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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Origins of Telecom – Clandestine Communications

Clandestine CommunicationsNecessity, they say, is the mother of invention. In the case of organized crime, the need to stay under the radar of authorities required finesse and innovation.

Meanwhile, crime fighters have an ever-present need to catch bad guys and provide admissible evidence of their wrongdoing.

Below are a few of the early telecommunications technologies used on both sides of the law.

Secret Signals

Secret signals, such as an elaborate knock on the door or animal calls, have long been used by criminals to communicate. The 19th century “father of criminology,” Hanns Gross, described “contact calls,” which were almost always animal imitations, as a means of communication between criminals during the commission of a crime. For example, burglars wouldn’t want to make unwanted noises that would draw attention to themselves, but they might need to signal their partners in crime. By using animal calls, like an owl’s hoot, they could do just that and no one else would think twice about it.

The Black Box – Untraceable Phone Calls

A previously respectable inventor, Walter Shaw, invented a device for the mafia that was called the “black box.” This device allowed callers to make free long distance calls that were untraceable. Not only could criminals discuss their nefarious deals without incurring toll charges, authorities would never be able to trace those calls or prove a phone conversation took place.

The Dictograph

The Dictograph, which arrived in the early 1900s and ushered in the wiretapping era, was a device used to pick up sounds in one room and transmit them to a device in another room. Live stenographers were often stationed in the second room to listen in and transcribe conversations. The Dictograph could be configured two ways: as an intercom in full view or stripped down and hidden to secretly monitor conversations.

Companies like Standard Oil and Westinghouse soon began using the Dictograph as an eavesdropping device as did the US Secret Service and other government agencies. It was later used in legislative offices, recording bribes and other misdeeds. The Dictograph became an important tool among police, private detectives, and lawyers. Because of the potential for being used for evil, the device was not sold to the general public and was available only via a lease or rent, with up to 800 devices reportedly available for rent in Chicago alone. Criminals likely used the Dictograph as well, with blackmail being a logical use case.

Bug Detectors

Whether concerned about law enforcement, political enemies, criminals, or other nations listening in, the wiretapping era created a new need: detection of listening devices. One such device, a “covert transmitter detector,” was patented in the 1960s and was able to detect radio signals emitted from bugs without the need to tune into each specific frequency.

All kinds of gadgets exist today to listen in to or escape detection. Law enforcement officers use “stingray” devices to trick cell phones into connecting to bogus cell phone towers so that they can determine the cell phone’s location and intercept incoming and outgoing communications. Those seeking privacy, including business users, activists, journalists, whistle blowers, and criminals alike have the Tor network, which completely anonymitizes their online communications. Though technology may evolve, it’s an age-old story where tools can be used for good or for evil.— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

“Clandestine COmmunications.” n.d. http://www.markmirabello.com/uploads/3/9/5/9/395973/clandestinecommunications.pdf

“Dictograph | Definition of Dictograph by Merriam-Webster.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Dictograph

“HOots, Crows, and Whistles: Criminals Using Animal Calls as Secret Signals.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.annmarieackermann.com/animal-calls-as-secret-signals

“Patent US2193102 – Dictograph – Google Patents.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.google.com/patents/US2193102

“Patent US3473127 – Covert Transmitter Detector – Google Patents.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017a. https://www.google.com/patents/US3473127

———. “Patent US3473127 – Covert Transmitter Detector – Google Patents.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017b. https://www.google.com/patents/US3473127

“Tor: The Good. The Bad. The Anonymous.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.serviceobjects.com/resources/articles-whitepapers/tor-network-whitepaper

“Turns Out Police Stingray Spy Tools Can Indeed Record Calls | WIRED.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.wired.com/2015/10/stingray-government-spy-tools-can-record-calls-new-documents-confirm/

“Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance in America, 1862-1920 – Kerry Segrave – Google Books.” n.d. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://books.google.com/books?id=USZiBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA165&lpg=PA165&dq=wiretapping+detector+invention&source=bl&ots=QBwcvZLVrz&sig=1wnvwRI70ph3vm59R9GoHEABmXE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRhLmyiLXXAhXE0FQKHaCsBfUQ6AEIbTAM#v=onepage&q=wiretapping%20detector%20invention&f=false

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How to Set Up an Informational Help Line

Informational Help LineInformational phones numbers are commonly used to relay recorded information to callers. For example, in a crisis or natural disasters, callers could call a toll free number to hear the latest advisories or find out about road closures.

Businesses often use informational telephone recordings to relay information about job openings, requests for bids, or product information. Recordings can also be used for educational or entertainment purposes.

If your organization commonly relays the same information over and over, it may make sense to set up an informational helpline where callers can dial in to hear your message. Here’s how to do it.

  • Obtain a virtual phone number in either a local or toll free format. With virtual numbers, you do not need a physical phone in order to receive calls or set up outgoing recorded messages. You can designate a “ring to” number and change it frequently. In this use case, you can either configure the main number as a “sizzle” number or set up a series of message only extensions.
  • Option A – Set up a “sizzle” number. A sizzle number is a type of informational phone number that plays a prerecorded message, much like a voicemail message but longer and without the prompt for callers to record a message for you. Instead, callers listen to your recorded message.
  • Option B – Configure the virtual phone number so that the auto attendant routes callers to various “message only” extensions. Each extension can address a specific topic. For example, the initial greeting could prompt callers to press ‘101’ for information about your request for proposals, press ‘102’ for information about a product recall, or press ‘103’ for current job openings. From there, you’d set up each extension with the appropriate recording.
  • Set up your calls to action (if any) – Recorded messages used to be relatively passive. Callers called the informational help line, listened to the information, and then hung up. With one of our modern virtual phone numbers, you can make your help line much more interactive by adding calls to action. For example, you could instruct callers to visit your website, prompt them to leave a voicemail or press a button to speak to a live person, or ask them to answer yes or no questions using an interactive voice response system.

It’s helpful to plot out your informational help line’s script and menu system on paper before recording your messages. Simplicity is key to a good user experience, so keep that in mind as you design your prompts.

Our virtual numbers are both affordable and offered on a month-to-month basis with no contracts, making it quick and easy to set up informational help lines as needed — even for temporary projects. Thus, you could set up individual help lines for each of your projects. Once the project is over and the information no longer needs to be put out there, you can cancel the help line with no consequences.

Global Call Forwarding
Toll Free and Local Numbers Worldwide

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Cross Border Business – How to Set Up Call Forwarding Numbers for Mexico-USA Phone Calls

By Alex Covarrubias, 9 April 2006 Based on the arms by Juan Gabino. [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsUS businesses with partners, suppliers, or customers in Mexico are often geographically close, such as is the case with San Diego and Tijuana, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, El Paso and Juarez, but internationally challenged.

While free trade agreements help keep goods and services flowing across borders, the simple act of making a phone call can still cause friction between people on both sides of the border. Setting a Mexico call forwarding number is one way to ease the burden. Here’s how to do it.

Choose between Toll Free or Local Call Forwarding Numbers

Toll free call forwarding numbers for Mexico are ideal if your partners or customers are located throughout Mexico. They work just like toll free numbers in the United States in that callers are not charged for the call, but you can set them up so that while the number originates in Mexico, the call actually rings to a phone in the United States. In Mexico, you can choose a traditional or mobile accessible toll free number.

On the other hand, if your business caters to Mexican customers in a specific city, such as Tijuana, Mexico City, Puebla or Monterrey, getting a local call forwarding phone number for that city adds to your business’s local appeal. While you’ll set up call forwarding to ring to a US phone, to callers, it will seem as if they are calling a business in their own community.

Select the Phone Number

As you work your way through the sign-up process, you’ll need to select your new call forwarding number. First, select from Mexico Toll Free, Mexico (1800) Mobile Accessible, Mexico Mobile Accessible, or any one of the dozens of listed Mexican cities. Depending on the type of number selected, the number may be provided to you upon activation. If given a choice, choose the new number that you like best.

