Expanded International Conference Call Plan

Can a participant join your conference call from their country?  

If you host a diverse conference call with guests in remote countries, network access numbers might not exist.  But this shouldn’t stop your call.

Expanded Global Conference Calls

The Expanded Plan includes in-country toll-free access in over 100 countries plus local access numbers in 50 worldwide cities.

In addition to convenient dial-in access methods enabling an attendee to login with either a local or toll-free number from inside their country, the Expanded Plan also gives the chairperson dial-out capability.

How does the dial-out option help you add inaccessible attendees to your call?

In a nutshell, the dial-out feature enables the leader to call out to any phone number globally without disturbing the meeting in progress.  This means the leader of the call can add a participant on demand in any country.

The attendee simply answers the inbound call to their phone and is immediately added to the call.

For instance, recently a customer based in New York had a project in progress in Ghana.  There is simply no easy way for the Ghana attendees to access the call.  So, the chairperson uses the Expanded Plan with the easy dial-out feature to add the Ghana guests to their weekly calls.  The other attendees located in the US and Kenya access the call using the supplied toll-free numbers.

In addition to the dial-out feature, the Expanded Plan also offers a free App that enables connecting to the conference room using any web enabled device such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry or a PC and MAC desktop.  The Connect App makes dialing in using traditional toll-free or local numbers unnecessary as long as the attendee has a WiFi connection.

Be careful with the company you choose

Some companies offer local international access numbers that you can give out to your global call participants but they may not work.

Bad, non working access numbers are obviously something you want to avoid especially on an important business conference call with a potential client, existing customer or with a regular team meeting call.  Some of the problematic services with non-working overseas access numbers are touted as cost free.  The saying is still true, you get what you pay for.

The Expanded Plan is an all inclusive, high powered, intercontinental business collaboration tool with global access numbers guaranteed to be operational 24/7.

In addition to the many methods of accessing your call, the chairperson can always reach a 24 hour U.S. based operator who will connect anyone, or fix anything required.

Learn more about the Expanded Plan here

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Host International Conference Calls

How to Host International Conference CallsTasked with hosting an international conference call? It’s not as easy to host international conference calls as it is to do so domestically for several reasons. First, you have time zone and language differences to contend with. Second, different countries have different dialing conventions and international calling costs. And third,  if you’re trying to do it with your office conference phone, it may not be able to handle a large volume of conference call participants.

Here’s how to host international conference calls with ease:

In addition to the normal method of accessing a conference via a phone, one very convenient free optional feature customers enjoy is to use the Connect App.  Essentially this is another option to access a conference call using a web enabled device.

The Connect App work from smartphones and PC’s or Mac desktops.

Connect tools let users quickly schedule, start/join and manage their audio conferences and Web Meetings.

These tools provide an option to have the bridge call the user instead of having to dial an access number, enter a passcode or chairperson PIN, saving time joining a call and avoiding incorrectly entered numbers for the Toll Free, access code or PIN.

These Connect tools also provide the same functionality to participants when the meeting is scheduled using the free Calendar Tool.   If you are also using Web Meeting, meetings can easily be started or joined from the same invitation/link.

1. Use a world time zone map or calculator to determine the best time for the majority of your call’s participants. It’s not always possible for all participants to attend your live call during local business hours. However, you may be able to find a time that works well for most attendees.

2. Choose a conference call service provider that specializes in helping businesses host international conference calls. Ideally, the provider you choose will support all of the countries involved as well as offer affordable rates. Keep in mind that some countries have higher international calling costs than others. To contain these costs, consider using the service provider’s “dial out” feature. By dialing participants directly, you will get a much lower per minute rate. Dial out can usually be pre-programmed so that those calls will be placed automatically by the conference calling system.

3. Choose local or toll free numbers for your participants’ countries. One of the biggest challenges you will encounter when you host international conference calls involves providing access to the conference room. This is because each county has its own unique calling conventions. A toll free number in the United States, for example, doesn’t work in Italy. The trick is to provide callers with either local or toll free numbers that work in their respective countries. These numbers will then connect to the global conference call.

4. Record the call. When you host international conference calls, there’s usually an option to record the call. By all means, do so. You never know when you might want to listen to it again or share it with others. For example, you may want to use the recording for training purposes or have the call transcribed and translated. Participants who were unable to attend the call in real time could listen to the call after the fact. Recordings are also helpful for those who speak a different language as a first language. By providing a recording of the call, they can go back and listen to sections that they had a hard time keeping up with originally.

When you host international conference calls, many challenges can be overcome by choosing a global conference call service provider that specializes in overseas teleconferencing. Choose wisely and your international conference calls are sure to be successful.

Learn more about hosting international conference calls here

View details about Conference Calling here

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Secret World of Telecommunications Technologies

Telecommunications TechnologiesOrigins of Telecom: Spy vs Spy

From elaborate, coded messages to the futuristic communications devices used by spies and military agencies, telecommunications technologies have played a role in espionage. In a world where smartphones, smartwatches, and disappearing instant messages are common, the technologies favored by yesteryear’s spies seems quaint by comparison. Here’s a look at some of the early devices used to secretly communicate.

Spy vs Spy – Telecommunications Technology and Espionage

Espionage, by its nature, demands secrecy. After all, listening devices, or bugs, would be useless if they were easily detected and spies do their business at great personal risk.

Short Range Agent Communications (SRAC) devices — SRAC devices were hand-held devices that allowed text messages to be transmitted over short distances using short-range radio frequencies. The limited range meant transmissions were more difficult to intercept, but it also meant that agents needed to be within the range of the hidden base station. The 1960s version, which was known as “Buster,” consisted of two shoe-boxed sized base stations and a pocket-sized handheld unit with a small 1.5-inch keyboard.

The agent had to first cipher the message into a secret code, enter the ciphered data into the Buster device, walk into range of the base unit (about 1,000 feet), and then hit the send button. In the 1970s, Buster was replaced by Discus, which did away with the base stations completely and automatically encrypted text messages, allowing for secure, short-range transmission between two handheld devices within range of each other. While Discus was a huge improvement over Buster, it had its drawbacks. Users had to remain still and wait for confirmation that their messages had been received by checking for a flashing red light. They had to do so while being as unobtrusive as possible.

  • The Telefunken PE484 — Consisting of two devices, the Telefunken was a direction finder used to track down clandestine radio stations in the 1950s. The main unit was portable and could fit easily in a coat pocket. A secondary field strength unit was worn on the wrist like a wristwatch.
  • The Thing — As a gesture of friendship, the Russians gave US Ambassador Averell Harriman a beautiful hand carved replica of the Great Seal of the United States, which was later hung in the ambassador’s study. This gesture, however, had an ulterior motive as it contained hidden inside of it an electromagnet-powered HF radio bug.
  • The Big Ear — The Big Ear was a toy, but it was also a decent parabolic microphone capable of listening to conversations up to 200 feet away. Parabolic microphones are commonly used in the broadcasting industry to capture audio across similar distances. You’ll often see them used during sporting events.
  • Insectohopter — The CIA developed the Insectohopter in the 1970s. The laser-guided flying device was built by a watchmaker to carry a miniature listening device. Carrying a 1-gram payload, the Insectohopter had a 200-meter range and could fly for 60 seconds. Despite its ability to fly and listen, it never became operational because it was difficult to control.

