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

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Global Virtual Number for American Expatriate Living Overseas

Global Virtual Number for ExpatriatesGlobal Virtual Number for Expatriates

Global virtual number may be a very important part of an expatriate’s arsenal when on an overseas job assignment or anyone that is retiring abroad or have made the commitment to living overseas, staying in touch with your associates, family, and friends back home is a common priority amongst American expatriates or expatriates from any country.

Technology offers a variety of great options including email, text messaging, FaceTime, and more. The humble phone call is also a cherished way to stay connected, but dialing conventions and costs are often a concern. Fortunately, expats can make use of global virtual phone numbers, an affordable alternative that breaks down barriers to calling one another. Here’s how you can use virtual numbers as an American expatriate living overseas.

A global virtual phone number is a special type of call forwarding number that acts much like a toll free number. It is local to the host country but forwards the calls to a destination phone located anywhere in the world. As the account holder, for example, you’ll pay for any toll charges incurred, even if your loved ones initiate the phone call using your USA virtual number. Our competitive no-contract plans keep your costs low. In fact, many of our clients find that it’s cheaper to use a virtual phone number than dialing an international number directly.

We recommend signing up for two virtual phone numbers:

  • A virtual phone number for your host country — You’ll use this number to make cheap international phone calls to your American contacts while living in your host country. For example, if you’re living in Italy, you can order a global virtual phone number for Italy that is similar to a local Italian phone number. It can either be toll free for Italy or a regional phone number such as a Rome or Milan local number. In either case, you won’t need to dial international access codes or Italy exit codes to reach the destination phone in America. By changing the “ring to” or destination number in your account, you can call virtually anyone in the United States using a low-cost alternative to international long distance services. Italy Virtual Number Database
  • A virtual phone number for USA— This is the number to give to your American contacts to dial whenever they want to call you. This virtual number can be a traditional toll free number or it can be local to any number of US cities across all fifty states such as Los Angeles, Miami, Des Moines, Kansas City, San Diego, and more. Thus, if your loved one lives in Talladega, Alabama, you could order a virtual number with Talladega’s 256 prefix and forward any calls to your overseas home phone number. Your loved one would dial a local number yet reach you wherever in the world you may be.  US Virtual Numbers

Once you’ve established your two global virtual phone numbers, you can use them immediately to both make and receive international phone calls. You can even set up specific rules so that incoming phone calls are routed to your home number, mobile phone number, or office number based on the time of day. If you prefer that all of your phones ring simultaneously, that’s an option, too. If you’re living abroad with a partner, you can share a global virtual number and set up separate extensions for each of you and use the automated voice response system to prompt callers to press the appropriate extension.

Offered on a monthly basis with no contract, our global virtual phone numbers are ideal for both long-term and short-term use. Whether you’re on an extended tour, a short overseas assignment, or living abroad permanently, we have flexible global call forwarding plans to meet your needs.

View rates and plans for International Virtual Phone Numbers

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International Conference Calls Enable Connecting Offshore Workers

Remote International Conference CallsJoining Your International Conference Calls

Working with remote teams has become commonplace. Whether you need to collaborate with co-workers from branch offices located overseas or have created a virtual team of independent contractors located in a variety of countries, gathering in a group audio conference call is occasionally necessary. Our pay-as-you-go international conferencing service is the perfect way to bring an offshore team together into a group audio call. However, some of your offshore team members may need a little help connecting. Here’s how you can help them to join your international conference calls.

Country-Specific Access

Start by providing each offshore worker with a list of country-specific access numbers unique to their home countries. For example, if you have team members in India, China, Australia, and the USA, everyone will dial into your conference call using a different access number. Refer to the list of all global access numbers you received upon account activation and copy and paste the access numbers each participant should use.

Mobile Phone Access

If anyone has trouble dialing in using the access numbers provided, they may be using a mobile phone in a country where mobile access numbers need to be used. For example, a participant in China using a mobile phone will need to use one of our China 400 international conference call toll-free access numbers compatible with mobile phones. A China 400 number is a toll-free number that works with mobile phones across mainland China.

Mobile access numbers, where available, are included on our list of access numbers. However, your participants may need to be guided to use the right number.

App Access

Another option you could suggest would be to have the worker download and use our free Connect app. This app works on both Wi-Fi-connected smartphones and computers, allowing participants to connect to your international conference calls without dialing an access number at all. This is helpful for all kinds of situations and personal preferences. Whether a local access number is not available or the user simply prefers the ease of use of the app, joining a global conference call is a simple matter of clicking or tapping to join.

Dial-Out International Conference Calls Access

You may need to dial some offshore participants directly. Perhaps they’re in one of the few countries that don’t have access numbers or maybe they don’t have a smartphone or a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Fortunately, as the moderator of the international conference call, you can dial the offshore participant’s phone number directly and then join the participant into your global conference call. It’s easy to do and ensures that even the most remote of your team members can participate in your global calls.

MP3 Session Recording

The chairperson may begin recording the call at any time.  By simply entering [*1] on the phone keypad, starts the recording of the call free of charge.  The MP3 audio file link will be attached to the attendance report email when the conference completes.

Operator Assistance

Finally, you can call upon one of our live operators for assistance at any time, 24 hours per day. We’ll be happy to call your offshore participants on your behalf and join them into your conference calls.

If you have an offshore team, having multiple ways to connect to your international conference calls from other countries will help ensure that no matter what the local telecom circumstances may be, your team can connect.

International Conference Call Details

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How International Telephone Calls Evolved – Over the Air and Under the Sea

Antique PhoneOrigins of Telecom — Over the Air and Under the Sea – How International Telephone Calls Evolved

The invention of the telephone prompted other innovations in communications out of necessity, the so-called mother of invention. Early telephone calls were limited to short distances due to the physical wires they were transmitted over and the inherent weakness of the signal. To make a longer distance call, the call would be routed over a network of wires from one telephone office to the next until the destination was reached, all manually switched by telephone operators.

Innovations, such as the loading coil which strengthened electronic signals and later an amplifier, helped to extend the practical distance of phone lines. In early 1915, the first transcontinental telephone call between New York and San Francisco took place. Buy this was still not adequate for international telephone calls.

Though this system worked fine on land, assuming the appropriate infrastructure was in place, it relied on physical wires. While creating physical connections between the United States and its neighbors Canada and Mexico was certainly doable, connecting the United States to Europe required a different approach.

Undersea cables, which had been used successfully for telegraph transmissions since the mid-1800s, were deemed too impractical for voice transmissions of international telephone calls. Not only was the prospect of laying a cable across such a vast expanse of ocean daunting and expensive, telephone signals tended to weaken quickly, requiring extensive amplifiers and repeaters to boost the signal. These components barely existed on land and were definitely not capable of working underwater.

Meanwhile, back on land, shortwave radiotelephone service emerged, eventually evolving into a series of microwave towers which connected long distance phone calls across the United States via microwave signals. But again, with each station located 30 miles apart, this solution wouldn’t work across an ocean.

