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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Conferencing Tools Build a Collaboration Culture

How to Conferencing Tools Help Build a Collaboration Culture in Your Business

Looking to improve the spirit of teamwork in your organization?

Collaboration has been shown to be extremely beneficial to businesses and their employees. For example, a few compelling benefits include: engaged employees, better retention, increased profitability,productivity gains, more productive meetings, improved innovation, andincreased business velocity. However, fostering collaboration is not as simpleas sending out an email telling your team to collaborate. It requires acompany-wide mindset shift as well as tools to facilitate it. Here are someways audio and video conferencing can help.

  • Use collaborative technology — Tools like Slack andTrello have become mainstream, but they’re not the only collaborative tools toconsider. With today’s mobile and remote workforce, audio, video, and webconferencing are a must. Audio conferencing is a convenient, all-around choicefor discussions, questions and answers, status updates, and other groupmeetings. Video conferencing adds the ability to see one another face to face,which is particularly important for virtual teams where team members may neverinteract in person. Video and web conferencing are other great collaborationtools for remote teams, especially when it’s necessary to share screens, watchvideos together, or share files.
  • Create shared goals — Think about your organization’s current incentive program. Does it incentivize individual or group effort? It’s natural for employees to focus on their individual goals, but that can interfere with collaboration. In contrast, shared goals encourage collaboration. So, gather your team in an audio conference and find that common ground.
  • Recognize, share skills,and break down silos — Everyone has something of value to offer, but others may notrealize it. Barbara in accounting, for example, may be a Photoshop whiz. If it makes sense, invite her to your next marketing conference call and get her input. While you may not want her pulled from her main accounting tasks, her Photoshop skills may be of value to the marketing department periodically. Encouraging cross-functional collaboration could be beneficial. Likewise, encourage the sharing of information across departments. This helps reinforce the shared goals, helps everyone understand their role in the greater scheme ofthings, and provides opportunities for further sharing and brainstorming. Itcan also reduce the potential for redundancy.

Lead by example — Initially, you may need to assign collaborative tasks to your team, helping them to shift from individual to group work. Likewise, show your team how important collaboration is by openly collaborating with others, hosting collaborative video or audio conferences, and sharing credit with your collaborators.

Make it easy — While technology can help foster collaboration, if it’s too complicated, your plan will backfire. An elaborate video conferencing platform requiring specialized hardware and technical skills won’t get used nearly as often as a simple, user-friendly desktop video tool that works from a web browser.

Examples of Conferencing Tools

US/Canada Conferencing Service

International Conference Call Service

Video/Web Conferencing Service

Conferencing Tools enabling Communication is the backbone of collaboration. Without it, everyone is back in their own private silos, doing their own thing. Our audio, video, and web conferencing plans offer an affordable, convenient, and user-friendly way for your employees to communicate and collaborate — whether they’re in the same building, city, state, or country or in an office on the other side of the world. With the right mindset and conferencing tools, you can build a culture of collaboration in your organization.

Conferencing Tools

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Global Conference Calling Service

Global Conference Calling Service

How to Talk Your Boss into a Global Conference Calling Service
When it comes to communicating with a global team, you know that email, Slack, and other text-based communications tools often fall flat. Sometimes, you need to get together on a conference call, but that’s a challenge when international participants can’t dial a local phone number and are forced to pay international long distance charges to connect to your call.

Our global conference calling plans solve these problems, making international collaboration both inexpensive and practical. They’re loaded with quality features and are offered with some of the lowest per minute rates you’ll find anywhere. You’re onboard, but now it’s time to convince the boss. Here are a few pointers to help you do just that.

• Show her how a global conference call service will benefit your team — Your boss wants your entire team to be able to collaborate efficiently but may not have previously considered global conference calls. Perhaps she has misconceptions about the potential cost or thinks any old conferencing system will do the trick. Regardless of what she may think, she’ll also want to know why international conferencing is important to your work, so be prepared to show her its positive benefits. For example, will a 10-minute conference call with your colleagues in Italy save you hours of back-and-forth via email? That’s a huge productivity gain for everyone involved.

• Share example global conference calling servi costs — Your boss will also be curious about the potential costs involved, so be prepared with real examples. Our website lists the per-minute calling costs for more than 150 countries. Find the rates for your international colleagues and prepare a few example scenarios such as a 30-minute conference call with participants from Italy, USA, German, Australia, and Hong Kong. You’ll both be pleasantly surprised at just how affordable global conferencing is with our service. Make sure to point out that ours is a contract-free, pay-as-you-go service with no minimum requirements or surprise charges.

• Invite her to join you in an international conference call — As the saying goes, seeing is believing, so consider hosting an international conference call and asking your boss to sit in. That way, she can observe your team at work and experience the crystal clear sound quality and other great features like moderator dial-out for herself. Once the conference is over, email her the attendance report and MP3 recording of the call to show her how well documented your global conference calls will be.

• Ask for a trial run — Now that she’s educated about the benefits of our global conference calling service, how it works, and how it will benefit your organization, she may be ready to approve your request right away. If not, ask for a trial run. Remember, there’s no contract, no long-term commitment, and no penalty for non-usage so there’s no risk in giving global conferencing a try.

By making your case, including your boss in a conference, and sharing the low costs, your boss will likely be receptive to a trial run where you can further demonstrate the value of global conferencing. We have a free trial which is perfect for that. View details global conference calling service details.

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Walkie Talkie Remains Popular | The Origins of Telecom

Walkie TalkieThe Walkie Talkie

You probably played with walkie-talkies as a kid and may even have a set hanging around your home. Despite the popularity of mobile phones, walkie talkies remain popular in business and public administration as well as among campers and adventurers. How did this technology begin? Let’s take a look.

Donald Hings is credited as the inventor of the walkie talkie or the “two-way field radio” as he called it. His invention was also called a “pack set” and “wireless set.” Though the two-way radio had already been invented, early models weren’t exactly portable. A few portable radios pre-dated Hings’ invention, but only transmitted Morse code, not the human voice as Hings’ pack set did.

Hings, a Canadian, initially built portable field radios for bush pilots who flew in the remote northern regions of Canada for his employer, Consolidated Mining and Smelting (Cominco), in 1937. Then World War II broke out.

Consolidated Mining and Smelting recognized the value of Hings’ pack sets and sent him packing — to work with the Department of National Defense and the National Research Council in Ottawa. His original design was deemed too fragile for military use. Hings fine-tuned his design, developing it for the rigors of the war. He even included a “hot air blower” for drying out the unit in the jungle. The nature of warfare prompted other modifications to his original invention including an audio filter to eliminate battle noises and a voice scrambler to prevent eavesdropping. He also designed these portable two-way radios to be lightweight, durable, and easy to operate.

Tens of thousands of walkie talkies, a term coined by the media who reported on it, were built and shipped overseas. He developed many models of the walkie talkie including tank-mounted models. Hings licensed his invention to the Canadian government royalty-free for use during the war effort.

While future walkie talkies would fit in the hand, Hings’ early pack sets were just that, packs. They were mounted in a case and carried around in a pack with a shoulder strap. Some were worn like backpacks.

