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, 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.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
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

What does pay-as-you-go mean?

The pros clearly outweigh the cons of pay-as-you-go pricing for USA and Canada conference calls.

Pay as you goPros and Cons of Pay-As-You-Go Conference Calling

Pay-as-you-go pricing models have become increasingly popular in the telecommunications industry.

Is it the right choice as far as business conference calling goes?  It could be. Check out the pros and cons listed below.

  • You pay only for the time you and your conference attendees spend in conference calls. With pay-as-you-go pricing, there are no recurring fees or minimum usage requirements. Thus, on months where you don’t use the service, you don’t pay. Verdict: PRO!
  • There’s no long-term contract. If you company makes a very high volume of conference calls on a regular basis, you might get a better deal by signing up for long-term contract. However, there’s that long-term contract to consider — and you may be surprised to find out that pay-as-you-go per minute rates are competitive with contracted plans. What happens if the audio quality of the service is bad? What if attendees from Canada cannot join your USA conference call? What if you find that you don’t actually use the service as much as you thought you would use it? What if the service is unreliable, or worse, unusable? That’s a lot of “what if’s,” and with a contract, you’re stuck until the term is over. If you’d rather not deal with contracts, pay-as-you-go is the way to go. Verdict: PRO!
  • Pay-as-you-go rates are competitive. Our USA and Canada conference calling rates are mere pennies per minute. Even our highest rate for local Canada access is just 2.9 cents per minute. Local USA access is just 1.7 cents per minute. By the time you overpay for a conference calling plan with minutes you don’t use, you may find that your contracted plan is more expensive than you realized. Verdict: PRO!
  • Pay-as-you-go conference calling providers in the US and Canada need to be competitive, thus they include advanced features to be as competitive as possible. In a competitive landscape like the telecommunications industry, being competitive isn’t just about having the cheapest rates; it’s also about being an exceptional value. Our conference calling plans are packed with the most advanced features and are powered by modern, reliable telecom networks and infrastructure. Live operators are available around the clock, too. Verdict: PRO!

Hmmn, we’re having a tough time thinking of any cons involved with pay-as-you-go conference calling. In fact, since there are no contracts and no penalties for canceling the service, even if you were completely unhappy, you can move on, no questions asked. Your satisfaction is important to us though, so we welcome your feedback.

The pros clearly outweigh the cons of pay-as-you-go pricing for USA and Canada conference calls. Whether you expect to make a lot of conference calls for just a few here and there, consider giving our service a try. We’re confident that you’ll find that going this route is a great choice.

Visit aitelephone

Using International Conferencing for Latvia Team Members

You pay only for what you use, and there are no contracts to sign, no minimum usage requirements, no surprise fees, no costly add-ons, and no penalties if you cancel. Our rates are extremely competitive, too.

Latvia Riga Daugava BridgeWhether you travel to Latvia frequently or infrequently, when in the country, you may realize you need to hold a group audio call with your colleagues back home. Perhaps you’re in your home country, but some of your team members are in Latvia.

You may even have participants from various countries around the world. This can cause some concern if you don’t have a plan, or it could be a non-issue thanks to our international conferencing plans with local and toll free access numbers for more than 100 countries including Latvia.

Activating an International Conference Calling Account is Easy

We make it easy to sign up for and activate international conference calling accounts. Once you’ve done so, you can host international conference calls with attendees around the world.

Using Our International Conference Calling Accounts is Even Easier

As the host of a Latvia conference call, you’ll first need to determine when to hold your first conference call and then invite attendees. Everyone will use a phone number that is local to their own countries in order to join your global conference call. For example, those in Latvia will dial a Latvian phone number or a toll free Latvian phone number. Those in other countries will be given access numbers for their own countries. This makes dialing and joining an international conference call as friction-free as possible for your participants.

We include free tools and advanced features to ensure that your global conference calls go without a hitch. Start by using either the online live conference viewer or downloading the free Connect app. These tools allow you to:

  • Dial attendees directly, manually joining them into your conference calls
  • Mute and unmute individual phone lines to keep ambient noise from interfering with your conversations
  • Lock your conference calls to prevent interruptions or unauthorized entry
  • Record your international conference calls
  • And more…

Communicating with Your International Colleagues is as Easy as Ever

Hosting a global conference call in Latvia, or any other country for that matter, may sound intimidating at first, but it’s easy. There’s no special equipment required other than a standard or mobile phone. Virtually any phone can be used including soft and VoIP phones. There are no complicated dialing conventions to figure out or software to download. Simply dial a local or toll free number, enter the conference room PIN, and communicate with your colleagues from around the world.

Our Latvia global conference calls are carried over modern fiber optic telecommunications networks (PSTN not VoIP) to ensure optimal voice quality and unsurpassed reliability. The sound quality is phenomenal. Though oceans may separate you, it won’t sound that way.

