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How to Choose your Conference Vendor

Cisco 7936 IP Conference Station

Image by Andres Rueda via Flickr

Choosing the ideal conference call provider needs a thorough review process before signing the contract and more specifically one need to identify first what are the objectives & results expected in using conference communication for their business.

A typical conference call requires the transfer of large media files for a variety of purpose from sharing to presentation, video interactivity, VOIP compatibility etcetera and therefore the need to confirm the system dynamics of using conference communication is more than a prerequisite.

Research and review various conference call services offered by various vendors in terms of system compatibility, extra bandwidth requirements, extra phone lines for a special event and more such scenarios depending on the nature of business or the agenda to be drawn forthwith conference communication.

For a basic conference session attended by say less than 20 participants, ensure that the vendor offers you a variety of options for your participants to log in to a conference session. These options varies from toll & toll free dial in conference access numbers to advanced VOIP based features like dial outs and blast dial outs.

Conference security is an integral part for every conference session and therefore the need for a secure conferencing environment is a must have for your business with enhanced flexibilities to auto-detect pass-codes in determining attendees & the conference host or speaker. Session based conference pass-codes that expire once an event concludes is a very good feature for large conference event so that the details of the conference session could not be misused once the conference session is over.

VOIP interoperability is a strong cost cutting feature for businesses to consider however it has its own limitation by requiring your attendees to have a computer with an internet connection at their end to log in to the scheduled conference session. It will dramatically cut down on cost, but like we said once must have a computer with a headset & an internet connection.

However in the case of PSTN based dial in access numbers, attendees are given the flexibility to join a conference session by dialing a local access number paying local call charges or absolutely free by offering them with toll free dial in access numbers.

Most conference service providers would charge you separately to enjoy features like desktop sharing, online presentation player, and visual communication enabled with webcams, white board & annotation tools and more such features. However you can smartly negate all these cost borne features with a little R&D over the web to come up with a range of service providers offering all these features under their audio conference package, meaning that you only pay for the audio portion of the meeting and enjoy all these web based tool features included for no additional cost.

You must have to ability to monitor your live conferences via your web browser for actions like addressing hand raise tools from participants who need to clarify on a subject discussed during a live conference session, mute/un-mute individual conference attendees, lock/un-lock the conference session, initiate a sub-conference, trigger a web-based dial out etc.

Advanced features to look for while choosing your conference vendor would include features to save your conference room settings like the list of participants with their phone numbers for the next conference event with the same set of participants, inviting conference attendees with pre-formatted messages that includes the details to join the conference via toll & toll free dial in access numbers & the PIN or pass-code the authenticate their session for the scheduled conference session.

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Planning a Conference Event

Meet Here

Image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

Essentially a typical conference event must meet attributes like a dedicated conference dial-in access number for participants across the globe to join in the conference using both toll & toll free methods. Assign dedicated pass-codes or PIN to the organizer, conference leader & the conference participants. Consider rolling out session based PIN or participant pass codes for security reasons so that they expire automatically after a scheduled event.

An experienced conference organizer would know which global destinations offers toll free dial in access numbers for participants to join in the audio portion of a live conference event broadcasted in real time to remote participants and thereby ensuring that everyone gets the best value!

Conference & event organizers, conference operators or general conference users must ensure three prime aspects in the ability to listen, talk and control an event with live interactive tools as conference deliverables unequivocally extended as features by many conference providers.

The conference bridge that allocates various conference rooms deployed by various conference vendors must deliver pristine audio quality, zero relay or time gap over the audio portion that you talk in to the conference and the controls over the web application that allows features to the conference leader like the option to trigger a sub-conference, changing presenter controls, and more.

Typical conference event solutions apply for a variety of subjects and few of the prime that we have listed include:

  • Educational Web Seminars
  • Online Training Events
  • Investor Relations Calls
  • Big Corporate Announcements
  • Quarterly Performance Reports
  • Annual Sales Meetings
  • Corporate Boardroom Events
  • Political Speaking Events
  • Promotional Events
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