Hings’ story mirrors that of Al Gross, an American inventor who is also credited with inventing the walkie talkie. Gross built a portable ham radio in 1938 and handed it over to the US military for wartime use. Galvin Manufacturing, the maker of Motorola car radios, also dabbled in portable two-way radios during this same era and invented its own devices including a walkie talkie (backpack-mounted) and a handheld unit called the “Handle-Talkie” as well as two-way FM radios for police cars.

The ability to communicate quickly in real time with real voices was a game changer in the war. Soldiers were no longer left to their own devices out on the battlefield. Battalion chiefs could instantly transmit orders, directing their units based on the latest intel. Information flowed both ways, too, allowing those on the battlefront to relay important information back to headquarters. The walkie talkie also transformed police work, enabling nearby police officers to respond to crimes as soon as calls come in. After the war, service businesses saw the value in two-way radio communications, and began dispatching their service technicians in much the same manner.

Today, walkie talkies remain popular. Low-powered versions are used as toys. Families often use walkie talkies to communicate when at amusement parks, on camping trips, and other adventures where cell phones might not be practical or usable. Walkie talkies are used by law enforcement agencies, security services, event venue staff, and at businesses of all sizes.

aitelephone.com

Sources:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Signaller_with_SCR536.jpg

http://dlhings.ca/walkietalkie.html

https://ingeniumcanada.org/innovation/story/donald-hings-engineering-walkie-talkie
http://dlhings.ca/PacSet_Description.htm

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International Communications Tools to Communicate with Global Teams

International Communications ToolsInternational Communications Tools to Communicate with Global Teams for Project Managers

Managing large projects that span international borders requires a lot of interpersonal communications. This is complicated by geography and can become quite expensive if relying on traditional phone services. Fortunately, project managers have a variety of alternatives available. Below are a few communications tools to consider when communicating with a geographically dispersed team.

Text-Based Communications Tools

Email is a tried-and-true communications method that lends itself to international collaboration, especially when time differences are significant. With email, there’s generally an understanding that the other person isn’t expected to respond right away. It’s also useful for group communications. Downsides include a lack of urgency, lack of verbal and audible cues, and difficulty in organizing a high volume of messages. Use when you need to get information out to the entire team (such as conference call invitations) or you don’t need a response right away.

Text messaging is useful when you need a response promptly. It tends to be more urgent with an expectation of a prompt reply. While group chats are possible, group text messaging can quickly overwhelm team members, especially if the messages aren’t necessarily relevant to the entire group. Since standard text messaging uses phone numbers, texting international team members can be problematic — and potentially costly. Use when you need a quick answer.

Voice-Based Communications Tools

As noted earlier, traditional phone services can become an expensive communications method when working with a global team. It’s also complicated with various country-specific exit codes, country codes, and unfamiliar dialing conventions. Call quality can vary, too, based on the different telecommunications networks in each country.

Getting virtual phone numbers for the different countries your team members are in is one potential solution. These global virtual phone numbers are local to each caller, eliminating the need for them to figure out their exit codes or dial an international phone number. They won’t incur international calling costs either. Several monthly plans are available without a contract.

Thus, your team members in Italy would dial an Italian number to reach you while those in Canada would dial a Canadian one. All calls would be forwarded to the number you designate as your “ring to” number. To make cheap calls to your team members, we suggest getting a virtual number local to your country and then changing the “ring to” number temporarily so that it rings to the person you are calling in another country. Use virtual numbers to save money on international phone calls and to make it easier for others to reach you.

Most likely, you’ll want to hold conference calls with the entire team. Our international conferencing plan has more 150 international access numbers for countries around the world. All calls are routed over a modern fiber-optic telecommunications network, delivering outstanding sound quality no matter where in the world your callers are calling from. Our per minute rates are extremely competitive, and you pay only for the minutes used. Use for group audio collaboration, weekly meetings, brainstorming, problem-solving, and more.

Web-Based Communications Tools

Collaborative project management apps like Asana and Slack are another tool for your international project management toolbox. Topics and text-based conversations tend to be easier to manage and organize than email. While you can access these tools on your phone, they don’t necessarily take over your personal texting app the way regular SMS texting does. Consider using in place of email and SMS texting.

Desktop video conferencing is quickly becoming a popular way to communicate with global team members. You can create a hybrid video/audio conference for attendees who may not have a webcam or sufficient bandwidth to participate using video. Being able to see and hear one another helps foster trust and stronger relationships. It can also help improve communication as it’s easier to perceive meaning when you can see their faces and body language. Use desktop video conferencing when you want face-to-face meetings.

Web conferencing includes additional features such as chats and screen sharing. Video may or may not be used, depending on your preferences. For example, it’s not uncommon for the host to share a PowerPoint on his or her screen or pass the sharing controls to another who might share a YouTube video or an Excel report. Attendees typically attend via a web browser. You can use computer audio or dial in on a separate phone line. Use web conferencing when you want to share a presentation, video, graphics, reports, and other content with your team.

There’s more than one way to communicate with a group, no matter how dispersed they may be. Chances are, you’ll mix and match the tools listed above throughout the project. Our contract-free plans allow you to pay as you go. Once the project is terminated, you can close your accounts no questions asked. Whether you need international conferencing and virtual numbers for a two-week project or a two-year one, our plans give you the flexibility you need.

aitelephone.com

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Global Conference Calling with Mobile Participants


Mobile Conference Calling
Global Conference Calling with Mobile Participants

In many parts of the world, landlines are virtually non-existent. Mobile networks have helped usher in a new era of telecommunications to countries which previously lacked the infrastructure or regulatory environment conducive to competitive traditional phone service.

If you hold global conference calls, this means that many of your attendees will be dialing in on a mobile phone rather than an office landline. What exactly does this mean and why should you care? Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.

• Ease of use — Dialing a long international phone number, complete with country codes, is tedious on any type of phone and even more so on tiny mobile phones. Local numbers are much easier. Our free Connect app makes joining your global conference call a simple matter of tapping.

• Mobile access — Conference call attendees in China who want to use a mobile phone (which is a lot of business users in the country) can only access a global conference call using a China 400 mobile toll-free access number because regular China toll-free numbers are restricted on mobile phones. Our global conferencing plan supports China 400 mobile toll-free numbers, giving your Chinese attendees the option to connect using their mobile phones.

• Cost concerns — Mobile users around the world are subject to varying payment plans on their mobile phones. While you may be accustomed to a cheap, unlimited plan, your attendees may have higher costs or pay per minute — even if they are dialing a local or toll-free number. This is typical in India and Japan. If this is a concern to your attendees, a workaround is to use our dial-out feature to patch those attendees into your global conference call directly. This can be preprogrammed or done on the fly.

• Battery life — Mobile users face another issue corded landline users don’t typically need to worry about, battery life. If the call is scheduled toward the end of the day, your mobile attendees may start the call with limited battery life and be disconnected once their batteries die. There’s not much you can do about the battery charging habits of your attendees other than providing everyone with a heads-up about the expected duration of the conference call so they can be prepared.

• Environment — Mobile attendees are not tethered to their desks, which means that they could be joining your global conference call from virtually anywhere including cafes, outdoor environments, markets, trains, cars, and other potentially noisy environments. Everyone should be reminded to mute their lines when not speaking to limit distractions during global conference calling. As the moderator, you can also identify and mute individual lines should it become necessary.