The dream of an undersea cable didn’t die. By 1956, it had finally materialized, adding 36 “talking channels” between North America and Europe. This first deep-sea cable, known as the Transatlantic Telephone Cable System 1 (TAT-1), consisted of twin cables with one transmitting voice conversations east and the other transmitting them west. This undersea cable made use of fifty-one 150-foot-long flexible, watertight cylinders on each of the twin cables. Each cylinder contained about 60 components including repeaters and electron tubes.

After the first ceremonial call took place over the transatlantic cable, the cable opened for business. International phone calls between USA and UK cost $4 per minute during business hours and $3 per minute on weekends and evenings in 1956. That’s the equivalent of more than $30 per minute in today’s dollars.

TAT-1 was a success for more than 20 years with just one outage on record, a 3-day outage caused by a broken line off the Scottish coast. It was finally taken out of service in 1978 after becoming obsolete due to the arrival of higher-capacity undersea cables.

This story doesn’t end with the success of undersea transoceanic cables, however. Communications satellites arrived in the late 1950s and early 1960s, creating global telecommunications links by 1969.

Today, international telephone calls travel over the air, under the sea, via space, and even through the Internet using VoIP. Costs have fallen dramatically to mere pennies per minute while quality has improved significantly to the point where callers sound as if they’re in the same room and not half a world away.

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Sources:

“History of the Atlantic Cable & Submarine Telegraphy – TAT-1 Opening Ceremony, September 25, 1956.” n.d. Accessed January 31, 2018a. http://atlantic-cable.com/Cables/1956TAT-1/.

“Telecommunications Virtual Museum.” n.d. Accessed January 31, 2018. http://www.telcomhistory.org/vm/scienceLongDistance.shtml.

“Telephone History Part 3 – Long Distance – Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century.” n.d. Accessed January 31, 2018. http://www.greatachievements.org/?id=3633.

Public Domain Images:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bell_telephone_magazine_(1922)_(14753105761).jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TAT_1_cable.JPG

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alexander_Graham_Bell,_first_transcontinental_phone_call,_25_Jan_1915.jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Delta-E1_with_Intelsat.jpg

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Conference Call International ASAP With Toll-Free Access

Conference Call InternationalConference Call International ASAP

Conference Call International and crises and unforeseen events often require a global response.

Whether you must assemble a team of experts from around the world or need to quickly communicate with key personnel from various countries, the ability to host a Conference Call International on a moment’s notice is crucial.

A crisis situation isn’t the time to shop around for the best per minute rates or to demo various conferencing calling apps. It’s certainly not the time to find out that regular conference calling plans might not work internationally. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know now, long before you need to host an emergency global conference call.

  1. Our high quality expanded global conference call plan offers 150 global access numbers. Participants can call using toll-free or local phone numbers native to their home countries. This makes dialing into an emergency conference call far less stressful. There’s no need to try to remember a country’s exit code or deal with an international operator. There’s no worry about the potential toll charges. If a participant is located in one of the few countries lacking an access number, the moderator or one of our live operators can dial the participant’s phone number directly and connect the line to the conference call. Audio quality is exceptional, too, thanks to modern fiber-optic PSTN telecommunications networks.
  1. Our rates are among the most competitive that you’ll find — and you pay only for the minutes you use. With our contract-free, pay-as-you-go global conference calling plans, there are no minimum usage requirements or monthly fees. This means you could sign up for a plan and pay nothing until you actually use it. When you do use it, you’ll find our rates are among the lowest you’ll find.
  1. You can host a global conference call on demand. There’s no need to schedule your global calls in advance, which is vital when you need to quickly collaborate with a global team. Simply launch your conference call and share its details with your team of experts. You could even use the dial-out function to call team members individually and bring them into the conference call.

If you need to host a global conference call ASAP, you can get started right away. Here’s how:

  • Create an account. All we need is your name, company name, address, phone number and email address. It takes less than a minute to sign up!
  • Receive the activation confirmation email. We’ll send it to you right away, allowing you to immediately begin using the service.

Two international conferencing bridges with alternate access numbers and rates to choose from.

International Conference Calling

Expanded International Conference Calling

While you can host a global conference call ASAP, we recommend getting an international conferencing plan now, before a crisis strikes. This gives you time to explore all of the helpful features, distribute the global access numbers and codes to your team, and start using it on less urgent matters. When a crisis does strike, you’ll be ready!

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Ham Radio a YouTube of the 1900s Makes Huge Difference in Times of Disaster

Ham Radio

U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Audrey Garret uses a ham radio at Williams Air Operating Facility during the 1956 winter. Ham radio was the only means of voice communication with friends and family back in the U.S. for navy personnel living and working in Antarctica in the days before satellite telephone technology became common.

Origins of Telecom: Ham Radio, the YouTube of the 1900s

Today, anyone with a Google account can set up their own YouTube channel and share their thoughts with the world at large. This wasn’t the case even 15 years ago.

However, mass communications have been readily available to amateurs around the world for more than a century in the form of ham radio — and it’s still popular in 2018. Here’s a quick look at how ham radio came about.

Ham radio started to appear in the early 1900s with instructions on how to build your own simple “Hertzian” telegraphy system starting to appear in magazines such as in the November 1901 issue of Amateur Works and the February 15, 1902 edition of Scientific American Supplement. Young amateurs began reading and building their own systems. By 1916, Popular Science Monthly had begun publishing its 8-part series on how to build your own tuned spark transmitter and crystal detector receiver.

Meanwhile, hobbyists who preferred an off-the-shelf solution could pick up a “Telimco Wireless Telegraph Outfit” system which was a complete radio system with both a transmitter and receiver. The company’s 1910 catalog proclaimed that ”every wide-awake American boy” should want such as system, suggesting that owning the wireless telegraph outfit could lead to a future as the head of a wireless telegraph company.

By 1908, wireless mania had struck, becoming popular among teenage boys. Just as today’s boys and girls tend to be skilled in computers and programming, those from the early 1900s were touted as “boy experts in wireless telephoning” by the New York Herald in October 1911.

As with many teenage antics, the ham radio craze meant there were some responsible and some irresponsible activities going on.  The term “ham” was a derogatory term handed out by professional operators and telegraphers when everyone ranging from the government, ships and coastal operators to amateur radio operators competed for radio time and signal strength. Amateur operators, or hams as they were called, soon faced a potential ban in the form of pending legislation.

Rather than banning amateurs altogether, they were restricted. According to ARRL the National Association for Amateur Radio, which was founded in 1914 as American Radio Relay League, amateur radio operators were required by the Radio Act of 1912 to obtain a license and operate within the 200-meter wavelength. These restrictions were intended to curb interference. Today, a ham radio license is still required.

The hobby didn’t disappear after these restrictions were enforced. In fact, it organized and grew. It also found a niche for itself in the form of public service and emergency communications.

What’s the Appeal of Ham Radio Today?