Today, everyday people have far more sophisticated telecommunications technologies in their pockets, purses, or strapped to their wrists. Text messaging is an everyday occurrence, and many useful services such as Snap Chat or iMessage to ensure that their messages either disappear altogether or are at least encrypted.

Embedded cameras in doorbells or teddy bears are modern surveillance devices used in the home. Flying drones, complete with tiny wireless video cameras on board are child’s play.

View more modern day telecommunications technologies here

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Indonesia Virtual Number and Forward Those Calls to USA

Indonesia Virtual NumberIndonesia Virtual Number

Doing business in Indonesia doesn’t necessarily require the establishment of a physical office with a landline and staff.

Depending on your needs, getting an Indonesia virtual number and forwarding your incoming phone calls from Indonesia to a USA phone may be the perfect way to enter the Indonesian market.

Here are a couple of options to consider.

Toll-Free Virtual Numbers – Routing Calls from Indonesia to the USA

With a toll-free number unique to Indonesia, callers in the region can dial your United States call center toll-free. To them, the virtual number looks and acts like any other toll-free number. It’s easy to use and doesn’t cost callers a cent. However, even though those calls are made to an Indonesian phone number, they can be diverted to virtually any phone in the world such as your main office in the United States.

Upon ordering the number, you’ll be prompted to select a “destination” number. This is the number where you’ll receive your incoming calls from Indonesia. Since you can change this number at any time, your toll-free virtual phone number is extremely flexible. For example, upon first entering the Indonesian market, you may want to have calls forwarded to your main business line so you can personally handle the details involved in starting up. As your business takes off, you can change the destination number to a dedicated call center so your skilled customer service team can take care of sales and inquiries.

Geographic Virtual Numbers for Bandung, Jakarta, and Surabaya — Forwarding Calls from Indonesian Cities to the USA

Another option is to get virtual numbers for specific cities in Indonesia and forwarding them to the United States. The process is the same as with toll-free virtual numbers, but the phone numbers issued will be geographic. Choose from Bandung, Jakarta, or Surabaya. Callers in those local calling areas will not incur tolls, even though their calls will be forwarded to the United States.

Geographic numbers allow you to establish a “presence” in the designated city. For example, if you order a Jakarta call forwarding number, it will look as if you have an office in Jakarta.

Indonesia Virtual Number Global Call Forwarding Benefits

With our toll-free and geographic virtual numbers, you can enjoy numerous benefits such as:
• Low-cost “local” presence — no need to rent office space or employ staff
• Affordable, portable remote call forwarding numbers that can be diverted to any phone quickly and easily
• Establish local phone numbers for countries and cities around the globe
• Advanced features allow you to present a professional image
• Flexible plans to best meet your call forwarding needs
• Contract-free plans and competitive rates make getting a global virtual number an easy choice

View more details about Virtual Numbers here

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Remote Design Review Conference Call Hosting

Remote Design Review Conference CallRemote design review is a crucial part of marketing campaigns, website builds, and project and product development. However, what if the key participants are not geographically close?

In today’s business environment, designers, stakeholders, and project managers are likely to be located in different offices — if not different cities, states, or countries!

Fortunately, holding a remote design review is easier than ever thanks to audio, video, and web conferencing technologies. Here’s what you need to hold your own design review meetings remotely.

  1. Choose the most appropriate conferencing technology for the type of design you’re reviewing. Designs are most often visual in nature, making video or web conferencing the more popular choice for this type of meeting. With video, you could hold up a prototype, demonstrating how it works or pointing out specific features. Web conferencing is ideal for sharing screens where you can walk participants through an onscreen demonstration of a website or application.

That said, audio conferences also work, especially if you’ve shared the design files in advance. For example, if your participants have the same wireframes or blueprints in front of them, an audio conference can be a cost-effective choice for reviewing the design documents.

  1. Go in with a tightly focused plan. Remote design reviews don’t need to be long, drawn-out affairs. They aren’t the time to dig deep into conceptual matters or explore ideas beyond the scope of the project, either. Rather, they should focus on previously decided upon design decisions and whether or not the current design delivers on those decisions. For instance, if your team has previously decided the design should have an easy-to-use mechanism for adjusting the volume such as a knob or lever, part of the review will involve evaluating that mechanism. Is it intuitive and easy to use? Does it take the agreed upon form? This isn’t the time to suggest integrating voice commands.

In order to keep your review on track, it’s helpful to create and share a checklist or outline covering everything that needs to be reviewed. If you’re holding a video or web conference, consider using a collaborative note so everyone can follow along. You can do something similar on an audio conference by directing everyone to a shared document such as a note in Evernote or a Microsoft Word document in Office 365.

  1. Seek and document feedback. The design review process is all about gathering feedback so that the design ultimately fulfills all of its requirements. Keep in mind that there will likely be some back and forth between team members. Differences of opinion may lead the discussion off track, so be prepared to actively moderate the conference. Once a consensus has been reached, restate it so everyone is clear and then document it in your collaborative note.

Based on the feedback received, the design can be further refined.

  1. Record your remote design review meeting. Whether using audio, video, or web conferencing, it’s smart to record it. From there, you can either write down the key takeaways and action steps or send the recording off to a transcriptionist. Be sure to share your notes, transcript, recording, and action steps with your design team.

Modern remote design review conferencing solutions help bring remote teams together, and they’re easy and affordable. Check out our pay-as-you-go audio, video, and web conferencing solutions today.

Learn more about audio, and web conferencing.

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Record Conference Calls and Comply with Laws

Record Audio Conference CallsRecord Conference Calls

One of the most popular features of any audio conferencing service if the ability to record conference calls.

It’s a relatively straightforward tool that involves clicking a button to start and stop recording, or if using a telephone to control the conference, pressing a certain key combination on your phone’s keypad (such as *2).

However, there are a few nuances you’ll need to be aware of.

Record Conference Calls and Complying with Applicable Laws

In the United States, individual states and the federal government have their own laws governing the recording of telephone calls. It all comes down to consent which can either be:

  • One-party consent — With this type of consent, which is designed to prevent the anonymous wiretapping of phone lines, just one person needs to consent to the recording. That person can be the person making the recording such as the host of a conference call.
  • Two-party / all-party consent — With this type of consent, everyone involved in a call must be informed that the call is being recorded.

In general, the law of the state, or states, in which the parties to the call reside in, applies. Thus, if you’re holding a conference call in Texas, and all attendees live there, then you’ll need to comply with Texas state law which allows for one-party consent.

