International Conference Call Invite for Global Audio Calls

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

International Conference Call Invite

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

Conference Call Access

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

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

Conference Call Timing for International Conference Call Invite

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

Before sending the international conference call invite

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

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

When inviting participants, let them know the following:

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

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

View global conference call details here

How to Use a Virtual Number for Marketing Purposes

Virtual phone numbers are also commonly called remote call forwarding numbers.

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

What is a Virtual Number?

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

How can you get a virtual number?

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

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

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

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

Why Use a Virtual Phone Number for Marketing?

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

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

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

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

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

View worldwide database of call forwarding virtual numbers here

5 Ways for Better Conference Call Notes

If you’re already a sketch note-taker, try taking visual notes during your next conference call.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remote Design Review Conference Call Hosting

In order to keep your Remote Design Review Conference Call on track, it’s helpful to create and share a checklist or outline covering everything that needs to be reviewed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about audio, and web conferencing.

Global Conference Call in Progress and How to Add Attendees

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

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

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

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

Use the Moderator Dial Out Function

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

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

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

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

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

Use the Connect App

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

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

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

Ask an Operator for Help

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

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

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

Learn more about global conferencing here

Conference Call South Korea with Global Guests

Not only can you host the conference call from South Korea, you can have participants join the call from USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, or wherever else your contacts may be located.

conference call south korea

Conference Call South Korea

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

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

Setting Up a conference call South Korea

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

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

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

Conducting the Conference Call from South Korea

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

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

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

Learn more about Conference Call South Korea here

How to Hold a South America Conference Call

suppose you’d like to hold an audio training session for your company’s regional sales managers in USA, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, and Peru.

South America CountriesSouth America conference call.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about conferencing with participants in other countries here

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

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

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

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

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

Identify Each Participant’s Countries

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

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

Choose a Global Conferencing Plan

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

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

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

Calculating the Cost of a 10-way Global Conference Call

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View more details about Global Conferencing here

 

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

Screen sharing allows you to share a PowerPoint presentation, your team’s new uniform design, or even YouTube videos.

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

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

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

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

Use a Month-to-Month Plan

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

Determine How Many Active Cameras You Really Need

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

Holding the Board Meeting via Desktop Video Conference

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

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

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

Try a free 30-day trial today

How to Set Up Audio Conference Service for International Branch Offices

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.

Conference Calling for Branch OfficesIf your business consists of the main office and one or more branch offices around the world, setting up audio conference service 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 the 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 by 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 by 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 its 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 the 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 audio 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.

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How to Host a Large Event Audio Conference

As with any large event, working out the details and advanced planning are crucial to the success of your 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

Origins of Telecommunications – Pioneers of Teleconferencing

We owe a debt of gratitude to the visionaries who pioneered teleconferencing technologies.

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.
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Sources

“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.

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

We recommend keeping your system simple, without too many levels of prompts to avoid frustrating your callers.

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.”

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

How to Host a US Canada Cross Border Conference Call

Conference calls can be held at a moment’s notice with no reservations required.

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.

Read on

How to Host a Multi-Country Conference Call      

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.

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

read on

A Brief History of Video Conferencing

However, high speed access to the internet became more common,  everyday computers came equipped with microphones and webcams off the shelf, and simple web-based video chatting solutions such as Skype emerged.

Modern Times trailer (1936).webm – Wikimedia

Telecommunications tools today, especially video conferencing, make the world a smaller place. With just a few clicks or taps, you can initiate or join a global video conference, seeing and hearing the other participants in full motion video. The technology powering video conferencing is truly amazing. While Skype was one of the first to popularize video conferencing in 2003, the idea of communicating over long distances both audibly and visually dates back more than one hundred years! Let’s take a stroll through time to learn more about how one of the most innovative tools in use today evolved.

Video Conferencing in the 1800s and 1900s

Yes, we’re going all the way to the late 1800s, the 1870s to be exact. During this time, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, the concept of transmitting an image alongside audio over a wire was born. In the years following, the concept was largely relegated to the realm of science fiction. EM Forster’s The Machine Stops novel depicts a futurist post-apocalyptic world where people rarely travel; they communicate via video screens and have all of their needs served by an all-encompassing “machine.”