In a world of YouTube, Facebook Live, and instant video chats, what’s the appeal of ham radio today? Ham radio still has its place and has made a huge difference in times of disaster. After 9/11, for example, the Amateur Radio Service was able to help New York City’s agencies communicate with one another despite having lost their command center in the disaster. Ham radios now interface with computers and even have the ability to communicate with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. While the numbers of ham radio operators pale in comparison to YouTube creators, there are over 600,000 of them in the United States alone — and over 2 million around the globe.

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Sources:

“12. Pioneering Amateurs (1900-1917).” n.d. Accessed June 28, 2018. https://earlyradiohistory.us/sec012.htm.

“Boy Experts in Wireless Telephoning (1911).” n.d. Accessed June 28, 2018. https://earlyradiohistory.us/1911jun.htm.

“Ham Radio History.” n.d. Accessed June 28, 2018. http://www.arrl.org/ham-radio-history.

“Ham_Radio_100_Years.Pdf.” n.d. Accessed June 28, 2018. http://www.arrl.org/files/file/About%20ARRL/Ham_Radio_100_Years.pdf.

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Video Conference Builds Authentic Relationships Even Globally

Video ConferenceVideo Conference Builds Authentic Relationships Despite Geographic Differences

Video conference benefits this time of year.  For many of us, summer is a time of transition. Students graduate, couples get married, military families move from one station to the next before school starts up again in the fall, individuals go on vacation, and the list goes on. As family members, friends, and business colleagues scatter across the country, or the globe, you’ll want to stay in touch. Social media, email, and cheap telephone service help make that possible, but you’ll also want to consider adding video conferencing to the mix. Here’s why.

  • Video conference is the easiest way to maintain that personal connection. While nothing compares to seeing each other in person, video conferencing is the next best thing. You can see facial expressions and body language and interact in real time. Today, with most computers, smartphones, and tablets readily equipped with cameras, microphones, and speakers, everyone already has the equipment needed to connect with you in a video conference.
  • Video conference allows for collaboration. Whether going over household bills with a deployed spouse, helping a college student with a challenging assignment, or taking a prospective homebuyer on a virtual tour of a property in their new hometown, screen sharing allows everyone to see the same screen with the same information at once. While you could certainly email screenshots or photos, real-time collaboration allows for more banter and feedback which naturally progresses the conversations. Likewise, you might also pick up on some unspoken feedback (such as a long pause) which might prompt you to ask if there’s anything wrong. These are the same times of conversations you’d likely have if you were physically present, making for a more authentic experience.
  • You can host one-on-one or a group video conference. Sometimes it makes sense to meet individually. Other times, you’ll want to have others join you. Video conferencing allows you to do just that, up to your conferencing plan’s limits of course.

Video Conference for Economical Collaboration

Video conference is ideal for building both personal and business relationships despite geographic differences. The basic equipment is already in your possession. All you need now is an affordable video conferencing plan with the features you want. Try a free 30-day trial of Video Pro and stay connected!

Video Conference Free Trial

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International Virtual Phone Number is Your Most Valuable Communications Tool

International Virtual Phone Number UserInternational virtual phone number is an affordable alternative to remote call forwarding and toll-free numbers. Not only are virtual numbers loaded with advanced calling features and have exceptional sound quality, they are a flexible communications solution that you can adjust to best meet your ever-changing needs. Use the tips below to get even more out of your contract-free virtual phone number.

  • Choose from over 140 Country Numbers — Create a phone line in your target country for marketing.  One example, buy a China Virtual Number
  • Consider adding rollover minutes — If your monthly call volume fluctuates from month to month, it might make sense to add the rollover minute option. For just a few dollars more per month, you can rollover any unused minutes from one month to the next. This strategy can be useful when you call volume often falls below your monthly allotment but never quite gets high enough to justify signing up for the next level. For example, if you have a basic 200-minute plan but your call volume ranges from 100 to 400 minutes each month, sticking with the basic plan and adding rollover minutes could save you money compared with jumping up to the 500-minute plan right away.
  • Do the math — We have some of the lowest per minute rates in the industry, even at low call volumes. While our per-minute rates get progressively lower with each tier, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to sign up for more minutes that you think you’ll use in a month. Look at some of your past phone bills to get a better idea of how many minutes you typically use each month and pick a plan with the appropriate number of minutes based on your historical call volumes. Don’t worry if you go over your allotment slightly as our per minute rates for each additional minute over your allotment are also extremely low. If you find yourself consistently going over, do the math to determine the call volume that justifies going to the next level.
  • Share your international virtual phone number — Whether you need a virtual number for tracking advertising results, receiving international phone calls, localization, conducting business while traveling internationally, or any other purpose, to get the most out of it, you’ll need to use it! A few effective ways to share your virtual phone number include: on business cards, on your website, on social media profiles, on marketing materials, and in your email signature. If you use sequential ringing or sequential call forwarding, let people know that your virtual number follows you wherever you go and is one of the best ways to reach you no matter where in the world you may be.
  • Use advanced features — Our international virtual phone number comes with a robust feature set. For example, there’s no need to maintain a separate fax line thanks to our fax-forwarding feature. Your faxes will be routed directly to your email account. You can also set up your virtual number to act like a virtual PBX system complete with an interactive voice response system that greets and directs callers.

International virtual phone number is a convenient, no-commitment way to receive phone calls from around the world. Get even more out of your virtual number by adding rollover minutes, choosing the most appropriate pre-paid minutes allotment, and using it to its fullest potential.

International Virtual Phone Number Database

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Learning Library | How to Use Modern Conferencing Technology

Learning LibraryLearning Library Creation

Modern conferencing technology connects business professionals around the world, allowing for the real-time exchange of information. Whether collaborating through audio, video and web conferencing, each conversation has the potential to become part of something larger such as an informal learning library.

What if you could take these same conversations and make them available for future use? For example, if you just spent an hour in a web conference teaching a coworker how to login and use WordPress so they could contribute to the company blog, you could save yourself an hour each time you had to teach someone new this same information simply by recording and sharing a video of this learning experience.

Informal versus Formal Learning Libraries

Your company likely has formal training programs for many of its policies and initiatives, along with a learning management system for storing all of that knowledge. But what about for less formal daily tasks like formatting a document in Microsoft Word, creating inventory tags and labels, or entering data into an internal database? This information is often passed from one employee to the next as needed. Creating an informal learning library could improve productivity and ensure that individuals can learn the required steps in a consistent and timely manner.

Using an Informal Learning Library

While you could certainly use a learning management system, for informal training, a simple shared network drive should suffice. Create folders and subfolders to organize the material. For example, you could create individual folders for Microsoft Word, Excel, and WordPress training. Each folder could have sub-folders covering the different categories.

Encourage employees to share their tips, tutorials, and recordings in these folders as well as periodically peruse the folders for content that they could benefit from.

Creating Content for Your Informal Learning Library

Now that your folder structure is in place, it’s time to create content for your informal learning library. Modern conferencing tools like audio conferencing, video conferencing or web conferencing could all be used to create audio or video recordings of tips and tutorials. You may need to make an intentional plan to create content at first. The more you save and share your recordings, the more it will become a part of your routine.