Record Conference Calls California and Florida

However, if you have attendees from California or Florida, those states require two-party / all-party consent, in which case you’ll need to inform everyone that the call is being recorded. It gets murkier when multiple states are involved. Federal law is generally thought to take precedence when callers are from multiple states. Federal law allows for one-party consent.

Because it’s not always clear which state the other parties might be located in, it’s smart to err on the side of caution and get in the habit of assuming that two-party / all-party consent is required. It’s also considered a professional courtesy, if not a best practice, to announce that a conference call is being recorded. If anyone does not want to be recorded, they can opt out of participating in the call.

Conferencing Service with Recording Features

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USA Philippines Phone Calls Cheap without Calling Cards or Hidden Fees

Use our prepaid USA - Philippines calls service and experience a better way to stay in touch.USA Philippines Phone Calls the easy way.

Thinking about bypassing your telephone carrier (and high international calling rates) the next time you need to call someone in the Philippines?

Several cheap country-to-country calling options are available, but you’ll want to be aware of the potential drawbacks such as inferior call quality, complex PIN numbers, and dialing instructions, or hidden fees.

Fortunately, you can get the best of all worlds and avoid these potential problems with our prepaid USA – Philippines calling service.

Benefits of Using Our USA Philippines Phone Calls Service

Our prepaid USA Philippines phone calls bypass your carrier without complicated dialing instructions, giving you access to crisp international connections at incredibly low per minute rates. Below are some of the benefits our service offers:

  • Works from any phone — There’s no need for an Internet connection or an app, which is great for those who are not technically inclined. A mobile app, however, is available for those who prefer the extra conveniences and value-added features included in our Android and iOS apps.
  • Shortcuts — Dialing any number manually is tedious enough as it is, add in international dialing codes and access numbers to get the cheapest USA to the Philippines calling rates and you have a lot of numbers to dial. Fortunately, you can register your phone number so that you can instantly bypass your local carrier without having to dial an account number or PIN. In addition to this shortcut, you can also set up 99 international speed dial numbers. Simply use your registered phone, enter the speed dial number, and enjoy cheap international phone calls from USA to the Philippines.
  • No hidden fees or commitments — Our prepaid country-to-country calling plans have what we like to call “clean rates” which means what you see is what you get charged. For example, if the rate for a USA – Philippines phone call is advertised at 9.4 cents per minute and you talk for 10 minutes, you will be charged 94 cents for the phone call. There are no hidden charges, activation fees, taxes, or penalties.
  • Flexibility — Prepaid plans are extremely flexible because they adapt to your needs. For example, it may take you months to use up an initial allotment of minutes, allowing you to call and check in with family members or business contacts as needed. Meanwhile, if a crisis occurs and you need to speak more frequently, you can easily add minutes without having to be locked into a specified account type for months on end. Likewise, if you have the need for a higher call volume, we offer premium plans with the lowest per minute rates and a small monthly fee.
  • Your family in the Philippines Gets Low Rates Too — You can register your family members’ Philippines phone numbers in your account, allowing them to take advantage of low international rates when calling you.
  • Sub-accounts — You can also create sub-accounts for family members.

Calling friends, family members and business contacts in the Philippines doesn’t need to be complicated nor expensive. Use our prepaid USA – Philippines calls service and experience a better way to stay in touch.

Learn More about US/Phillippines Phone Calls here

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Sharing Information During a Desktop Video Conference

Desktop Video ConferenceDesktop video conference software allows organizers to communicate with a group on a whole new level. The ability to look one another in the eye, hone in on body language and nonverbal cues, and hold face-to-face meetings despite distances are among the many benefits you can expect from video conferencing.

However, there’s an added dimension to desktop video conference: the ability to share digital information with attendees. Here are a few different ways that conference moderators can share files, videos, presentations, notes, links, and other information with attendees.

Desktop Video Conference Screen Sharing
It’s not always necessary to turn on your webcam. In fact, many moderators choose not to appear on camera, opting to hold the entire video conferences in screen sharing mode.

With screen sharing mode active, the audience sees your computer screen. Because participants are essentially looking over your shoulder during the conference, you’ll want to make sure to prepare in advance so you don’t inadvertently share confidential information or come across as unprepared.

We recommend:

• Turning off desktop notifications, email alerts, and text messaging
• Closing all applications except those you’ll be using to share information with your audience
• Having a designated folder for any content you intend to share
• Having an uncluttered, professional-looking or branded desktop background
• Cueing up all content that you plan on sharing (for example, if sharing a YouTube video, make sure it’s ready to go in your web browser or app)

If you’re co-hosting the video conference, your co-host should also do the same. Practice passing the presenter controls back and forth so that each of you is comfortable with this feature.

During your conference, you can share virtually anything that’s on your computer with the group. Screen sharing is commonly used for:

• Software walkthroughs and trainings
• PowerPoint presentations
• Pitching ideas, designs, sketches, and diagrams

Collaborative Notes
Unless you’re using a whiteboard-type app within your desktop video conference, screen sharing is usually a one-to-many tool. That is, one person shares the screen for many to view. Collaborative notes, on the other hand, allow all participants to contribute their thoughts to a single, shared note.

For example, you might start the conference with a simple outline. As the video conference gets underway, various participants might add to the shared note, resulting in a more robust final document at the end of the meeting.

This is a good spot to post links to files on Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or some other service.

Chat Boxes
Another option for sharing links is within the text-based chat. This would depend on the size of your audience and how active the chat is. For a large group with heavy chatting, your links could get buried quickly.

YouTube Videos

Want to share YouTube videos during your video conference? Our YouTube streaming feature allows you to stream YouTube videos without having to leave the video conference interface. It’s one less task to manage during a busy video meeting.

Follow-up Messages

Finally, you may want to share information after the fact via follow-up messages. For example, you could send any files you referenced during the video conference or your collaborative notes to attendees after the conference ends via email. Attendance reports let you know who attended — and who didn’t. For those who missed out, a follow-up email with a recording of the video conference could be especially beneficial.

There’s no right or wrong mix of information-sharing methods. You may hold one video conference completely in screen sharing mode one day followed by another where you’re on camera the entire time. One conference might have active chats going on while another might not have chats at all. Some conferences are better suited to collaborative note-taking than others. No matter which direction you choose, our desktop video conference tool makes it easy to share!

Learn more about desktop video conferencing here

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Caller ID Controversy in the 1980s and 1990s

Caller ID ControversyCaller ID can make the difference.  Depending on how you have set up your phone, when someone you love calls you, their name, phone number, or even a picture appears. The ringtone might be different, alerting you instantly to the importance of the incoming call. Just a few musical notes or a quick glance tells you exactly who’s calling so you can quickly decide whether or not to answer the call. Likewise, when you see an unfamiliar phone number or a business name with whom you don’t do business displayed, you have the opportunity to ignore the call because it’s likely a telemarketer.