• Sound quality — Audio quality is a concern with any type of phone. Start with the best telecommunications networks and conference bridges. Our global conferencing service is built on modern fiber optic global networks, ensuring excellent audio quality without dropouts, echoes, interference, and other issues common with inferior providers and VoIP.

Global conference calling with mobile phones make it possible to conduct business virtually anywhere, anytime, and this includes participating in global conference calls.

Chances are, a large proportion of your attendees will be dialing in from a mobile phone. Choosing a global conferencing calling plan that supports these users with local and toll-free access numbers, mobile access numbers (China), moderator dial-out, advanced features and controls, and exceptional sound quality. Ours does, plus there are no contracts, no monthly fees, and no minimum usage requirements. Sign up for an account today.

View details about Global Conference Calling with Mobile Participants here

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Telephone Gadgets and Accessories Through the Years

Old PhoneTelephone Gadgets and Accessories Through the Years: Origins of Telecom:

For decades, we have accessorized our telephones with everything from answering machines and headsets to colorful cell phone cases and charms. This isn’t necessarily a modern phenomenon. Let’s take a look back at some of the telephone gadgets and accessories through history.

 

  • Hush-a-Phone — Back in the 1920s, candlestick telephones offered very little privacy. What if you needed to make a confidential phone call and didn’t want others in the room to hear your conversation? This problem was solved by the Hush-a-Phone, a small, rectangular baffle that slipped over a candlestick telephone’s mouthpiece. It featured a round opening for the lips. This allowed the caller to speak privately into the phone. The Hush-a-Phone paved the way for early modems, which used a similar mechanism to transmit tones via a phone’s mouthpiece. It also paved the way for aftermarket telephone accessories after it prevailed in a lawsuit with AT&T. Today, a device called the HushMe is being developed as a “voice mask for smartphones.” The voice mask muffles your voice as you speak so those around you cannot hear your conversations but the person on the other end of your smartphone conversation can.
  • Cord Reel — Corded telephones today have coiled cords, but those of yesteryear did not. Imagine dealing with a six-foot cord (or longer) at your desk each day. It would definitely get in the way! Before the coiled cord was invented, the problem of long cords was solved with a cord reel. This spring tension device had just enough tension to keep the cord coiled and out of the way without pulling the telephone off the desk. The cord reel also solved the problem of babies teething on loose telephone cords by reeling up the slack. Though modern families would be more concerned about baby safety, at the time, the concern surrounding babies sucking on phone cords involved the possibility of short-circuiting the phone. Coiled telephone cords arrived in 1937 with an elastic inner core surrounded by wires coiled around them. This allowed the cord to be stretched when in use and then neatly coiled when not in use.
  • Sound Spectograph — In September 1965, Popular Science reported on the use of a sound spectrograph device to identify the voiceprints of prank phone callers. Today, the U.S. Coast Guard is using a similar technology, voice recognition, to combat an increase in hoax calls from repeat callers. While it’s not necessarily possible to find out exactly who the caller is or ever catch them for that matter, being able to immediately determine that the caller is identical to an earlier one who called in a hoax is helpful in recognizing the prank or hoax and promptly ending the conversation.
  • Answering Machines — Today, when your phone rings, you either answer it or ignore it with the knowledge that your voicemail will kick in the moment you hit “decline.” CallerID helps inform your decision because you instantly know who’s calling. Before the answering machine arrived in the 1090s, a phone could ring at any time, day or night, and the recipient had no other choice than to answer it or unplug it. There was no way of determining the importance of the call, and if you didn’t answer, you’d never know who called or why they called you.
  • Rolodex — Though not technically a telephone accessory, the Rolodex typically sat next to the telephone. Prior to the Rolodex’s invention, most people kept track of their contacts’ telephone numbers and addresses in small address books. They did the job but were impractical when a contact’s information changed. The Rolodex, with its removable cards, was an elegant solution that suited the needs of individuals and business professionals alike.

Like the phone itself, telephone accessories have evolved over the years. Some have modern equivalents while others have become less relevant thanks to newer and better technologies.

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

Sources:

Hush-a-Phone

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/01/11/solution-annoying-office-phone-calls-bizarre-mask-silences-private/

http://gethushme.com/

https://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2011-10/archive-gallery-improving-telephone#page-2

https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/26/15434498/coast-guard-voice-recognition-prank-call-biometrics-voiceprint

https://gizmodo.com/5497511/the-life-and-death-of-the-rolodex

http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1292439

 

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International Conference Calling and Building Trust

Conferencing UserBuilding Trust When Using International Conference Calling

International conference calling offer a convenient way to interact with colleagues, partners, customers, and business associates around the world. They reduce, if not eliminate completely, the need for travel, and they can save your organization thousands of dollars each year as a result.

Due to their international nature, however, cultural differences often come into play. Trust plays an important role in building strong relationships, and this is true across cultural and geographic boundaries. With that in mind, how do you build and maintain trust over great distances and without the opportunity to interact in person face-to-face?

Holding regular international conference calling sessions is a great way to get started. It’s not just the act of communicating regularly that builds trust though. Rather, you’ll want to be aware of the different ways trust is built from a cultural standpoint and then structure your conference calls so that they lay the foundation for trust.

In the United States, trust is typically assumed and later validated by actions. Thus, people will assume a new team member is trustworthy and later, when he or she comes through with a win, that assumption will be validated. People from some countries have low trust levels to start with and will assume the new person is untrustworthy or has bad intentions. In many parts of the world, business discussions won’t even take place until after extensive social discussions on non-business topics.

Let’s say that you’d like to hold an international conference call with a potential offshore business partner. You’ll likely need to build trust before talking business. In fact, you might need to do so beforehand in order to even schedule the global call.

Below are a few examples of how you can begin building trust:

• Ask a trusted, mutual intermediary (such as a supplier you have in common) to arrange the meeting. This takes advantage of word-of-mouth. In essence, the intermediary trusts you, and since the other person trusts the intermediary, you’ll be more trusted by extension.

• Hold a get acquainted call before the global conference call to introduce yourself and socialize a little. You could even get a virtual phone number for the person’s own country and leave that number (which would be local to their country) as a callback number.

• Use a photo of yourself in your email signature line. This is a great way to become more approachable. It makes you more “real” to the other party and not just a faceless name in their inbox.

• Find common ground. This is always desirable, and even more so in countries where personal relationships must be established before business. If you’re a big sports fan, you might ask if they’re following the latest global sports event such as FIFA or Formula 1 racing.

• Be authentic. The other party’s probably as curious about you and your culture as you are about theirs, so be yourself — with appropriate professional, business, and cultural boundaries, of course.

• Make it easy to join the international conference call. This could be as simple as providing a local or toll-free access number specific to the other person’s country or using the moderator dial-out function. Our 24/7 operators are also available to make the connection. Make sure to select a convenient time for the call that corresponds with the other party’s country’s traditional business hours.

International conference calling | the first step

During the global conference call, it’s a good idea to introduce everyone on the call. Who are they? Where are they from? What’s their role?

You might even have each person share a fun fact about themselves to help break the ice. From there, explain the purpose of the call, clearly defining the mutual benefit of it. This is known as declaring your intent.

It’s a great way to build credibility and provide others with something to measure your actions against. For example, do you do what you say you’re going to do? Finally, deliver as promised.