Enter Your USA Ring To Number

Also called a destination number, this is the phone where you’ll answer your incoming calls from Mexico. You can change this number at any time, making cross border call forwarding a flexible communications option.

You can also configure your Mexico call forwarding number to ring to specific extensions or to different phone numbers in a specific order. The built-in voice response system serves as a virtual PBX system, routing callers to the appropriate person, department, or voice mailbox.

Choose a Monthly Plan and Any Options You Might Want

Our Mexico call forwarding numbers are offered month-to month, in several plans: Basic, Value, Power, Premium, and Enterprise. Each plan includes a predetermined number of minutes and advanced features. Optional features like call recording and rollover minutes are available. Activate your new call forwarding number and share it with your contacts in Mexico.

Flexibility Built In

Setting up cross border call forwarding numbers between Mexico and USA is an easy, affordable solution for any US business with partners, suppliers, customers and other contacts in Mexico. It’s also extremely flexible, especially with our contract-free service that scales up and down as your needs change. You can even cancel with no penalties, no questions asked.

Read on https://www.aitelephone.com/global-call-forwarding.html

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How to Set Up International Communications for a Remote Branch Office

Communication Contact Phone ConnectionAs a business expands internationally, it often becomes necessary to open satellite offices or use international call forwarding numbers to communicate with suppliers, partners, and customers in the new market.

In many cases, using international call forwarding numbers can eliminate the need to establish a physical office completely. If you do have a physical location, you can use these same numbers strategically to keep your international calling costs as low as possible.

Setting Up A Branch Office to Receive Incoming International Phone Calls

Your branch office employees will need a basic phone system with local phone numbers just as they would if located within your same country, so the initial set-up process is the same. However, those local numbers will be international phone numbers to everyone outside of the branch office’s country, complete with potentially high international calling costs.

If you’d like your domestic team to be able to dial up the remote office without the added confusion and high cost of international long distance, using an international call forwarding number is a convenient, cost-effective option.

Order an international call forwarding number that’s local (or toll free, if desired) to the callers’ country. For example, if your main office is in USA and your branch office is in Brazil, you’ll want to order an international call forwarding number that originates in USA. That way, it will look and act like any other USA phone number.

Set the destination or “ring to” number to the branch office’s main phone number. In this example, you’d set it up so that the USA number rings to your branch office in Brazil.

Setting Up a Branch Office for Outgoing International Phone Calls

Now, do the reverse so that your branch office employees can place a local (or toll free) phone call to reach your main office in another country. In this example, you’d need to order a Brazil call forwarding number and then set its ring to number to your main USA office number. Once complete, your Brazilian branch office employees can call your main USA office simply by dialing a local phone number.

Advanced Techniques

In either case, advanced features such as auto attendant, time of day routing, and more can be set up to provide even more value. For example, if you have bilingual staff members who speak English and Portuguese, you could set up sequential routing so that the incoming calls ring to those staff members first. Likewise, instead of buying an expensive phone system for a small branch office, you could set up your international call forwarding number to serve as a “virtual PBX” system, complete with individual extensions and voicemail boxes.

Your business will still incur international calling costs using this strategy. However, bypassing each country’s default international dialing options is a great way to save money. Our international call forwarding rates are extremely competitive, and all calls are carried over modern PSTN telecommunications networks for the highest audio quality available. 

View services aitelephone.com

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How to Set Up International Audio Conference Calling for Branch Offices

Conference Calling for Branch OfficesIf your business consists of a main office and one or more branch offices around the world, setting up audio-based international conference calling is an excellent way to facilitate teamwork and communications.

With audio conferencing, there’s no special equipment needed. All anyone needs is a standard telephone, a local access number, and availability to participate.

Our international conference calling service offers local and toll free access numbers for countries around the world.

Here’s how to set up your conference calls with easy access for global branch offices.

  • Sign up for one of our pay-as-you-go international conference calling plans. These are no contract plans with support for countries around the world, exceptional call quality, premium features, and low per minute costs. Ideally, the plan you select should offer local or toll free access numbers for the countries in which your branch offices are located. If the country is not supported, that’s okay as you can dial and connect those locations manually.
  • Plan your first international branch office conference call. Your branch offices will be given local or toll free access numbers unique to their own countries along with a conference PIN number to enter the call. Meanwhile, participants located in your own country will dial a domestic or toll free access number to join the call. You could have participants dialing in from USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, Italy, and other countries, all dialing unique and local phone numbers to join your call.
  • Identify any branch office participants that might need to be connected manually. This can happen if the branch office is located in a country that is not supported with local or toll free access numbers or where the per minute international rates are higher than you’d like. In either case, the workaround would be to use the chairperson dial-out feature or operator assistance. You could also encourage those users to connect using the free CONNECT app. This free app is a convenient choice for participants using web-connected smartphones or in countries that are not supported with local access numbers. The Connect app works worldwide, connecting participants with just a tap.
  • Each branch offices can be a sub-account of the main conferencing account.  For example, a bank with it’s headquarters in the US has international branches located in the London UK, Madrid Spain, Paris France and Australia.  Each of these branches can have their own independent set of pass-codes to host on demand conference calls from their location.  All usage is detailed for end of the month billing with calls itemized by branch office for cost accounting purposes.
  • Host your first audio conference. Once the logistics have been worked out and the appointed time has arrived, host your conference call. All participants from your main and branch offices will dial their country-specific access codes, connect via the Connect app, or be connected manually using the dial-out feature or operator assistance. They’ll enter the conference room PIN and be joined into a group audio conference call.

Since our service is a pay-as-you-go audio conferencing plan, you can hold global conference calls with your branch offices according to a schedule of your own design. There’s no need to maintain a minimum or pay for services you’re not using. And the audio quality is beyond compare. Sign up for a trial account and start audio conferencing with your branch offices now.

learn more here

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How to Get a Virtual Number for Canada that Rings to a Phone in the United States

Business between Canada and USAUS-based businesses often do business with partners and customers in Canada.

As with other international communications, local phone numbers help to avoid negative perceptions and make it easier for Canadians to call your business in the United States.

Here’s how to set up a virtual number for Canada so that it rings to a phone in the United States.

What is a Canada Virtual Number?
A Canadian virtual number is a type of international remote call forwarding number that can be set up to ring to a physical phone located somewhere else, such as in the United States. To the caller in Canada, the number looks and acts like a local or toll free number. For example, it could have an area code for Toronto, Québec, or one dozens of cities in Canada, yet you can set up the call to be answered in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, or whichever city you prefer.

Ordering and Configuring a Canada Virtual Phone Number
Our contract-free worldwide call divert plan is easy, affordable, and highly configurable to best meet your call forwarding needs. Here’s how to order and configure your virtual number:

1. Choose the Canada virtual phone number type — You’ll be presented with several choices: Toll free (1-888, 1-877, 1-866, 1-855, 1-844, and 1-833), premium toll free (1-800), and more than 100 cities across multiple area codes. For example, if you want a local Edmonton phone number, scroll through the list and choose one of the Edmonton area codes offered.

2. Choose the phone number (if offered) — Depending on the selection, you may be shown the new phone number right away. If so, click the dropdown to see other available phone numbers and make your selection. If not, the phone number will be provided to you upon activation.

3. Enter your destination phone number — This is the phone number where your incoming calls from Canada will be forwarded. You can change this number at any time. For example, if you want your calls to be answered at your main office in Boston, enter that phone number here.

4. Select the desired monthly plan — We offer several plans with different levels of prepaid minutes. If you would like optional rollover minutes, make sure to click the checkbox next to “Add rollover.” Optional call recording is also available after your account has been provisioned.

5. Complete the transaction — Follow the prompts to add your plan to your shopping cart and complete the transaction.

From there, your account will be activated and a confirmation email sent to you. The confirmation email will contain the following information:

• Your new Canada virtual phone number
• Your account number, PIN, and Customer Portal address

To view your call history, change your ring to number, or manage your account, simply log into the Customer Portal. Remember, you can upgrade or downgrade your account as needed or cancel at anytime.

