everything you need. 

To help you work async, you also get:

  • Meeting recording
  • Virtual whiteboards, comments, sticky notes, and permanent in-room chat
  • Public and private spaces for real-time and async collaboration

Check out the video below to see how you and your teams can use Switchboard for design and creative reviews, even if you can’t all work at the same time.

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: user experience

A screenshot of Zoom’s meeting setup
Hosting meetings on Zoom is straightforward, but it requires some extra setup steps for both you and your teams. Source: Zoom

Setting up video calls and group meetings with Zoom is pretty straightforward, but every meeting requires some additional setup, which can put a damper on spontaneous interaction. 

With Zoom, you first need to log into your Zoom account and check everyone’s availability on their calendars. If they’re free to meet, you can start the event, invite all the participants, send them a meeting link, and wait for them to join. And if you’re on Zoom’s free plans, you’re going to have to fight a meeting time limit.

Starting a call with Gather requires far less preparation than Zoom. Once you’ve entered the virtual world, you can just walk over to a person's avatar and start a call with them. For scheduled calls, you can put a meeting on your team’s calendars on Gather, or use their Google Calendar integration if you prefer using Google Meet.

With Switchboard, the meeting and collaboration rooms are already there. All you need to do is jump in and start working together. If a team member isn’t available, they’ll not only have the meeting recording to look back on, but also the resources including comments, sticky notes, and brainstorming mind maps.

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: pricing 

Now you know how these platforms compare regarding user experience, let’s take a look at pricing: 

Zoom pricing: 

  • Free version with limited functionality and attendee numbers
  • Pro Plan: $149.90/year per user
  • Business Plan: $199.90/year per user
  • Enterprise Plan: custom priced  

Gather pricing:

  • Free for up to 10 users 
  • Per day subscription: $3/day per user
  • Monthly subscription: $7/month per user 

Switchboard pricing: 

  • Free: Includes limited features, rooms, and members for small teams or individuals.
  • Pro: As low as $10 member/month for up to 200 rooms and 500 members plus Switchboard AI and additional storage.
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing.

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: meeting capacity

When it comes to online meeting platforms, participant capacity isn’t everything. So don’t forget to pay attention to how you’re engaging your teams and helping them work together. 

Zoom capacity:

  • Free account capacity: 100 participants 
  • Pro account capacity: 100 participants 
  • Business account capacity: 300 participants
  • Enterprise capacity: 1000 participants 

Gather capacity:

  • Free account capacity: up to 10 users 
  • Paid account capacity: up to 500 users

Switchboard capacity:

Switchboard is made for highly collaborative, small remote businesses so it has capacity for up to 50 team members. With Switchboard, your people can always find each other—whether they’re in a meeting or not. This way, they can build deeper relationships, get work done in real time and async, and foster a positive remote work culture based on collaboration.

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: integrations

Integrations connect your online meeting tool to other third-party apps so you can expand their capabilities. For example, if you integrate Zoom with Slack, Slack notifies you every time you have a meeting coming up and gives you the correct link. But keep in mind that integrations also take some time to set up and if one app goes down, the whole workflow goes down with it.

Zoom integrations:

Zoom integrates with over 1500 third-party apps like:

  • Slack
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Dropbox
  • HubSpot
  • Asana
  • Zapier 
  • Loom 

Gather integrations:

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet 
  • Google Calendar 
  • Outlook Calendar 
  • Teams 
  • WebX
  • Slack
  • Zapier
  • Google Drive

Switchboard integrations:

No integrations are required for your favorite browser-based apps—they all work in Switchboard.  Simply copy and paste a link into the canvas or open a browser in your room. You're also not limited by which integrations your meeting platform has. Just log in and start working…that’s it. 

Zoom vs vs Switchboard: Which should you pick?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to remote collaboration, especially now that remote and hybrid companies are choosing to let go of traditional video conferencing tools. Let’s look at each option and who it's best for:

Best for highly collaborative remote or hybrid teams: Switchboard

Switchboard is ideal for highly collaborative, small to medium-sized remote or hybrid organizations (50 employees or less). If you’re looking for a comprehensive, all-inclusive solution to traditional video conferencing tools, then this platform is for you.

Switchboard is perfect for different use cases like recurring internal team meetings—everything from all hands to virtual huddles and 1:1s. Software, marketing, and design teams can use it to work together on product updates, campaigns, and new features. It’s also great for agencies, freelancers, and contractors that work directly with external clients. 