As you gain trust, keep the momentum going by staying in touch and building a strong personal and business relationship.

View conference call service details here

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Desktop Video Conferencing How to Boost Productivity

Desktop Video ConferencingHow to Boost Productivity with Desktop Video Conferencing

Desktop video conferencing bridges physical distances, bringing colleagues, partners, suppliers, and customers together in a collaborative face-to-face environment. Eliminating travel expenses and commuting times is but one of many ways video conferencing can give your productivity a boost. Below are a few more tips for improving productivity with video conferencing.

  • Create a Culture of Conferencing — Lead by example. The more you use desktop video to communicate with your team, the more comfortable everyone else will become with the technology.
  • Make Video Conferencing Accessible — Tools are only helpful if they’re actually used, so it’s important to make sure your desktop video solution is easy to use. Fortunately, installing elaborate equipment or booking time at a facility equipped with the appropriate equipment and technologies is no longer necessary. Today, most computers, tablets, and smartphones are appropriately equipped. Choosing a desktop video plan that allows attendees to join via a standard web browser makes your video conferences extremely accessible for everyone involved.
  • Empower Users — Through a blend of training and frequent use, your employees will have a better understanding of when to use video conferencing over other communication methods or face-to-face meetings along with the benefits of doing so. Show users how they can make use of personal share space and collaborative notes, helping them to be more productive before, during, and after video conferences.
  • Highlight Different Use Cases — It’s possible to host or join video conferences from the office, home, a coffee shop, library, or even while on a train or airplane. You can use video conferences to interview job candidates, get an expert opinion, demonstrate products, pitch an investment or idea, explain the latest health insurance coverage options and deadlines, troubleshoot issues, and much, much, more. Share some of the different ways you’ve used, or plan to use, video conferencing with your team to help your newer users grasp just how versatile this tool is.
  • Engage Employees — With a more mobile workforce, getting face time and buy-in from a dispersed workforce isn’t easy. Video conferences can help build stronger relationships while the face-to-face nature of this communications method can ensure that facial cues and other non-verbal signals are exchanged. For example, imagine assigning a project to an employee via email versus via a short video conference. With a video conference, you can better explain the importance of the project as well as pick up on any potential objections or questions your employee may have based on facial expression. At the same time, the entire discussion becomes much more personal and the employee will have had the opportunity to get all of her questions answered.

Once a culture of conferencing has taken hold throughout your organization, you should start to notice an improvement in productivity, communications, and interpersonal relationships.

Rather than scheduling meetings or traveling across town (or even to another country) to meet with others, your employees will be able to meet face-to-face at the moment to collaborate, plan, solve problems, brainstorm, or exchange knowledge. Remote workers are more likely to be readily available for collaboration when video conferencing is an option while other employees could benefit from telecommuting occasionally.

In addition to productivity gains, you may notice an improvement in employee satisfaction levels as a result.

View details about Desktop Video Conferencing

 

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Audio Video Web Conference | How to Choose the Correct Service

Audio,Video WebAudio Video Web Conference How to Choose

Audio Video Web Conferencing calling has evolved into three distinct formats, audio, video, web conferencing. Many companies use all three types of communications methods, choosing the most appropriate type for the task at hand.

The best type of conference call is often subjective. However, the advantages and disadvantages of Audio Video Web conferencing listed below can provide you with some insight.

Audio Conference Call Advantages and Disadvantages

• Ease of use. Due to the long history of audio conferencing, this method is well understood and familiar to most business professionals. Generally speaking, joining an audio conference is a simple matter of dialing a phone number and entering a passcode. Thus, one of the biggest advantages of audio conferencing is its simplicity.

• Accessibility. Everyone has a phone. Not only is there no special equipment needed, but you can also use any type of phone, including mobile phones and VoIP phones to join — and from virtually anywhere in the world.

• Cost. Audio conferencing is extremely affordable — even for international attendees. Our international conference calling plans feature rates as low as just a few pennies per minute.

• Line noise. Great quality connections are certainly an advantage. However, background noise is always a concern. Fortunately, participants can self-mute their lines while moderators can mute individual lines as needed.

Group audio calls are a great choice when you need to quickly and easily communicate with a geographically diverse group in real time. Example use cases include meetings, trainings, crisis communications, public relations, coaching calls, and business collaboration.

Audio conferencing adds voice and tone to the conversation, giving it an advantage over email and text-based communications. However, you won’t be able to see facial expressions or body language. If those are important, consider video conferencing.

Video Conference Call Advantages and Disadvantages

Most modern computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are video conferencing ready, which, coupled with our browser-based video conferencing plan, makes video conferencing much more accessible than in the past.

The advantages are similar to audio conferencing, but with the ability to see one other. This can strengthen relationships as other participants are now perceived as real people and not just disembodied voices.

Some people, however, may be uncomfortable appearing on camera. Their environments may also become a distraction or appear unprofessional, making it important for attendees to consider what the camera may be revealing.

A potential disadvantage is ensuring access. Some video conferencing plans require participants to download and install software where others, like our Video Pro desktop video conferencing plan, work in a standard web browser.

Video conferencing is a great choice for one-on-one and small group collaboration, job interviews, motivational talks, and presentations featuring a few key speakers who appear on camera.

Web Conferencing Advantages and Disadvantages

Web conferences often include audio and/or video conferencing elements. For example, participants will view the web conference in a web browser but may use a separate phone line for the audio portion. Likewise, webcams may be enabled in a web conference.

One of the advantages of web conferencing over the other two methods is its tendency to be more interactive. For instance, you can share screens, launch applications (like PowerPoint or a video player), chat in a text-based chat, or share files.

Web conferencing is a great choice when you need to share media and files with your participants. Example use cases include sales presentations, bids and proposals, team meetings, coaching and consulting, and new employee/client onboarding.

Our affordable, month-to-month conferencing plans make it easy to choose the right type of conference for any given purpose. There are no long-term commitments or contract on any of them, making it possible to choose the right plan, at the right time.

View details about Audio Video Web Conferencing

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International Call Conferencing | How to use for Professional Development

International Call ConferencingHow To Use International Call Conferencing for Professional Development

International call conferencing can expose your team to thought leaders from within, or even outside of, your industry is an excellent way to help them grow professionally. However, sending multiple individuals to conferences can quickly become cost-prohibitive. Not only do you have conference registration fees you also have airfare, lodging, transportation, and other expenses. In addition, each person will miss several days of work, which has costs of its own to consider.

Bringing in speakers is a great alternative, but it can be costly, too. You’ll need to pay the speaker’s consulting fee, which could cost thousands of dollars, and potentially airfare and lodging. You’ll incur other costs such as catering and meeting space rental charges. That said, it’s a one-to-many presentation, so your entire team will benefit. What if the speaker is willing but unavailable to travel to you? What if the speaker is from another country and hesitant to make an overseas trip?

While attending a presentation in person is wonderful, it’s not always practical or cost effective. Fortunately, there’s another way that’s extremely affordable, interactive, and easy for everyone involved: international conferencing for professional development.