Learn more  https://www.aitelephone.com/global-call-forwarding.html

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How to Collaborate Face-to-Face with a Distributed Team of 4 to 10

video conferecingWhether you’re a freelancer or a corporate employee, teamwork has become increasingly global.

Your team members could be located in another building — or another country. While talent should know no boundaries, collaboration is at its best when team members can interact face-to-face.

Modern collaboration tools bring us together. However, they can bring another set of challenges like individual software and/or platform requirements for each team member, long-term contracts, and ongoing costs.

For a small organization or team with limited resources, this can lead to a patchwork of tools that may or may not be suitable for group collaboration.

Ideal Collaboration Tools for Small Distributed Teams

Collaborating with a virtual team requires several online collaboration tools. The must-haves include:

  • Audio conferencing
  • Video conferencing
  • File sharing

Easy enough, right? After all, you could use your business phone system to initiate a small conference call, use Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive to share files, and use Google Hangouts, Skype, or FaceTime for those meetings where face-to-face collaboration is essential. But wait, we’re getting into that “patchwork of tools” zone.

In order to be effective, tools need to be readily available and easy to use. They need to facilitate your meeting, not interfere with it. It’s not unusual for attendees to arrive to videoconferences late because they had to download, install, and configure a plug-in or client before they could join in.

For face-to-face team meetings, an all-in-one video conferencing solution that runs in a web browser is ideal. Your teammates already have a web browser and are comfortable using it. With such a solution, participating in a team videoconference is a simple matter of clicking a link and interacting. Eliminating the need for special software and plugins means everyone can jump right in, without having to install or learn anything new.

Browser-based video conferencing typically provides multiple ways to exchange information such as via voice and text chatting or file sharing. Video feeds from webcams bring participants face to face while screen sharing tools deliver presentations, YouTube videos, graphics, or step-by-step software demonstrations directly to the desktops of each participant.

Video Pro Conferencing – Your All-in-One

Fortunately, Video Pro Conferencing’s Basic plan is an ideal solution for the face-to-face videoconferencing needs of a small, distributed team — and it won’t break your budget or require a long-term commitment. You can even try it free for a full month with no obligation and no credit card required.

For a team of up to 10, we suggest signing up for the Video Pro Conferencing Basic account, which allows for up to 10 attendees and four cameras per meeting.

It’s loaded with professional video conferencing features (such as screen sharing, pass presenter controls, chats, collaborative notes, recording, free VoIP audio, and more) and is available on a month-to-month basis with no contract.

Best of all, your teammates won’t need to hassle with new software or plugins. Simply send them the link to your next video conference and begin collaborating!


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How to Host a Large Event Audio Conference

Operators at Call CenterThere’s a big difference between hosting an audio conference amongst your team and hosting an audio conference with hundreds, if not thousands, of attendees from around the world. Not only does the technology need to be rock solid, you’ll need extra human resources on hand to manage various aspects of your global event conference call. Here’s how to host an operated assisted event conference call.

Choose the Right Audio Conferencing Service

As noted above, hosting an audio event conference with hundreds of attendees requires much more from both a technology and human resources standpoint.

  • Technology requirements — First, you’ll want to be sure to select an event audio conferencing service that can reliably support the number of attendees you plan on hosting. Next, make sure that support extends to the countries your attendees will be joining from. For example, if you’re hosting a worldwide event, you’ll need to offer international access numbers. Another important consideration involves the underlying telecommunications infrastructure powering the audio conferencing service. The best audio quality, reliability, and experience comes from a PSTN network rather than VoIP.
  • Human resources requirements — Even with the best audio conferencing technology at your disposal, managing thousands of individual callers while simultaneously managing the content of your conference is a recipe for disaster. Operator assistance with live operators dedicated to your event is essential. These operators handle details such as greeting participants, dialing out, answering questions, troubleshooting, and more. You can even have a dedicated line for communicating privately with the event project manager during the conference call.

We offer “white glove” operator assisted event conference calls over a global PSTN network that supports up to 10,000 attendees from around the world.

Plan Your Audio Conference Event

As with any large event, working out the details and advanced planning are crucial to the success of your audio conference. You’re not on your own here. We offer personalized support and a dedicated event manager to help plan your event and oversee operations before, during, and after the event. Typical tasks include:

  • Event logistics – Determining the optimal time and date, length, number of attendees, number of live operators needed, countries involved, international access, web components (if any), file sharing requirements
  • Sending invitations and reminders
  • Preparing an agenda and time limits
  • Identifying attendees who will need to be manually connected to the conference (such as those who live in countries lacking access numbers)
  • Rehearsing the audio conference

Launch The Audio Conference Event

All that planning will pay off during the live audio conference, and your event manager will continue to hold your hand throughout the event. Let us take care of the logistics while you concentrate on delivering value to your audience. It’s that easy. We’ll even record the conference call so that you can later review it, repurpose it, or share it with others.

Review and Follow Up After Your Audio Conference Concludes

After the conference call, there’s just a little housekeeping to do. You may want to review attendance reports to get a better idea as to who attended and for how long. You might want to jot down your thoughts in a lessons learned document so you’re even better prepared for your next large event. You may have a list of questions from attendees to review and answer. You might want to upload the audio recording to your website and make it available to people who were unable to attend the event live.

Hosting a large international audio conference does not need to be intimidating, especially when you have a team of live operators assisting and a global telecommunications network capable of supporting up to 10,000 attendees from around the world.

Operator assisted event calls

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How to Set Up International Call Forwarding Hunt Groups

Call Forwarding Hunt GroupGlobal call forwarding numbers are an important communications tool for any international business, including enterprise organizations and small businesses alike. By design, each virtual call forwarding number is assigned a destination “ring to” phone number.

Thus, a phone call made using a global call forwarding number is forwarded to another phone, often in a different country, that rings and is then handled accordingly.

The actual phone call can be handled in any number of ways. At its most basic, the call would be answered and a conversation started. If the call goes unanswered, the next logical step would be to have it go to voicemail. However, this is not always desirable, especially if you have human resources available who could promptly answer the call.

Hunt groups are commonly used in businesses and call centers to make sure calls are handled promptly by live agents. The phone systems themselves can be configured to either ring all extensions simultaneously or ring the next available extension in the “hunt group.”

If you set up your global call forwarding number to ring to the main telephone number for a business or call center, the call will be treated by the phone system much like any other call using that phone number. Thus, you may have some sequential ringing already in place at the physical location thanks to how the phone system is set up.

With virtual phone numbers, however, your destination phone number may be dynamic, changing based on the time of the day or other factors. You might even have a distributed team and lack a PBX system altogether. Fortunately, an advanced call forwarding feature, sequential ringing, gives you greater control over how each incoming call is handled. Using the sequential ringing feature, you can set up a global hunt group to ensure that your incoming calls are handled appropriately.

How to Set Up Sequential Ringing

The process itself is a simple matter of selecting Sequential Ringing and entering up to four phone numbers in the desired sequence. It’s helpful to sketch it out on paper first.

  • Determine if the main number’s existing sequence should be bypassed. You might not want your virtual numbers handled in the same way as most calls coming in. For instance, you may have a handful of people responsible for answering your global phone calls. Who are those people and what are their direct phone numbers and extensions?
  • Determine if fluency in the caller’s language needs to be considered. If so, you’ll want to make sure that only those who are fluent in the language are included in the hunt group. Again, identify those people and write down their direct phone numbers and extensions.
  • Determine if other offices or call centers should be included in your sequence. The correct people to handle your global call forwarding calls may be located in different offices or call centers around the globe. Identify the individuals and/or other branch offices that should be included in the sequence and write down their direct phone numbers — even if they are located in different countries. Global call forwarding numbers can be configured to ring to phone numbers around the world.
  • Determine a logical timing of the sequence. If you have a distributed team or if offices in different time zones will be involved, your sequence should make sense timing-wise so that the ring-to phones will actually be staffed when most calls are likely to come in.
  • Decide how you want to handle calls if everyone in the sequence is unavailable. In most cases, you’ll opt to have the call go to voicemail.
  • Determine the ideal sequence for your call forwarding calls and the desired length before the next number in the sequence begins ringing. The delay is cumulative, so you’ll want to make sure your most competent agents are first and second in the sequence and consider the third and fourth agents as backups in case your main agents are occupied. Try to allow enough time for the agent to answer, but not too much time before the next number rings if it goes unanswered. For example, if you have a 10-second delay between each number in the sequence, the caller will have waited a full 30 seconds before the fourth person answers or 40 seconds before landing in voicemail.
  • Configure sequential ringing. Once you have your sequence laid out, head to your global call forwarding online dashboard and select the sequential ringing option. Enter the destination numbers in your hunt group sequence and the desired length before the call will ring to the next number in the group.

