In the last several years, companies have become more spread out, necessitating conference phone services much more often than ever before. This is especially true in the wake of Nine Eleven, when insurers that offer Worker’s Compensation are stressing the need to house 100 or fewer employees under the same roof. More than 44 million U.S. employees, and tens of millions of others around the globe, work at least part of their week from home. Offices and employees can, therefore, be thousands of miles apart. Getting company staff into the same room for a meeting or for training just isn’t practical for time and financial reasons, or even safe.
Teleconferencing, or conference phone services, has become a large and important business industry. This real time exchange of ideas and information remotely is crucial for business growth. In 2004 the audio conference phone service industry alone realized more than $2.25 billion revenue. These conference phone services allowed firms to conduct business meetings, brief customers remotely, train staff and clients, demonstrate their products and services, and conduct workshops.
While video phone offer a videoconferencing element to this conference phone service, allowing visibility, there are numerous times when a business wants to do more than share their own presented information. This is where broadband or Web conference services come in.
What this broadband or Web conferencing services does is allow people to talk to each other remotely through video and text as well as through audio. The simplest of these Web conference services make use of chatting and instant messaging capabilities to host group meetings that are text based. The more sophisticated of these Web conference services allow information to be exchanged back and forth by way of Web cams and streaming video. Some of these programs let participants share documents as well.
For these broadband conference call services a company can either buy conference service software and be their own host for the conference call, or they can hire the services of a hosting conference call vendor. Hosting phone conference services provide the clients with the server space as well as the software needed to conduct the conference call.
Broadband conference call services combine common Internet communication tools into one interface to create an interactive conference environment. They can use Java, HTML, flash animation, instant messaging or streaming video and audio. Some programs are completely based on broadband and the Web. Others require a standard phone system for the distribution of the audio portion of the conference call. Either way, participants must have a computer with a high speed Web connection, and, if audio is not provided via the Web, a telephone.
A completely broadband based conference call service would require participants to also have a microphone, a Web cam and video cards. No phone is needed.
Broadband conference call programs have a wide variety of capabilities and features. Some are capable of merging with a client’s current e-mail, while allows allow participants to view the conference presentation in their own browser and no software installation.
Web conferencing programs come with a tremendous variety of features and capabilities. Some can merge with a company’s existing e-mail, calendar, messaging and office productivity applications. Some allow attendees to view the presentation in their regular web browser without installing any additional software.