Communicating with Your International Colleagues is as Affordable as Ever

Our pay-as-you-go global conferencing accounts are ideal for businesses of all sizes, including small teams. You pay only for what you use, and there are no contracts to sign, no minimum usage requirements, no surprise fees, no costly add-ons, and no penalties if you cancel. Our rates are extremely competitive, too.

If your business crosses borders, you need a plan, a global conference calling plan.

View details about Latvia conference calls here

Using Conference Calls to Improve Customer Service and Get Things Done

customers won’t have to sit on hold, work their way through a phone tree, or re-tell their entire story to a new CSR

We’ve all encountered the blame game, and it’s frustrating because nothing seems to get accomplished. With multiple service providers or parties involved, the blame game becomes an exercise in frustration. They have an immediate out because the other party is involved and easy to blame.

And, here’s where the frustration sets in: they tell you to call the other party who tells you to call the other party.

Whether you’re a consumer, an internal customer, or a business manager who wants to improve customer service, conference calls can play an important role in stopping the blame game and getting things done.

How US and Canada Individuals Can Use Conference Calls to Solve Problems

As a consumer facing an issue that likely involves more than one party, you could use our pay-as-you-go conference calling plan to initiate your first phone call to the main party. As soon as the customer service representative tells you that you will need to call some other party, such as a hardware manufacturer, you can let them know that you will be doing just that — but by joining that person to the existing call.

Our USA and Canada conferencing plans make it easy to stay within the existing conference and then join a new person into it. You can use this same strategy within your organization when trying to get to the bottom of an issue.

By bringing everyone involved together into a group audio call, the blame game becomes much more difficult and you, the customer, should have a better customer service experience as a result.

How US and Canada Organizations Can Use Conference Calls to Improve Their Own Customer Service

Ideally, however, customers should not need to take matters into their own hands. If you want to improve customer service within your own organization, empowering your customer service team with USA and Canada conference calling services can help. As needed, they can schedule conference calls with all of the parties involved.

Instead of passing the blame to the other party, which may or may not be the case, your CSRs can stay involved to make sure that the customer ends up speaking to the correct person whether within your organization or externally. We provide local and toll free access numbers for locations across USA and Canada as well as allow the call’s moderator to manually join individuals to conference calls on demand.

For example, if a CSR determines that multiple parties need to be consulted in order to resolve the customer’s problem, he or she could ask the customer for about 5 to 10 minutes to gather the appropriate representatives from the various companies into a group audio call. The CSR could then ask for the customer’s call back number and manually join the customer into the conference call once all participants have joined.

With this approach, customers won’t have to sit on hold, work their way through a phone tree, or re-tell their entire story to a new CSR. Meanwhile, the customer’s problem can be worked through in a much more expedient manner.

Are you using USA or Canada conference calls to solve customer problems? Give our pay-as-you-go conference calling service a try today.

View details about using Canada & US conferencing here

Building Rapport During USA and Canada Conference Calls

“We have the human resources team from our Miami office on the line as well as team members from our Los Angeles, Cleveland, Montreal, and Toronto offices.

USA and Canada Conference CallsOne of the many benefits of holding regular conference calls in the United States or Canada is the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your contacts. By hosting frequent group audio calls with your group, people will become more familiar — even if you never actually meet in person.

Even if you’ll rarely interact, you can use conference calls to build rapport before digging into the matter at hand. Use the tips below to build rapport with others during your conference calls.

  • Arrive a few minutes before the conference call’s start time and chat with other early arrivals. If you’re the moderator of the call, you should be the first one. Greet participants as they arrive, ideally by name. Our live conference viewer will display contact details as your attendees join the call. Because there’s always a chance that others will join the call in the midst of your conversation, make sure to keep the small talk focused on safe topics like the weather, sports, or your favorite local hikes.
  • Start the conference call off with a short icebreaker or introductions. As the moderator of the call, ask each person by name to briefly introduce themselves, their position, and where they’re calling from. This can be fun, especially if your callers are from locations all over USA and Canada. If you have a larger group, this is less practical. However, you could still do quick group introductions. For example, you might say something like, “We have the human resources team from our Miami office on the line as well as team members from our Los Angeles, Cleveland, Montreal, and Toronto offices.
  • Find common ground and neutral territory. For some of your more intense conference calls, such as contracts negotiations or a mediation, initial small talk can help you find some common ground, or at least neutral territory. For example, talks may become less adversarial if it turns out that you and the other party attended the same university or grew up in the same town.
  • Keep small talk and introductions brief. While you can use conference calls to build rapport, do so in small doses. Keep your eye on the main purpose of the call and quickly get down to business.
  • Build a Q&A session in each of your conference calls. Not only does this provide you with an opportunity to clarify earlier discussions and answer questions, people who were not formally slated on the agenda to speak will have the chance to talk.
  • Ask questions of your own. If no one has questions or the few questions that do get asked are handled promptly, use the extra time to ask your own questions. Prepare a short list of questions you’d like to ask of each group on the call and then either ask a specific person by name what they think or refer to one of the sub-groups. For example, “Can someone from human resources explain this in layman’s terms?”