Using sequential ringing to create a global, virtual hunt group is an effective way to deliver a superior experience to your international callers. It’s also easy to change as needed.

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International Call Forwarding

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Origins of Telecommunications – Pioneers of Teleconferencing

Doug Englebart - Inventor of the First Two-Way Video Conference

Dialing into a conference call or clicking to connect to a web conference is second nature to many business professionals these days. These tools have become invaluable in our always connected, global business world. We owe a debt of gratitude to the visionaries who pioneered teleconferencing technologies.

Doug Englebart – Inventor of the First Two-Way Video Conference
Doug Englebart is credited with demonstrating the first two-way computer and video teleconference on December 9, 1968. He and a group of fellow researchers at Stanford Research Institute’s Augmentation Research Center presented a live public demonstration of an online system that they had been working on. They presented several innovations including screen sharing with two people located at different sites communicating over a network using an audio-video interface. The entire presentation was conducted online using closed circuit hookups. So, not only was the presentation about videoconferencing; it was a video conference.

You can view video clips of Englebart’s 1968 videoconference demonstration at: View video clips of Englebart’s 1968 videoconference demonstration
Englebart was a man before his time, having invented and patented the computer mouse well before personal computers became mainstream. By the time PCs became popular in the mid-1980s, his mouse technology had fallen into the public domain.

In all, Englebart had 20 patents to his name including patents related to email, networking, the Internet, and interface windows.

Walter Shaw – Inventor of Conference Calling
The man behind the teleconference has several inventions to his name: conference calling, call forwarding, touchtone dialing, security system dialers that call the police, and the answering machine to name a few. He was even commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1954 to create a “red phone” to serve as an emergency link between the White House and Moscow.

Walter Shaw was considered a telecommunications genius, working for Bell Telephone for decades starting in 1935. Disputes with Bell over his patents and the rights to them eventually caused Shaw to leave the company. Now on his own, Shaw eventually began working for the mafia and invented what was known as a “black box.” The black box allowed callers to make untraceable, free long distance phone calls.

Shaw’s dark path ultimately ended with a conviction for illegal phone usage in 1976. It also forged a connection between his son and the mafia, with the younger son becoming a notorious jewel thief said to be responsible for the theft of $70 million in goods across more than 2,000 heists.

Web Conferencing Pioneers
Though the first online two-way video conference took place in the late 1960s and included features such as collaborative screen sharing, webinars as we know them began to appear in the early- to mid-1990s.

Among the earliest modern web conferencing pioneers is the Global Schoolhouse Project from Global SchoolNet. In 1992, GlobalSchoolhouse.org launched thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation to showcase online collaborative learning. The site allowed participating schools to join live two-way audio-video conferences over the Internet.

In the business world, software such as NetMeeting, PlaceWare, Starlight Networks StarLive!, and WebEx soon followed. Eric Korb, the founder of Webinars.com, is credited with coining (and originally trademarking) the term “webinar” in 1998. The trademark was later transferred to InterCall followed by West Corporation and its subsidiaries.
Teleconferencing has a long, rich history and continues to be a mainstay in business.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

“Doug Englebart, Inventor of Mouse and Teleconferencing, Dies.” 2017. Accessed October 13. Doug Englebart, Inventor of Mouse and Teleconferencing, Dies.

“Eric Korb | TrueCred.” 2017. Accessed October 13. Eric Korb | TrueCred.

“‘Genius on Hold’: An Inventor, His Jewel Thief Son and Steve Jobs – Latimes.” 2017. Accessed October 13. http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/01/business/la-fi-tn-movie-about-telecom-pioneer-by-his-son-the-jewel-thief-20130228.

“Global SchoolNet – It’s Not About the Technology – YouTube.” 2017a.
———. “Global SchoolNet – It’s Not About the Technology – YouTube.” 2017b. Accessed October 13. Global SchoolNet – It’s Not About the Technology.
“Global SchoolNet: GSN’s History.” 2017. Accessed October 13. Global SchoolNet.

“History of Webinars – Importance of Webinars and Webcasts.” 2017. Accessed October 13. History of Webinars – Importance of Webinars and Webcasts.

“United States Patent and Trademark Office.” 2017. Accessed October 13. United States Patent and Trademark Office.

“Webinar Definition, Origin & History.” 2017. Accessed October 13. Webinar Definition, Origin & History.

“Webinars – History and Trends – InsiderHub.” 2017. Accessed October 13. Webinars – History and Trends.

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How to Divert International Phone Calls to the Correct Department with Global Call Forwarding Numbers

Divert Phone Calls InternationallyGlobal call forwarding numbers are an effective telecommunications tool. Not only do they help with centralizing incoming calls from around the world, you can create a virtual PBX system to ensure that your international callers are routed to the correct department or individual. Here’s what you need to know.

Choose Your Global Call Forwarding and Destination Numbers

If you don’t already have a global call forwarding number, you’ll need to order one, making sure the plan supports Interactive Voice Response (IVR) / PBX (ours does). As an example, if you need to receive calls from Italy in your US office, you’d need to order an Italian global call forwarding number and set it up to ring to your US office. This will divert calls from Italy to your main office.

However, what if your receptionist doesn’t speak Italian? Or what if you anticipate receiving a variety of call types such as questions about shipping, technical support, or billing? Using the IVR feature makes it possible to prompt callers to select the appropriate department.

Configure Interactive Voice Response

The Interactive Voice Response feature can be customized to best meet your needs. Common elements include the following:

  • A greeting – Depending on how you want to set up your system, the greeting could welcome callers and identify the business before connecting the call to a live person or voicemail. It could also be informational only or prompt the caller to make a choice.
  • Prompts / menu options – Like the name implies, Interactive Voice Response is interactive. Thus, you’ll need to set it up with prompts and menu options such as “press 1 for shipping, 2 for technical support.”

You’ll need to set up both for diverting your international phone calls to the appropriate department. Before you configure the IVR feature, it’s helpful to plan it out on paper. Below are a few considerations when planning how to set up the IVR:

  • Will there be a choice of languages? If so, this should be your first prompt so callers can choose the appropriate language and/or be routed to a fluent representative.
  • Which departments will callers likely need to reach? Write these down along with their direct phone numbers and extensions.
  • How will you handle international calls that come in after hours? With time zone differences, it’s likely that your international callers will call you during their business hours, but not necessarily yours. It may be necessary to use time of day routing and an alternate call center, answering service, or voicemail for your after hours calls.

We recommend keeping your system simple, without too many levels of prompts to avoid frustrating your callers. Write a brief script for each prompt and then set up the IVR accordingly. This is a simple process that involves filling out a few forms and following the prompts. Having your different prompts, scripts, and phone numbers in hand will make this task much easier.

After setting up the IVR, test it by calling the international call forwarding number and pressing the keys when prompted. If the system responded as expected, your business is ready to begin receiving and diverting these international calls.

Setting up global call forwarding to use the Interactive Voice Response feature allows you to direct callers to the right people in your office who can help them. It’s also an efficient use of resources and an excellent way to create a “virtual PBX.”


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How to Host a US Canada Cross Border Conference Call

Toronto CanadaDoing business across USA and Canada often requires US Canada cross border conference calls. With both access phone number and currency differences, hosting a US Canada conference call can become tricky.