It took about a half a century before the concept materialized in 1927 when Bell Labs connected several Washington, D.C. officials with the president of AT&T in New York City in an audio/video phone call. This call included a two-way audio connection and a one-way video connection.

Yet, the technology didn’t go far, other than in the movies. Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 film Modern Times, for example, featured a video phone where a factory executive relayed instructions to factory workers.

In 1964, the “Picturephone” debuted at the World’s Fair in New York City. As innovative as the Picturephone was at the time, it failed to take off. Some believe that people of that era disliked face-to-face communication over the phone while others think the one-to-one nature doomed it to fail. After all, where video conferencing today really shines is in group settings.  Several organizations were involved in spurring this technology forward including Post Office Telecom (British Telecom) in Europe and, later, Stanford University with its Virtual Auditorium.

In 1982, Compression Labs launched its CLI TI video conference system. Big and bulky, CLI TI also came with a huge price tag of $250,000 — plus, each call cost $1,000 per hour.

During this era, the hardware alone took up an entire room. This coupled with the high costs involved meant only a few larger businesses could adopt the technology.

By the mid-1990s, personal computers and Internet access became more common, opening the doors to desktop video conferencing. Intel was one of the pioneers with its ProShare for Windows PC software. Users at the time needed a PC with a sound card, microphone, and webcam — and high speed Internet.

Video Conferencing — or “Distributed Collaboration” — in the 2000s

In 2000, Lester F. Ludwig, J. Chris Lauwers, Keith A. Lantz, Gerald J. Burnett, and Emmett R. Burns filed for a patent, which was later granted to Collaborative Properties, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Avistar Communication Corporation),  for a “computer-based system designed to enhance collaboration between and among individuals who are separated by distance and/or time.”  They referred to this as “distributed collaboration.”

Picturephone

 

 

 

 

 

The inventors noted the shortcomings of other systems of the time such as:

  • A lack of high quality video
  • Limited data-sharing capabilities
  • (For non-visual communications technologies) The inability to convey facial and non-verbal cues

The inventors envisioned users starting with a “collaborative multimedia workstation” (CMW) with high quality video and audio capabilities installed within a system architecture with separate real-time and asynchronous networks.

Data Sharing Component

In addition, the inventors included a data-sharing component where visual information such as screenshots (or “snapshots of screens” as the inventors called them) and the sharing of both he control and display of applications (application sharing). Each participant had the ability to annotate or point at the shared visual data. Plus, the entire teleconference, including audio and video as well as shared data, could be recorded from each collaborative multimedia workstation.

This invention certainly had promise, and many of the concepts noted in the original patent are commonly included in modern video conferencing solutions.

However, high speed access to the internet became more common,  everyday computers came equipped with microphones and webcams off the shelf, and simple web-based video chatting solutions such as Skype emerged.

In fact, Skype arrived in 2003. It was no longer necessary to have serious network architecture in order to conduct free audio calls, complete with text messaging and the ability to share files with other people. All you needed was a free download and Internet access. Video calling soon followed in 2006.

Though Skype helped bring the concept of desktop video calls to the mainstream, it wasn’t alone. Apple’s FaceTime launched in 2010. Other services soon followed.

Today, various companies over affordable video conferencing options and plans both as unified communications systems for the enterprise and as cloud-based services. Either way, the days of $1000 per hour calls are over.

Read on

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Sources:

“8 Fun Facts From the History of Video Conferencing.” 2017. Accessed August 16. http://www.methodshop.com/2014/11/video-conferencing-facts.shtml

“A Brief History of Skype | TIME.com.” 2017. Accessed August 16. http://techland.time.com/2011/05/10/a-brief-history-of-skype/

“About Collaboration Properties, Inc. and Avistar Communications Corporation for Avistar_Communications (AVSR).” 2017. Accessed August 16. http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Avistar_Communications_(AVSR)/Collaboration_Properties_Inc_Avistar_Communications_Corporation

“FaceTime Creator Details Its History, Including Code Name – CNET.” 2017. Accessed August 16. https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-engineer-details-facetimes-history-including-original-codename/

“Modern Times (Film) – Wikipedia.” 2017. Accessed August 16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Times_(film)

“The History of Skype.” 2017. Skype. Accessed August 16.

