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Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: Get the best meeting platform for your hybrid teams
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Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: Get the best meeting platform for your hybrid teams

Discover the pros and cons of Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard for your online meetings—and which one’s best for remote team collaboration.

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Remote and hybrid collaboration is like a jigsaw where every member of your team is a unique and vital piece of the puzzle.

But you need to find the right online meeting platform that lets everyone come together to play their part in building up the picture. For instance, a tool that enables a multiplayer experience so people can enjoy spontaneous interactions and meaningful collaboration. 

Some of the most popular online meeting platforms, like Zoom or Vowel, are great for talking but they don’t actually bring everyone together for hands-on work. 

That means leaders of highly collaborative remote teams should look for tools that support a more agile way of working through features that enable both async and real-time collaboration. 

In this piece, we’ll help you find the right tool by looking at Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard and comparing features and pricing. We’ll also show you how Switchboard acts as a digital workspace where your people can find each other and do their best work together. 

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Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: overview 

Before we get into the details, here’s a side-by-side breakdown of Zoom, Vowel, and Switchboard. 

Want a more detailed breakdown of these online meeting platforms? Let’s dive in. Alternatively, check out this post to see more Vowel alternatives.


Participants in a Zoom meeting
Zoom is great for large meetings, top-down presentations, and company-wide events. Source: Zoom

Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing tools out there. It offers reliable online meeting solutions for a range of industries such as education, marketing, healthcare, and more. It has a free version for 40-minute meetings with up to 100 participants or, if you need more bandwidth, paid plans with more advanced functionality. 

It’s a scalable and efficient platform for hosting various virtual events like webinars, team meetings, client presentations, and online training. However, it doesn’t come with many interactive features so you might spend more time looking for pieces of your puzzle than working together to build it.

Let’s take a look at some Zoom alternatives: Vowel and Switchboard.  


Meeting in Vowel
Vowel lets you share meeting notes and conduct in-meeting searches to jog your memory—all while the meeting’s still going on. Source: Vowel

Vowel is an AI-powered video conferencing tool that makes it easy to host anything from annual reviews to weekly coffee catch-ups. It combines features like transcription, recordings, in-meeting search capabilities, and meeting agenda templates in a unified platform. This means, once your call’s over, you get a searchable, transcribed presentation with the recording. It also gives you talking timers that show you how long you’ve been speaking. 

It helps client-facing teams keep track of important action items, agreements, and feedback across accounts and lets anyone add to or edit the meeting agenda ahead of time. You can also create your own channel specifically for company meetings with instant replays, meeting notes, and highlights so it’s easy to scan or catch up on anything you may have missed. 


Switchboard room with people working on multiple documents and apps
Switchboard rooms let you do more by saving everything you share in a meeting—and letting you work side-by-side. Source: Switchboard

Switchboard is a collaborative digital workspace that lets you and your team work together on documents and apps inside a virtual room—without having to share your screen. It’s designed to foster teamwork, connection, and productivity through intuitive meeting rooms. It’s like having a dedicated games room where you can put all the pieces of your remote collaboration puzzle together. 

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

You can create 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. 

Best of all, Switchboard saves all your files after every meeting, so you never need to download anything or repopulate the room again–all of which help you considerably improve remote internal communications

Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: engagement features 

The right engagement features can help your team form solid relationships and be invested in your company and mission. Get it right and they can even outperform competitors. With that in mind, here are the engagement features each tool offers:  

  • With Zoom, you can use virtual backgrounds, polls, emoji reactions, in-meeting chat, and breakout rooms to engage your team. 
  • In addition to those features, Vowel lets you bookmark important meeting events, watch meetings at 2x speed, and go off the record by letting you pause the recording quickly.

These features help you improve the quality of your internal comms by keeping conversations interesting and fun. But traditional virtual meeting tools like these mostly enable a single-player experience. That means only one person gets to share their screen at a time.

What makes Switchboard special is its multiplayer experience. It lets your team collaborate during video calls with persistent meeting rooms that save all your browsers, documents, and web apps. That means anyone can access meeting resources before, during, and after the call. 

By giving your people all the materials they need to do their job, you can build highly connected teams that work well together—async and in real time. And since no one person is in charge of the screenshare, everyone can take a more proactive and “switched-on” approach to remote or hybrid collaboration. 