Our service overcomes these obstacles, making access easy and affordable on both sides of the border. Here’s how to host US Canada cross border conference calls.

Providing Local Access Numbers for Participants in USA and Canada

You’ll need a US / Canada conference calling plan that offers access numbers that are local to cities on both sides of the border. This way, participants in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Québec, for example, can dial local phone numbers to access the conference call.

Meanwhile, the same is true for participants in Seattle, New York, Miami, or Kentucky. Similarly, you could opt for toll free numbers for your participants in Canada and the United States.

With local or toll free access numbers, attendees do not need to dial an access number that’s in a different city or country, keeping their individual costs to a minimum, if not zero. These numbers make joining your conference call simple and without friction.

Who Pays for the US Canada Conference Call — And in Which Currency?

With American International Telephonic’s pay-as-you-go plans, the account holder is billed for usage on a per minute, per participant basis in either US or Canadian dollars depending on the account holder’s location.

The per minute rates are quoted in USD and vary based on the access numbers the callers used: Canada local access, Canada toll free access, US local access, or US toll free numbers. With multiple participants using various access numbers, you’ll see have a mixture of rates — each of which is extremely competitive and a fraction of the cost of Bell Canada and other toll free conferencing providers.

Holding a Cross Border Conference Call

Once you have a US Canada plan in place, holding cross border conference calls is easy with our service. Conference calls can be held at a moment’s notice with no reservations required. Simply decide when you’d like to hold your conference call and provide attendees with the US Canada conference call details.

It’s really that simple, but if you want to dig deeper, advanced features allow for even greater functionality before, during and after the conference call. For example, you could:

  • Use the dial-out function to patch individual attendees into the call as they are needed.
  • Switch between a round robin-style conference where everyone speaks freely to lecture-only mode where only one line is open while that one person speaks.
  • Mute noisy lines.
  • Remove attendees.
  • Lock the conference call.
  • Record the conference call.
  • View Caller ID information detailing who is on the call (using the Live Conference Viewer).
  • View detailed attendance reports after the conference call.

US Canada conference calls bring participants together into a group audio call despite geographic differences. With our low-cost, pay-as-you-go service, you can hold cross border conference calls at a moment’s notice, paying only for the minutes used with no long-term contracts or hidden fees.

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How To Conduct Face-to-Face Interviews via Video Conferencing

Conducting interviews via video conference callIf you work in human resources, purchasing, a law office, casting, or any other field for that matter, chances are you must meet with other people on a regular basis. From job interviews to auditions and everything in between, video conferencing can fill in the gaps when meeting in person isn’t practical.

You may also come to prefer video conferencing as some of the benefits include:

• No travel
• Ability to hold ad hoc interviews
• Ability to bring in multiple participants
• Better communication thanks to visual cues
• More relaxed interviewees
• Built-in tools (such as file sharing or presentation mode) to aid in the process

Use the tips below to conduct face-to-face interviews via video conferencing.

• Choose a video conferencing system that’s easy for all participants — Web-based video conferencing is a great option that allows attendees to sign in using a common web browser or a smartphone. There’s no special software to install and configure, reducing friction and facilitating your face-to-face collaboration.

• Prepare your materials — Not only are web video conferences an excellent way to interact in real time, complete with audio and video, they make it possible to exchange information such as files, presentations, or even YouTube videos. For example, when interviewing a job candidate, you may want to go over the job description or play a prerecorded video tour of your office. Place these files in a folder on your desktop for easy access during the interview.

• Clear your virtual desktop — Screen sharing is a desirable feature of video conference software, but you’ll want to be sure to do some basic housekeeping before your video interview. For instance, if you have QuickBooks open during your meeting and then share your screen, other participants may be able to see confidential information. Likewise, you’ll want to disable email and SMS notifications and on-screen reminders. Finally, make sure your desktop wallpaper is professional.

• Clear your physical desktop (and on-camera surroundings) — Turn on your webcam before the meeting and make sure that you’re happy with the background. Is it clutter-free? Neutral? Once the visuals have been addressed, consider potential sources of audible interference such as ringing telephones, an open window, office chatter, or a barking dog.

• Invite participants — Holding interviews over a video conference makes it possible to include people who might not otherwise be able to attend due to geographic distances. For example, if the purchasing manager needs to be involved but is on a business trip in another state or country, holding a video conference allows everyone to gather virtually to conduct the interview.

• Conduct the interview — The basics of interviewing remain the same as if you were in the same room, so follow established norms. From a technological standpoint, you may want to take advantage of a few features unique to video conferencing such as recording, collaborative notes, chat boxes, and screen sharing.

• Follow up steps — After the video conference ends and depending on the features you used, you may have some additional resources to aid in decision-making. For example, if you recorded the meeting and would like a second opinion from a colleague, you could share the recording. Similarly, if you used the collaborative notes feature, you may want to go in afterwards to fine-tune your notes, view other collaborators’ notes, or add additional information to them. Reviewing the chat transcript is also helpful.

Conducting interviews in a video conference call isn’t difficult, especially when you have the right conferencing tools at your disposal. Sign up for a free trial and experience the benefits of video conferencing firsthand.

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Origins of Telecom | Telephones Through Time

Origins of Telecom — Telephones Through TimeIn just a matter of years, we’ve seen telephones change from cordless landlines and flip phones to powerful smartphones.

Though innovations are fast and furious right now, telephones took their time as they evolved since the days of Alexandar Graham Bell. Below is a look at telephones through the years.

Telephones in the Late 1800s

After the telephone was invented in 1876, it took some time to construct the infrastructure needed for the telephone to become a viable communications tool.

The first telephone lines, switchboard, and telephone exchange were built in 1877 through 1878. By 1881, there were almost 49,000 telephones in use; AT&T was formed in 1885.

Telephones in the Early 1900s

Rapid growth in telephone use took place in the early 1900s. For example, at the turn of the century, there were about 600,000 telephones; five years later, that number swelled to 2.2 million, which more than doubled by 1910 when it reached 5.8 million.

The phones themselves looked dramatically different than they do today. Typical phones of the day were wall-mounted wooden boxes with exposed bells and separate mouth pieces and receivers and no rotary dial or a keypad. In order to place a call, the caller spoke to the operator who “switched” the call manually via the switchboard. Though used for decades, this system was cumbersome and slow.

Telephones in the 1930s

Rotary dial phones began to emerge in the 1930s, freeing callers from having to speak to an operator and wait for her to connect the call. The numbers on the dial sent a corresponding number of pulses over the phone lines, allowing the call to be connected without operator assistance.

Phones with rotary dials looked different than non-rotary telephones. One such design was called a “candlestick” phone with a body that looked like a candlestick with a dial in the middle, a mouthpiece on top, and a side-mounted receiver.

Telephones in the 1940s

The 1940s brought several telephone innovations including the concept of cellular communications and the North American Number Plan in 1947. This number plan, which is still used today, assigns phone numbers (area code, prefix, and line number) to the North American region.

By 1948, the number of telephones in the United States had reached 30 million.

In 1949, the Model 500 telephone was introduced by AT&T. What made this phone special? It was the first to combine a ringer and a handset. It is a cultural icon today.

Telephones in the 1950s

The 1950s were notable for laying the groundwork for direct long distance calling. The first such call, which was a test, took place in 1951. It took most of the decade before this option became available nationwide.

In 1956, the first transatlantic telephone cable was installed, alloing for international telephone service between the United Kingdom (and via various European links to other Western European countries) and North America.

Telephones in the 1960s

In the 1960s, there were more than 80 million telephones in the United States. Innovations included the first T1 system, a commercial digital transmission system which would later replace analog telephone lines.

The first pager, called “Bellboy,” arrived at the Seattle World’s Fair. This pager would send a tone to alert users to call in to retrieve their messages.

The first touch-tone telephone arrived in 1963. Instead of dialing a rotary dial, callers would simply push buttons that corresponded to the telephone number they were calling.

These phones looked much like the classic Model 500, but in place of the dial they featured the numeric keypad.

