Instant Messaging or IM is the real time exchange of text messages using a software application.  Many IM apps today also include collaboration features that allow you to share links, media (video, images, audio) and files, make voice and video calls, conduct voice and video online meetings as will as have presence which is the ability to see if the person you are contacting is available.  

MSU has campus-wide licenses for these IM applications.

Cisco Spark Cisco spark logo. | Microsoft Teams Microsoft Teams logo| Skype for Business Skype for Business logo

 

Download Apps

Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark, and Skype for Business all have apps for desktop and mobile devices in addition to being available via the web. Use the links below to download apps on your devices. 

Web Access

Access the web/online apps for Teams, Skype and Spark using the links below.  

Cisco Sparkhttps://web.ciscospark.com

Microsoft Teams -  https://login.microsoftonline.com/   - Once logged in, click on the Teams tile.

Skype for Business -  https://outlook.com/owa.montana.edu - Once logged in Outlook will open. To access Skype, click on the Skype icon located in the top-right corner of the window.

Help Resources

Use the links below to learn more about all of the features mentioned in the chart below.

IM Feature Comparison Chart

 A colored dot in the app's column indicates that it has the feature identified in that row.

 Feature Description  Cisco Spark blue,green gray, light blue asterisk-like logo
Spark
Microsoft Teams purple T icon.
Teams
Blue "S" logo image for Skype for Business
Skype*
Messaging (chat):
one-to-one
team
Message in real time with an individual - one-to-one and/or with a group of individuals.   Green round circle indicating that Spark has this feature.

 

Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.

 Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
Presence Ability to see who is currently available on the app. Green round circle indicating that Spark has this feature. Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature. Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
Calling
(voice & video)
Make or receive one-on-one or group calls. Green round circle indicating that Spark has this feature. Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.  Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
Meetings
(voice & video)
Start or join meetings from the app with one or a group of people (essentially the same as calling with the exception that a meeting can be scheduled???). Green round circle indicating that Spark has this feature. Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.  Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
Schedule a meeting  Schedule a meeting for the app from inside the app.   Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.  
Schedule a meeting from Outlook Schedule a meeting for the app from Outlook.     Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
File sharing Share files during a message, meeting or call.  Green round circle indicating that Spark has this feature. Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.  Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
Edit files Edit a file at the same time.   Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.  
Screen sharing Share computer screen during a meeting or call Green round circle indicating that Spark has this feature. Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.  Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
Whiteboarding Create a new whiteboard or open an existing one.  Green round circle indicating that Spark has this feature.   Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
Recording A meeting or call can be recorded.   Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature. Blue bullet indicating that Skype shares this feature.
         
Integrations w/other apps, tools, services  Has ability to integrate with other apps, tools or services -  green bullet imageSee Cisco Spark Depot for details. Purple filled bullet/circle indicating that Teams has this feature.See Apps & Services 
for details.
 
Other Productivity Features
 Microsoft Teams        
Teams  Teams are collections of people, content, and tools that center around different projects and jobs within an organization. ...team members can have conversations and share files, notes, and more all in one place.      
Channels  Places used for team discussions
Channels are used to keep a team conversations organized.  Teams can create and dedicate channels for a specific topic, project, etc.  
     
 Spark          
Teams "Teams can be used to organize spaces by placing them under a common theme or Team. Teams are great for a consistent group of people who are going to be working on something for a long time."1      
Spaces

"... spaces are virtual places within Cisco Spark that act as channels or conduits for teams to message, share files, and have meetings"2

     

*refers to Skype for Business 

1Spark Teams

2Cisco Spark Data Sheet