These caller identification features, or Caller ID, have become an important part of telephone culture and it’s hard to imagine answering a phone call blindly. However, Caller ID was controversial when it first rolled out.

The Invention of Caller ID

Caller Identification was invented by Theodore George Paraskevakos who began working on it in 1968. He filed for a patent (US3727003) in 1971 for a “decoding and display apparatus for groups of pulse trains.” His device could identify and decode a series of pulses which represented the individual digits of an incoming caller’s phone number, including the 3-digit area code. Paraskevakos created a prototype of his device, which was well received by telephone companies who envisioned creating a new pay service to verbally announce incoming callers.

It turns out that other inventors had other ideas. Rather than audibly announcing an incoming phone number, the technology evolved to display the incoming phone number visually on a telephone handset.

By 1984, Caller ID as we know it, arrived in its first test market, Orlando, Florida. Initially known as one of BellSouth’s TouchStar services, this “custom local area signaling service” was soon branded Caller ID — a name that stuck.

The Caller ID Controversy

Though most telephone users today use Caller ID on a regular basis without giving it a second thought, that wasn’t always the case. Caller ID was met with suspicion at first. At the time, some utility regulators and members of Congress claimed that government use of Caller Identification violated wiretap laws. Critics of Caller ID likened it to Big Brother tracing phone calls.

Caller ID remained controversial when it arrived in California, the last state to adopt it, in 1996. Privacy advocates claimed it was a money grab by the phone companies who disregarded the privacy rights of consumers. Businesses could use reverse phone lookup software to identify callers and display their profiles on a computer screen.

To quell these concerns, Caller ID blocking was introduced. Phone users could choose to block their numbers from being displayed permanently upon request or on a per call basis by pressing *67.

Caller ID Today

Caller Identification is alive and well today. It’s much less controversial than it was upon arrival. In fact, many users won’t answer blocked calls at all, forcing their friends and loved ones to unblock their phone numbers if they want their calls to be answered.

Mobile apps such as TrapCall were developed that unmasked blocked calls by routing them through an 800-number service that exploited a loophole in Caller ID blocking. Since companies using a toll-free number pay for the calls, they have the right to see the incoming phone number. By rerouting the blocked numbers in this manner, TrapCall could then display the caller’s actual number to its users.

Businesses can still view a caller’s profile on a computer during a phone call. While privacy advocates may have concerns about this practice, this same technology can be used to provide a superior customer experience.

Caller ID is similar to a peephole on your front door. It gives you a peek at who’s calling, allowing you the opportunity to answer or not. Likewise, for the person ringing a doorbell or telephone, wearing a mask or blocking an identifying number is likely to arouse suspicion and prompt the other person to not answer.

Virtual Number and Caller Identification

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Sources:

“Anonymous Caller? New Service Says, Not Any More | WIRED.” n.d. Accessed December 21, 2017. https://www.wired.com/2009/02/trapcall/.

“Caller ID: History Throughout the Ages.” n.d. Accessed December 21, 2017. https://hiya.com/blog/2016/08/27/caller-id-history-throughout-ages/.

“Caller ID Service Sparks Battle Over Privacy – Latimes.” n.d. Accessed December 21, 2017. http://articles.latimes.com/1996-02-25/news/mn-39858_1_caller-id.

“Patent US3727003 – Decoding and Display Apparatus for Groups of Pulse Trains – Google Patents.” n.d. Accessed December 21, 2017. https://www.google.com/patents/US3727003.

“Phone Technology Stirs Controversy Caller Id Enables Recipients To Identify Incoming Caller`s Number – Tribunedigital-Sunsentinel.” n.d. Accessed December 21, 2017. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1990-04-01/features/9002010446_1_caller-id-phone-companies-phone-customers

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Origins of Telecom – Telecommunications and Money Transfers

Telecommunications Money Transfers

Telecommunications Money Transfers History

The telecommunications and banking industries are distinctly separate, yet deeply intertwined. While it’s thoroughly modern to have mobile wallets and banking apps on your smartphone, our ancestors relied on early telecom pioneers to access money too.

Pre-Telecom Money Transfers

Before the industrial era and globalization, “electric money” didn’t exist. If you needed to pay someone and you had the means to do so, you either paid them in cash (or goods, if bartering, which was common) or you wrote a check.

Checks back then worked in a similar fashion as they do today, only they took a lot longer to clear. For example, messengers were used to transport the physical checks from the different banks involved. Clearinghouses were eventually created to streamline this process.

Wire Transfers

The arrival of the telegraph eventually ushered in a new way to transfer money, wire transfer. Western Union sent the first wire transfer of money in 1871.

This involved a person going to a local Western Union telegraph station and providing the money to be transferred. The telegraph operator would then send a telegraph to the receiving Western Union station with the instructions to pay the recipient. The service was well received with more than $2.5 million in wire transfers taking place each year as of 1877.

Western Union wire transfers still exist, though the medium used to “wire” the money has shifted away from telegraphs.

Electronic Funds Transfers

Electronic fund transfers, or EFT, use computers and electronics technology to transfer money. The first ATM, known as “The Cash Machine,” arrived in 1967 at Barclays Bank of London. Other common forms of EFT include direct deposit, pay-by-phone systems where you initiate payments by calling into your bank and providing instructions, online banking, and eChecks.

Telecommunications Money Transfers and Mobile Payments

While mobile payments such as Apple Pay are relatively new and have yet to take off in the United States, mobile payments have had a huge impact internationally. For example, M-Pesa (in Swahili, pesa means money) was launched in Kenya, Africa in 2007 as a way for users to text small payments to one another.

In 2016, more than six billion transactions were conducted over M-Pesa. Today, there are more than 30 million users in 10 countries around the world (Kenya, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Tanzania, Lesotho, DRC, Albania, Egypt, and Romania). In addition to helping people in rural areas manage their money, M-Pesa is credited with helping small businesses and reducing poverty.

Telecommunications Money Transfers

Today, it’s no longer necessary to travel to a telegraph station or bank (or mail a check) in order to send money around the world. Just as the telegraph made it possible to wire money more than one hundred years ago, computers and telephones make it possible today.

Vist us aitelephone.com

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Sources:
“NOVA – Official Website | The History of Money.” n.d. Accessed December 8, 2017. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/history-money.html.
“The Brief History of Checking (Using Checks as For Money) – Personal Finance Made Easy – Banking, Loans, Credit Card Advice | Echeck.org.” n.d. Accessed December 8, 2017. http://echeck.org/the-brief-history-of-checking-using-checks-as-for-money/.
“The History of Money and Payments around the World | Finder.” n.d. Accessed December 8, 2017. https://www.finder.com/history-of-money.
“The History of Money Transfers | CoinPip Blog.” n.d. Accessed December 8, 2017. http://blog.coinpip.com/money-transfer-history/.