The 1960s also ushered in the 911 emergency phone system — about 30 years after Great Britain introduced its 999 emergency phone system in the 1930s.

Telephones in the 1970s

Portable cell phones became a reality in the 1970s, with the first portable call being made by Motorola’s Martin Cooper to a rival at Bell Labs. Fiber optics also arrived this decade, primarily for military use. By the late 1970s, a joint test by AT&T and Bell Labs of a new cellular phone system took place.

Telephones in the 1980s and 1990s

In the 1980s, there were more than 175 million telephones in the United States.

In 1982, the first commercial cellular phone service was approved by the FCC with commercial service becoming widespread throughout the United States by the end of the decade.

Remember the movie Wall Street starring Michael Douglas in Wall Street with the giant cell phone? Those original cell phones were clunky, but they were status symbols of the time. In the mid-1980s, there were about 24,000 cellular subscribers.

Pagers were quite popular in the 1990s, as were two-way radios in business settings. Cellular phones became less cumbersome and more affordable during the 1990s.

The first “smartphone,” IBM’s Simon Personal Communicator, arrived in 1992 — 15 years before the iPhone. About 50,000 units were sold. Though it had a touchscreen, this phone was large and ahead of its time.

The first “clamshell” cellular phone (or flip phone) arrived in 1996 called the Motorola Startac.

Meanwhile, Voice over Internet Protocols began to be developed in the mid-1990s, allowing users to make voice calls over the Internet.

In 1999, the first two-way pager, the BlackBerry 850 arrived to the delight of business professionals and executives. Though quaint by today’s standards, this device supported email and web browsing.

Telephones in a New Millenium

By 2000, the United States was home to 100 million cellular telephone subscribers, which represents huge growth over just 15 years or so. Landlines, while still in use, were no longer the only option, and many people dropped them completely. Cellular phones changed rapidly. Some looked like mini computers with full QWERTY keyboards. Color screens and built-in cameras began to appear.

A new device, called a Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), emerged, blending phone service with email, mobile web browsing, calendar, and note-taking functions. BlackBerry dominated this market.

In 2007, the first iPhone arrived.

Today, more than half the world uses a smartphone to do just about everything including: making phone calls, participating in teleconferences and video calls, sending emails and text messages, accesing the Internet, watching television, managing their tasks and projects, doing business, taking photos and videos, and much more.

Read on about telecommunications services


“Digital in 2017: Global Overview – We Are Social.” 2017. Accessed September 25. https://wearesocial.com/special-reports/digital-in-2017-global-overview.

“Imagining the Internet.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/150/1870.xhtml

“Telephone Timeline – Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.greatachievements.org/?id=3625

“The Evolution of Cell Phone Design Between 1983-2009 | Webdesigner Depot.” 2017. Accessed September 25. https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/05/the-evolution-of-cell-phone-design-between-1983-2009/

“The First Telephone Call.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/recon/jb_recon_telephone_1.html

“The History of BlackBerry: In Pictures – Telegraph.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/blackberry/11347347/The-history-of-BlackBerry-in-pictures.html?image=1.

“World’s First Smartphone Simon Launched before iPhone – Business Insider.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.businessinsider.com/worlds-first-smartphone-simon-launched-before-iphone-2015-6

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How to Connect an Outside Attendee into a Global Conference Call

Businessman on conference call from India.

Businessman on conference call from India.

Global conference calls involve attendees from various countries.

In most cases using our global conferencing service, attendees would be given a regional or toll free access number specific to their countries.

However, there are a few scenarios where you may want or need to connect an outside attendee into your call.

Fortunately, doing so is a simple matter.

Here’s how to connect attendees into a global conference call that’s in progress.

Why You Might Need to Manually Connect Attendees

You may need to manually patch attendees into an international conference call for several reasons such as:

  • No local access number available in the attendee’s country — More than 150 countries are supported in our Expanded plan. However, some smaller countries are not. Manually connecting them is a good way to ensure their participation or keep them from incurring costs.
  • Overcoming technical difficulties — In some countries, phone networks may be in poor condition, making it difficult for callers to get a good connection. By using our global network and dialing those attendees directly, those attendees will likely have a better experience. Likewise, if a caller cannot connect for some reason (perhaps they’re unfamiliar with international exit and country codes), connecting them manually is an easy option.
  • Getting a lower per minute rate — Our dial-out rates tend to be lower than the per minute rates for many countries. When practical, manually connecting international attendees located in countries with high calling costs can be a money saver.
  • Connecting attendees as needed — It’s often desirable to connect an expert, speaker, or individual as needed. For example, if you’re holding a regional sales meeting and would like an outside account manager to present information about a new product offering, that person would not be needed for the entire conference call. Connecting the attendee at the appropriate time allows your team to discuss important business matters amongst themselves as well as hear the information when the time comes. At the same time, the attendee does not need to be present for an extended time period.

How to Connect Outside Attendees into a Global Conference Call

The three main ways to connect attendees into your conference call are via the phone’s keypad, by requesting live operator assistance, or by using the free Connect app.

  • Using the dial-out feature via the phone’s key — You need to remember just two commands for this feature: *1 and *2. Press *1 followed by the global phone number. Once the attendee answers and is ready to join the call, press *2 which will return you back to the call and instantly add the attendee to it. Repeat as needed for additional attendees. If you have one or two attendees, this manual process shouldn’t be too much of a burden or impact the progress of the call too much. However, it can become more challenging and time-consuming with a larger group, so use the next method if you have several individuals to connect at once.
  • Using operator assistance — The universal *0 keypad command will bring up a live, US-based operator (available 24/7/365) who will be happy to connect attendees on your behalf.
  • Using the free Connect app — Both you and participants can use the free Connect app to connect to your global conference calls. This option bypasses the need for an access number all together (dial-out rates apply), making it a great choice for attendees in countries with high calling rates or excessively long access numbers. It also gives you greater control over all of your conference calls. This free app is available upon activation of one of our international conference calling plans.

With low per minute rates, a reliable, high quality global network, support for more than 100 countries, and no contracts, connecting with people from around the world in a conference call has never been easier.


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How to Host a Multi-Country Conference Call      

Globe Flag United Flags NationsIt’s often necessary to communicate with colleagues, partners, vendors, suppliers, customers, and others in countries around the world in a group phone call; but it’s challenging due to the nature of international calling and time zone considerations.

With a global conference calling system in place, hosting a multi-country conference call is a convenient option. Here’s how to host a multi-country conference call.

Identify Participating Countries

First, you’ll need to know which countries your attendees will be calling from so that you can select the most appropriate international conferencing plan for the call. It’s important to provide attendees with access numbers that will work in their own countries. Otherwise, calling into your conference call could be problematic. For example, they’d need to find and dial an exit code for their country, dial your conference call’s direct number (including country code), and pay for any international long distance costs incurred as a result.) Choosing an international conferencing plan with local and/or toll free access numbers specific to those countries solves this problem.

Thus, if you expect to have participants from USA, Canada, Germany, China, and Australia, check the plan’s support and rates for those countries. Smaller countries may not be supported in which case desirable features include the leader “dial out” tool where you can dial those participants manually, automated dial out, and live operator assistance.

Sign Up for an International Conference Calling Plan

Whether your multi-country conference call will be a one-off event or a recurring one, you can’t beat the value of our pay-as-you-go global conference calling plans. Rates are among the most competitive you’ll find, and there are no contracts or hidden extras. Exceptional call quality sets us apart along with a wealth of value-added features like: 24/7 live operator assistance, leader dial out, on demand conferencing, and free Connect app.

Determine the Optimal Time and Date for your First Multi-Country Conference Call

Now that you know which countries your attendees are from and a means for hosting the multi-country conference call, it’s time to narrow down the logistics of your first global conference call. Keep the following in mind as you schedule the teleconference:

  • Which time of day makes the most sense across the time zones involved?
  • Are any of the countries on the other side of the International Date Line? If so, keep that in mind when scheduling the call.
  • Will the call take place late at night for some attendees? If so, consider recording the call and making it available for playback after the fact.

