Conference call

A conference call (sometimes called an audio teleconference or ATC) is a telephone call in which someone talks to several people at the same time. The conference call may be designed to allow the called party to participate during the call or set up so that the called party merely listens into the call and cannot speak.
On residential or business phone lines, the more restricted three-way calling is accessible (often for an additional fee). The first party to be phoned is dialed in a three-way call. The other called party’s phone number is then phoned when the hook flash (or recall) button has been depressed. Flash/recall is once again hit while it is ringing to link the three persons together. Callers can add a second outbound call to an already established call using this option.

Conference call

Features

However, participants are typically able to call into the conference call themselves by dialing a phone number that connects to a “conference bridge,” which is a specialized piece of equipment that links telephone lines. Conference calls can be set up so that the calling party calls the other participants and adds them to the call.
The conference bridge is often maintained by a specialist service provider, or they offer the phone numbers and PIN codes that participants contact to join the meeting or conference call. These service providers frequently have the ability to dial-out to participants, enabling them to join to calls and introducing them to the parties who are on-line. The operators may also take in other data, such as specifics about the questions and answers, and activate and disable sophisticated conferencing capabilities, such muting participants and lines and turning on a recording option. A user’s (or occasionally the moderator’s) telephone keypad can be used to contact an operator to a conference call that a service provider is hosting. The *0 recall function is the most popular. (the operator key and the zero key)

Usage

Conference calls are often used by businesses to have remote meetings with both internal and external participants. Regular team meetings, project meetings and updates, sales presentations to clients, training sessions, and communications with personnel who operate in different places are all examples of common usage. Conference calling is seen as a key strategy for reducing travel expenses and enhancing employee productivity by removing the need for employees to leave the office for meetings.
Almost all publicly traded companies in the United States publish their quarterly results via conference calls. These calls are referred to as earnings calls and typically include questions from stock analysts. A typical conference call starts out with a caution that anything discussed during the call might be a forward-looking remark and that outcomes could differ greatly. The company’s quarterly report will then be read by the CEO, CFO, or investor relations representative. The call is then opened up for analyst questions.
Web conferences, where presentations or documents are exchanged online, are increasingly combined with conference calls. This enables those taking part in the call to observe information offered by one of the participants, such as corporate reports, sales statistics, and business data. The key advantage is that while others are concurrently seeing the presentation, the document’s presenter may clearly explain certain points in the text. The mixing of audio and video sources over the same network should be avoided since the video feed might degrade the sound.
Business conference calls often include a number of features and are hosted or operator-assisted.
Additionally, conference calls are starting to appear in podcasts and social media, which promotes new forms of interaction patterns. A bigger audience can join conference calls via live streaming or broadcasting without calling a bridge. Additionally, conference call organizers can provide a dial-in number with the audio feed, allowing participants to ring in and participate.

Legislation

Conference

Since 2014, the UK government has altered the laws governing flexible work arrangements, making it legal for employees who have been putting in full-time hours for a business or organization to seek flexible work. Because conference calling technology allows for distant work, there have been many various forms of flexible working possibilities in recent years.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a 732-page Order on InterCarrier Compensation (ICC) in November 2011[1] that contains guidelines for revenue sharing. The FCC directed that terminating access fees for all calls (not just conference calls) be leveled in 2012 and 2013, then decreased in three increments over the following three years until they reached $0 in 2017. This was done in accordance with Section 251(b)(5) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. An access recovery charge (ARC), which is added to every customer’s bill by their phone carriers, has mostly replaced these sub-1 cent levies. In other words, regardless of whether customers make calls or not, all phone companies will keep the terminating access fees they had to pay to connect each call.
Regarding revenue sharing, the ruling includes a clause for high call volume that prompts an immediate terminating access price reduction to the lowest rate offered by any carrier in that state.
The 0870 prefix was formerly utilized in the UK by companies who offered free conference calling services in order to profit from each call made by the phone company that owns the number. The rebate that is due to the telecom’s provider when an 0870 number is used will be eliminated, according to Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industry, which made this announcement in April 2009. In order to maintain the revenue sharing arrangement, systems were quickly switched to the 0844 and 0871 prefixes. This required you to dial a costly premium number to attend your conference call even if you weren’t paying the conference call provider directly.
A very limited number of conference call service providers in the UK have recently started using 03 numbers, which are covered by bundled minutes under Ofcom regulations. Due to the fact that calls are included in the minutes bundles offered by the majority of UK network providers, this has made it possible to have conference calls without incurring any fees at all. Because 03 numbers are more appealing to callers, there is a general tendency for businesses in the UK to utilize them increasingly for inbound services.