Here are a few tips to help along the way:

  • Make sure participants are aware that the call is being recorded and may be used for training purposes.
  • Use editing software. This way, you can extract only the pertinent portions of the conference. For example, if a one-hour web conference contains ten minutes of guided training on how to format a blog post in WordPress, you’ll want to extract just those ten minutes of informal training.
  • Give your recording a descriptive name. For example, instead of 06182018_webconference.mp4, you might name the recording How_to_format_a_blog_post_in_WordPress.mp4.
  • Make sure nothing confidential is inadvertently revealed. Part of editing involves ensuring confidentiality is respected. View and listen to your recordings before posting them to your informal learning library to make sure that all confidential information and any inappropriate comments have been edited out.
  • Periodically hold conferences specifically to create content to share to your informal learning library. This can help increase the adoption of new processes and technologies. For example, if you’ve recently ordered a web conferencing plan, you could hold a small web conference demonstrating how to use it and then post that recording to your library where everyone in the company can learn how to use it at their leisure.
  • Spread the word. Let your team know this resource exists — that they’re welcome to both contribute and consume informal learning content.

Conference Call Services

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Virtual Assistant Takes Incoming Calls from USA Using Virtual Phone Numbers

Virtual AssistantVirtual Assistant used by business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers handle a variety of tasks ranging from graphic design, social media, and proofreading to transcription, taking meeting notes, and even answering phone calls.

In today’s ever-connected world, these tasks can be completed remotely. In fact, many virtual assistants are located overseas. Depending on the locations involved and the times of day your assistant is available for work, it may make sense to forward your calls after hours.

For example, let’s say you’re located in Los Angeles, California and have been working with an assistant based in the Philippines. When it’s 5:00 pm in Los Angeles, it’s 8:00 am in the Philippines, making it perfect for her to handle your incoming calls once you call it a day. Whether you train her to provide customer service or simply act as an answering service is up to you. Either way, you’ll need a convenient, affordable way for her to take your incoming calls, and the process will need to be seamless for your callers. Fortunately, this is easier than you may think.

Here’s how to set up your overseas assistant to take your incoming phone calls from the United States.

Virtual Assistant Getting USA-Philippines Phone Number

  1. Obtain an international virtual phone number for your business that’s local to the USA. You have many options here including choosing a local number (such as Los Angeles phone number with the 213 prefix in this example) or a toll-free number for the USA. Choose whichever number type makes the most sense for your business and customers. Remember, to your callers, your virtual USA phone number will look and act just like any other USA phone number. Your callers will not perceive the phone number as one that rings to the Philippines, which typically take the following format: 63-0x-xxxxxxx.
  1. Choose the country where your virtual assistant is located from the list, in this case, the Philippines. Enter your assistant’s phone number when prompted. This will be your “ring to” or “destination” number. Any calls made to your virtual number will be set up to ring to this phone number in the Philippines according to the schedule that you’ll set up shortly.
  1. Choose the plan with the appropriate number of monthly minutes you expect to use each month. Since our USA – Philippines virtual phone numbers are offered without a contract, you can upsize or downsize your plan as your needs change, or even cancel it without a penalty. You can even change the ring to number or country should you decide to use a different overseas virtual assistant in a different country take over.

There are a few optional features you may want to consider including rollover minutes, SMS text messaging, and call recording.

Setting Up Your Virtual Assistant Calling Features

Once you’ve made your selections and have activated your account, you can now set up your virtual phone number in a variety of ways.

Initially, the virtual number is set up to ring to the number you assigned as the destination number when placing your order. You can change this as needed as well as set up “time of day” routing so that calls are routed to specific phone numbers based on the time of day the calls are made. You could also set up your virtual number so that an auto attendant greets the callers and then prompts them to make certain choices such as speak to a live representative, leave a voicemail, or get recorded directions to your office. Each of these features is easy to use and can be managed and changed via an online portal.

As you can see, the possibilities are virtually endless. Low per minute rates and month-to-month plans make virtual phone numbers an excellent option when working with overseas virtual assistants.

Global Virtual Numbers

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Fax Forwarding and Global Call Forwarding from Japan to USA Set Up

Fax MachineInternational Fax Forwarding

The humble fax machine has yet to become extinct despite the proliferation of email, file sharing, and other electronic communications methods.

In some countries, such as Japan, faxing remains commonplace and may even be preferred over email by some individuals and business establishments. Imagine landing a large customer in Japan who expects to be able to place orders via fax.

You’d probably want to accommodate that request, but how — especially if you ditched your fax machine long ago?  Simply use fax forwarding.

Fax Forwarding Overseas

Fortunately, international fax forwarding exists — and it’s a great solution for this particular problem. With fax forwarding, fax users can use their fax machines and your international fax forwarding number to send you a fax. The fax arrives in your email inbox, allowing you to work with an electronic version of the document without having to buy a fax machine and deal with paper.

Let’s take a look using a US business with a Japanese customer as an example.

Since the customer is in Japan and may not be too keen on incurring international toll charges with every faxed order, you’d be smart to order a local or toll-free Japanese fax number. That way, your customer can fax as many orders as needed without incurring toll charges.

Fax forwarding number types available for Japan are:

Toll-free and toll-free mobile accessible — In this example, you may not need the mobile accessible type since your customer will be using a fax machine to send you faxes.

Universal toll-free — Universal toll-free numbers are a great option if you have a large volume of potential fax users located in many different countries and want to use just one toll-free number for all of them.

Geographic — These region-specific numbers are about as local as you can get. Simply choose the city your customer is located in to get a local virtual fax number. If your customer is in Kawasaki, your number will have the 44 prefix just like other local numbers in Kawasaki.

After ordering your Japan-USA virtual fax forwarding number, you’ll be prompted to configure your account so that all incoming faxes will be routed to the appropriate email address. Once set up, share your new virtual fax number with your customer and get ready to start taking orders via fax.

Our global fax forwarding numbers are easy to use, affordable, and offered on a month-to-month basis for more than 140+ countries around the world. Whether you have a long-term or short-term need, you can facilitate faxing without having to buy a fax machine or get locked into a long-term contract.

International Fax and Call Forwarding

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How Web Conferencing Can Be Used for Event Planning

Web Conferencing Event PlanningWeb Conferencing Event Planning

Planning events requires a great deal of coordination. Whether you’re part of an event planning committee or managing the details on your own, Web Conferencing Event Planning can bring everyone together for virtual meetings.

In fact, most people have everything they need to join web conferences in the palms of their hands — a smartphone.  Attendees can join using smartphones, laptops, desktops, and tablets. Voice-only access is also possible using a standard telephone.

Web conferencing may or may not be your main communication method as you plan your event. Whether using it frequently or as a supplement, you’ll find this method has several advantages over meeting in person:

  • Web conferences can be held at a moment’s notice. T
  • No one needs to travel to attend a meeting.
  • It’s easy to share files with the group.
  • There’s no special equipment needed.