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How to Screen Business Calls on Your Smartphone

Screen Business Calls SmartphoneHow to Screen Business Calls on Your Smartphone

Receiving business calls on your smartphone can be both a blessing and a curse. If you need to be accessible when away from the office, forwarding your business calls to your smartphone allows for that.

However, not all business calls will need your immediate attention. If only you could screen them before answering…

Fortunately, you can when you order one of our virtual numbers with the call screen and announce feature. Here’s what you need to know.

Our virtual numbers work with your existing business phone numbers and any phone. You can either port an existing phone number to our service or get a new virtual number to use. Our virtual phone service is extremely flexible with a number of ways you can set up your call forwarding number and use it.

More than 50 premium features are included, one of which is the call screen and announce feature. With this feature enabled, you can route incoming business calls to your smartphone and then hear who’s calling before determining whether to accept the call or send it to voicemail.

For example, if you’re expecting an important phone call from Bob at Acme over the weekend, you could forward your calls to your smartphone to ensure you don’t miss his call. However, all those other callers can likely wait until Monday. With call screening activated, the auto attendant will answer your calls, prompt callers to say their names, and then announce who’s calling to you such as “You have a call from Bob from Acme, press 1 to accept the call or 2 to send it to voicemail.”

Thus, you can immediately speak to those you wish to speak to when away from the office and route others to voicemail for later handling — all without having to give out your personal smartphone number.

The ability to screen business calls on your smartphone is but one of dozens of benefits of our virtual business phone numbers. Our virtual numbers are available via affordable monthly plans without a contract.

Get a virtual number free trial today

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Virtual Phone Numbers Work to Preserve Your Privacy

Virtual Phone NumberVirtual Phone Number

Working from home occasionally has its advantages. However, once clients and business associates have your home phone or cell phone number, you’re at risk of having business calls interrupt your personal life from here on out.

Getting a virtual phone number can help in setting boundaries, but the traditional second phone line will still ring in your home whether you intend to answer it or not.

One of the best ways to accommodate your communications needs when working from home is by getting a virtual number that you control. With a virtual business phone number, your clients and business associates can call you anytime, anywhere. However, you control where those calls ring. If you want to be reached at your home or cell phone, you can choose to forward those calls without having to give up your home or mobile phone number. If you do not want to be disturbed at home or on your cell, you can change the call forwarding so those calls ring to your office, answering service, voicemail, etc.

Virtual Phone Number Types

Virtual phone numbers are available as toll-free numbers, local numbers, or even international numbers. Consider who needs to call you when ordering a virtual phone number. For example, if it’s mostly local clients residing in your local service area, then a local virtual phone number with the appropriate area code for your community is appropriate. On the other hand, if you’re a regional sales manager for accounts based in another country, an international call forwarding number local to that country would be the way to go.

How Virtual Phone Numbers Work to Preserve Your Privacy

With a virtual phone number, you designate where the number rings at any given time. You can set it up to ring to your main office most days and then set it up to ring to your home or cell phone when you decide to work remotely. Your callers will always dial your virtual phone number, but you control where it rings.

Thus, you can receive business calls on your home phone when you’re willing to interact with business callers from home without worrying about these same callers interrupting your family life in the future. For example, if they call your virtual number on a weekend when you’re not working from home and not planning on taking any business calls, their calls can be routed to your voicemail or to your office where they can be assisted by a colleague.

Virtual phone numbers are much like having a second phone line in your home, but much more versatile. Our global virtual numbers are available domestically and internationally with competitive rates and no contracts. If you need to be available, but also want to protect your privacy, a virtual phone number is a great way to go.

Learn more about virtual phone numbers here

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Global Conference Call in Progress and How to Add Attendees

Global Conference CallIt’s not unusual to be in the midst of a global conference call only to realize that you need to add an attendee to the call in progress.

Perhaps a key person forgot to join the call, is experiencing technical difficulties, or is located in a country that lacks a toll-free or local access number.

Maybe the group needs to hear from a subject matter expert who is standing by to join the call upon your request. Either way, it’s possible to add attendees to a global conference call that’s already happening. Here are a few ways to accomplish this task.

Use the Moderator Dial Out Function

As the moderator of the global teleconference, you have access to controls regular attendees do not have. The dial out control allows you to temporarily step out of the call, dial the third party directly, and then return to the conference call with the third party joining in at the same time.

This can be done with just a few entries on your telephone’s keypad:

  • Dial * 1 plus the individual’s phone number. Speak briefly with the other person about joining the conference call that’s currently in progress.
  • Dial * 2 to return to the conference call and instantly add the other person at the same time.

When to use the moderator dial out function on your phone’s keypad: When you’d like to speak briefly with the attendee before joining him or her to the conference and can afford to pause the conference call while you do so. For example, lawyers often use this method to join a judge into a conference call in progress.

This way, the judge can join when the legal team is ready. Having set up the conference call and coordinated timing with the judge, you can dial the judge’s number and quickly announce that you’ll be connecting him or her to the conference call.

Use the Connect App

Our global conferencing service plans include access to a free app that makes managing your teleconferences extremely convenient. When running as a web app on your computer or mobile device, you have a variety of tools at your disposal, including the ability to bring other attendees into the conference call. You can even preprogram the attendee’s name and phone number into the app for even faster dialing.

Note: Attendees can also use the Connect app to connect to your conferences directly without having to dial an access number.

When to use the Connect app to connect an attendee into your global conference call in progress: When you’re at a computer or using a mobile device while moderating a conference call. With this method, you use the graphical user interface of the app rather than the phone’s keypad to initiate moderator dial-out.

Ask an Operator for Help

Our global conferencing plans are also supported by live operators who work 24/7 to ensure that the conference calling experience is the best it can possibly be. Our live, US-based operators are just a key press away (*0) and able to troubleshoot issues and connect attendees as needed.

When to use an operator to connect an attendee to your conference call: When you’d like to continue the conference with existing attendees while the operator calls and communicates with the attendee or when there are multiple attendees that need to be joined.

Whether an attendee is standing by to join your meeting for a short portion of it or you have attendees who are having trouble dialing directly, our global conferencing plans provide several alternate connection methods.

Learn more about global conferencing here

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Conference Call South Korea with Global Guests

conference call south korea

Conference Call South Korea

This year’s host of the Winter Olympics, South Korea, has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is also one of the world’s top ten importers and exporters.

Whether you do business in South Korea, are an avid sports fan, or have family in South Korea, business back home doesn’t stop when you’re visiting the country. Holding global conference calls from South Korea is one way to stay in touch from the Korean peninsula.

Setting Up a conference call South Korea

Our international conferencing service provides toll-free access numbers for countries around the globe at competitive rates. Thus, not only can you host the conference call from South Korea, you can have participants join the call from the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, or wherever else your contacts may be located. For you and all of your attendees, the conference call is completely localized. They do not need to dial a South Korean number just because that’s where you happen to be initiating the conference.

