Conference calls are phone calls where one person talks to several people simultaneously. Depending on how the conference call is set up, the called party may be able to participate, or they may only listen in to the call and not be able to speak anymore. ATC (audio teleconference) is sometimes used to refer to this method of communication. The calling party can add participants to a conference call; however, most will reach a conference call by dialling a telephone number connecting to a conference bridge.
A specialized service provider typically provides conference bridges, or to access the meeting or conference call, participants dial phone numbers and PIN codes. There are often when these service providers can dial out to participants, connect them to the ring, and introduce them to those on the line. As well as taking additional information, operators can configure advanced conferencing features such as muting lines or muting participants and enable or disable recording. In most cases, the most common recall function is *0. There are two keys to operate the operator: the asterisk and the zero
An initial call is made to the party who is the first to call in a three-way call. It is then necessary to press the hook flash button (or recall button) to find the other party’s phone number. To connect the three people while the phone is ringing, the flash/recall button is pressed again during the ringing. Using this feature, you can add a second outgoing call to a call that has already been connected.
Businesses use conference calls daily to communicate with remote parties inside and outside the company to conduct business. The most common applications of this technology are meetings with clients or sales presentations, project meetings and updates, regular team meetings, training classes, and communication between employees working in different locations. A conference call is a primary means of cutting travel costs and allowing workers to be more productive by avoiding travelling outside the office for meetings, saving them time and money.
Almost all public corporations in the United States use conference calls to report their quarterly results every quarter. In these calls, stock analysts can usually ask questions about the company’s performance, known as earnings calls. During a conference call, a disclaimer is generally given at the beginning, stating that anything said during the ring could be considered a forward-looking statement and that actual results may differ significantly from those projected. The company’s CEO, CFO, or investor relations officer will read a quarterly report. Finally, analysts will be allowed to ask questions during the call.
With the advent of web conferences, it has become increasingly common for conference calls to be used with presentations or documents that can be shared over the Internet. Those on the call can view the content presented by one of the participants, such as corporate reports, sales figures, and company data. One of the main benefits of this presentation method is that the presenter of the document will be able to explain details within the paper clearly. In contrast, others will be able to view the presentation simultaneously. There must be care to keep video and audio sources on the same network since the video feed can interrupt the sound quality if blended.
Conferencing at a flat rate:
A flat-rate conferencing service allows unlimited access to a conference bridge at a fixed monthly rate for a set time. The free long-distance bundled with local service provided by telecommunication companies is gaining popularity among businesses and non-profits. There are pay-as-you-go conference services in the UK, where each participant’s phone call (using non-geographic revenue sharing numbers 0843/0844 or 0871/0872) covers the cost of the conference service. It would help if you were okay with signing a contract and paying a monthly fee when signing up for this service.
Calls to prepaid conference numbers:
Businesses and individuals can purchase conferencing services online and conduct conferences on a pay-per-use basis using prepaid conference call services. Conference call PINs and instructions are usually displayed immediately after being purchased and emailed. You can use prepaid conference call services with your landline, mobile phone, or computer do not require additional telecommunications hardware or long-distance service. With appropriate telephone access, one can start a conference call virtually anywhere. Telecom providers such as AT&T, Embarq (formerly Sprint), Verizon, and others dominate the conferencing niche, serving many of the world’s biggest brands. Despite these barriers, the Internet and the improvement of global VoIP networks have helped decrease the barrier to entry into this niche in a significant way.
Conferencing is free of charge:
Compared to traditional conference calls, free conferencing allows multiple people to join at no cost other than the cost of any additional phone call (local or toll-free) to connect at no expense other than the cost of any other phone call (local or toll-free). Read More
During free conference calls, the conferencing company receives a share of the terminating access charge from the local phone company hosting the conferencing bridge (equipment connecting lines). AT&T and Verizon are large carriers that keep these access charges and charge customers for conference services. These services do not double-dip since there are no organizer fees: the consumer pays for the same three components – origination, transport, and termination – as any regular call. Calls under the customer’s plan cost the same method, but the conferencing is free for the host and participants.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published an intercarrier compensation order in November 2011. Phone carriers add an access recovery charge (ARC) to every customer’s bill to replace these mostly sub-1 cent charges. Phone companies will keep the terminating access charges paid to connect each call while charging consumers more regardless of whether they make calls. Several parties have challenged this order as a matter of law at the Federal Appeals Court.
Conferencing at a higher level:
Participants dial a premium-rate number toll-free number in the United States to initiate the call. Business owners, non-profit board members, educators, lawyers, and experts in any field usually host the conference to justify the cost. That person generally pays for the ring. Charity fundraisers can also use premium conferencing.
Features of premium conferencing
- Conferencing without reservations
- Announcement of the name
- (Unique and superior) Roll-call system
- Codes for the moderator and participant
- Drop one or all, mute/unmute, and dial out
- Online recording with .wav files
- On-demand transcriptions (with a 4-hour turnaround)
- Unique greetings (customized)
- Mode of broadcast
- Facilitation of Q&A sessions
- Reports on polling and the results of the polling
- The sub-conferences
- With or without a request for a response, dial out
- Options for sharing your screen on the web
- 24/7 availability