Ways to Use Web Conferencing Event Planning

There are many ways you could use Web Conferencing Event Planning

Here are a few examples:

  • Committee meetings — In-person meetings make sense when the entire committee works in the same building, but this isn’t always the case. If your committee members are from different organizations, holding the occasional web conference can save everyone driving time and hassles. Plus, it’s nice to have a break from traditional meetings. Since everyone can attend from the comfort of their own homes, virtual meetings are more convenient. Likewise, you may have more flexibility as far as scheduling goes.
  • Crisis control — Web Conferencing Event Planning is especially helpful when there’s a crisis that needs to be resolved promptly. Rather than waiting until the entire committee can meet in person, you could hold a quick web conference to discuss the matter and brainstorm potential solutions.
  • Sharing information — Need to go over the catering menu, pick out centerpieces, finalize printed materials, or even review a YouTube video with others? Web conferences make it easy to share your screen so that everyone can see the same graphics simultaneously.
  • Meetings with vendors — Even if your committee can meet in person most of the time, chances are you’ll need to interact with external suppliers like disc jockeys, caterers, florists, banquet coordinators, and security providers. Web conferences can be used to get acquainted, clarify expectations, discuss logistics and concerns, share new information, and more.
  • Hosting the event itself — In addition to planning events, web conferences may even be the main event. Webinars and teleseminars are good examples of this. Depending on the size of the event, you may need an upgraded web conferencing plan such as our managed operator-assisted conferencing service.

Whether you’re involved with planning weddings, galas, mixers, charity golf tournaments, team-building retreats, seminars, conferences, trade shows, horse shows, sporting events, concerts, festivals, assemblies, civic events, or any other type of gathering, web conferencing is an excellent tool for communicating and planning.

https://aitelephone.com/video-web-conferencing

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Teleconference May Require an Agenda, Presentation and Report

By Jocelyn Augustino (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsBy their nature, a teleconference doesn’t generally require booking airfare or traveling across town. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can simply show up empty-handed.

Whether you’re hosting or participating in a conference call, it’s smart to do some pre-conference planning as well as prepare your space for an efficient meeting.

  1. Presentations or reports. Think about your role in the conference call. Will you be expected to present? If so, you’ll need to prepare and bring a presentation in the appropriate format. This may also mean installing software (depending on the teleconferencing solution being used) so that you can share your presentation in the video conference. Similarly, you may be expected to share files with the group such as reports or meeting minutes from a previous meeting. As the host of the teleconference, the types of information you plan on sharing will likely guide you as to whether you should hold an audio or web conference.
  1. Headset. This is optional but can be helpful if you expect to participate in a noisy environment. Even if you’re only listening in, wearing a headset while you do so can signal to others in your office that you are occupied. Thus, a headset can help to minimize distractions.
  1. An agenda. As the teleconference host, you’ll need to facilitate the conference call, making an agenda extremely important. As a participant, an agenda is helpful so you can follow along and know what’s coming next. You’ll likely receive an agenda from the host. For large teleconferences and webinars, the agenda may be posted on the teleconference’s registration page.

If you’re a participant, you may even want to create your own personal list of agenda items.  Think about what you want to get out of the call? What information can you contribute? 

  1. Pen and paper. Before you dial in, make sure to clear your desk and get out a fresh sheet of paper — or a notepad if you expect to take a lot of notes — and a pen. If you prefer to take notes on a computer or use the conference calling software’s collaborative notes to feature, that’s certainly fine, too. The point is, be prepared to take notes during the teleconference. Inevitably, something will come up that you’ll want to remember or need to take action on. Having a pen and paper handy helps ensure you can quickly jot it down.
  1. A cheatsheet with common conference call commands. If you’re dialing into an audio conference from a telephone, it’s not a bad idea to write down the conference call commands for muting and unmuting your telephone line as well as any other commands you expect to use such as moderator dial-out or call recording.
  1. A water bottle. Having water nearby is helpful if you’ll be speaking during the teleconference. Both speaking for an extended period of time and anxiety can trigger dry mouth. If your throat is dry, a quick sip or two of water will help. Taking a sip of water may even provide a brief moment of normalcy if you’re feeling anxious, giving you time to calm down.

Teleconference Service Details here

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US Canada Conference Call Service and How To Use Sub-Accounts

US Canada Conference Call Service

Photo by Berkeley Communications Did you know that you can share your US Canada Conference Call Service across your company or with a partner, assistant or family member?

The ability to add sub-accounts to your main audio conferencing plan keeps billing both simple and trackable.

How might you use sub-accounts? Let us count the ways…

  • Department Level Sub-Accounts — You could create a sub-account for each department in your business such as marketing, human resources, sales, and warehouse. Each sub-account would have its own unique passcode that allows for simultaneous use and individual call detail tracking. Call attendance reports will be sent to an email address unique to the department such as the department manager’s email address. Each month when settling up the bill, your accounts payable manager will be able to quickly apply the appropriate accounting codes based on each department’s actual usage.
  • Individual Level Sub-Accounts — For larger departments where several individuals may want to host conference calls at the same time, you may want to create individual level sub-accounts. This will enable simultaneous use from within the department as well as ensure that attendance reports are emailed directly to the individual initiating the conference call. Accounts payable could still determine the appropriate billing codes based on the departments each individual is assigned to.
  • Client Level Sub-Accounts — You can get creative with sub-accounts, too, by creating sub-accounts for each client. For example, a law firm could create sub-accounts for each major client in order to better track billable hours spent in conference calls. Digital marketing agencies could do the same to get a better idea of how much time designers are spending with each client in meetings.

How to Get a Companywide US Canada Conference Call Service with Sub-Accounts

Our pay-as-you-go US Canada Conference Call Service is an affordable, high-quality solution for businesses of all sizes that need to host conference calls with up to 150 participants. You pay only for usage — and you get access to incredibly low per minute rates and a robust feature set. There are no contracts, no minimums, no monthly fees, and no hassles.

While you could order individual accounts for each department, user, or client, ordering sub-accounts keeps everything streamlined and makes managing your account much easier. You can include sub-accounts when signing up. From there, we’ll send you an email with all of the account and sub-account passcodes and access numbers.

Already have an account? No problem, we can add as many sub-accounts as you need upon request.

US Canada Toll-Free Conference Call Service

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Origins of Telecom: A Brief History of the Ericofon

By Crosstor at Esperanto Wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia CommonsPoodle skirts and bobbie socks, saddle shoes, pearl necklaces, tailored suits, cardigan sweaters, hats and handkerchiefs, wingtip shoes… The 1950s had a look all its own. Even the phones of the 1950s had a distinctive look, especially the Ericofon.

The highly collectible Ericofon was a one-piece plastic phone made by Ericsson Telephone Company in Sweden. The dial was in its base, as was the mouthpiece. The Ericofon was also commonly called the Cobra Phone thanks to its silhouette, which resembled a cobra about to strike. All of the phone’s essential components were included in the one-piece phone. Though it was considered a one-piece telephone, early models had a separate, wall-mounted buzzer or ringer. At the time of the Ericsson Telephone debut, most phones were rotary cradle phones made from bakelite and offered in one color: black.

