Tools | Quinn Bowman
In the Dark Ages before the popularity of the internet, companies who wanted to allow employees, managers, and corporate leaders to communicate in conference calls had to rely on an operator-controlled, unwieldy telephone call.
Now, with web-based conference calling companies like AccuConference, conference calls over the internet cost less and offer a lot more features than available with telephone networks.
Pizza restaurant chain Uno’s, based in Boston, started using AccuConference’s web-based conferencing tools in 2004 and incorporates the variety of features the company offers into monthly training broadcasts and company meetings.
AccuConference, which uses its own private network to host Voice Over Internet Protocol calls, offers Uno’s and its other clients, like Boeing and Rolls Royce, a fully customizable list of conference options that ranges from a simple telephone conference, to full-fledged video broadcasts that can be viewed by hundreds of employees at once.
And, unlike some VoIP services, these calls go over AccuConference’s private conference bridge and through fiber optic cables, resulting in perfectly clear reception.
Alan Labatte, vice president of information systems for Uno’s, says his company uses AccuConference for all of their audio and video conferencing. He says a major factor in switching to AccuConference from AT&T was the web-based tools that allowed Uno’s to control their conferences without hiring an outside operator.
“I chose AccuConference originally based on cost savings. We were spending a lot of money doing these audio-only conferences with an operator. The major cost was paying an operator and by eliminating the operator we reduce the cost,” he said.
Although companies can hire AccuConference to act as an operator for calls, Uno’s and other customers can use AccuConference’s live web control application to control all aspects of a large or small conference call. A designated administrator can monitor who, based on a supplied PIN, is connected to the conference and who is speaking or making noise during the conference. This tool allows the operator to mute callers or put the call into lecture mode.
AccuConference’s Jim Black recommends that for calls with more than 10 people, operators use lecture mode to control who gets to speak at what time. The controls also allow the operator to set up a queued-question function which keeps track of which callers have entered a phone keypad command indicating they have a question, and then allow those callers to ask their questions in order.