USA and Canada conference calls are ideal for connecting with others and building stronger relationships while also taking care of business thanks to their real-time nature.

View Canada/US Conference Calling details here

Why Use Global Conferencing to Communicate with Lebanon Teams?

For example, you may hold Lebanon conference calls every day at the beginning of a project before they begin to taper off to weekly, monthly, or even quarterly events.

Beirut LebanonIf you have a team based in Lebanon and other countries, you have several viable options for group communications including phone calls, online collaboration apps, email, discussion boards, and web conferences. Often overlooked, but highly valuable and affordable, are global conference calls.

With all the other communications methods at your disposal, why use global conference calls? Each method has its time and place, with some being better suited for specific tasks than others. Global conference calls are ideal for a variety of activities such as:

  • Weekly status meetings
  • Crisis resolution
  • Decision making meetings
  • Project collaboration
  • Brainstorming
  • Negotiations
  • Settlements
  • Interviews

What To Look for in a Global Conference Calling Service in Lebanon

Global conferencing doesn’t require any special hardware or software, but you’ll need a reliable international conference calling service provider supporting Lebanon and other the countries you anticipate calling. With that in mind, here are some key features to look for when choosing a global conference calling solution for your team:

  • Toll free and local access numbers for the countries involved — We offer worldwide access numbers to more than 150 countries with various options including toll free, local, and dial out access.
  • Crystal clear audio quality — Our international conferencing service uses fiber optic PSTN technologies rather than the less reliable VoIP. This is a crucial difference that indirectly impacts the success of your Lebanon conference calls. With VoIP, delays, stutters, echoes, noise, buzzing, chatter, and dropped calls interfere with your conversations. With PSTN, voices are transported around the globe using tried-and-true technology that works. The sound quality is pristine with our global conferencing service.
  • Competitive rates — Though VoIP is generally thought of as being the lower cost option for making cheap phone calls, you may be surprised. Check out our competitive international conference calling rates for Lebanon and other countries around the world.
  • Flexible plans — You never know when you might need to host an international conference call, making flexible plans a must. For example, you may hold Lebanon conference calls every day at the beginning of a project before they begin to taper off to weekly, monthly, or even quarterly events. Pay-as-you-go plans are the most flexible option, especially when you choose our pay-as-you-go global conferencing plan that has no monthly fees, no minimums, and contracts.
  • Advanced features — As with many processes, technology has changed how we make conference calls. It’s no longer necessary to huddle around a speakerphone or use a sophisticated PBX system to join multiple parties into a single call. Some of the advanced features we include with every international conferencing plan include: MP3 call recordings, live online conference viewer, moderator dial-out, and a free mobile app. Prefer non-technical features? No problem, we have live operators who work around the clock to assist as needed.

Whether you need to host a single Lebanon global conference call or plan on hosting regular international conference calls, our worldwide teleconferencing plans are the most flexible, high quality choice you’ll find.

Learn more today and hear the difference

International Conference Calls Involving Sierra Leone

In order to call someone in Sierra Leone, you will first dial your country’s exit code followed by Sierra Leone’s country code of 232.

Bo City Sierra LleoneInternational Conference Calls Involving Sierra Leone

Like many sub-Saharan countries, Sierra Leone does not have a toll free international conference calling access number or an in-country access number under our pay-as-you-go international conference calling plan.

However, you can easily host global conference calls from Sierra Leone or with participants located in Sierra Leone using our service. While it’s possible to dial our conference bridge directly, we have a couple of alternative connection methods that you may find more appealing:

  • Use the free Connect app — The Connect app is free, and it will automatically connect you or a participant using the app to your international conference calls. It initiates the connection over a traditional PSTN phone line, and it handles all of the dialing including exit codes and country codes. This makes joining your Sierra Leone global conference call a simple matter of tapping an icon. Meanwhile, you’ll be billed our low “dial out” rates, resulting in an affordable connection, too. You can also use the app to record your Sierra Leone conference calls or dial attendees and join them into the call.  View details about the global Connect App here.
  • Use the Included Dial-Out feature — If the host of the call is in one of the included toll-free countries, simply have them dial-out to your phone in Sierra Leone.  You can be immediately added to the call.  Learn more about the dial-out feature here.
  • Ask for operator assistance — Our live, US-based operators are available 24/7 to help attendees and hosts in Sierra Leone and around the world. Simply ask for help and they will quickly and efficiently join participants into your international conference calls.