Zoom engagement features:

  • 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

Vowel engagement features:

  • Hand raising 
  • Audio, video, and screen sharing 
  • Meeting bookmarks
  • Fast-forward meetings
  • Pause/play meeting recording 
  • Breakout rooms
  • Polls and surveys
  • Q&A
  • Emoji reactions

Switchboard engagement features:

  • Dedicated, persistent rooms
  • Multiplayer canvases
  • Sections to organize documents and apps
  • Host not required for members to enter a room
  • Room permissions for members and guests
  • Presentation mode
  • In-meeting video, audio, and chat
  • Screen sharing for native apps

Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: collaboration features

When it comes to remote and hybrid collaboration, Zoom and Vowel offer screen sharing, live transcription, meeting recording, and in-meeting chat. 

But Vowel also has some advanced collaboration features Zoom doesn’t have, like the ability to search your meeting transcript as it’s being created or bookmark key meeting moments so you can come back to them. It also gives you real-time AI-suggested action items based on your meeting agenda and discussions. And you can create a meeting channel for your team and fill it with a recorded intro, past presentations, and meeting highlights. 

But while Zoom and Vowel have features that are great for talking, Switchboard is designed for talking and doing. Since it’s a versatile virtual workspace rather than just an online meeting tool, it’s easy to find people on your team, start spontaneous 1:1s, and jump into a brainstorming session together. And with persistent rooms that let you store and share everything, you can always pick up right where you left off. 

Zoom collaboration features:

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

Vowel collaboration features: 

  • Meeting recordings 
  • Screen sharing 
  • Customizable team meeting channel
  • AI-generated meeting action items 
  • Meeting transcription
  • Independent team channels with file-sharing  
  • Whiteboard 
  • In-meeting chat 

Switchboard collaboration features:

  • Secure, fast multiplayer browsers for instant collaboration
  • Persistent rooms that save your work
  • Sticky notes and comments 
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Built-in whiteboard and accommodates every other web-based whiteboard
  • Web-based canvas to add multiple apps, websites, PDFs, and images side by side
  • Shared online workspace and rooms for recurring meetings
  • Unlimited rooms for 1:1s, meetings, and projects
Video conference with browsers and tabs open in Switchboard
Switchboard lets you see who’s active on your team so you can jump into a spontaneous collaboration session or casual coffee chat. Source: Switchboard

Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: async working capabilities 

Remote and hybrid working often means juggling multiple time zones and schedules. So working async lets people do their bit to move projects along without waiting for their team to come online.  

However, it’s important to have a single source of truth for your projects and tasks so you know you’re always working on the most recent version and following the right process. With the right virtual collaboration tools, you can work async and in real time—and make sure everyone’s on the same page. 

With Zoom, working async begins and ends with meeting recordings. However, Vowel has independent team channels you can populate with meetings, presentations, and meeting highlights. But while these channels and post-meeting recaps make it easier to continue working after the meeting, they fall short of true async collaboration. For example, you can quickly search a meeting transcript to find the name of a document reference during the call, but you’ll need to leave the meeting platform to actually access that document. 

With Switchboard, you can set up your persistent meeting room, add and save all your documents and files, and hop in whenever you need to continue working. It's a versatile workspace that goes beyond meetings to support async and real-time working. During solo or joint work sessions, you can use virtual whiteboards, comments, and sticky notes, and record meetings so missing team members can catch up later. 

Check out this video to see how you can use Switchboard to create your own design lab for design and creative reviews. Yes, even when you’re working async. 

Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: user experience 

It’s pretty straightforward to set up video conferences and team meetings with Zoom and Vowel. But every meeting requires additional setup like checking participant availability or sharing a meeting link. That’s a lot of different pieces of the puzzle you need to juggle before it all falls into place. And for those using Zoom's free plans, you need to keep the call under the 40-minute time limit or start a new meeting once you’ve passed it. 

However, in Switchboard, all your project and meeting rooms are persistent. Meaning they’ll always be there (including all your previous content). All you need to do is click the room to start your meeting—no need to send a meeting link or invitation. Simply pre-select who needs to be there, and they’ll always have access to the room and everything shared in it. 

Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: pricing 

Now that you know what you can use these tools for, let’s see how they compare in pricing: 

Zoom pricing: 

  • Free version with limited functionality and attendee numbers
  • Pro Plan: $139.90/year per user
  • Business Plan: $189.90/year per user
  • Enterprise Plan: custom priced  

Vowel pricing: 

  • Free version with limited functionality and attendee numbers
  • Business: $16.49/month per user (billed annually)
  • Enterprise: coming soon 

Switchboard pricing: 

  • Free: Includes limited features, rooms, and members for small teams or individuals.
  • Pro: $15 member/month for up to 200 rooms and 500 members plus Switchboard AI and additional storage.
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing.

Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: meeting capacity

With traditional video conferencing tools like Zoom and Vowel, meeting capacity is a big thing. But, while it’s important to consider, it's only one part of the equation. You also need to think about how the platform engages your team and whether it supports real-time and async collaboration.

Zoom capacity:

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

Vowel capacity: 

  • Free account capacity: 12 participants 
  • Business account capacity: 50 participants 
  • Enterprise account capacity: coming soon

Switchboard capacity: 

Switchboard is made for highly collaborative, small remote businesses so it accommodates 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 Vowel vs Switchboard: integrations

Integrations connect your platform to third-party apps so you can get the most out of it. For example, if you integrate Zoom with Asana, you can link existing meetings to your project management tasks, and get any relevant insights or context before you start. 

But remember: integrations can have lengthy setups that might disrupt your process and workflow. However, Switchboard works with all apps and browsers—no need to integrate them first. So you can stop puzzling over complex setups and get straight down to business.  

Zoom integrations: 

Zoom integrates with over 1,500 third-party apps like:

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

Vowel integrations: 

  • HubSpot Meetings
  • Cron
  • Calendly
  • Zapier
  • VimCal
  • Slack

Switchboard integrations: 

No integration required for web-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 the range of integrations your meeting platform offers—just log in and start working. 

Screenshot of Switchboard apps
Skip lengthy integrations and start collaborating in Switchboard. Source: Switchboard

Zoom vs Vowel vs Switchboard: which should you pick?

Best for highly collaborative teams: Switchboard

Switchboard is designed for remote and hybrid companies (up to 50 people) that want the feeling of working together in the same room. It's a great option for teams who need a dedicated, interactive space for meetings and projects. 

Best for corporations and big teams: Zoom

Zoom can accommodate a large number of participants, which makes it ideal for large companies that need a reliable web conferencing tool. Features like its built-in whiteboard and messaging features also help make meetings more collaborative. 

But if you’re a small, highly collaborative team, Zoom meetings lack the functionality you’ll need for true side-by-side collaboration. 

Check out our other post to compare Zoom vs Around.

Best for client-facing comms: Vowel

Vowel makes it easy to extract meaningful information like action points and highlights from your meetings, so it’s perfect for important client-facing meetings. The ability to add and edit meeting notes and get accurate time-stamped transcriptions also adds context to all your future interactions. 

Solve the remote collaboration puzzle with Switchboard 

Solo puzzle-solving is fun, but getting together with others to figure out where the pieces all fit is much more rewarding. It’s the same with remote collaboration: you’ll get more out of it when everyone can interact and contribute rather than just watching someone share their screen. 

To get everyone collaborating effectively in a remote setting, you need the right meeting platform. But that’s not easy if you’re working with a traditional video conferencing tool that only supports one-way communication like screen-sharing. It’s like trying to force the wrong pieces into your puzzle and hoping they fit. 

That’s why leaders of highly collaborative teams in small remote companies should look for alternatives that act as a home base and support a more collaborative way of working through features like persistent rooms that save your work.

In this piece, we reviewed Switchboard, as well as two alternatives: Zoom and Vowel, both popular choices for quick calls and top-down conferences. But they’re not built for getting things done.

By contrast, Switchboard gives you the full picture of effective remote collaboration with features like meeting memory and persistent rooms that save your work—so everyone can come together to get work done and build a strong company culture. 

Want to do more with your virtual collaboration platform?
Switchboard is great for talking to your remote team—and for getting things done.
Sign up

Frequently asked questions about Zoom vs Vowel 

Is Vowel a good replacement for Zoom?

Yes, Vowel is a good replacement for Zoom if you’re looking for functionality that extends beyond simple in-meeting chat and emoji reactions. For example, Vowel lets you easily transcribe your meetings and get detailed, AI-generated meeting summaries. It also gives you talking timers that show you how long you’ve been speaking. 

Is Vowel free?

Yes, Vowel has a free version with limited functionality and meeting participants. 

Is Vowel safe to use?

Yes, Vowel is extremely safe to use. All meeting data, including meeting transcripts, agendas, and recordings, is encrypted using SSL. 

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Want to do more with your virtual collaboration platform?

Switchboard is great for talking to your remote team—and for getting things done.