Here’s how it works:

  • Find a speaker — You invite a speaker to present a topic to your team, but rather than delivering the presentation in person, ask the speaker to join you in an audio conference call. Once the speaker realizes the time commitment is much less than if she had to travel to your location, she might be open to lowering her fee accordingly. For example, rather than two or three days away from home (or more if she must travel internationally), her time commitment might be just one or two hours.
  • Schedule the global conference call — Once you’ve lined up a speaker and scheduled the time, schedule the global conference call and invite your attendees. Since it’s a virtual presentation, you could even open the conference call to other branch offices, enabling a larger audience to benefit from your efforts. With our global conferencing solution, your audience and the speaker can join your call from virtually any phone in the world using a local or toll-free access number that’s local to their countries.
  • Record the global conference call — Recording the conference call is a simple matter of pressing a couple of buttons during the call, so make sure to do that. You’ll receive an MP3 recording of the call soon after it concludes, thus enabling you to distribute the professional development presentation to absentees as well as save it to your training library or knowledge base. Not only will your attendees and absentees benefit from the presentation, but your future employees can also do so as well by listening to the recording.

International Call Conferencing Cost

The cost of the global conference call will be a fraction of the cost of hosting a live presentation, and the benefits will continue for long after the live event.

Learn more about International Call Conferencing here

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USA Canada Conference Call and the Cannabis Business

Cannabis Business Hosts Conference CallsUSA Canada Conference Call Cannabis Business

USA Canada Conference Call is an excellent way to exchange knowledge, build relationships, and close deals. For cross-border conferencing, providing local access to all parties, whether in USA or Canada is a professional courtesy that is sure to be appreciated. Our US Canada conference call plan simplifies the process of connecting with others in the Cannabis industry in the United States or Canada.

Recreational cannabis is now legal across all of Canada and several states in the US have legalized medicinal and/or recreational use. As businesses grow and establish themselves in this new market, they frequently need to converse with others in their industry.

USA Canada Conference Call Local or Toll-Free Access

Let’s say you’re a distributor in Ottawa and you need to discuss website development with a vendor in Denver, Colorado and a graphic designer in Los Angeles in a conference call. With our USA – Canada conferencing plan, each person would be able to join using either local or toll-free access numbers. For example, you’d dial a 343 number in Ottawa, your web developer would dial a 720 number in Denver, and your graphic designer would dial a 213 number in Los Angeles.

By granting everyone local access, distances shrink. Everyone feels as though they’re calling a local company. This is a subtle benefit of cross-border conference calling. From an account holder’s perspective, conference calling using local access numbers is a little cheaper than using toll-free numbers.  How it works.

That said, the difference is minimal with our affordable pay-as-you-go USA Canada conference call service. Our toll-free access rates are just 2.9 cents per minute for US callers and 3.9 cents per minute for Canadian callers. The advantages of using toll-free numbers for access to your call include simplicity and cost certainty.

For example, Los Angeles is huge with multiple area codes; even within the same area code, local calls may trigger toll charges to the participant. The option to use a toll-free number ensures the participant will not get hit with unexpected toll charges.

Conference Calls on Demand

Like many industries, the cannabis industry is subject to a host of regulations, which vary from country to country, province to province, and state to state. Conference calls provide you with an effective means of communicating with your lawyers, regulators, industry experts, and others involved in ensuring compliance — and you can hold these calls on demand. Our US – Canada conferencing plan does not require reservations, which means you can initiate and hold a conference call at a moment’s notice.

You can also add attendees to a conference call in progress. For example, if your website developer suggests adding a disclaimer to your website and the person who knows the specific wording is not on the call, you could use the dial-out feature to call and add that person to the conference as soon as the issue comes up.

Why Choose a USA Canada Conference Call Plan?

If you do business across the border or frequently interact with contacts on the other side, domestic conference calling plans fall short. They’re not intended for calls outside your country. As a business that collaborates with partners in both Canada and USA, our conferencing calling plan allows you to connect as if you were in the same country — without barriers. We’ve loaded it with all of the features you’d expect and more.

Since it’s a pay-as-you-go service without contracts or monthly fees, you can sign up, use it as needed, and cancel at any time. There are no penalties for inactivity. You are billed only for the time you use in USA Canada conference call. Sign up for an account today and start collaborating across borders.

Learn more about USA Canada Conference Call

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Virtual Follow Me Number | Setting One Up

Virtual Follow Me Number Set Up

Setting Up a Virtual Follow Me Number

Virtual follow me number will provide you with the ultimate in portability because the virtual number is not permanently attached to any phone. In a typical day, you might use multiple phones including your home phone, office phone, and mobile phone. If you travel frequently or work out of different offices, the number of phones you use on a regular basis increases.

While you can easily call out, your contacts might not know which number is best to reach you on. Giving out your mobile phone number is one option, but it’s not always desirable, especially if you want to maintain a nice line of separation between work and personal calls.

Our virtual phone numbers offer several ways for you to manage your incoming calls:

  • Manual call forwarding changes
  • Simultaneous ringing
  • Sequential ringing

Let’s take a look at how each option works and when you might want to use them.

Manual Call Forwarding

With manual call forwarding, you log into your account and manually change the virtual phone number’s ring-to number. This option is best when you want flexibility but tend to use the same phone most of the time.

For example, if you’re using the virtual phone number as your business phone number and usually work out of your main office, you’ll likely set it up so that it rings to your main office by default. However, if you occasionally work from your home office, this feature gives you the ability to quickly change your ring-to number to your phone at home.

Simultaneous Ringing

Simultaneous ringing requires that you set up your virtual phone number with two or more ring-to numbers. When an incoming call comes in, all of the ring-to numbers will ring simultaneously. This is useful in a team setting where several team members are expected to promptly answer incoming phone calls.

It’s also helpful if you’re frequently on the move and want the ability to answer your incoming calls on the phone of your choice. For example, if you’re in your office and both your office and mobile phones ring simultaneously, you can choose to answer on the phone that makes the most sense for that moment.

Sequential Ringing

Sequential ringing requires setting up the virtual phone number with two or more ring-to numbers just as simultaneous ring did. However, in this case, the incoming calls will ring the ring-to numbers in the order you specify. For example, you might set it up so that your office phone rings first, your mobile phone next, and your home phone last.

This is helpful in ensuring that you can be found at the most likely phone numbers no matter where you are. You’ll want to limit the number of ring-to numbers to just a handful as your callers may not stay on the line long enough for the system to ring through the entire sequence.

Each of these options works internationally, too. So, if you’re heading on a trip, you could set up whichever virtual hunt group makes the most sense for your travels. This is especially helpful because your callers will simply dial the same phone number they always dial, yet they’ll reach you wherever in the world you may happen to be.

Setting up your virtual follow me number. It’s also helpful if you’re frequently on the move and want the ability to answer your incoming calls on the phone of your choice.so that it finds you is easy, and you can adjust your settings as needed. We have a virtual follow me number for countries around the globe, all offered with no contract.

Learn more about a Follow Me Virtual Number now.

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Audio Video Web Conference How to Choose Between Them

Audio Video Web ConferenceAudio Video Web Conference Choosing between them

Conference calling has evolved into three distinct formats, Audio Video Web Conference. Many companies use all three types of communications methods, choosing the most appropriate type for the task at hand between Audio Video Web Conference.

The best type of conference call is often subjective. However, the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of conferencing listed below can provide you with some insight.