Early marketing for the Ericsson Telephone noted that ‘The dial in the base “comes to you” for dialing ease in any position, angle or distance.’ Not only was its design striking and unlike any before it, the phone was available in a variety of colors, too. In fact, when the phone came to the North American market, it was available in 18 colors.

The one-piece design appealed to hospitals. After all, patients lying in hospital beds needed a convenient way to use the telephone, and reaching over to a side table to dial a number on a two-piece phone wasn’t convenient nor ergonomic.

The Ericofon’s large red button in the middle of the dial served as the phone’s hook. When placed on a surface, the hook would naturally become depressed, thus ending the call. The three main versions of the Ericsson Telephone were a rotary dial version, a dial-free model (commonly used as extensions where dialing out was not permitted), and a touch-tone version. The touchtone model’s hookswitch was placed in the red horseshoe section of the base. This hookswitch is known to be fragile and prone to breakage, and it’s not easily repaired.

In the mid-1950s, Bell Telephone had the American market to itself and initially prevented the Ericsson Telephone Company’s telephones from using their circuits. The company eventually allowed Ericofons into the market — for institutional use only. According to Ericofon.com, Bell Telephone still charged rent to Ericsson Telephone Company customers even though it was not the provider of the phone.

Ericofons have appeared in movies and television including Mad Men, Men in Black, and Twilight Zone. Today, it’s considered highly collectible with prices currently ranging anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars on eBay. Extremely rare models go for much more.

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Sources:

Patent drawings:

http://www.ericofon.com/reading/patents/1947prototypes.pdf

“1956.” n.d. Accessed June 11, 2018. https://www.ericsson.com/en/about-us/history/products/the-telephones/the-ericofon–cobra-1956-1954.

“Ericofon.” n.d. Accessed June 11, 2018. https://www.collectorsweekly.com/telephones/ericofon.

“Ericofon Aka Cobra Phone, An Innovative Telephone Design by Ericsson.” n.d. Accessed June 11, 2018. https://laughingsquid.com/ericofon-aka-cobra-phone-an-innovative-telephone-design-by-ericsson/.

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Global Phone Numbers Can Grow Your Business

Global Phone NumbersIn today’s ever-connected world, it’s not unusual to encounter potential customers, suppliers, or business partners from different regions of the world. While you may meet in a LinkedIn or Facebook group and correspond via email, sometimes you must take those conversations out of text and onto the phone lines with global phone numbers.

Virtual global phone numbers are a good way to ensure that you’re accessible and easy to reach. Below are a few ways you can use international numbers to help you grow your business.

  • International Consulting Services — Your expertise may know no borders, but sharing it often requires extensive phone conversations with clients who may resent having to call internationally. Fortunately, ordering global phone numbers for specific countries is an affordable choice that allows you to present yourself as if you were local. For example, if you are targeting clients in Milan, Italy, you could order a local virtual phone number for Milan and then forward all incoming calls to your home office in another country. Your clients can now comfortably call you without incurring international long distance costs.
  • Imports and Exports — Many business owners consider importing or exporting as a means of gaining a competitive advantage. Importing raw materials, for example, could potentially reduce your manufacturing costs while exporting goods could help your business enter new markets. Both of these activities require excellent communication skills — and a means of facilitating that communication. A global phone number makes it much easier for suppliers, partners, trade officials, and shippers to get in touch with you.
  • Building an International Presence — Whether you target customers around the globe or travel frequently on business, having international phone numbers is a solid way to build an international presence. With a toll-free or local international phone number, your business could appear as if it has an office located in another country. Meanwhile, your callers have a country-specific channel that they can use to reach your main office.
  • Centralized Service Centers — While large international call centers may seem like something only enterprise organizations do, small and mid-sized companies can also benefit by routing incoming phone calls from around the world into a central office. Rather than having staff and branch offices in multiple countries, it may make sense to use global phone numbers and route them into a single office. 

Global phone numbers offer many benefits to businesses that need to expand their reach into international markets. For example, with one of our global phone numbers:

  • Your business becomes more accessible to local callers in another country
  • You can forward incoming calls to any phone in the world
  • It’s possible to change your “ring to” number as your needs change
  • You can get toll free international phone numbers to boost your credibility
  • You can control how your incoming calls are handled based on time of the day
  • You can create a more professional, international business image
  • You can pay as you go or cancel without penalty

Global phone numbers are available for countries around the globe.

Learn more about international virtual numbers here

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The Other Telephone and Telegraph Company IT&T

The other phone companyYou’ve heard of AT&T, how about IT&T? AT&T stands for American Telephone & Telegraph, one of the behemoths of the telecommunications industry.

IT&T stands for International Telephone & Telegraph, a company formed in the early 1900s modeled after — you guessed it — American Telephone & Telegraph.

Both companies still exist. While AT&T is a household name, you may be less familiar with IT&T. In fact, it’s now known as ITT, and is no longer a telephone company, but rather a “focused global multi-industrial company.” Let’s take a quick stroll through history.

IT&T’s story begins with two brothers, Sosthenes and Hernand Behn, sugar brokers from Puerto Rico who wound up with their own phone company, the Puerto Rico Telephone Company, as part of settling a bad debt. They saw the potential of the telephone and began expanding phone service throughout Puerto Rico and Cuba in 1917.

After a short stint of service in WWI, the brothers’ vision had extended beyond the shores of Puerto Rico. They wanted to build an international telephone system. They formed the International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation. The name was no accident. It was nearly identical to American Telephone & Telegraph Company, which was established by Alexander Graham Bell in 1885. According to Telecommunications History Group’s Virtual Museum, the name was a deliberate attempt to confuse foreign investors with AT&T.

The company grew through a series of acquisitions and indeed became a global player in the telecommunications industry.

After World War II, IT&T shifted gears, moving away from telecom and into other business types. This wasn’t a simple matter of diversification. Politics had a lot to do with it. For example, IT&T owned a telephone company in Cuba, but when Fidel Castro came into power, telephone service was nationalized. The company’s president at the time, Harold Geneen, turned to businesses that they could control.

Thus, IT&T acquired companies like: Hartford Insurance, Avis Rent-a-Car, and Sheraton Hotels. Instead of being a telecommunications company, IT&T found itself in the insurance, car rental, and hotel business — as well as in education, baking, and gaming to name a few. In all, the company acquired more than 350 businesses from 1960 to 1977, growing its annual sales from about $760 million to more than $17 billion.

To better manage its diverse portfolio, the company has restructured several times. It was initially split into separate entities; there was an acquisition, a few name changes, and a few spinoffs. The most recent restructuring occurred in 2016 with the parent company formally named ITT Inc.