“The History of Video Conferencing.” 2017. Accessed August 16. http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/tech/history-video-conferencing/

“The Machine Stops: Did EM Forster Predict the Internet Age? – BBC News.” 2017. Accessed August 16.  http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-36289890

“The Video Auditorium.” 2017. Accessed August 16. https://graphics.stanford.edu/~miltchen/VideoAuditorium/

“US7185054B1 – Google Patents.” 2017. Accessed August 16. https://patents.google.com/patent/US7185054B1/en?q=video+conference

“Video Phone – TV Tropes.” 2017. Accessed August 16. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VideoPhone

“Videoconferencing | Communications | Britannica.com.” 2017. Accessed August 16. https://www.britannica.com/technology/videoconferencing

Party Lines, the Original Group Audio Call

Party Line - The Original Conference call
Party Line – The Original Conference call

When you pick up the telephone at your home or office, it’s a given that the call will take place over a private line.

You know that whether you initiate a call with one, two, three, or more individuals, only those you’ve specifically included will be on the call.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, party lines, which are a type of shared / group telephone subscription service, were the dominant type of phone service for decades.

By the 1950s, when they were just starting to fall out of favor, roughly 75 percent of all residential customers in the United States were on party lines.

What is a Party Line?

A party line is a local telephone line shared by two or more subscribers. When the party line was in use, any other subscribers could pick up their telephones and listen in. This meant that there was absolutely no privacy. If you needed to make a phone call and the line was in use, you’d simply have to wait your turn. In most states, if you had an emergency and announced your emergency as such, the other parties were legally obligated to hang up so you could make your emergency call.

Whose Line Is It? How Recipients Recognized Calls Intended for Them

When someone called the group party line, all of the telephones within that group would ring. Can you imagine the chaos with dozens of people answering at once? Fortunately, the telephone company had an answer for this: custom ringtones (or “signal codes” as they were called back in the day)!

According to the Cyclopedia of Telegraphy and Telephony, the signal code for each “station” typically consisted of combinations of long and short rings, much like Morse code’s dots and dashes. For example, station 1 would be notified with one short ring while station 2 would receive two short rings. Recognizing that people would have difficulty interpreting ring sequences above five, the higher numbered stations would use long and short rings. For example, station 11 would have a signal code with one long ring and one short ring while station 12’s signal code was one long ring and two short rings.

Thus, if your home was designated as station 11, you’d keep your ear out for one long ring followed by one short one.

While common sense would dictate that people would only pick up the telephone when their signal code rang, reality was a different story. Eavesdropping was a serious concern, so much so that the Bell System produced a short film and a comic book about party line etiquette in 1946.

https://youtu.be/nL0TDHfvTSU

Not only was eavesdropping considered rude, as it is today, having multiple parties connected to the line at the same time drained local batteries and impaired the ringing efficiency of the party line due to the way the current passed through the infrastructure.

Determining the Size of a Group Party Line

The phone company had to weigh several factors to determine how many stations to place on a single party line. It wasn’t a matter of the central office’s capacity, but rather finding the balance where multiple parties could use the party line without undue interference from other users and easily interpret their own signal codes without having to suffer through non-stop ringing.

Telephone “traffic” was also analyzed. In general, city dwellers tended to make short, two or three-minute phone calls whereas rural callers tended to chat for much longer – up to a half hour or more. Thus, rural party lines typically had fewer subscribers than their urban counterparts.