Audio Conference Call Advantages and Disadvantages

Ease of use. Due to the long history of audio conferencing, this method is well understood and familiar to most business professionals. Generally speaking, joining an audio conference is a simple matter of dialing a phone number and entering a passcode. Thus, one of the biggest advantages of audio conferencing is its simplicity.

Accessibility. Everyone has a phone. Not only is there no special equipment needed, but you can also use any type of phone, including mobile phones and VoIP phones to join — and from virtually anywhere in the world.

Cost. Audio conferencing is extremely affordable — even for international attendees. Our international conference calling plans feature rates as low as just a few pennies per minute.

Line noise. Great quality connections are certainly an advantage. However, background noise is always a concern. Fortunately, participants can self-mute their lines while moderators can mute individual lines as needed.

Group audio calls are a great choice when you need to quickly and easily communicate with a geographically diverse group in real time. Example use cases include meetings, trainings, crisis communications, public relations, coaching calls, and business collaboration.

Audio conferencing adds voice and tone to the conversation, giving it an advantage over email and text-based communications. However, you won’t be able to see facial expressions or body language. If those are important, consider video conferencing.

Video Conference Call Advantages and Disadvantages

Most modern computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are video conferencing ready, which, coupled with our browser-based video conferencing plan, makes video conferencing much more accessible than in the past.

The advantages are similar to audio conferencing, but with the ability to see one other. This can strengthen relationships as other participants are now perceived as real people and not just disembodied voices.

Some people, however, may be uncomfortable appearing on camera. Their environments may also become a distraction or appear unprofessional, making it important for attendees to consider what the camera may be revealing.

A potential disadvantage is ensuring access. Some video conferencing plans require participants to download and install software where others, like our Video Pro desktop video conferencing plan, work in a standard web browser.

Video conferencing is a great choice for one-on-one and small group collaboration, job interviews, motivational talks, and presentations featuring a few key speakers who appear on camera.

Web Conferencing Advantages and Disadvantages

Web conferences often include audio and/or video conferencing elements. For example, participants will view the web conference in a web browser but may use a separate phone line for the audio portion. Likewise, webcams may be enabled in a web conference.

One of the advantages of web conferencing over the other two methods is its tendency to be more interactive. For instance, you can share screens, launch applications (like PowerPoint or a video player), chat in a text-based chat, or share files.

Web conferencing is a great choice when you need to share media and files with your participants. Example use cases include sales presentations, bids and proposals, team meetings, coaching and consulting, and new employee/client onboarding.

Audio Video Web Conference – Our affordable, month-to-month conferencing plans make it easy to choose the right type of conference for any given purpose. There are no long-term commitments or contract on any of them, making it possible to choose the right plan, at the right time.

Learn more about Web & Video Conferencing

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International Conferencing Technologies for Healthcare Providers

International Conferencing Technologies

International Conferencing Technologies for Healthcare ProfessionalsHealthcare providers juggle patient care with business administration, practice management, continuing education, professional development, volunteer work, and other endeavors — both locally and internationally.

It’s a challenging profession requiring years of education and training along with extensive collaboration, communication, time management, and money management skills. Various technologies and tools aid in all of the above. Here’s how healthcare providers can leverage international conferencing technologies throughout their careers.

Consult with an International Team of Specialists

Whether you’re preparing to perform a rare procedure, such as a face transplant, or seek advice from leaders in your field, the specialists on your team may be located around the globe. International conference calls allow all of your colleagues and specialists to communicate in group audio calls no matter where in the world they are.

With International Conferencing Technologies, each participant dials into the call using a local or toll-free access number specific to their country.

For example, your colleagues in San Antonio, Texas would dial a local San Antonio number while a cardiologist from Barcelona, Spain would dial a number local to Barcelona. Thus, the barriers to joining a global call are virtually non-existent.

Coordinate Patient Care

If a patient falls ill or becomes injured while traveling overseas, they may require emergency care while abroad or medical transport back home.

Having a global conferencing plan in place makes it much easier to communicate with international healthcare providers, airlines, embassies, and others who may be involved with the case.

Cross-Border Volunteering and Mentoring via International Conferencing Technologies

Many healthcare providers are passionate about giving back to their communities, often through volunteering or mentoring others — or both.

If your volunteer work takes you across borders, group audio calls can be used before, during, and after your trips.

Before — Use international conference calls to plan your trip, coordinate shipments of medical supplies, discuss needs, objectives, and goals, and more.

During — You’ll likely need to stay in touch with your colleagues back home or consult with international specialists while on assignment. Your global conferencing plan works anywhere in the world, so you can continue initiating global calls no matter where you may be working.

After — Your physical presence may last a week or two, but chances are, the project will continue. Though back at home, you can follow-up with your colleagues and patients remotely using global conference calls.

Host Your Own Audio Conferences

Are you the expert? Imagine sharing your expertise, or the expertise of your facility’s team members, with others via audio conferences.

These can range from intimate gatherings with a handful of global participants who want to exchange knowledge or brainstorm solutions with their peers to global “event” calls with thousands of healthcare professionals gathered to listen to keynote speakers.

Whether you have a short-term or ongoing need for global conferencing, we can help. Our plans feature exceptional audio quality, low global rates, and a huge list of conferencing features — all without a contract or monthly fees.

Learn more about International Conferencing

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Global Conferencing Obstacles | How to Overcome Them

Global Conferencing ObstaclesGlobal Conferencing Obstacles

From dispersed virtual teams to international business deals, global conference calls bring people from around the world together in an audio conference.

The technology powering modern international conference bridges is incredible with sound quality that defies geography. However, you may encounter a few obstacles, most of which have nothing to do with technology. Below are some of the more common obstacles and tips for global conferencing obstacles and overcoming them.

Access — If you’re using one of our global conferencing plans, international access is rarely a problem since we have a long list of country-specific access numbers. For participants located in a country without a local or toll-free number, you can either have one of our live operators make the connection for you or use our handy moderator dial-out function to dial and join those individuals directly. This process can also be automated if desired.

Timing — Global conference calls typically involve participants scattered across time zones, making the timing of your teleconferences challenging. TimeAndDate.com has a meeting time planner tool that makes it easy to find compatible times between the cities of your choice. It’s even color-coded to show you the most optimal and least desirable times at a glance. For example, we plugged in Los Angeles, Beijing, and Abu Dhabi and quickly found that 3:00 UTC time translates into 8:00 pm in LA, 11:00 am in Beijing, and 7:00 am in Abu Dhabi. In this example, no one needs to set their alarm clock for a middle-of-the-night conference call despite the vast differences in location.

Short Attention Spans — Attention spans are said to be shrinking in the digital age. In addition, a series of shorter sessions are generally more advantageous for learning and retention compared to one much longer session. While it’s tempting to try to cover as much as possible once you’ve gathered your global team into a conference call, it may be more effective to hold shorter, more focused conference calls more frequently.

Lack of Visual Cues — International audio conferences have an advantage over email and texting in that everyone can hear one another’s voices and tone as well as form more personal connections. While picking up on a speaker’s tone of voice is helpful, visual cues remain lacking. For those who may be listening to a second language or those who are hard of hearing, visual cues can help them better understand the context. Slowing down your speech and enunciated your words can help in these situations. Consider holding the occasional web conference alongside your international conference call. Not only can your attendees see you and others, but you can also share prepared presentations, videos, files, notes, and more.