Today, ITT Inc., whose motto is “engineered for life,” manufactures critical components and offers customized technology solutions for transportation, industrial and energy markets. Though the ITT name still exists, there’s not a telephone or telegraph in sight.
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Sources:
“History | ITT Inc.” n.d. Accessed May 31, 2018. https://www.itt.com/about/history.
“History of International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation – FundingUniverse.” n.d. Accessed May 31, 2018. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/international-telephone-and-telegraph-corporation-history/.
“Telecommunications Virtual Museum.” n.d. Accessed May 31, 2018. http://www.telcomhistory.org/vm/historiesITT.shtml.

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Web Conference Preparing Your Computer

Web Conference PreparationWeb Conference Preparations

Just as you’d tidy up the office and conference room before hosting VIPs in person, you’ll want to do the same for your web-based conference — especially if you plan on sharing your screen. As you prepare for your next web conference, take some time to prepare your computer for it too.

  1. Log in a couple hours early to make sure your web conferencing software is current. This will vary from one host to the next, but it’s not unusual for conferencing clients to prompt you to download the latest update when you sign in. Logging in a few hours before the scheduled time makes the update process less stressful than facing the uncertainty of a potentially long process right before the conference begins.
  1. Clean up your desktop before a web conference. Choose a professional-looking desktop wallpaper and clean up all those shortcuts. You could even create a separate desktop specifically for web conferencing. On a Mac, use Mission Control to create a new desktop. In Windows 10, you’ll use the Task View pane to create and switch between desktops. 
  1. Turn off desktop notifications. Turn off notifications to prevent incoming emails, text messages, and other alerts from interrupting your web conference or revealing information you’d rather keep to yourself. Remember, not only are the audible beeps and chimes potentially disruptive, if you’re sharing your screen, your audience will see the actual notifications that appear before you. 
  1. Exit out of unnecessary applications. Similarly, exit out of any open applications. While the apps are not likely to cause any interruptions on their own, you may inadvertently reveal a document in progress when tabbing through to another app. 
  1. Position your webcam. Log into to your web conference software and view yourself through the webcam before the conference. First, look at the background. Is there a bright window behind you? If so, the lighting may make you appear as a silhouette. You could either close the blinds or change the angle. You’ll also want to clear any background clutter. 

Before your web conference

Once you’re happy with the background, sit in front of the webcam as you would during the web conference. You may need to adjust the position or tilt of the monitor to better frame yourself. Raising or lowering your chair might also result in a more flattering, eye-level angel. 

  1. Test your sound and microphone. How will you be handling the audio portion of the call? Will you wear a headset, use the computer’s audio, or use a speakerphone? Whichever choice you make, go ahead and run a quick test.
  1. Gather your files. Open your presentation and load the first slide. If you plan on launching various files or sharing YouTube videos, make sure those are ready to go and easy to find. If you’ve made a custom desktop for your conference, you could add shortcuts to your materials right on the desktop.
  1. Log into your web conference early. Even though your computer’s ready, it’s still smart to sign in early. This gives you a chance to double check your audio and video as well as personally greet participants as they join the call.

https://www.aitelephone.com/video-web-conferencing/

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Before There Were Cell Phones, We had a CB Radio

Amateur Radio Station LicenseIt’s hard to imagine taking even the shortest of car trips without your phone. After all, what if you get a flat tire or are running late? Long before mobile phones became widespread, drivers had another telecommunications tool: the CB Radio.

Here’s a quick look back at how drivers communicated back then.

What is a CB Radio?

CB stands for Citizen’s Band and is the common name used to refer to Citizen’s Band radio. The CB radio was invented by Al Gross in 1945 as a two-way, short-wave communication service using the 27MHz band. CB radios have numerous channels, all of which are shared. Thus, users hear other conversations and must wait their turn.

Because communication took place over the public airwaves, the FCC initially required users to obtain an FCC license in order to use the service. That has since changed, and no license is required to use a CB. At one point, the FCC was receiving one million license applications a month, an overwhelming amount to process.

Many CB users skipped out on licensing completely to avoid the hassles — and the FCC licensing fee. They used nicknames, or “handles,” to identify themselves, remain anonymous, and to avoid the fee. Handles such as “Road Hog” and “Blue Knight” were common. First lady Betty Ford reportedly had a handle of her own while in the White House — “First Mama.” Even after the FCC dropped the license requirement, the tradition of using handles stuck.

Though CB radios arrived in the mid-1940s, they became a craze in the 1970s. Not only had the equipment become affordable, the oil crisis prompted many drivers to hit the airwaves in search of available gas. In an effort to curb gasoline consumption back then, the speed limit was reduced to 55 miles per hour. This also prompted many drivers to use CBs to inform others about police car sightings and speed traps.

The 411 on CB Radio Slang

Just as CB users used nicknames, they also created a language all their own. You’ve probably heard words and phrases like “Do you copy,” “good buddy,” “10-4,” or “10-20.” Those are all common terms used by CB users. Do you copy means, “do you understand?” or “are you there?” Good buddy means just that, it’s a term of endearment. 10-4 and 10-20 are from a long list of “CB 10” codes with specific meanings such as “OK, message received” for 10-4 and “location” for 10-20.

Because truckers represented a huge portion of the CB user base, many CB slang terms are trucking related such as “jewelry” which refers to the lights on a rig, “drop stop destination” which refers to where the driver will be dropping off freight, and “box” which refers to a tractor-trailer.

CB Radios Today

With the popularity of mobile phones, SMS, and social media, CB radios are nowhere near as popular as they once were. However, they still have their place. Many truckers, RVers, motorcyclists, off-roaders, and hobbyists still use CBs even though they have cell phones. CB radios remain an effective way to share road information with nearby drivers. In addition, CBs can be an effective, reliable choice during times when cellular networks are down or overwhelmed such as during or after a natural disaster.

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Sources:

Public domain image — Al Gross’s Amateur Radio License from FCC
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_J._Gross#/media/File:W8PAL.jpg

“CB Radio: A History – Pacific Standard.” n.d. Accessed May 18, 2018. https://psmag.com/social-justice/cb-radio-a-history

“CB Radios in the Modern World.” n.d. Accessed May 18, 2018. https://www.wearecb.com/cb-radios-modern-world.html

“Fun Trucker Handles for the CB Radio User.” n.d. Accessed May 18, 2018. https://www.driveabco.com/2015/03/fun-trucker-handles-cb-radio-user/

“The CB Radio Craze (1970’s) – Mortal Journey.” n.d. Accessed May 18, 2018. http://www.mortaljourney.com/2010/10/1970-trends/cb-radio

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Is it Time to Get an International Virtual SMS Number?

Virtual Mobile SMS UserBuy a Virtual SMS Number? Once the preferred communications method among teens, text messaging has moved into the mainstream. People of all ages have embraced SMS messaging. It’s fast, convenient, and immediate.

Text messaging also leaves a text-based trail for future reference, and it can be used to communicate with others in noisy environments.

International Virtual Mobile SMS Numbers Currently Available for these Countries:

We add new SMS countries as they become available.

