There's no question that the business world has caught the fever to go global whenever possible. But how can
you keep operating costs under control when it's easy to rationalize taking a team, putting them on a plane, and
having a personal meeting with another team in another country? The solution for many companies is to get all
parties on an international conference call with audio and perhaps web or video features to share documents long
Quality of a conference call is key
Why even host a conference call, international or domestic, if the participants have difficulty hearing
each other? These days there are many choices for providers of international conferencing calling. This includes
VoIP conference call platforms and also 'so called' free conference calling solutions. Both of these while perhaps
appealing from a cost standpoint, typically leave a lot to be desired, such as voice quality, reliability, and
other performance issues.
In addition, is a free conference call really free when the participant has to pay a long distance fee to join
the conference call?
The local phone company in the country where the access number is located, charges the participant a fee. It appears
on their local phone bill (after the call takes place). Therefore even though these numbers are offered as 'free',
the participant that dials a local number in their country will be charged by their country's local phone company.
Evidently the free conference call companies actually make money. How can they make money if it's free? By getting
a rebate from the foreign countries they make deals with for those local access numbers. No, they don't do it
for philanthropic reasons. However, for the host the call may be free except for the eventual fallout from their
unaware participants for the costs and the overbooking of the lines that cause major drop offs during the calls.
Getting VoIP conferencing quality can be hit or miss. Most calls will have issues with clipping, packet loss,
voice distortion and other mishaps because the conference call is carried over the Internet. But the cost can
be appealing. VoIP conference calls are best suited to informal family calls or conferences between parties that
may not have tried it before for an important conference call and simply do not yet know what they are in for.
The best quality comes from using a provider that uses a PSTN network.
Conference Call Coordination
If attendees are scattered in multiple countries, this will have consequences when inviting the participants.
This can be solved by using any number or online time zone calculators found on the Web. Someone on the host side
will have to carefully put the invites together.
Another possibility that can makes things easier with transcontinental conference calls is to located a conferencing
company that enables the host to dial-out to some participants. This may increase attendance and avoid confusion
for some participants in distant countries.