Lack of Purpose and Direction — Have you ever left a conference call feeling like it was a waste of time or wondering what to do next? It’s common but largely avoidable. Make sure your next global conference call has a clearly defined purpose, stays on track, includes only people to whom the topics are relevant, and ends with clear action steps. Follow up with an email summarizing the call and highlight the next steps. Consider sharing an MP3 recording of the call if you think that would be helpful.

We want your next global conference call to be successful. It all starts by choosing a high quality global conferencing plan that helps overcome global conferencing obstacles.  Get started now.

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Telecom Pioneer, From Undertaker to Telecom Pioneer Strowger’s Switch

[[:en:User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia CommonsOrigins of Telecommunications: From Undertaker to Telecom Pioneer, Strowger’s Switch

Imagine a telephone system where callers have to first interact with a third party in order to speak with your business.

In theory, that third party has the power to either connect the caller to your company or not. For much of the history of telephone service, a third party did indeed have to connect callers to their intended recipient. The interactions were brief and to the point, handled by telephone operators who connected calls manually by moving cables to the appropriate line on a switchboard.

Operators were used from the 1880s through the 1940s until sophisticated automatic switching systems were developed that made their jobs obsolete.

However, back in the late 1880s, a Kansas City undertaker, Almon Strowger, reportedly believed that a crooked telephone operator (who was the wife of a competitor) had steered his funeral customers to her husband, an undertaker, prompting him to invent the first automatic dialing system. His system, known as the Strowger Switch, was intended to cut the middleman, or in the case of telephone operators who were predominantly female, woman, out of the conversation.

According to Telecom Pioneer Strowger’s patent application, the invention would “…provide means whereby a person at one station may make a connection with any other station in the system, by the aid of electrical appliances, without the assistance of an operator at the central station.”

His invention used push buttons to generate pulses that could move electromagnetic contacts to select a phone number directly without operator assistance.

While pushbutton phones today are practical and easy to use to dial a number, Strowger’s device was impractical. For example, if one of the digits of the phone number happened to be a 9, you’d have to push the button nine times! Strowger’s patent application provides an example, dialing telephone number 315, that illustrates the complexity even further:
“…do so by pressing the key marked G three times, then the key marked 11 once, and then the key marked I five times.”
Thus, dialing a simple number, 315, would actually require pressing the following sequence of alphanumeric keys: G-G-G-11-I-I-I-I-I.

With a patent in hand, Telecom Pioneer Strowger effectively switched gears and careers, forming a company that would later be known as the Automatic Electric Company.

Over the years, the switch evolved, becoming commercially viable thanks in large part to the company’s invention of the rotary phone under the technical leadership of Alexander E. Keith.

Further advancements in automatic switching were made by Automatic Electric Company, AT&T, Bell Labs, and other inventors in the decades that followed, which ultimately resulted in eliminating telephone operators.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Sources:

“Electromechanical Telephone-Switching – Engineering and Technology History Wiki.” n.d. Accessed January 4, 2018. http://ethw.org/Electromechanical_Telephone-Switching.

“Google Patents.” n.d. Accessed January 4, 2018. https://patents.google.com/patent/US447918A/en.

“Telephone Operators – Engineering and Technology History Wiki.” n.d. Accessed January 4, 2018. http://ethw.org/Telephone_Operators.

“Timeline of Telecommunications.” n.d. Accessed January 4, 2018. http://www.telephonetribute.com/timeline.html.

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Conference Call Security and Serious Safety Concerns

How to Improve Conference Call SecurityConference Call Security and How To Improve It

While businesses have invested in network security to keep their data safe from hackers and other threats, how much thought have you given to conference call security?

A few years ago, Research Now conducted a survey that revealed a serious security concern surrounding conference calls.

A whopping 99 percent of respondents had admitted that they had hosted conference calls where they weren’t sure about who was on the call.

Meanwhile 93 percent had said that they have shared confidential information on a call.

It’s hard to imagine anyone joining a conference call uninvited, but it can happen. For example, the FBI estimates corporate espionage costs businesses tens of billions of dollars each year.

Oftentimes, outgoing employees will steal data before they leave, either uploading it to a remote server, emailing it to a personal account, or walking out with it on a USB drive.

What if those same former employees had continuous access to your trade secrets via your regular conference calls? What if a vendor you’ve used in the past could listen in to your conference calls, hear your latest business strategies, and share those with your competitors?

These scenarios could certainly play out if you never change your conference call passcodes.

With these thoughts in mind, here are a few tips to improve your conference call security:

Mind your passcodes — Change your passcodes periodically, and especially after an employee leaves or a vendor relationship ends. While passcodes are meant to be shared, be careful about sharing them publicly on websites and social media. After all, anyone can grab and use those credentials. For public conference calls, consider a registration process before revealing the call credentials. After the call, change the passcode.

Update your email distribution lists — Do you use email distribution lists when announcing your conference calls? Though handy, they could be outdated! You could be sending conference call details to previous employees, suppliers you no longer use, and others who have no business (but may be interested in) attending your conference call.

Update your group dial-out list — Automated group dial out is a convenient way to join attendees into a conference call on demand. However, you’ll want to make sure to update your list whenever someone leaves the company or business relationships have changed. This will help prevent accidentally including someone you don’t want on your conference call.

Use the roll call feature — Roll call is a feature that audibly announces each participant as they join or leave the conference. If a former employee joins the conference call, you’ll know right away!

Lock your calls — Did you know you can lock the conference call once all attendees have joined? This prevents others from joining once the call is locked.

Use the live event viewer — The live event viewer displays a list of everyone on the call, giving you a quick and easy way to verify attendance and disconnect unauthorized participants.

Review your call attendance reports — At the end of every conference call, you’ll receive an attendance report. Double check it to be sure that only authorized participants attended. If you see attendees who don’t belong, change your passcodes immediately.

Using the security tools available, you should be able to speak freely with confidence that only authorized attendees are on your next conference call.

aitelephone.com

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China Virtual Numbers Divert Calls Anywhere Globally

Beijing, ChinaHow to Use Virtual Numbers Before, During, and After Traveling to China

China Virtual Numbers, from trade excursions and business trips to bucket list vacations, study abroad opportunities, and overseas job assignments, people travel to China for any number of reasons. Whether you intend to tour potential manufacturing facilities or see the Terracotta Army, a virtual phone number for China is an asset that you can use before, during, and after your trip.

China Virtual Numbers, what are they?

With our service, you can order a phone number for China (toll-free or local) and configure it so that any calls made to it will ring to the phone of your choice.

For callers in China, the phone number appears like any other Chinese phone number they typically encounter. For example, you can order a number that’s local to Beijing or Shenzhen, a national 400 number, or a toll-free number for China.

Universal toll-free numbers are also available. Our plans are offered with no contracts, so you can use the plan as long as you need it and then cancel it when you’re done without penalty.

What’s more, you can change the ring-to number as needed, making your new virtual number the ultimate in portability. Below are a few examples of how you can use your Chinese virtual numbers before, during, and after the trip.

China virtual numbers city list is available as 9/26/2018.  Beijing (10), Guangzhou (20), Shanghai (21), Shenzhen (755), Tongchuan (919) plus China Mobile SMS, China Toll-Free, China National 400.

