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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International Conference Call Invite for Global Audio Calls

Global Conference Call InviteHow to Invite People from Outside Your Country to a Group Audio Conference

International Conference Call Invite

Conference calls have become fairly routine business processes. They’re commonly used among small teams, management, sales professionals, healthcare providers, legal teams, design teams, consultants and their clients, and many others on a regular basis. Hosting or joining a typical conference call is fairly straightforward; However, if you have participants from outside of your country, you may run into some issues. Learn what to expect and how to work around these potential obstacles.

Conference Call Access

With a typical conference call, each participant dials a local or toll-free number and enters a PIN to join the conference. This works great for attendees in your own country but for those outside of your country, it’s a problem. Your country’s 800 number won’t connect callers from outside of its designated region! This means that attendees from other countries will likely need to dial the conference’s direct phone number — and incur potentially expensive toll charges.

Fortunately, our international conferencing plans exist, offering country-specific access numbers with low per minute rates. For example, if your main office is in New York, but you have participants from Italy joining a conference call, rather than expecting them to incur international long distance charges, you could host an international conference call and give them a toll-free access number for Italy.  Simply send them an international conference call invite.

Conference Call Timing for International Conference Call Invite

International conference calls have another potential issue to work around: timing the call. Time zone differences make scheduling business calls challenging, though certainly not impossible. For example, if the attendee is in Milan, Italy, and you’re in New York, could schedule the conference call at 8:00 am your time, which would be 2:00 pm in Milan.

Before sending the international conference call invite

The first thing you’ll need is an international conferencing plan. Since our plan has no startup costs, no monthly fees, no prepayment requirements, and no contracts, you can use it without getting into a long-term commitment or be incurring ongoing costs. Infrequent use is fine, and since our rates are so competitive, those with high usage requirements can benefit too.

Once signed up, inviting attendees is a simple matter of sharing the international conference call invite including call’s details with your attendees. Upon activation, you will immediately receive passcodes and international access numbers. You don’t even need to preschedule the call because our service is reservationless.

When inviting participants, let them know the following:

  • Call time and date, making it clear that callers should adjust the time for their time zones. If you have attendees from around the world, you may want to use GMT time and provide a link to a world time zone converter.
  • What number to dial to join the conference. Simply copy and paste the appropriate access numbers for the countries involved or send the entire list of access numbers if your audience spans the entire globe.
  • The conference call’s PIN/passcode. After dialing the access number, all callers will need to enter the conference PIN/passcode.

At the scheduled time, all attendees dial their country’s specific access number, enter the PIN, and are connected into a group audio call.

View global conference call details here

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How to Create Your Own 24-Hour Recorded Message Hotline

Create a Recorded Message HotlineBusinesses of all sizes can benefit from establishing their own 24-hour recorded message hotlines — and doing so is easier and more affordable than you may realize.

Hotlines can include either a standard message available around the clock or custom messages that you change periodically. Here’s what you need to know about setting up your first 24-hour recorded message hotline.

Recorded Message Hotline Common Uses

Example

Recorded message hotlines are a great way to share information with the general public, consumers, or business prospects. Some common uses include:

  • Product and service information — Some products and services are best explained with audio, and some people simply prefer to hear about a product or service over reading about it. Audio allows your personality to come across and can convey enthusiasm, credibility, and professionalism. Adding a toll-free number to your brochures and sales materials can be an effective option to further educate your prospects and customers.
  • Safety information — For example, if you operate a pest control company, you could create an informational hotline with a recorded message hotline about fumigation. When fumigating a home or business, you could then post warning signs with your toll-free number with important safety information.
  • Crisis management — Whether it’s a natural disaster, a strike, civil unrest, business rumors, or some other disruption affecting your business, setting up a 24-hour hotline with a recorded message is an effective way to keep people informed. For example, if a hurricane has disrupted your business, you could set up a hotline for your employees to call each day to find out if they should work from home or report to the office.
  • Market information/updates — Realtors and mortgage brokers often use recorded messages to relay the latest interest rates or market news. Seasonal businesses such as ski resorts use recorded message hotlines to share the latest snow conditions.

How to Get Your Own Toll Free or Local Hotline Number

Start by ordering one of our virtual phone numbers. These phone numbers, which are available globally, are month-to-month with no contract. Since you can cancel at any time, you can set up recorded messages for short-term or long-term projects. Toll-free local and global numbers are available.

Once signed up, you’ll need to record your Recorded Message Hotline message and set up the virtual number’s extensions. Several options are available. For example, you could prompt callers to enter different extensions to hear specific information such as 1 for the latest interest rates or real estate listings or 2 for directions to your office. You could also set up your number so that it answers in greeting only mode. With a convenient, easy-to-use online portal, you can update your recordings easily from your phone or computer.

