Do you spend so much time in meetings? Are you looking for a solution that is quick, inexpensive and works flawlessly? Do you need to have all your employees connected in on the call despite their location? Conference calling is the solution.
Conference call can simply be explained as a telephone call involving three or more people. It allows different parties to join in on a call remotely at a prearranged time. With teleconferencing, the only thing needed is the telephone equipment and speakerphones with no need for internet or web-based solutions. Participants dial into a conference bridge that is provided by a third party and are instantly connected to the call. Most service provides provide a ‘virtual’ meeting point that can comfortably accommodate up to 100 individual callers.
Benefits of Conference Calls for Businesses
- Saves time and money
In today’s working environment where companies are outsourcing work, it allows for these remote workers to exchange information and ideas effortlessly. Employees no longer have to travel to the headquarters for meet ups saving both time and money in form of travel expenses.
Notably, audio conferencing is considered relatively cheap. Virtually the only cost involved in audio conferencing is the equipment cost and the talk time charges. It is important to note that while the companies are able to save on the operational costs by cutting down on expenses, communication is just as effective.
- Conference calls are speedy.
In the case where something urgent comes up or you need a quick follower up on an issue, conference calls are the perfect solution. It eliminates the need for scheduling a face-to-face meeting. Within just a couple of minutes, you can jump on your phone and have the issue settled.
- They reduce stress
Scheduling an in-person meeting and making your way to the meet-up point can be stressful especially when travelling over long distances is involved. Conference calls eliminate all of that. You only need to have the call pre-scheduled and within a couple of minutes, the information will be disseminated.
- Conference calls save the planet
By embracing conference calling, businesses are able to reduce their environmental footprint by reducing the carbon emission associated with travel.
Things to Look for in Conference Call Solutions
Previously, most shoppers only considered whether the conference call solution they went for could record, report and toll free access numbers. With the technological advancement available today, shoppers should be keen that the service providers any of the following.
- Free vs. Paid
Businesses are always looking for a way to minimize operational costs without compromising on the quality. This applies even with conference call solutions. Fortunately, there are simple free conference call services that provide the very basic services. This however may offer poor quality audio and video and have very limited features.
For businesses that need conferencing more often and are not willing to sacrifice on quality, paid conference call solutions are best.
- Audio and video quality
You want HD audio and 1080 p video quality for that seamless quality. Go for solutions that offer this or have accompanying software that will enhance the same. Remember, for effective communication having the best hardware is simply the first step.
Nothing disrupts your meeting than frozen screens and delayed audio. Ensure that your internet provider offers reliable connection to prevent people from dropping out of the meeting.
- Feature catalogue
More is always better and with conference calls, it isn’t any different. Check out what features are being offered while shopping for a conference call service provider. Look for added features such as screen-sharing, annotating and transcription services.
- Customer support and setup
Just like with any technological solutions, problems are bound to arise. This can be due to combining a couple of services or simple lack of knowhow. Having a solution provider with reliable customer support will ensure your meetings are not delayed and that you get the most out of the platform.
Different Types of Solutions Available
For $14.99, Zoom.us, the software based collaboration-enabled conference tool, offers small businesses quality cloud video conferencing capability that’s unmatched. Its functionality goes beyond conducting online training, hosting webinars and online course dissemination. It makes possible online meetings, group messaging, and wireless screen- sharing experience. For companies concerned about the security of any messaging solution, zoom.us offers a secured database and end-to-end encryption of meetings. In-meeting security is also taken care of with all content being encoded. For video demonstrations, zoom.us has a feature that enables the presenter to share their full screen with other participants. To improve teamwork and collaboration, the software features allows the host to drag and drop files and documents.
For seamless conference call team meetings, sales interactions, marketing events and customer support, Webex.com is the service to go for. The software supports a host of devices and is also web based. With either the monthly payment or annual subscription pricing model, a business can improve collaboration among remote employees as it gets a hassle-free and cost-effective audio and video conferencing solution. Its cloud hosting and open API deployment coupled with user-friendly interface makes it easy to schedule, start and conduct a meeting. Video conferencing is usually on a full screen where the software supports up to 7 video feeds. For focus groups and brainstorming, this solution offers the ability to share the presenter role in all its plans. The free mobile app is a nice touch further enhancing productivity and effectiveness.
GoToMeeting ticks all the right boxes when it comes to ease of use, connectivity, and usability. Getting onto the platform is relatively easy as not only is their support strong, you also get training videos, live trainings, and PDF guides. Its control settings are almost instinctive allowing for easy scheduling. The GoToMeeting’s video webinar functionality allows for remote access of pre-recorded meetings or media enabling the sharing of content. The collaborative function enables creation of groups and instantaneous sharing of information. It boosts of consistent quality connection across a variety of connection speeds. Switching screens or changing moderators is also relatively easy. You are also able to quickly check out who is contributing to the discussion, sharing files or joining the meeting through a new automatically generated ID. The free version is available though it lacks the 128-bit encryption available on the paid plans.
Every enterprise has different communication needs necessitating a flexible and straightforward communication solution. While emails and phone calls have increased in popularity, conference calling solutions still remain king. With the right assistance, you can be on your way to high quality video and web conferencing that’s a perfect fit for your business needs.