Invite Participants

With our multi-country conference calling plans, there’s no need to “reserve” your time. Whether you need to host a conference call with your international contacts immediately or at some point in the future, all you need to do is let them know the time and local access number.

You could even launch a global conference call and then join individuals to it by dialing out. This is a simple matter of pressing *1, dialing the participant’s phone number, and then pressing *2 to join the participant into the conference.

Host Your First Conference Call

As the leader of a multi-country conference call, it’s your responsibility to faciliate the conversation and manage the technicalities of the call itself. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Create and follow an agenda as you would when leading any other type of meeting.
  • Record the conference call so that you have a record of it or for sharing with absentees after the fact. Make sure to notify participants that the call is being recorded.
  • Get familiar with keypad commands (ie, muting lines, locking the call, roll call, lecture mode, billing code entry, and operator assistance) before the call and use them as needed.

After the Global Conference Call

A successful global conference call isn’t necessarily over once the call ends. There are a few housekeeping tasks you’ll need to take care of such as:

  • Reviewing the attendance report
  • Entering billing codes if not already done
  • Sending follow up materials to attendees
  • Making the audio recording available to absentees

Scheduling your next multi-country conference call

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Origins of Telecommunications – The Telegraph vs the Smartphone: Two Devices that Changed Communications

Two Devices that Changed CommunicationsWhen it comes to instant communications, nothing compares to the smartphone, right?

A quick tap or two and you’re instantly connected with other people around the world via voice, email, or text messaging.

While the smartphone has certainly changed how we communicate with others, the telegraph had a similar effect.

Here’s a quick look at these two devices and how they changed telecommunications.


The telegraph and the smartphone have a lot in common, despite the century between them. For example…

  • Text Messaging — The telegraph was used to send text messages, just as smartphones are often used today. In the case of the telegraph, messages were tapped out by an operator via a series of long and short pulses (the dots and dashes of Morse code) which were transmitted over wires, and later wirelessly, to a receiving station. An operater at the receiving station then translated the Morse code into text which was then made available to the recipient.
  • Abbreviated Format — Both the telegraph and text messaging are notable for their brevity. In October 1903, more than half of all telegrams sent from New York were 10 words or less in length. Only 4 percent consisted of more than 25 words. You probably use more words when texting simply because of the real-time nature of it, but texting remains a much more abbreviated format than other written forms of communication. Abbreviations, acronyms such as LOL, and emoticons evolved, much like the shorthand of yesteryear’s telegraph.
  • Instantaneous Communications — Whether placing a phone call, sending an email, or texting with your cell phone, your messages arrive nearly instantaneously. Prior to the telegraph, it took weeks, if not months, for international messages to arrive via postal services of the era. Intercontinental letters had to be transported by ship and then later dispatched overland via horseback rider, stagecoach, or railroad. When the telegraph arrived, an international message could be sent and responded to in about four minutes.


Obvious physical and technological differences aside, the telegraph and smartphone have several key differences…

  • Individual Usage — Most everyone you know owns a smartphone or has access to one. Smartphones are personal devices whereas telegraphs were not. In order to send or receive a telegram, you’d need to visit the local telegraph office.
  • Complexity — This should come as no surprise, but smartphones are much more complex than telegraphs.
  • Adoption — We use our smartphones everyday, all day, but telegrams were sent infrequently. Telegraph usage peaked during the WW II era, when it was used extensively in the military. Citizens also received news via telegram dispatched to telegraph or post offices. However, as telephones became more mainstream, the telegraph became largely obsolete and was phased out.

Social Effects

Both the telegraph and the smartphone have had profound effects on society. For example, Abraham Lincoln used the telegraph, which at the time was only about 20 years old, throughout the Civil War. The technology enabled him to communicate with generals remotely and instantaneously.

The telegraph also changed diplomacy, journalism, and business practices. It helped to fuel business growth, consolidate markets, and reduce information costs. It also changed media language, resulting in a more standardized language with fewer colloquiallisms. The world became a much smaller place with the arrival of the telegraph.

In 2012, the smartphone topped the list of Popular Mechanics’ list of 101 Gadgets that Changed the World. Indeed, it’s a “pocket PC” as the article explained. Smartphones are in the hands of the vast majority of people, with 7 out of 10 people worldwide projected to have smartphones by 2020.

Like the telegraph before it, smartphones are changing how we do business, consume information, and get our news. Even diplomacy is changing as world leaders tweet their views and rhetoric for the world to see.

While both technologies have had a profound impact on global communications, there are a few wide-ranging effects unique to smartphones, good and bad:

  • Information on demand — Where telegraphs were used to transmit and receive messages, smartphones are multifunctional devices with the world’s weath of information just a tap away at any given time.
  • Different types of communication — A single smartphone can deliver many different types of communications including traditional voice calls, email, texts, tweets, status updates, teleconferences, and video conferences.
  • Brain and memory changes — In a study published a 2011 issue of Science, the authors suggest that the brain and human memory are changing as a result of new computing and communications technology. It appears to be less about remembering information and more about knowing how to find information.
  • Distracted driving — While there certainly may have been traffic fatalities in the 1800s and 1900s related to driving to a telegraph office, they can’t possibly compare to the modern problem of distracted driving which claimed 3,477 Americans in 2015 alone.
  • Social interactions — While it’s easier than ever to connect with loved ones using a smartphone, there is a tendency to ignore people who are present in favor of whatever’s on the smartphone screen, leading to a social disconnect.
  • Social revolutions — The Arab Spring uprising in 2011 illustrates the power of the smartphones. Protesters were able to share first-hand information and video to observers near and far, applying in huge political pressure, and the ultimate removal of Egypt’s president in a matter of days.

Both the telegraph and the smartphone changed global communications — and the world itself — dramatically.


“7 in 10 of World’s Population Using Smartphones by 2020 – Telegraph.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-phones/11646593/7-in-10-of-worlds-population-using-smartphones-by-2020.html

“Communication Across the Nation – The History of the Telegraph.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://nearfieldcommunication.org/history-of-the-telegraph.html

“Connected Earth: How a Telegraph Was Sent – What Happened in the Post Office Room.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.connected-earth.com/Thecollection/Audioandvideo/Ashorthistoryofthetelegraphandtelegramservices/PostOffice/transcript.htm

“Distracted Driving | NHTSA.” 2017. Accessed September 25. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

“Historical Impact – Samuel Morse.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.galleryofthelouvre.com/historical-impact.html

“How Smartphones Revolutionized Society in Less than a Decade.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.govtech.com/products/How-Smartphones-Revolutionized-Society-in-Less-than-a-Decade.html

“Smart Media Tech: What the Telegraph and Social Media Have in Common – Digital Marketing – Social Media – Email Marketing – Chicago.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://lightspandigital.com/blog/smart-media-tech-what-the-telegraph-and-social-media-have-in-common/

“Technology You Didn’t Know Still Existed: The Telegram – Atlas Obscura.” 2017. Accessed September 25. http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/telegrams

“The Telegraph in America, 1832–1920 – David Hochfelder – Google Books.” 2017. Accessed September 25. https://books.google.com/books?id=fUDxx_bMVQUC&pg=PA79&lpg=PA79&dq=average+length+of+telegraph+messages&source=bl&ots=Gq4zihJle7&sig=CWsFO-R7xUK6-DKPAF70tFZ1nqw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiOhMuVh8HWAhWixlQKHe0KAwkQ6AEIUTAJ#v=onepage&q=average%20length%20of%20telegraph%20messages&f=false

Library of Congress – Samuel Morse Collection


Morse Code Diagram
















Google Patents – Statically oriented on-screen translucent keyboard


Google On Screen Translucent Keyboard

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How to Have a Virtual Number Forward Calls to Different Numbers Based On Time of Day

Time of Day Call RoutingVirtual phone numbers are among the most flexible phone number types available.

Not only can you configure your virtual number to forward to a phone in a remote destination, you can also program call forwarding so that the virtual number forwards calls to different numbers based on the time of day.

It takes just a few clicks to set up time of day routing. Once it’s set, call forwarding takes place automatically.