To set up the conference call, you’ll need to:

  • Choose a suitable time and date, keeping time zone differences in mind
  • Invite participants to join you in a global conference call
  • Send participants the call details (access numbers and conference PIN)

Conducting the Conference Call from South Korea

Conducting a global conference call South Korea is similar to conducting any other conference call you may have managed in the past. You can manage your global conferences via an online dashboard or use your phone’s keypad to perform functions such as mute, request operator assistance, or launch the dial-out command to dial an attendee’s phone number directly and manually join him or her into the conference call.

Because attendees will be joining your South Korea conference call from around the world, you probably have concerns about audio quality and cost — and you should because not all telecommunications services are created equally. We’re committed to delivering the best audio experience technology can bring, which is why we use modern fiber optic PSTN networks and not VoIP. We’re equally committed to keeping our global teleconferencing service affordable and flexible, which is why our per minute rates are competitive and our plans offered on a pay-as-you-go basis without contracts or monthly fees.

Having a high-quality global conference calling plan that’s available when you need it, but without recurring monthly costs, can help you stay in touch wherever your travels take you.

Learn more about Conference Call South Korea here

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The First Commercial Telephone Exchange

Southern New England Telephone Exchange BuildingHaving grown up with telephone service that just works, most of us don’t give much thought to making phone calls.

We dial a number and connect with the other person or leave a message. It’s as simple as that. In the late 1880s, however, putting Alexander Graham Bell’s invention to work commercially on a massive scale wasn’t a simple endeavor.

It started out simple enough, with an 8-line switchboard made from carriage bolts, wire, and teapot lids. This crude switchboard, developed by George Coy, was the start of something bigger.  Coy, a manager for the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company, had seen 1877 demonstration of the telephone presented by Alexander Graham Bell in New Haven, Connecticut and was immediately intrigued. By the end of that same year, Coy had become a Bell franchisee for two counties in Connecticut.

Coy put his own ideas to work, creating his 8-line switchboard. Each of the lines could serve 8 customers. Coy, along with the financial support of two local businessmen, Herrick Frost and Walter Lewis, formed the New Haven District Telephone Company on January 15, 1878 — less than nine months after seeing Bell’s telephone demonstration. Within weeks of incorporation, New Haven District Telephone Company opened the world’s first commercial telephone exchange with 21 customers.

As the first company with telephone subscribers, it was also the first to publish a classified telephone directory. Its first directory was published on February 11, 1878, less than a month after the company was formed. It listed just 50 customers.

This was a turbulent time in the telecommunications era, with Western Union and Bell jockeying for control of the telegraph and telephone businesses. During this time, New Haven District Telephone Company underwent several reorganizations in a bid to expand and broaden its franchise rights. The company became Connecticut Telephone Company in 1880. Over the next two years, the company had 24 exchanges and more than 3500 subscribers. A subsidiary company, Inter State Telephone Company, was formed to establish a line between New York and Boston. The company reorganized again in 1882, becoming the Southern New England Telephone Company.

The company’s plans for expansion didn’t materialize as planned, due in large part to the introduction of electricity and the failure of the Boston-New York line, which was eventually sold to American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T). Electricity caused interference on phone lines, requiring a major overhaul involving the replacement of every switchboard and new metallic connections for every customer.

Over the decades, Southern New England Telephone had its share of highs and lows and mergers and acquisitions. In the modern era, Southern New England Telephone became Southern New England Telecommunications Corporation, or SNET, and added long distance, paging services, fiber optics, and Internet services. SNET eventually merged with SBC in 1998, and was later acquired by Frontier Communications in 2014.

Today’s telephone exchanges are massive, far evolved from Coy’s early 8-line switch. Though Coy’s New Haven Telephone Company is a relic of the past, his contributions to the telecommunications industry make him a true telecom pioneer.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Sources:

“A Guide to the Southern New England Telephone Company Records, Undated, 1877-2003 | University Libraries.” n.d. Accessed January 5, 2018. http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860138740.

“Telecommunications Virtual Museum.” n.d. Accessed January 5, 2018. http://www.telcomhistory.org/vm/histories.shtml.

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How to Use Collaborative Notes in a Video Meeting

Collaborative NotesDesktop video meetings allow remote teams to collaborate face-to-face while also putting a variety of tools at their fingertips including chat boxes and file sharing controls.

But what about all those notes everyone is taking individually? Our desktop video conferencing service has a unique collaborative note-taking feature that you’ll definitely want to start using. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Take Notes During a Video Conference?

It’s important to document the topics discussed along with action items so that you can refer back to your notes at a later date and make sure you complete any tasks assigned to you. It’s likely that most of the other participants are aware of this and taking their own notes, just like you.

For some, the obvious choice is a notepad and pencil. Others may prefer an app like Evernote, Notability, or Apple Notes. While you could certainly use a digital or analog note-taking tool during a video conference, using a built-in collaborative note feature is a great idea.

Using the built-in note-taking tool keeps you inside the video conference interface, helping to minimize distractions and keep you focused. Not only can everyone take notes from within the desktop video conferencing interface, these notes can be shared so that everyone is on the same page.

There’s less duplication of effort, too, because the note-taking load is shared amongst the group. For instance, only one person will need to type out detailed information related to a project or task, yet everyone will have it. While one is typing logistical details, another might supplement it with a bullet list of the creative ideas proposed during the video meeting.

Private vs. Collaborative Notes

Our note tool can be used for both private and collaborative notes. You can actively work with both types of notes during a video conference. For example, you may want to open a private note for jotting down information relevant to you, but not to the group as a whole. You may also want to contribute to a collaborative group note, adding your thoughts, ideas, or even corrections as the video meeting progresses.

Using a Collaborative Note as an Interactive Agenda

Many teams already have an outline for their notes in the form of the meeting’s agenda. Why not use it as a starting point for the meeting’s collaborative note?

  • Open a collaborative note.
  • Copy and paste the agenda into the collaborative note.
  • Encourage everyone to add their notes and tasks under each relevant agenda item.

By the end of the meeting, your collaborative note will be well organized based on the structure of the meeting itself.

Using collaborative and private notes during a video conference is easy and effective. Give it a try the next time you participate in a video meeting with your team.

Read more about Video Conferencing here

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How to Hold a South America Conference Call

South America CountriesSouth America conference call.

Hosting global conference calls between USA and South America is often necessary when you have business associates, family members, teammates, or other contacts located in both hemispheres.

While there are several ways to accomplish a conference call between USA and South America, our pay-as-you-go global conferencing plans enable you to host technologically advanced conference calls with crystal clear audio without having to pay a premium for the service. Best of all, your attendees in South America can join your global calls using a mobile or standard phone and a local or toll free phone number.

For example, suppose you’d like to hold an audio training session for your company’s regional sales managers in USA, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, and Peru. In the United States, your managers could simply dial into your conference call using a toll free access number, just as they always do when you host a domestic conference call.

