Conference call technology has moved a long way beyond everyone dialing in and waiting for an operator to connect them. Recently, even traditional conference call providers have been getting into the video conference call game. They’re recognizing that consumers need something more professional than Skype, but more personal than a telephone-based conference call. Video conferencing has a number of benefits, but without the support of a conference call company, it can also be plagued with poor connections and lost calls. Benefits of Sharing Video Directly
- No need to send separate video links
- Participants in conferences don’t need any special software or plug-ins to view
- No buffering delays due to slow Internet connections
- Video playback streams seamlessly and works with all browsers and computers.
- Value Added at No Charge for Current Customers
Conference call companies like OnConference are offering users as much as 100 MB of videos that can show customer testimonials, pre-recorded productions or promotional videos for the company and the products and services they offer. Adding full-motion video enhances communication and helps keep participants interested in the subject. There’s no charge to existing users of OnConference’s video playback feature.
Telephone conferencing uses ordinary phone lines to enable business people or other groups to communicate without having to be in the same room. Geographic separation is no longer an obstacle to the dissemination of information or the discussion of issues. Such communication capabilities allow businesses to share ideas and implement policies without having to absorb the costs of travel.
Voice over Internet Protocol allows two or more users to communicate verbally over a data network. It provides long distance telephone calls as well as all types of data services. Just as the Internet and email have made the U.S. Postal Service re-evaluate their business plan, VoIP is presenting challenges to traditional telephone conferencing services.
VoIP or Traditional Telephone Conferencing
Should you continue to use telephone conferencing or switch to VoIP? Telephone conferencing has been around much longer than VoIP and still dominates the overall business conferencing market. Currently, about 87 percent of these types of interactive distance meetings use traditional telephone based systems while the remaining 13 percent use VoIP based systems.
Telephone conferencing is easy to use and doesn’t require an Internet connection. The sound clarity is very good and connectivity is also excellent. VoIP is far less expensive because using the Internet is less costly than using regular telephone lines to connect. VoIP works with smart phones, desktop computers and any other Internet connected device. It also works with regular telephones.
The Future of VoIP
Almost every company already pays for broadband service and Internet access. Adding VoIP only requires a small capital investment in some equipment and then the additional conferencing services are practically free. As companies look for ways to reduce their overall operating costs, VoIP is a good step in that direction. Businesses will still need telephones for local calls and to serve customers who do not want to use the Internet. VoIP is the future of conferencing services.
Proper etiquette when hosting or participating in a telephone or VoIP conference is a matter of common courtesy. When you’re talking to a friend on the phone, it’s rude to be watching TV and playing on the Internet while you’re trying to carry on a conversation. The same is true when you call in to a conference. You should be in a quiet place and not have kids screaming in the background or other audible distractions.
Hosts should not put participants on hold. Be punctual and use noise-cancelling headphones. While it might not affect you, static or background noise can be very annoying to other participants. As the march of technology pushes us further along, all aspects of business will–at some point, at least–change.
Conference calls have only been around since the 1950s, so it’s not all that old; the digital age has pushed the boundaries of every avenue of business communication by enabling Internet-based telephony and video conferencing, giving greater depth to what was once a single sensory experience. As time moves on, we’ll continue seeing more and more immersive conferencing tools. Who knows, some day we may sit at the same table as business partners or clients who live halfway around the world, all via remote holograms.