Video Conferencing Improves Knowledge Exchange

Video Conferencing UserHow to Use Video Conferencing to Improve Knowledge Exchange

At the heart of just about every successful business is the exchange of knowledge. Whether between employees, external suppliers and contractors, or the general public, the flow of information is crucial to a business’s success. Knowledge exchange can take any number of forms including telephone calls, in-person meetings, training classes, workshops, trade shows, presentations, written materials, videos, and more. In recent years, web conferencing has become a convenient option. Use the tips below to leverage your desktop video conferencing tools for improved knowledge exchange.

Embrace its Multimedia Capabilities

Desktop video conferencing brings participants together in a multimedia environment, so take advantage of it. With a web conference, users can:

  • Appear on camera if desired — In many cases, just the presenter will appear on camera though it’s also common for multiple participants to turn on their webcams and interact via video. Using video creates a more intimate meeting and allows participants to get a better read on each other’s facial expressions and body language.
  • Communicate in normal speaking voices — much like you would in an audio conference. Whether dialing in on a separate phone line or using a computer’s microphone and speakers, there’s no need to shout or struggle to hear one another. Sound quality has improved dramatically. Using our audio conference lines enable participants from around the world able to interact verbally without line noise, dropouts, echoes, or other audible interference.
  • Share screens — This one of the most popular uses for web conferencing. For example, rather than sending a link to a PowerPoint file and hoping everyone understands your concepts, you could hold a web conference, share your screen, and walk the group through your presentation. Not only can you answer questions or clarify key points as you go, you’ll be able to get valuable feedback from your team as well as the assurance that everyone has received the information. In fact, you can even get an attendance report emailed to you after the fact that documents everyone’s attendance.
  • Share notes and files — Within the video conferencing interface, you’ll find a variety of tools that you can use to create collaborative notes, send links to files, or interact via text-based chat.

Hold Micro Meetings

Desktop video conferencing is easy to use, and your web-based meetings can be accessed virtually anywhere on a smartphone or computer. In fact, you may find it’s smarter to hold a series of “micro” meetings rather than the occasional long meeting. For example, instead of holding a 1.5-hour weekly meeting each Monday, consider holding 15-minute video conference each day. With such a strategy, you can disseminate the most important and relevant information for the day, discover the latest concerns while they’re fresh, and work toward a shared goal every day.

Build a Knowledge Base

Since you can record every video conference you hold, with each meeting, you’re potentially accumulating a great deal of knowledge. Certainly, not every meeting will be worth preserving for the future. However, many will. For instance, if you use a video conference and its screen-sharing feature to teach new customers how to use the various features of your software, you could place the recording on your website as a video tutorial. Internally, you could create a knowledge base of processes, education, tutorials, troubleshooting steps, lessons learned, and more all by recording your web conferences.

Our desktop video conferencing is easy, accessible, and affordable. Try a free 30-day trial and see for yourself just how well it can improve the flow of information in your office.

Desktop Video Conferencing

Hold International Conference Calls from Just About Anywhere

All of our conference calls are carried over modern PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Networks) connections and state-of-the-art conference bridges, which are well known for exceptional call quality — even when connecting participates from remote locations.

How to Hold International Conference Calls from Just About AnywhereOur customers always inspire us with stories of their international conference calls.

Our service has been used in some of the most remote places on earth.

A recent user told us how their company uses international audio conferencing from their oil rigs off the coast of Singapore to communicate with others in Houston, Norway, the United Kingdom, Qatar, Nigeria, Australia, and Singapore. A user in Washington, D.C., says that we’re saving them money, providing excellent quality, and the toll-free access number has increased attendance.

Another user recently told us the service worked well from Bali, Indonesia with no issues “like magic.”

We love these stories. Here’s how you, too, can experience the magic of international conference calls from just about anywhere.

Experience multiple ways to connect

We offer a variety of ways to for your attendees to join your call including toll-free access numbers, local access numbers, moderator dial out, “Connect” app access, Skype access, mobile and VoIP phone access, and 24/7 operator assistance.

  • Host international conference calls from any country — You do not need to be located in the United States to host a global conference call. For example, if you’re in Singapore, you can host an audio conference call with users from around the world. When you dial in, you will dial a local or toll-free access number specific to Singapore while your attendees will dial in using numbers specific to their own countries.
  • Choose the most suitable plan for your needs — We offer several international conferencing plans with each offered without a contract. This makes it easy to change plans should your needs change. If you primarily host international conference calls between USA and Canada, our US-Canada conferencing plan is perfect. Our international conferencing plans offer access numbers for 119 or 150 countries. Whether you have attendees in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, North America, South America, the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean, or the Middle East, we can connect you all in a global audio conference!
  • Experience crystal-clear connections — Another common comment we hear from our customers is “the call was clear as a bell.” Connection and audio quality issues have plagued many of our competitors, due in large part to cheap VoIP networks. All of our conference calls are carried over modern PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Networks) connections and state-of-the-art conference bridges, which are well known for exceptional call quality — even when connecting participates from remote locations.
  • Pay as you go — With competitive per minute rates and no monthly fees, our international conferencing plans are a pay-as-you-go option that scales to accommodate your conferencing needs. Whether you make one call per month or one hundred — or none for that matter — you pay only for actual usage.

Be ready at a moment’s notice. Activate your global conferencing account now and you’ll be ready to go the next time you need to collaborate internationally.

Global Virtual Number for American Expatriate Living Overseas

If you’re living abroad with a partner, you can share a global virtual number and set up separate extensions for each of you.

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

International Conference Calls Enable Connecting Offshore Workers

We’ll be happy to call your offshore participants on your behalf and join them into your conference calls with our 24/7 operator assistance.

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

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

“Telecommunications Virtual Museum.” n.d. Accessed January 31, 2018.

“Telephone History Part 3 – Long Distance – Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century.” n.d. Accessed January 31, 2018.

Public Domain Images:,_first_transcontinental_phone_call,_25_Jan_1915.jpg

Learning Library | How to Use Modern Conferencing Technology

Make sure participants are aware that the call is being recorded and may be used for training purposes.

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

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

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.

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

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.’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.

learn more here

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, 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, is credited with coining (and originally trademarking) the term “webinar” in 1998. The trademark was later transferred to InterCall followed by West Corporation and its subsidiaries.
Teleconferencing has a long, rich history and continues to be a mainstay in business.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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

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

“‘Genius on Hold’: An Inventor, His Jewel Thief Son and Steve Jobs – Latimes.” 2017. Accessed October 13.

“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.”