Party Lines Phased Out

As you can imagine, having to wait a half hour or longer to maybe get a chance to make your own phone call was annoying — and knowing that your conversations were likely being listened in on unsettling. Private lines were available, but there was a backlog during World War II. By the 1950s, private lines became more readily available and party lines fell out of favor between the 1950s and 1970s. Local circuit loops, however, found a small niche with young adults for a time, with topic- or interest-specific party lines serving as a pre-Internet social network. Between 1988 and 2000, most big phone companies had eliminated party lines altogether.

Looking back at the way phones were used in the past, we realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Today, three-way calling and conference calls are excellent choices for family and business communications. Fortunately, all the negatives of the old party lines, such as lack of privacy and having to listen for your own signal code out of many, are long gone.

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Old Bell Party Line Etiquette video here:

 Sharing link:

http://techchannel.att.com/play-video.cfm/2012/6/6/AT&T-Archives-Party-Lines

Togo International Conference Calling

There are no contracts, no monthly fees, and no commitment, yet you get competitive rates and advanced conference calling features like MP3 recording, PSTN connections, dial-out tools, a live online conference viewer, and more.

Togo FlagYou can host Togo international conference calls by using our global conference calling service. While we offer toll free and in-country access numbers for over 100 countries, for Togo international conference calls, the access to the call is enabled using the Connect app or via the dial-out feature or by requesting the connection from the 24 hour operator.

Fortunately, there are several convenient options for hosting or participating in Togo global conference calls using our pay-as-you-go service.

We suggest the following:

  • Use the Connect app — This is a free mobile and desktop app that makes accessing Togo international calls a simple matter of tapping a button. The app routes all calls over our modern PSTN fiberoptic telecommunications network, ensuring that your Togo conference calls are crystal clear no matter where in the world you or your participants may be. It also allows you to manually join other participants as well as record your conference calls. When you connect using the app, you get our competitive dial-out rates, too.
  • Use the dial-out feature — have the chairperson if located in one of the 100+ countries where toll-free access exists, dial-out to you in Togo to add you and your Togo based participants to your call.
  • Ask for operator assistance — Our US-based operators work 24/7 and are readily available to connect you or your participants to your Togo conference calls.

The Togolese Republic, or Togo as it’s commonly called, was once known as Togoland. Togo is one of the smallest African countries measuring just 22,000 square miles. The country is located in West Africa next to Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, and the Gulf of Guinea. The official language is French, though numerous languages are spoken throughout Togo.

Togoland was a German protectorate from 1884 through World War I, at which point it became French Togoland. Togo gained its independence from France in 1960 but, according to CIA World Factbook, has been ruled “with a heavy hand” for nearly 40 years. Togo’s former President Eyadema took over in 1967 after a military coup and ruled until his death in 2005. His son, was installed as president in the aftermath. Togo’s first free legislative elections were held in late 2007. A presidential election in Togo has since followed, but not without controversies.

Today, Togo is home to 7,552,318 people. It is a poor country with about half of the population living below the poverty line, low life expectancy (especially among men), and high infant mortality. Togo has also been impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Commercial and subsistence agriculture make up the bulk of Togo’s economy, yet Togo imports basic foods. Togo’s main crops are cocoa, cotton, and coffee which collectively represent about 40 percent of Togo’s export revenue. Togo also is rich in phosphate and is one of the largest phosphate producers in the world.

Because it relies on agriculture, Togo’s economy is vulnerable to weather conditions and international coffee, cocoa, and cotton price fluctuations.

Telecommunications in Togo

According to CIA World Factbook, Togo had 63,200 filed line telephones in 2014, which is about one fixed line phone for every 100 people. In 2014, Togo had 4.8 million mobile cellular phone subscribers, or about 66 mobile subscribers for every 100 people.

The CIA World Factbook describes Togo’s phone system as fair. The network is primarily based on microwave radio relay with supplemental open-wire lines. Togo has one satellite earth station and is connected to the West Africa Cable System.

According to Africa and Middle East Telecom Week, the fixed line operator in Togo is Societe des Telecommunications du Togo (Togo Telecom). Mobile operators in Togo include Moov and Togo Cellulaire.