Costs

Flat-rate

There are flat-rate conferencing services available that provide a conference bridge with unlimited access for a set monthly fee. The free long-distance that telecom providers package with local service has made this alternative very popular with non-profits and enterprises that are on a tight budget.
In the UK, conference services are available on a pay-per-use basis, with each participant’s phone call to one of the 0843/0844, 0871/0872, or other non-geographic revenue sharing numbers covering the cost of the conference service. There are often no contracts to sign and no monthly fees associated with this service type.

Prepaid

Businesses and individuals can use prepaid conference call services to make online purchases for conferencing services and conduct conference calls on a pay-per-use basis. Normally, after being purchased and/or received via email, a conference call PIN and its accompanying calling instructions are shown right away online. Prepaid conference call services can be utilized with a landline, a mobile device, or a computer; no additional expensive telecommunications equipment or long-distance subscription is required. With the right phone connectivity, some systems let users initiate or join conference calls from almost any location in the globe.
Large telecommunications providers such as AT&T, Embarq (formerly Sprint), Verizon and other large to medium conferencing service providers maintain a dominant position in the conferencing niche; servicing many of the world’s biggest brands. However, the Internet and improved global VoIP networks have helped to significantly reduce the barrier of entry into this niche.

Free

Free conferencing differs from conventional conference calling in that there are no organizer costs, no human operators, and many connections are possible at no additional cost beyond that of any ordinary phone call (local or toll-free). As part of a revenue-sharing agreement with the local phone company, businesses who offer free conference call services are typically reimbursed by splitting the termination fee for incoming calls to a phone carrier.
In the event of free conference calling, the conferencing firm enters into a contract with the neighborhood phone provider that houses the conferencing bridge (equipment linking lines) in order to share in the terminating access fee collected for connecting the call. Large carriers like AT&T and Verizon maintain these access fees in addition to charging the client for the conference service in order to use them for their own conferencing services. As previously indicated, there are no organizer costs with free conference calling, preventing double-dipping. Instead, the consumer pays for a conventional call with the same three components—origination, conveyance, and termination—as any call.
Customers who claimed to hear background sounds when utilizing the free conferencing services,[when?] which seldom happens on premium conference calling services, have reported a clear difference between the sound quality of paid and free conference calls.

Premium-rate

A premium-rate number, such as a toll-free number in the US, is used here for participants to phone in. In order to justify the expense, the conference is often hosted by the party who sees value in the call. This might be a business owner, a board member of a non-profit organization, a teacher, a lawyer, or an expert in any particular subject. The cost of the call is then often covered by that individual. Additionally, premium conferencing can be utilized for fundraising events.
the following premium conferencing feature sets:
Without reservations or with operator assistance
announce host PINs
Roll call (distinctive and superior)
participant/moderator codes
Online call management that includes mute/unmute, drop one or all, and dial out
accessing recordings made with.wav files online
On-demand, high-quality transcriptions (with a 4-hour turnaround time upon request)
greetings that may be “branded” and customized (unique)
Transmission mode
Facilitation of Q&A
surveys and surveys’ results
Sub-conferencing
with or without the desired response, dial out
Options for screen sharing on the web
Available always
Standards
A technical specification (TS 24.147) for conferencing within the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) was developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and is based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), SIP Events, the Session Description Protocol (SDP), and the Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP, also known as RFC4582).

Teleconference

A live information exchange between numerous persons who are apart from one another but connected by a telecommunications system is known as a teleconference or telecon. Teleconferencing is also occasionally referred to by terms like audio conferencing, telephone conferencing, and phone conferencing.
One or more of the following services, such as audio, video, and/or data services using one or more methods, such as telephone, computer, telegraph, teletypewriter, radio, and television, may be provided as teleconference assistance by the telecommunications system.

Conference operation

A conference operation in a communications network enables a call to be made between three or more stations in a way that each station may connect directly with every other station. The stations in radio systems can receive concurrently, but they can only emit one at a time. “Push-to-talk” for telephone operation and “Push-to-type” for telegraph and data transfer are the typical operational modes.

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