View current China Virtual Numbers availability here.

Before You Go

Ideally, you should order your virtual phone number before you leave for China. This will give you time to get familiar with the features as well as provide your Chinese contacts and hosts with a local number to reach you.

In fact, they can call you using the number right away, even though you’re still in your home country. Simply set your destination phone number to your home, office, or mobile phone number and begin receiving low-cost incoming calls from China. Thus, as you finalize your itinerary, you can leave a local Chinese callback number for your contacts to use.

During Your Trip

Once you arrive, you’ll need to change your ring-to number to a phone that you have access to during your stay. This could be your hotel room phone, your mobile phone (assuming it works and that roaming charges aren’t exorbitant), or a temporary burner phone purchased locally.

Many travelers purchase disposable pre-paid phones in China for this purpose. Once you activate your burner phone, change your ring-to number to your new Chinese mobile phone number.

*Tip: If you have loved ones or colleagues back home who may need to reach you during your trip, consider ordering a second virtual number, this time for your home country. For example, if they’re in the USA, they can dial a US toll-free or local number to reach you in China.

China Virtual Numbers – After Your Trip

If you’ve made new friends or business contacts or have unfinished business in China, you may want to keep your virtual phone number for use afterward. How long you keep it will depend on your specific needs.

Once you’ve wrapped up your business and no longer need the virtual number. Simply cancel it — no questions asked.  Some customers find it useful for their business to have a China phone presence for easy communication with their China-based customers or associates.

Planning a trip to China or any other country? We have virtual numbers for 150+ countries. Get China Virtual Numbers now.

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Artificial Intelligence through the Ages and the Origins of Telecom

Leibniz Stepped ReckonerOrigins of Telecom: Artificial Intelligence through the Ages

What do Alexa, Amazon’s smart personal assistant, and Hephaestus, a blacksmith found in Greek mythology, have in common? Despite nearly two millenniums separating the two, it’s artificial intelligence (AI). While we think of modern AI as being in its infancy, the concept dates back to ancient times — and it’s fascinating to discover how artificial intelligence has transformed from metal men, mechanical toys, programmable machines, and computing to self-driving cars, chatbots, big data, cloud computing, machine learning, and deep neural networks — and beyond.

So, how did we get from Greek mythology to where we are today? Let’s take a quick look at some of the milestones in the development of artificial intelligence.

AI in Ancient Greek Mythology

Hephaestus, son of Zeus, is the god of the smiths in Greek mythology. In addition to his metal-smithing skills, he brought his creations to life. His sentient machines took the form of people (such as golden talking handmaidens), animals, and everyday object that were used as servants. Another Greek legend involves Talos, a bronze man made to defend Crete from pirates and invaders.

Mechanical AI Arrives

While myths illustrate mankind’s ability to conceptualize artificial intelligence, it wasn’t until the 13th century when early intelligent mechanical devices began to appear. Examples include:

  • Programmable humanoid robot (13th century) — A boat contained four mechanical musicians who played based on water flow.
  • Gutenberg’s printing press (15th century) — Gutenberg improved on other press technologies, transforming communications as a result.
  • Clocks (15th – 16th centuries) — Clocks were originally produced using lathes to measure time. Clockmakers soon began adding mechanical animals.
  • Mechanical digital calculating machines (17th century) — Blaise Pascal invented the first mechanical digital calculating machine, which was later improved upon by Gottfried Leibniz’s Step Reckoner. Other machines for arithmetic were invented during the same general time period by Sir Samuel Morland.
  • Mechanical toys (18th century) — Mechanical toys became extremely popular during this time period. A classic example is Jacques de Vaucanson’s mechanical duck, an intricate, gold-plated, life-sized creation that could quack, stand on its legs, and even digest a grain of rice and poop it out.
  • Programmable machines (19th century) — The first programmable machine was the Jacquard Loom. The loom was controlled by punchcards containing instructions for weaving complex textile designs such as brocade and damask.
  • Electro and Sparko, a mechanical man and mechanical dog (20th century) — These two appeared at the World’s Fair in New York (1939).

AI in Books

Concepts of AI also appear in books, both fiction and non-fiction. Examples include:

  • The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (17th century) — A book describing a mechanistic and combinatorial theory of thinking.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (19th century) — The classic tale of a monster, brought to life.
  • As We May Think by Vannevar Bush (20th century) — A book describing a future where computers help humans in a variety of activities.
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (20th century) — A collection of sci-fi stories that describe the interactions between humans and robots along with the moral conundrums associated with such relationships. This book introduced the “Three Laws of Robotics.”

AI Evolves

The term “artificial intelligence” first appeared in 1956 during a Dartmouth Conference devoted to the topic. Since then, a huge list of innovations have contributed to the development of this field. The 1990s saw huge leaps in technology as varied as machine learning, data mining, virtual reality, and more. During this time, IBM’s Deep Blue chess program beat the reigning world champion and the first autonomous robotics system successfully landed Sojourner on the surface of Mars.

Today, AI makes things smarter. For example, smart homes and offices know when you arrive and leave, reacting accordingly by turning on the lights, adjusting the temperature, locking and unlocking doors, and more. Cars can detect pedestrians and objects, automatically braking to avoid a collision.

AI in Telecommunications

You may wonder, what does AI have to do with telecommunications? The telecommunications industry is deeply involved with artificial intelligence. Not only does the industry benefit from smart technology, like real-time transcription, automatic dialing, and automatic call report generation, it’s championing its development. In fact, the theme for 2018’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was “Enabling the Positive Use of Artificial Intelligence for All.” AT&T, one of the world’s telecom pioneers, is building an open-source AI platform called Acumos as part of its “Aiming to Make AI Accessible to Everyone” project.

From the stuff of legends to the stuff of sci-fi, artificial intelligence has arrived.

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Sources

“ 17 May 2018, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD 2018).” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://www.itu.int/en/wtisd/2018/Pages/default.aspx

“A Brief History of AI.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://aitopics.org/misc/brief-history

“A History of Robotics: Myth and Legend.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://blog.salvius.org/2014/01/a-history-of-robotics-myth-and-legend.html

“Artificial Intelligence in Telecoms – Current State of Play – Hidden Insights.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://blogs.sas.com/content/hiddeninsights/2017/05/12/artificial-intelligence-in-telecoms/

“AT&T Labs Fosters Innovative Technology | AT&T Labs.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. http://about.att.com/innovation/labs

“Best Artificial Intelligence Science Fiction | BestScienceFictionBooks.Com.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. http://bestsciencefictionbooks.com/best-artificial-intelligence-science-fiction-books.php

“Hephaestus – Greek Mythology Link.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. http://www.maicar.com/GML/Hephaestus.html

“Jacquard Loom – Wikipedia.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquard_loom

“Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm

“Printing Press – Facts & Summary – HISTORY.Com.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/printing-press

“This Month in Physics History.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/201802/history.cfm

“This New AI Service Will Transcribe Conference Calls in Real-Time | Ladders.” n.d. Accessed August 9, 2018. https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/this-new-ai-service-will-transcribe-conference-calls-in-real-time-for-you

Links to Photos:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Telaio_Jacquard_1849.jpg (public domain)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vaucanson_duck1.jpg (public domain)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leibniz_Stepped_Reckoner.png (public domain)

 

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