As of 2014, just 336,000 (4.6 percent of Togo’s population) people in Togo were Internet users. Internet cafes are a popular option for accessing the Internet. According to an undated article on BalancingAct-Africa.com, Togo has more than 200 Internet cafes in its capital city. Internet services include dial-up and fixed and wireless broadband. The two largest Internet service providers are Café Informatique et Télécommunication, a private company, and Togo Telecom, the incumbent phone company.

Togo International Phone Calls

If you need to call someone in Togo from another country, Togo’s international country code is 228. First, dial your country’s exit code and then dial 228 followed by the phone number.

If you are in Togo and need to call someone in another country, Togo’s exit code is 00. Dial that followed by the international country code for the other country and then the phone number.

Hosting Togo conference calls is easier than you may think, and our pay-as-you-go international conferencing plans are the perfect choice. There are no contracts, no monthly fees, and no commitment, yet you get competitive rates and advanced conference calling features like MP3 recording, PSTN connections, dial-out tools, a live online conference viewer, and more. Sign up for an account today and begin hosting international conference calls in Togo and around the world.

International Conference Call Zambia

Zambia’s telephone system is considered to be one of the best in sub-Saharan Africa.

Zambia Landscape

International Conference Calling in Zambia

You can host and participate in international conference calls in Zambia using our global conferencing service. For attendees in more than 100 countries, we offer toll free and local access numbers.

For attendees in Zambia to join a global conference call, we provide international access via the included dial-out feature and the free Connect App.

Included dial-out feature

Using the dial-out feature permits connecting any phone number worldwide to your conference call directly through your account without the use of the operator.

The dial-out feature enables the chairperson to use a simple key-pad command to add a guest to the conference call at any time.  The attendee can be located in Zambia or any other country.

Dial Out Feature

Connect App | Use with it with iPhone, Android, PC or Mac

This app facilitates the actual connection, taking care of all international exit and country codes while also ensuring that all calls are routed over the highest quality PSTN telephone networks at our low dial-out rates. Both the chairperson of the Zambia international conference call and attendees from around the world can use the app.

You can even record your conference calls, mute lines, dial participants directly, and more — all within the app.

Example of the Connect App on an iPhone

Connect AppOur live operators can also help. They’re in the United States and work around the clock. They can connect attendees from Zambia into your global conference calls for you.

Perhaps best of all, our international conferencing plans are pay-as-you-go with no contract. Whether you need to host a single Zambia conference call or plan on doing so on a regular basis, you pay only for the minutes used. Meanwhile, you get the best call global conference call quality, easy-to-use features, a free Connect app, advanced features, live operator assistance, and more.

About Zambia

The Republic of Zambia is located in Southern Africa. It is completely landlocked, bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.

The British South Africa Company administered the region as a territory called Northern Rhodesia from 1891 to 1923. The United Kingdom took over in 1923. Northern Rhodesia gained its independence in 1964 and changed its name to Zambia.

Zambia was subject to one-party rule until the 1991 election. A decade later, the election had its share of conflict. Several elections and a presidential succession have since followed.

Today, there are an estimated 15,066,266 people living in Zambia. According to CIA World Factbook, for the past decade, Zambia has had one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. However, Zambia also has a fast-growing population, a huge HIV/AIDS burden, and decades of economic shortfalls to make up for.

The main economic driver for Zambia is copper. In the 1990s, the country privatized government-owned copper mines, a move that prompted economic growth while also relieving the government from having to cover copper losses. The copper industry has competition from the Democratic Republic of the Congo which recently surpassed Zambia as the largest copper producer in Africa. The copper industry is also vulnerable to price fluctuations.

Agriculture is another economic driver for Zambia, with more jobs in agriculture than in mining. Crops, cattle, pork, chicken, eggs, dairy, edible oils, fish, and feedstock are among the many agricultural products produced by Zambia.

Victoria Falls is a major tourist destination in Zambia, and some of the best wildlife habitats, national parks, and game reserves entice international tourists to visit.

Challenges that Zambia continues to face include poverty, high unemployment, inconsistent economic policy, HIV/AIDS, weakness in its currency, and increased mineral royalty taxes. Though Zambia exports between $7 and $8 billion each year, about 68 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line.