Our virtual numbers are a flexible choice for all kinds of recorded information scenarios. Whether you have a short-term project to communicate or would like to keep your hotline message going for years to come, our virtual phone numbers are easy to use, affordable, and loaded with excellent features.

aitelephone.com

 

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How to Use a Virtual Number for Marketing Purposes

Virtual Number MarketingA Virtual number can be used for many purposes, one of them is marketing. While you may already have a business phone number to advertise, you may want to reconsider and order virtual numbers as a test. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Virtual Number?

Virtual phone numbers are also commonly called remote call forwarding numbers. They are similar to toll-free numbers, and in fact, might even be toll-free depending on the number you order. For example, with a virtual number, there’s no physical phone attached to the number. Rather, the number is assigned a “ring to” number where all of the incoming calls will be routed.

How can you get a virtual number?

First, decide if you want to use a virtual number.  In other words, do you have a need for one?  An example of a typical virtual phone number use would be to provide an easy way for your customer to call your office for sales or customer service.  You can do that with a virtual call forwarding number.

For instance, if you had a business that sold mail order cupcakes and your office was based in Philadelphia but you had many customers on the west coast, you may want to advertise local phone numbers in Los Angeles or San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego or Beverly Hills.

The same would be true if you had a global business based in the UK.  If your marketing plan included international sales to the US or Thailand or Costa Rica, you can get a local virtual phone number in all of those places and have the calls ring to your UK office.  Your UK business would appear local and convenient to whatever country or city you are targeting.

Thus, if you have a call center in Chicago but want callers from Tampa Bay, Florida to dial a local phone number for Tampa Bay, you could order a virtual Tampa Bay phone number but designate its ring-to number as your Chicago call center.  Your callers in Tampa Bay will feel as though they’re making a local call and will be unaware that they’re actually speaking to someone in Chicago.

Why Use a Virtual Phone Number for Marketing?

If you’re running a national or international marketing campaign, using virtual numbers gives your campaign a local flavor. Callers may prefer supporting a local business. In the case of international ads, your existing phone number would either be a long distance call for your callers or potentially difficult to dial. Plus, you can’t necessarily use your toll-free phone number because it won’t work outside of North America. Global call forwarding numbers solve these problems, instantly giving you a local presence while also eliminating barriers to calling your company.

Another advantage of using virtual phone numbers in your marketing campaigns is the ability to track performance based on the call volume of your numbers. For example, if you run a national ad using your main 800 number, you won’t be able to glean meaningful data from your call logs. Incoming calls could be from anywhere including from existing customers. On the other hand, if you have virtual numbers dedicated to each campaign, your call logs will tell you exactly how many calls each campaign generated. Take it even further by using local numbers for each geographic area you want to track.

  1. Determine the geographic areas you want to track during your marketing campaign.
  2. Order virtual phone numbers for each of those areas.
  3. Place your virtual phone numbers in the appropriate advertisement, making sure that the number only appears in one ad.
  4. Review your call logs during and after the campaign to gauge which ads generated the most interest.

You can also use two different virtual numbers to A/B test your ads. For example, if you want to test two different headlines in an ad, use two different virtual phone numbers to see which headline resulted in the most phone calls.

Since our virtual phone numbers are month-to-month and contract-free, affordable, loaded with features, and have no cancellation fees, they’re perfect for marketing campaigns. Once the campaign is over, you can cancel the virtual number without penalties. Local, toll-free, and international virtual numbers are available.

View worldwide database of call forwarding virtual numbers here

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Origins of Telecom: Nikola Tesla, a Telecom Genius

Nikola Tesla Time Magazine 1931Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla equaled others with stunning forecasts about the future.  Less than two hundred years ago, communicating over long distances required the use of smoke, signal flags, drums, whistles, homing pigeons, and similar pre-electronics era items.

A series of inventors such as Thomas Edison, Samuel Morse, and Guglielmo Marconi changed that with their inventions, ushering in the era of telecommunications.

One of the pioneers was Nikola Tesla. The Tesla Memorial Society of New York calls him a “true visionary far ahead of his contemporaries in the field of scientific development.”

Tesla was introduced to Thomas Edison upon his arrival to the United States from Croatia in 1884. He worked in Edison’s lab in New Jersey before ultimately engaging in what’s now referred to as the “war of the currents.”  The two men had differing ideas concerning direct versus alternating current.

Tesla’s polyphase alternating current system caught the attention of George Westinghouse, who promptly recruited Tesla and purchased his patents. Edison and Edison Electric Light Company advocated the use of DC (direct current) whereas Tesla and Westinghouse Electric Company advocated for AC (alternating current). In 1893, Tesla demonstrated AC at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago and designed the first hydroelectric power plant in 1895 in Niagara Falls.