However, access to a conference call from countries outside of your own country becomes trickier for participants. You may not have given it much thought, but regular North American toll free numbers only work in North America. Your managers in South America would need the direct phone number to your conference bridge, and even that is problematic. Your South America conference call attendees would each need to figure out their country’s exit code, properly dial the conference call’s access number including the country code, and, later, pay any associated toll charges that appear on their phone bills.

If you’d rather not subject your sales managers to an additional task and added costs, going with a pay-as-you-go USA to South America conference call service is a much better choice — and it’s one that comes with a lot of additional benefits.

• Easy Access with Local and Toll Free Access Numbers — We have local and toll free access numbers for countries and cities across South America including Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Chile (as well as for dozens of other countries around the globe).

With a local number, such as an access number local to Santiago, Chile, your local attendees would dial a number that looks and acts just like any other phone number in their communities. If you have attendees in a region that doesn’t have a city-specific access number, country-specific toll free numbers are the next best choice. Again, there’s no need to do anything unusual other than dialing a simple toll free phone number. In either case, our per minute rates are among the most competitive global conferencing rates available.

• Convenient Alternative Access Options — For attendees in South American regions lacking a local or toll free access number, alternative methods exist for joining your global conference call including: moderator dial-out (you dial their number and make the connection), our free Connect app (they push a button on the app to join your global conference calls), or operator assistance (our operators can dial your attendees and join them into your calls).

• State-of-the-art Conference Calling Tools — At your fingertips, you’ll have access to a variety of modern global conferencing tools such as MP3 recording, roster, line muting, billing codes, line muting, automatic attendance reports, and more. You can even lock your South American global conference calls once they’ve begun to ensure no one else joins.

Holding a USA-South America conference call is a simple matter of choosing a time, notifying your attendees, and sending them the global call’s details. Our system does not require reservations, so you can host a South America conference call at a moment’s notice if so desired.

Learn more about conferencing with participants in other countries here

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Make a Practice Call Before Your First Global Conference Call

Try a practice callIf you’re new to holding international conference calls, it makes sense to take your conferencing service on a trial run before your first official conference call.

By getting familiar with the features and how they work beforehand, you’ll be less likely to stumble during the call and you’ll be more comfortable conducting the meeting. Here’s what to focus on before hosting your first global teleconference.

1. Get familiar with the tools. Our global conferencing plans come with several useful tools including the Live Event Viewer, which is an online tool for viewing and managing your calls; a free Connect app, which you can download to your mobile phone; and keypad commands for managing the conference call from a standard telephone. Take a few minutes to explore each of these tools to see which appeals best to you. For example, if you plan on hosting calls from your office, the Live Event Viewer is a convenient way to manage your conferences. For instance, if a participant has not muted his or her line and background noise is evident, you can mute that line via the Live Event Viewer. You can also record the conference, initiate a dial-out, and much more.

2. Learn the commands. As the moderator of your global teleconferences, it’s largely up to you to manage the call (unless you opt for our global event conferencing service). Here are a few of the more common commands:

● To request an operator, press *0.
● To initiate dial-out, press *1 (*2 to return with the new participant and *3 to return by yourself).
● To record a conference, press *2.
● To mute the line, press *6.
● To lock the conference, press *7.
● To enter a billing code, press *94.

3. Try a practice call. With our service, there’s no special equipment or software to install or test for participants or the moderator. All you need is a phone. The Live Event Viewer and Connect app are completely optional. No matter which way you decide to go, a quick practice call with a colleague or friend could put your mind at ease and get comfortable with the technology before a formal conference call.

Audio conferencing is a simple technology with a minimal learning curve. You won’t need to spend much time figuring it out, but taking a few minutes to become familiar with how it works before your first call will be time well spent.

View a Global Conference Call service here

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How to Get SMS Text Messages Sent to Your Business Email Account

SMS Text ForwardingSMS text messaging is extremely popular among users, but more cumbersome to manage from a business perspective. However, because so many of your customers prefer to communicate by texting, you’ll need an efficient way to facilitate that.

Here’s one of the best ways to receive SMS text messages from your customers and partners directly in your business’s email: SMS call forwarding numbers.

  • Sign up for a dedicated SMS call forwarding phone number. SMS forwarding phone numbers are a type of virtual phone number that accepts SMS text messages and then forwards them to the designated email box. You can also receive phone calls on the designated ring to phone number.
  • Choose your desired phone number. Currently, we offer SMS-enabled virtual numbers in select countries including USA, Canada, UK, and Romania. You can choose from toll free and local numbers.
  • Set your destination number. This is where any voice calls will be routed.
  • Set your email address. This is where your SMS messages will be forwarded. Both the sender’s caller ID and text message will be included in the email.

That’s it, you’re now ready to begin receiving SMS text messages in your business email account.

Many of your customers, partners, colleagues, and other business contacts prefer texting to talking on the phone. Providing them with a channel in which to do so is easy, even if you use a traditional PBX phone system. While they may be texting on a mobile phone, you’ll receive their messages in your inbox where you can quickly view them, forward them, respond, and more. You can even manage your SMS messages from your online account dashboard.

Like our other virtual phone numbers, SMS-enabled call forwarding numbers are available without a contract. Choose the monthly plan that’s right for you and let the texting begin.

Learn more about SMS Call Forwarding and Text Messages here

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When 3-Way Conferencing is Not Enough — How to Hold a 10-Way Conference Call with Global Participants

10 person call communicationMany business and residential phone systems offer 3-way calling as a standard feature. It’s a great way to bring a third party into an existing call, but it’s not nearly enough for more robust conference calls.

Plus, if you need to bring in someone from another country, 3-way conferencing can become tricky and expensive.

Our global conference calling plans are an affordable, easy-to-use alternative with no minimum usage requirements or monthly fees. You can host conferences with just a handful of attendees or dozens quickly and easily. As an example, here’s how to hold a 10-way conference call with participants from around the world.

Identify Each Participant’s Countries

Since there are several access options which do vary from country to country, you’ll want to gather some information before the call to ensure that each participant has an easy means of connecting to your conference call. Below are the more common access scenarios for international attendees:

  • Toll free access numbers — These are country-specific access numbers, so a caller in Italy, for example, would dial a toll free number that’s local to Italy. The access number then connects the caller to the conference bridge — all without the caller incurring toll charges or having to request operator assistance to make an international phone call.
  • Local access numbers — Again, these are regional. Your Italian participants could be given a local phone number for Naples, Rome, Milan, or another city in Italy. If they’re in that particular calling zone, then they’d avoid toll charges because it would be just like dialing any other local number in their community. Meanwhile, the call would be routed to the conference bridge.
  • Access via our Connect mobile app — Another option is to connect via our Connect app, which takes care of the dialing with just a quick tap.
  • Moderator dial out — There are a few countries with limited access numbers or per minute costs that may be higher than you’d like. For participants in those countries, consider using the moderator dial-out tool to call them and patch them into the call rather than the other way around. Dial-out rates are nice and low, too.