Our Sierra Leone conference calling plans are offered on a no-contract, pay-as-you-go basis, making it possible to hold as many or as few international conference calls as you’d like without a long-term commitment. Sign up for a Sierra Leone global conferencing plan today.

About Sierra Leone

The Republic of Sierra Leone is located in West Africa along the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Guinea and Liberia and his home to 5,879,098 people. In the 17th century, the British set up a timber and ivory trading post in the area. This trading post eventually evolved to include slave trading. Sierra Leon eventually became a destination for black loyalists from Nova Scotia and freed slaves.

In 1961, Sierra Leone gained its independence. From 1991 to 2002, Sierra Leone suffered through a civil war that killed tens of thousands and displaced about a third of the country’s population. This civil war coincided with a civil war taking place next door in Liberia. After more than 15 years of peacekeeping in Sierra Leone, the United Nations closed its Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone in 2014.

Sierra Leone is a very poor country facing many challenges such as Ebola, corruption, lack of infrastructure, and unemployment. About half of the population works in subsistence agriculture. Sierra Leone has abundant natural resources such as iron ore, diamonds, rutile, and other minerals along with both agricultural and fishery resources. The country is susceptible to international price fluctuations affecting its main exports of iron ore and diamonds.

Sierra Leone is one of the world’s top 10 diamond producing countries but has struggled to fully leverage diamond mining and exports. During the civil war, the controversial blood diamond trade flourished with diamond sales funding weapon purchases.

The Ebola epidemic has taken its toll on Sierra Leone’s economy by forcing the government to spend more on health care, deterring foreign investment, and disrupting several industries. It’s been reported that there were more deaths from medical neglect than from Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Telecommunications in Sierra Leone

In 2014, according to CIA World Factbook, Sierra Leone had 16,500 fixed line phone subscribers for a telephone density of less than one subscriber for every 100 people. That same year, Sierra Leone had 4.8 million mobile phone subscribers for a mobile phone density of 83 subscribers for every 100 people.

The CIA World Factbook rates Sierra Leone’s telephone service as marginal with poor infrastructure. Freetown is connected to Bo and Kenema via a national microwave radio relay trunk system. The country has one satellite earth station. In early 2013, Sierra Leone gained access to the ACE submarine cable which has improved the country’s international bandwidth and is bringing down costs.

According to Budde.com.au, the country’s telecommunications infrastructure has also suffered from neglect after the war. The fixed line incumbent in Sierra Leone is Sierratel, a state-owned entity. Sierratel also operates a mobile network providing 3G services and fixed-wireless access and broadband Internet services. In all, Sierra Leone has multiple mobile operators providing competition in the mobile sector. These include: Africell SL, Airtel, Comium Sierra Leone, and Sierra Leone Telecommunications Company.

Just 1.5 percent of Sierra Leone’s population, or 85,600 people, used the Internet in 2014.

Making International Phone Calls to or from Sierra Leone

In order to call someone in Sierra Leone, you will first dial your country’s exit code followed by Sierra Leone’s country code of 232. From there, dial the phone number.

In order to call someone in another country from within Sierra Leone, dial 00 first, which is the exit code for Sierra Leone. Next, dial the other country’s international country code followed by the phone number.

Location Centric Conference Calls and International Access Numbers

If the calls are regularly planned conference calls, a solution could be to actually arrange for a private dedicated Uganda access number. (replace country with your requirement)

Location Centric Conference CallingInternational companies that have branch offices in dozens of countries utilize our service to deploy everything from  regional conference calls to  calls with all hands globally joining the call.

These international conference calls may take place weekly or monthly.  The purpose of the global conference calls could be for collaboration with offshore partners, branch office communications, international press conferences, bidding conferences, annual board meetings that include offshore investors, etc.

The overseas guests for these calls usually dial-in to the international conferencing bridge with an access number that’s local to them but sometimes they may be located in a country that is not served by the current conference call company of the user enterprise.

While our standard offering has more than enough toll-free and local global access numbers (150) for most geographical situations, additional city specific access numbers may be available upon request.

The ability to add local access numbers in distant countries to your account allows you to build your own network for your international collaboration as you may require.

What to do if no access number exists now for your remote office?

One solution is to have participants call-in to a U.S. number to connect to the conferencing bridge.  The other is to use the included dial-out feature which works well but can be a burden on the chairperson’s staff due to the extra step.  Having the invitee dial-in to the U.S. access number can translate into a big expense for the attendee from their local phone company to call the U.S. from, for example, Nairobi or Uganda or any number of other remote countries.

If the calls are regularly planned conference calls, a solution may be to buy a private dedicated international access number.  (ask aitelephone.com about your requirement)

Learn more about location centric conferencing here