Other world-changing inventions by Tesla include:

  • AC induction motor — which the Tesla Memorial Society says is one of the world’s ten greatest discoveries of all time.
  • Tesla coil — which is still in use today.
  • Wireless communication — with $150,000 in funding from J.P. Morgan, Tesla started building the Wardenclyffe tower, an experimental wireless transmission station intended to transmit messages from USA to England using the Earth as the medium for conducting currents. The tower was never completed as Morgan refused to fund it further. Many believed Tesla’s idea was a hoax and Morgan wondered, “If anyone can draw on the power, where do we put the meter?”
  • Remote control — Tesla developed a remote control boat that he believed could eliminate warfare.
  • Radio — though Marconi was credited with inventing the radio, his patent was overturned in 1943 by the Supreme Court who recognized Tesla’s earlier radio inventions.
  • X-rays — though another inventor discovered x-rays, Tesla had created x-ray images of his good friend, Mark Twain, using his own design just prior to the discovery.

Inventors and geniuses are often referred to as eccentric; their ideas are often so far-fetched it’s no wonder. Tesla was the first to consider Earth a giant conductor. Tesla also envisioned interplanetary communications, satellites, and solar energy.

While in Colorado in 1899, he claimed to have received signals from another planet. At the time, he was tracking lightning storms when his equipment picked up a series of beeps. Nearly one hundred years later, scientists replicated his experiment and proved Tesla right. The signal his equipment picked up was caused by one of Jupiter’s moons, lo, passing through the giant planet’s magnetic field.

Some believe Tesla may have had autistic traits as a child and obsessive-compulsive disorder as an adult. He had trouble forming intimate relationships and became a recluse later in life, preferring the company of pigeons to humans.

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Sources

“9 Things You May Not Know About Nikola Tesla – History Lists.” n.d. Accessed April 23, 2018. https://www.history.com/news/history-lists/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-nikola-tesla.

“Tesla Coil – 1891 – MagLab.” n.d. Accessed April 23, 2018. https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/tesla-coil-1891.

“Tesla Society.” n.d. Accessed April 23, 2018. http://www.teslasociety.com/biography.htm.

“The 10 Inventions Of Nikola Tesla That Changed The World.” n.d. Accessed April 23, 2018. https://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/10-inventions-of-nikola-tesla-that.html.

“The Mad Scientist Hall Of Fame: Nikola Tesla!” n.d. Accessed April 23, 2018. https://io9.gizmodo.com/5648455/the-mad-scientist-hall-of-fame-nikola-tesla.

“War of the Currents – Wikipedia.” n.d. Accessed April 23, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_currents.

“Who Is Tesla Named For? – Business Insider.” n.d. Accessed April 23, 2018. http://www.businessinsider.com/who-is-tesla-named-for-2013-8.

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5 Ways for Better Conference Call Notes

Conference Call NotesConference Call Notes taking is a fact of business life. It’s a critical skill that helps you understand requirements and take appropriate action steps in order to get your work done.

With more meetings taking place in conference calls, it’s not a bad idea to update your note-taking skills to better align with audio, video, and web conferencing technologies. Here are a few ways to do just that.

1 Use collaborative notes — Some web and video conferencing tools include a feature commonly called “collaborative notes.” This feature allows all of the call’s participants to contribute their notes into a single, collaborative document. You could also use Evernote or a shared Word document during an audio conference. Collaborative Conference Call Note can be helpful in ensuring that everyone is working off the same information. In addition, you can share the note-taking load amongst the team.

2 Don’t take Conference Call notes at all — What if you didn’t have to take notes at all? If your conferencing software offers a recording feature, by all means, use it! You can later share the recording or have it transcribed for future reference. As a best practice, get in the habit of letting your fellow participants know that the conference is being recorded and explain how they can obtain a copy of the recorded call or transcript.

3 Consider using a time-stamped recording app or artificial intelligence (AI) — Apps like Notability will record audio and your text-based notes simultaneously, allowing you to quickly jump to the exact point of time where you entered text. Thus, if you type or draw the word “important” at the 20-minute mark, later when you click or tap that word, you’ll be taken to that exact spot in the recording.

Another option is to use artificial intelligence such as speech-to-text software. This technology is getting better, but it’s far from perfect. For example, the AI may select an incorrect word or punctuation may be lacking, making reading the transcript difficult. If you plan on using an AI app to record and transcribe your call, consider using it as a secondary system.

4 Work off of your agenda — Prefer old school note-taking? Putting pen to paper is an effective way to reinforce information. Many people retain information better after having written it down, even if they never refer back to their original notes. To help you stay organized, use the agenda as a foundation for your handwritten notes. Depending on the topics, you could prepare a page per agenda item in a notebook before the meeting. 

5 Learn how to “sketch note” — Sketch notes are a highly visual form of note-taking that use simple sketches, callouts, containers, and connectors to illustrate important concepts. Core77.com’s Sketchnotes 101: The Basics of Visual Note-taking calls sketch-noting “content-driven” doodling. If you’re already a sketch note-taker, try taking visual notes during your next conference call. If not, numerous books, articles, and videos can teach you the basics of this note-taking technique which could serve you well throughout your career when you use Conference Call Notes.

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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 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.

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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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