VoIP is one of the latest technologies creating a buzz…
VoIP Conference Calling in 2015
Conference calling is by no means an exotic or unknown feature in analog enterprise phone systems. Long before VoIP came onto the scene, many businesses were utilizing conference calling to improve collaboration and reduce expenses.
Nevertheless, the addition of VoIP added an important aspect that was missing for a long while: innovation.
The VoIP conference calling experience in 2015 bears little resemblance to the way such calls were handled in traditional enterprise PBX systems.
Not only does VoIP conference calling boast numerous additional features, but hosted VoIP vendors have improved usability, flexibility and quality.
VoIP conference calls
Setting up a conference call or joining one is a pretty simple process, regardless of whether the company is using hosted VoIP or on premise SIP installations.
Some vendors include basic conferencing as part of the standard subscription package while others offer it as an add-on or upgrade. Generally employees are able to initiate conference calls – both audio and video and join them through dial-in numbers.
Sometimes the functionality even allows users on mobile devices to join the session.
While conference calling used to be the purview of top executives, it has now become a necessity in an environment where many employees either work from home or travel constantly.
Accordingly, quite a few vendors offer premium versions where a single conference call can support many hundreds of participants. Naturally this may not be necessary for small businesses but can be a lifesaver for bigger ones.
Multimedia conference calls
With VoIP, conference calls are no longer restricted to just audio and/or video. It is quite possible for a single conference call to include a mix of audio and video feeds, screen recordings, screen sharing and other forms of media.
Top-tier services from reputable vendors even include the option of document collaboration and file sharing. This flexibility allows users who may not have high-speed data connections or those who are on the road to join the conference call with just audio or only view presentations.
Advanced features of VoIP conference calling
The list of features included in VoIP conference calling does not end here. Enterprises can choose to opt for Outlook integration, customizable greeting, and dial-in numbers, the ability to conduct surveys or polls among the participants etc.
Some services include the option of a lecture mode where a presenter can utilize screen sharing, PowerPoint presentations etc. to conduct a seminar or information sharing session for employees.
Since the conference calling facilities are powered by VoIP, enterprises have the ability to pick and choose which features they would like to be included and turn off others.
Quality and ease-of-use
Not all conference calling features from different vendors are created equal and they differ substantially from one another when it comes to call quality, bandwidth consumption and ease-of-use.
It might not matter so much to a small business that occasionally needs to make conference calls between 4 to 5 people but many organizations depend on conference calling to connect with clients, customers and partners. Therefore a business should test these features before committing to a service.
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