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Are Business Conference Call Providers Worth The Money?


By: Takuya Hikichi


"Business Conference Call Providers" Defined

By definition, providers that cater to businesses rather than residential customers consist of this group.  Sprint (Embarq), Verizon and AT&T are examples of carriers providing business accounts.

Are There Differences Between Business and Residential Conference Services?

Billing is conveniently organized in one statement, and is a benefit from accounting standpoint.  But as far as the use of conferencing, dynamics change depending on what technology you're going to be using.  If it's just "audio only" conference, the only difference between a business call and residential call is the size of callers participating.

It's possible to host or dial into a meeting even from a residential line.  Having said this, the only difference of business account and residential conference plan is that your organization operates a business.  Nothing else truly differentiates those two other than keeping bills separate from your residential line.

Types of Providers

If you're looking for an audio only conferencing simply Google "Free conference calling" online.  By signing up with a provider, you'll be given instructions how to host a meeting; things like passwords or event ID.  You can then distribute details to the participants so they can dial in for the meeting you host. This is very popular with webinars and it's the most basic form of business conferencing online. If you're a participant, dial in with the event ID and password you receive from the host to participate in a call.  If you're calling in with a group of people, consider getting a speaker phone specifically made for meeting rooms.

If you prefer getting a calling plan, your local telephone companies will provide you with access to operator assistance, convenient billing, and you may be able to lease a conferencing device or speaker phone such as one from Polycom.  Call your local business telephone companies for details.

Features to Add On

After determining the number of callers participating and figuring out how many locations people are calling in from, it's time to decide what features you need to add to your conferencing service.

Do you need speaker phone for your meeting room?  Do you need recording?  Do you need camera to you can watch each other with other callers?  Do you need desktop visual aids?

Once it goes beyond the "audio only" meeting and requires features, your need will determine which conference provider can assist you.  For example, your callers might want to have the option to call in using Skype, but if your provider doesn't support this ability, then you'd have to look for another company.

Conclusion

Determine whether or not your business truly needs a monthly calling plan from your local telephone company or you can simply use free conferencing services you'll find on Google.

If you need operator assistance or prefer having the assurance of knowing dialing into the same number every week during the same time, you could look into a calling plan.  Since so many audio only meetings can be facilitated free online today, know in advance that buying a conferencing plan from your local telephone company isn't the least expensive option.  Consider all the options before signing up for a calling plan -- your business might only need a free conferencing service.

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