Alternatively, you can use its customizable client-specific rooms to create a centralized, interactive hub for meetings, sales demos, and onboarding.

Screenshot of Switchboard Room with multiple documents and web browsers open
Switchboard lets small remote and hybrid teams work on the same project and files during video calls. Source: Switchboard

Best for large meetings: Zoom 

Zoom accommodates a large number of participants, which makes it ideal for large companies that need a straightforward web conferencing tool. For example, you can have a meeting with up to 100 attendees on the Basic and Pro plans, up to 300 on its Business plans, and up to 1000 on Enterprise plans. You can also use Zoom’s built-in whiteboard and messaging features to make your calls more interactive.

But Zoom isn’t a great choice for a small, highly collaborative team, since meetings lack the functionality for true side-by-side collaboration. 

Best for virtual events and gamified workspaces: Gather 

Gather is a good choice for small teams of under 10 people who are looking for a gamified, interactive online workspace. You can create public and private areas for meetings, add fun online games to your space, and decorate your office just like you would in real life. 

While both Zoom and Gather offer virtual communication and collaboration, Zoom is focused on video conferencing and offers features that are tailored to support virtual meetings and events. Gather on the other hand, lets you create an online social space where your people can interact with each other and have more spontaneous interactions.

Like the concept of Gather but aren’t sure it’s the right platform for you? Check out our comprehensive guide to Gather alternatives for more choices. 

Switchboard: Go from just watching to getting things done

People are most productive when they can just focus on one thing, instead of multitasking, which quickly shifts their attention from one task to another and lowers efficiency.

Online meetings are also a lot more engaging when everyone can get involved and play an active role in how things are done. And when calls go beyond one-way, clunky screen sharing, your people are much more likely to feel connected to each other and their work. 

But that’s not always easy to do when traditional online meeting tools mainly support single-player communication and lack the participation features your teams need to be productive. 

In this piece, we reviewed Switchboard and two alternatives: Zoom and Gather. Zoom is a very popular tool that’s great for letting large teams communicate. Gather, on the other hand, is useful for organizing online virtual events and getting people together in an online space. Neither is made for helping small remote and hybrid teams do their best work. 

For true engagement and collaboration, you need a platform that facilitates teamwork, is easy to use, and lets your people find each other and accomplish great things. More specifically, your team needs software that acts as a central virtual hub and doesn’t limit collaboration to real-time meetings. 

That’s why Switchboard gives you more than just video conferencing tools. It lets your team come together and brainstorm for better and more exciting collaboration. You can work together in real time or asynchronously—however you do things best. 

Switchboard also helps you foster a sense of community and build relationships through spontaneous interactions, just like you would in a physical office. Because your people don’t need a tool that pretends to be an office, they need one that helps make remote work just as good, or better than, in-person.

Want a collaboration platform that gives you multiplayer meetings?
Switchboard lets you work side-by-side with your team—so no one ever zones out during meetings.
Sign up for free

Frequently asked questions about Zoom vs

What is the difference between Zoom and Gather?

Zoom and Gather are both virtual communication platforms, but Zoom is primarily a video conferencing app that grew in popularity during the pandemic and allows users to hold virtual meetings, webinars, and online events. It offers a variety of features like screen sharing, recording, virtual backgrounds, and breakout rooms. On the other hand, Gather is a virtual space where users can interact with each other using customizable avatars in a 2D environment. It allows people to move around and interact with others in real time, as well as participate in activities and events such as games, concerts, and conferences. Gather also allows users to create their own virtual spaces and customize them to suit their needs.

What is the best online meeting platform?

The best online meeting platform for you depends on your unique needs and company size. But some of the best ones on the market for remote work are: 

  • Switchboard 
  • Zoom 
  • Gather

For small teams working from home or using a hybrid model, Switchboard is the best choice for true collaboration. It lets you go beyond screen sharing and traditional video and phone calls so you can share content with meeting participants directly in your meeting room. It also recreates in-person conference rooms with permanent meeting rooms, so nothing gets lost. 

Does Zoom have a time limit?

Zoom’s Free Plan has a time limit of 40 minutes per meeting. On paid plans, meetings only end after 30 hours.

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Want a collaboration platform that gives you multiplayer meetings?

Switchboard lets you work side-by-side with your team—so no one ever zones out during meetings.