Why Use Time of Day Call Forwarding?

This feature is extremely useful for both domestic and international companies. For instance, your office may have a routine where the office manager presses a few keys at the end of the day to forward all incoming calls to voicemail, an answering service, or another call center. The next morning, someone must press disable call forwarding as well as check voicemail and return calls.

While this common practice works, it has its flaws including:

  • Human error — if someone forgets to forward the calls at the end of the day, you may miss important phone calls that come in after hours. Likewise, if call forwarding is not disabled in the morning, you may inadvertently have some calls forwarded to voicemail during business hours until this problem is rectified.
  • Lower levels of service — Callers may not care to leave a voicemail message or, in a world of instant gratification, they may perceive your company as offering inferior customer service if you’re unavailable 24/7.
  • Lost opportunities — Even worse, some callers may opt to call your competitors if their calls go to unanswered or to voicemail.

Likewise, if you serve multiple time zones, your call volume could peak or wane at certain times of the day. Thus, it may make sense to route your calls to one of your larger offices during peak call volume times.

If you’d rather automate this process, time of day call forwarding is the answer. For example, to have your calls answered 24/7, you could set up time of day routing so that calls are handled by your main office during normal business hours and then forwarded to an answering service or call center every night at 5:00pm. Once morning rolls around again, the system would then route your incoming calls back to your main office according to the schedule you set up. You could even configure call forwarding to automatically forward calls to an alternate number during your office staff’s lunch hour.

With time of day call forwarding, there’s no chance of anyone forgetting to forward calls. It’s completely customizable to best meet your business’s unique staffing and call volume requirements.

How to Set Up Time of Day Call Forwarding

Start by signing up for one of our virtual phone numbers. Time of day call forwarding is a standard advanced feature on all of our pay-as-you-go plans including local, toll free, and international call forwarding. Pick the plan that makes the most sense for your business. Because there are no contracts, you can scale up or down as your needs change — or cancel at any time without penalties.

Next, sign into your account and select the time of day call forwarding option. Set up the schedule to route incoming calls to specific numbers according to the day of the week or time the call comes in.

Remember, you can change your call forwarding settings, including time of day routing, at any time.

Read on

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Origins of Telecommunications | Harnessing the Power of Light to Communicate with Fiber Optics

fiber optics phoneIn just the proverbial blink of an eye, telecommunications technology has evolved from smoke, light, and flag signals to blazing fast, real-time communications at nearly the speed of light.

Even within our own lifetimes, long distance telephone calls, for example, have improved dramatically.

The days of awkward delays while the audio signal traversed the globe are well behind us. In their place, we have fiber optic networks, among other technological marvels, and at the fraction of the cost.

Fiber Optics Explained

Fiber optic cables transport light pulses generated by lasers or light emitting diodes (LEDs). The cables themselves contain long, glass or plastic fiber strands. The core within each fiber strand is much more reflective than its surrounding materials, which continuously reflects the light pulses back into core where they continue their journey.

Not only are fiber optic cables able to transmit voice, images, and data at practically light speed, fiber optics offers several advantages over copper wires such as:

  • Much greater capacity at similar thicknesses. This means that a fiber optic cable offers much more bandwidth than a similarly sized copper cable. Ratings of up to 100 gbps are common with fiber optics.
  • There’s less interference than with traditional cables which means cables can be laid close to each other without the need for extensive shielding.
  • There’s also a reduced reliance on signal boosters because the light can travel much further before losing its strength.

Method of producing optical waveguide fibers

Early Experiments with Light in the 1800s

Fiber optics are not a new invention by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, we can trace the origins of fiber optics to the mid-1800s. Here’s a short timeline:

1840s — Two physicists (Daniel Collodon and Jacques Babinet) showed that light could be directed along jets of water, creating spectacular nighttime fountain displays.

1854 — Another physicist (John Tyndall) proved that light could be bent by shining a light into a stream of flowing water, which created an arc of light as the water flowed.

1800 — William Wheeler used reflective light pipes and an electric art lamp to direct light indoors.

1880 — The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, is also the inventor of the “photophore,” which was an optical telephone.

1888 — Two doctors in Vienna illuminated body cavities using bent glass rods.

1895 — Henry Saint-Rene, a French engineer, designed a system of bent glass rods used to guide television-like light images.

1898 — Another curved glass rod was put to use, this time as a dental illuminator invented by David Smith.

Light Innovations in the 1900s

As the century turned, ideas for using light evolved. The idea for using a series of transparent rods to transmit light images in television was patented in the 1920s. It took about a decade before am image was actually transmitted through optical fibers, however. Several competing patent applications for light imaging were submitted, and denied, over the years, followed by a cladded fiber system with reduced interference and crosstalk.

By the mid-1950s, the maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and, a few years later, laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) were developed.

With a laser, amplified light is created in an energized medium by reflecting light back and forth. Laser technology improved with helium-neon gas lasers followed by synthetic pink ruby crystal lasers in 1960.

The next year, the concept for modern fiber optics consisting of thin glass fibers with tiny cores that could carry light was introduced by Elias Snitzer of American Optical. Snitzer’s glass fiber – laser demonstration had potential for medical applications, but due to excessive light loss, was not suitable for communications.

A paper published in 1964, by  Charles Kao and George Hockham, theorized that removing impurities would decrease light loss in glass fibers.

Finally, Corning Glass Works made a modern breakthrough for producing “optical waveguide fibers” with its combination of a refractive glass film and glass tube. This combination was drawn out to form a thin glass fiber with a solid cross-sectional area and a core that was formed from the glass film, and a cladding that was formed from the glass tube.

The resulting fibers were a huge improvement over copper wire, carrying roughly 65,000 times more information.

About a decade later, the standard currently still in use today for the manufacture of fiber optic cables was developed by Bell Laboratories. This process involves heating oxygen and chemical vapors to form a low-loss “ultra-transparent” glass.

Fiber optic links for telephone transmissions began moving out of the lab and into practice in the early to mid 1970s. In 1977 in Chicago, the first fiber optic phone system was installed.

By the mid-80s, the first nationwide, all-digital fiber optic network emerged, putting Sprint on the map. Long distance calling costs began to fall – and the audio was crystal clear. So clear, in fact, that Sprint used the phrase “you can hear a pin drop” in its advertising.

Innovations in fiber amplification were also being developed in the late 80s and early 90s, resulting in greater data capacity — up to 100 times more in the case of a built-in amplifier — and dramatically lower costs for long distance systems.

In the mid-90s, international fiber optic cables using optical amplifiers began to appear, transforming international telephone and data services dramatically. The Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe, for example, was a foundational step toward ushering in the era of high-speed Internet.

By the late 1990s, fiber optic cables carried about 80 percent of all international telephone traffic.

Fiber Optics Today

Today, fiber optics remain the preferred medium for telecommunications systems including domestic and international telephone, cell phone, teleconferencing systems as well as CATV, CCTV, and computer networking systems.

Not only does this technology allow for high capacity, high speed communications, it is also rugged and low-maintenance




“Fiber Optic Cables: What They Are and Why They’re Used.” 2017. Accessed September 12. https://www.lifewire.com/fiber-optic-cable-817874.

“History of Fiber Optics.” 2017. Accessed September 12. http://www.timbercon.com/history-of-fiber-optics/.

“History of Optical Fiber.” 2017. Accessed September 12. http://www.m2optics.com/blog/history-of-optical-fiber.

“How Fiber Optics Was Invented: A Timeline.” 2017. Accessed September 12. https://www.thoughtco.com/birth-of-fiber-optics-4091837.

“Sprint’s Pin Drop Commercial – The Retroist.” 2017. Accessed September 14. https://www.retroist.com/2014/11/18/sprints-pin-drop-commercial/.

“The FOA Reference For Fiber Optics – Networks.” 2017. Accessed September 14. http://www.thefoa.org/tech/ref/basic/nets.html.

“US3711262A – Google Patents.” 2017. Accessed September 12. https://patents.google.com/patent/US3711262A/en.

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