United States
United Kingdom
Austria
Australia
Belgium
Brazil
Canada
China
Denmark
France
Israel
Poland
Romania
Spain
Sweden

In fact, statistics show that:

  • 64 percent of customers prefer text over phone calls as a customer service communications channel
  • 90 percent of texts are read within just three minutes
  • In 2020, half of the US workforce will be made up of millennials

Your customers love texting, and many probably even prefer it to speaking with a live person. Changing tastes and a never-ending barrage of robocalls often results in phone calls going unanswered, especially if the caller ID is from an unfamiliar number. Text messaging, on the other hand, is quickly becoming the go-to choice for personal and business communications alike.

Until recently, business professionals who wanted to send texts to clients, customers, leads, prospects, suppliers, and co-workers faced a dilemma: texting meant either giving up their personal cell phone numbers (and potentially introducing intrusions during family time) or obtaining a second mobile phone and number to use for business texting. No one wants to carry two phones around. A better option is to get a virtual SMS number.

How a Mobile SMS Number Works

With a virtual SMS number, it’s no longer necessary to reveal your personal mobile number to business contacts. Instead, you’ll give them a special SMS-enabled virtual phone number to use. This virtual SMS number can receive both voice calls and text messages. When an SMS text message arrives, the text message along with the sender’s caller ID number is sent to the email address you’ve designated to receive text messages.

Note: Because the SMS phone number is virtual and not an actual mobile phone number, it can’t be used for 2-step authentication/verification purposes by banks and other institutions.

Virtual SMS Number

Your virtual SMS number also doubles as a virtual phone number. Thus, if someone uses it to place a voice call, you can receive those calls on the phone of your choice. For example, you could set up the number to ring to your mobile phone, an office phone, your home phone, or even a call center. You could also set it up to ring straight into voicemail and have that voicemail forwarded to your email account.

Like our other virtual phone numbers, a robust feature set is included, so you could set up desirable calling features such as simultaneous ringing, time-of-day call forwarding, and more. You may even be able to receive text messages from other countries, assuming the international mobile networks update their databases promptly with your new SMS-enabled phone number.

Tip: If you’d rather receive your incoming texts on your phone’s text messaging client instead of your email inbox, most cellular providers offer a means of forwarding emails to your mobile phone number. It’s usually a special email address containing your mobile phone number and the provider’s specific forwarding domain such as “phonenumber@txt.att.net.” These forwarding email addresses can be used in conjunction with your SMS virtual number to forward your incoming SMS messages to your mobile phone.

Once set up, share your virtual SMS number with clients, suppliers, prospects, co-workers and other business contacts without worrying about being interrupted at inconvenient times.

Let’s take a look at a couple of potential ways you can use your virtual SMS number.

  • Business Consulting — Let’s say you’re a business consultant who wants to be accessible to clients via text messaging. At the same time, you’d prefer to keep your personal mobile phone number private as well as have the ability to control when and where you receive phone calls and text messages from clients. Thus, you decide to order a virtual SMS number local to your community. Not only does the virtual SMS number look as if it were a standard mobile phone number, you can receive both voice and text messages from your clients but on your own terms.

For example, during a business conference, you’ll likely want to be as accessible as possible. In this case, you’d set up your mobile phone as the designated ring-to number for voice calls and make sure your email client on your smartphone is set to receive email messages containing SMS texts. When you return to the office, you could change your ring-to number to your office phone and change the email address back to your main work email address. Now, you don’t even need your phone to receive texts.

  • Marketing a Business — Since many people prefer to communicate via text messaging, it makes sense to provide them with a means to do just that. Use SMS virtual numbers on your website, social media profiles, business cards, catalogs, and other sales collateral.
  • Personal Communications — Virtual SMS numbers are also a great way to bridge the generation gap. For example, if you have teenage or young adult family members who prefer texting to email or voice calls and elderly parents who would love to hear from them but don’t have smartphones or know how to text, you could set up a virtual SMS number for the grandkids to send texts to the grandparents. Their texts would actually be forwarded to the grandparents’ email account. 

Turning a Virtual SMS Number into a Competitive Advantage

Your customers like to text, yet few businesses are set up to interact with customers in this manner. By getting your own SMS virtual number, you could have a competitive advantage over your competitors so make sure to take advantage of it. When advertising, make sure to let people know they can text you and publish the virtual number. Your virtual SMS number could sway millennials and potential customers who dislike calling businesses to get in touch with you.

Virtual SMS numbers also provide:

  • A sense of immediacy and availability
  • Localization
  • A written record of messages

How to Get a Virtual SMS Number

We make it easy to get a virtual SMS number. Sign up takes mere minutes, and you can try our service for free. There are no contracts and no cancellation fees, so you can use your virtual number for both long-term and short-term text messaging needs. Get started now.

Learn more about SMS International Virtual Numbers here

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How to Create a Digital Knowledge Base with Conference Calls

Digital Knowledge BaseDigital Knowledge Base can be created by teams that use conference calls and web conferences internally that tend to be adept at exchanging knowledge

They may jump on a web conference to show a co-worker how to troubleshoot a software issue, apply a special effect in Photoshop, or discuss an important company policy.

Not only are these conversations helpful at the moment, they could be helpful in the future — if you capture and preserve them in a digital knowledge base. Since you can easily record conference calls, video conferences, and web conferences, you’re already halfway there. Use the tips below to create your own digital archive.

  • Create a structure for your knowledge base — Depending on your business systems and preferences, you could create an Office 365 Sharepoint Site, an existing content management system, a shared network or cloud-based drive, or even Evernote notebooks. Wherever you opt to store your recordings, it’s smart to create some sort of structure so that it’s easy to find relevant recordings. For example, you might create categories and sub-categories or use tags to organize your content.
  • Determine which conference call recordings are worth storing in your digital knowledge base — All of your conference calls have value, but not all of them should be preserved for future consumption. For example, a conference call discussing your company’s sexual harassment policy could be helpful while one discussing a specific individual’s behavior would likely be off limits for sharing to a general internal audience.
  • Announce your intentions — At the beginning of any conference call that you are recording, it’s a best practice (and depending on the local jurisdiction, could even be a legal requirement) to inform all parties that the call is being recording. If you intend to post it on your internal knowledge base, let the attendees know that as well.
  • Use editing software as needed — Audio and web conferences can cover any number of topics as well as contain hidden gems that would be helpful to your current and future employees. However, a one-hour recording spanning multiple topics will likely get fewer views than a series of bite-sized chunks focused on individual topics.
  • Include transcripts (if available) — If you routinely have your recordings transcribed, it’s helpful to include a transcript with your recording. Some people prefer reading over listening. Others may want to refer to the transcript while taking notes.
  • Share your new and growing knowledge base — Make sure your knowledge base is highly visible amongst your team so that they’re aware of this valuable resource. Encourage contributions.

Finally, consider holding weekly audio or web conferences specifically to create content for your knowledge base. For example, you could rotate through the different departments of your business each week, holding a short conference call on a topic relevant to that department. If you kept this up, by the end of a year, you’d have at least 50 helpful recordings in your digital knowledge base.

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