Telecommunications in Zambia

According to CIA World Factbook, there were 110,000 fixed line phone subscribers in Zambia as of 2014 estimates for a telephone density of 1 fixed line phone for every 100 people. At the same time, there were 10.1 million mobile cellular subscribers in Zambia for a mobile tele density of 60 mobile phones for every 100 people.

Zambia’s telephone system is considered to be one of the best in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a high-capacity microwave radio relay system domestically that links most of the larger towns and cities. For rural areas, a domestic satellite system is in the works. Zambia has 5 satellite earth stations, and Internet access is available throughout the country. About 2.3 million people in Zambia were Internet users in 2014. That’s about 15.4 percent of the population.

According to Budde.com.au, Zambia now has access to international submarine fiber optic cables, resulting in consumer price reductions for broadband services. 3G, LTE, and WiMAX networks have been launched in Zambia, which should help to increase the country’s Internet penetration rates.

Making International Phone Calls in Zambia

If you are in Zambia and need to call a phone number outside of the country, you will need to first dial Zambia’s exit code which is 00 followed by the international country code, area code, and phone number of the other party.

Zambia’s international country code is 260. If you are calling someone in Zambia from outside the country, you’ll need to dial your own exit code followed by 260 and the phone number.

Learn more about International Conference Call Zambia Service here

 

 

Why US Businesses Make Canada Conference Calls and Vice Versa

Who’s to say everyone will be conveniently located in USA? Imagine a software company merger involving a firm in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Merger acquisition conference callsSo, you’ve signed up for a US-Canada conference calling service.

Now what? While you may have initially signed up for a specific purpose, such as interacting with colleagues or partners across the border, there are many opportunities for group audio calls involving participants within your own country or across both countries.

Below are just a few ideas to get you started.

Traditional Business Conference Calls

Canada and US business professionals are accustomed to using conference calls as a routine part of business. When you have vendors, partners, contractors, customers, and other contacts with whom you’d like to speak in a group setting, a conference call is the perfect choice. When participants are from both USA and Canada, our conference calling service makes coordinating, managing, and participating in these traditional conference calls a simple matter.

Expanding Your Teleseminars to Canada

Many US consultants, coaches, trainers, and motivational speakers hold regular teleseminars using audio conferencing tools. However, why restrict your audience to the United States only? If it makes sense for your business, you could use our Canada toll free conference calling service to expand your teleseminars into Canada. It’s just as easy as holding a US conference call for you and for your audience members.

For example, those in the United States may join your conference calls by dialing a local or toll free number. Meanwhile, those in Canada will do the same, except their local numbers will be specific to Canadian cities instead of American ones. Cost variances are minimal and our rates for both countries are extremely competitive.

Informational Conference Calls

Do you need to relay information to a group of potential bidders in USA and Canada? Conference calls are one way to broadcast your RFQ information to a large group in a single session. Not only can you have as many as 150 participants from USA and Canada join you in an informational conference call, you could also record the conference and make the MP3 recording available for bidders to listen to at their leisure.

Business Mergers & Acquisitions

Entering into a merger or acquisition requires a great deal of communication between business owners, brokers, attorneys, M&A consultants, and other key players. Who’s to say everyone will be conveniently located in USA? Imagine a software company merger involving a firm in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. Though geographically close, you’ll need a US – Canada conferencing solution to ensure that your group audio call is easy and convenient for all attendees to join.

Family Conference Calls

Do you have family members scattered across Canada and the United States? Whether planning a family reunion, coordinating the care of an elderly parent or grandparent, or simply enjoying one another’s company during the holidays, a US – Canada conference call can bring everyone together in a single phone call.

With our contract-free conferencing plans, you can host US – Canada conference calls as needed for any number of use cases. Since you pay only for the minutes used, you don’t need to worry about maximizing your plan — it’s already maximized based on how you use it. Sign up for an account today and begin interacting with your group based on your needs.

See Canada Call Conferencing details here