Choose a Global Conferencing Plan

The countries you’ve just identified will guide you in choosing the most appropriate global conferencing plan. Our plans are as follows:

  • USA – Canada conference calling — Perfect for cross-border conference calls involving participants in USA and Canada.
  • Legacy conference calling — This is one of our most popular plans. It includes global access numbers for 119 countries.
  • Expanded conferencing calling — Our expanded plan increases the number of access numbers to 150 including local city and toll free numbers.

Each of the above is offered on a pay-as-you-go basis with no contracts, no activation fee, no early termination fee, and no minimum usage requirements. You pay only for the minutes consumed in global conference calls — all at extremely competitive per minute rates.

Calculating the Cost of a 10-way Global Conference Call

Using the countries involved, you can estimate the cost of the call by looking up their rates.

Let’s use a 10-minute, 10-way international conference call as an example of costs using current costs as of December 2017 (rates subject to change).

Caller 1 – USA, Toll Free $0.026/minute, total cost = $0.26

Caller 2 – Canada, Toll Free $0.026/minute, total cost = $0.26

Caller 3 – Italy, Rome $0.07/minute, total cost = $0.70

Caller 4 – Philippines, Dial-Out $0.11/minute, total cost = $1.10

Caller 5 – Hong Kong, Toll Free $0.08/minute, total cost = $0.80

Caller 6 – Russia, Moscow, $0.10/minute, total cost = $1.00

Caller 7 – Monaco, Toll Free, $0.12/minute, total cost = $1.20

Caller 8 – South Africa, Johannesburg, $0.13/minute, total cost = $1.30

Caller 9 – Brazil, Toll Free, $0.16/minute, total cost = $1.60

Caller 10 – Guam, Toll Free, $0.026/minute, total cost = $0.26

Total cost of the 10-way global conference call: $8.48 USD

Since there’s no ongoing costs and no penalties for non-usage, you could create an account and use it just this one time — or you could use it as needed, paying only for the conference calls you hold.

It’s important to note that while our rates are low, our service is phenomenal. This is NOT a cheap unreliable VOIP plan; it’s a PSTN global conference calling plan known for its quality and reliability.

The next time you need to host a conference call, whether global or local, give us a try!

View more details about Global Conferencing here

 

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How to Make Cheap International Calls from USA to China Without Hassles or Poor Quality

Shanghai ChinaCalling colleagues, partners, vendors, and others in China from USA can quickly become expensive.

While cheap international calling cards are available, it’s a hassle to enter PIN codes each time, and you may not have the ongoing need or call volume to justify signing up for a recurring service.

Meanwhile, VoIP calls lack the audio quality and reliability required for professional conversations.

Fortunately, it’s possible to make cheap international phone calls from USA to China without having to enter a lengthy PIN number each time or suffer through horrible audio quality.

Here’s how:

  • Sign up — Our service offers the cheap international calling rates to China and dozens of other countries around the world — with no hidden fees or taxes! There are also no monthly fees, activation fees, cancellations charges, or any other fees to worry about.
  • Load up your account — Our Flex Plan is prepaid, so buy a suitable number of minutes. These minutes can be used from USA to China as well as to any of the other 240 supported countries.
  • Download one of our free mobile apps — Apps make dialing fast and easy, helping you to avoid the pesky problem of memorizing and entering a lengthy PIN.
  • Set up Caller ID recognition — Here’s another way to avoid having to enter a PIN: Caller ID recognition. This feature recognizes and associates your registered phone with your account so that you can quickly place calls to China using the Flex Plan and bypassing your local carrier.
  • Enjoy exceptional audio quality when calling people in China — Whether calling someone in Beijing or a remote rural area, your cheap USA to China phone call will be routed over a modern telecommunications network for the ultimate in reliability and sound quality. Should you get a bad international circuit when calling China, simply press # # followed by * # to terminate the call and redial it on a fresh circuit. This is rarely necessary with our network, but it’s a great option should you need it.

The combination of ultra-cheap international long distance rates with no hidden fees, quality and reliability, and dialing conveniences make our services an excellent choice for making cheap international phone calls to China — or the rest of the world.

View more details about cheap China calls and beyond

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How to Use Desktop Video Conferencing to Hold a Parent Support Group Board Meeting

Board Meeting Conference CallSchool parent support groups (PSGs), or “booster” clubs as they’re often called, often run on shoestring budgets with limited resources. Board members tend to be parent volunteers who juggle full-time work with their volunteer activities.

Most board meetings take place at the school, in a restaurant, or at a member’s home. Video conferencing for PSGs and booster groups has previously been unattainable due to the costs, equipment, and long-term commitments involved.

That is changing with Video Pro’s affordable month-to-month plans. Holding a board meeting using desktop video conferencing can save everyone time and hassle while still accomplishing everything you need to accomplish.

Here’s how to use desktop video conferencing to hold a booster club board meeting.

Use a Month-to-Month Plan

Many booster clubs are active for just a few months per year such as during football or marching band season. Rather committing to a full year, choose a month-to-month video conferencing plan and use it only during your PSG’s active season. Perhaps you want to meet using a video conference during the summer months when board members are on vacation and then in person once the school year begins. A month-to-month plan gives you that flexibility, allowing you to turn on and off the service and keep your costs low.

Determine How Many Active Cameras You Really Need

Our plans are based on the number of attendees and active cameras. For most PSG boards, the basic 10-attendees-and-4-cameras-plan will be just right. In a typical board meeting, not all board members will need to appear on camera. You might have the coach, president, treasurer, and ways and means chairperson on camera with everyone else contributing to the conversation via VoIP or phone. Meanwhile, they’ll benefit from being able to see the presenters and any shared resources placed on the computer screen. They’ll also be able to contribute to collaborative notes, exchange messages in chat, or take over the presenter controls as needed.

Holding the Board Meeting via Desktop Video Conference

Once signed up for a plan, you’re ready to begin hosting board meetings via video conferencing:

  • Schedule your board meeting with your fellow board members as usual, making sure to provide them with the video conference log-in instructions. Video Pro is all browser-based, so there’s no software to install. If they know how to use a simple website, they know how to use Video Pro!
  • Show your secretary how to add the agenda to a collaborative note as well as how to use the private notes feature to take the meeting minutes from within the video conference. Your attendees will be able to contribute to collaborative notes, saving everyone time. For example, your ways and means chairperson could fill in the details for upcoming fundraisers, allowing everyone else to skip note-taking for that section of the meeting.
  • Plan your multimedia presentations and gather any necessary files for sharing with the group. For example, screen sharing allows you to share a PowerPoint presentation, your team’s new uniform design, or even YouTube videos.

Your board may be skeptical about attending a board meeting from the comfort of their homes at first, but the convenience, audio and video quality, and time savings are sure to win them over.

Try a free 30-day trial today

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