What Questions To Ask Providers
When it comes to selecting VoIP conference software or a conference call provider it seems like there can be a million different questions to ask.
What services do I need exactly? How can I determine what services I need and what I don’t?
Do I desire a VoIP conference software service that doesn’t require any set up like Go To Webinar or GoTo Meeting, or do I want to go with VoIP conferencing software that I buy and deploy on my own servers?
The only way to get yourself straight and make a good decision is to know what you’re looking for! Let’s start with the basic conferencing terms.
VoIP conferencing software is generally a software package or hardware appliance that allows enterprise-class calling capabilities. This is not really something the typical small or mid-sized business is going to want to get involved with. If you are a smaller business, a VoIP conference software service that is fully managed by a provider out on the internet is gonna be a good choice.
Most of these, like Go To Webinar or GoTo Meeting, provide their service using VoIP conference software they have set up themselves, and then sell the service on a monthly subscription basis or maybe a pay as you go plan to users like us.
When this type of service is used, it may or may not use VoIP or voice over the internet protocol. In any event, it’s important to allow people who don’t have internet access to join the calls on a regular or cellular phone line.
If it does utilize VoIP, what this means is that when you “dial” a number you’re calling into an internet bridge, and then your conversation transmits through to the other participants through your internet connection, similar to how Skype or Yahoo! Messenger work.
Benefits Of Using
A VoIP Conferencing Provider
There are a lot of benefits to using a VoIP conferencing provider, like free long-distance and lower overall monthly phone bills.
Many VoIP conferencing software providers are considered to be a “free” service, with no charges to the participants or hosts to use the service. Watch out though! There are usually limitations on the numbers of participants you can invite, or perhaps your conferences are going to be interrupted with advertising messages. Talk about annoying!
When it comes to choosing a conferencing technology and whether or not a VoIP conference software provider is the right choice, you first need to define the basics of what you want your conference to accomplish.
Does your conference need to have web conferencing, is it just audio, or will you have video elements as well? How do you determine the difference between the different kinds of calls you can have?
Types Of VoIP Conferences
Here then is a basic break down of what a VoIP conferencing software provider means when asking what you need to do with your conference:
- Audio Conference: Also known as a “Phone Bridge”, this is any conference that will be only speaking and listening. There are no visual or “web” elements to these. They can be accessed either with regular phone lines (maybe even toll-free for the callers) or using some kind of VoIP conferencing software provider and talking over your IP handset or PC microphone.
- Web Conference: This is any conference that will have an element that requires an internet connection and browser to see a presentation. A web conference can have audio tied into it or it can stand alone. Usually, web conferences are used in conjunction with some kind of audio element. This is how content like documents, the Hosts desktop, PowerPoints, or other applications are shared.
- Video Conference: Incorporating live video into a conference has become very popular lately, with more and more VoIP conference software providers offering the option of incorporating live video into your web conferences. Some of these providers will require additional downloads for programs or require special equipment to access.
So now the question becomes how to determine what the best VoIP conference software service for you and your company is going to be.
Ask The Right Questions!
It’s important to know your options when it comes to whether or not to buy your own VoIP conference software or use a turn-key provider.
Here are some final things to consider when it comes to how to choose your conferencing provider.
- What will you be doing with your conferencing?
- Do you know if your planned invitees will have access to a computer and will it have speakers?
- Are you having a larger event or is this more of a small internal conference for updates?
- Would your conference require an operator’s assistance? Some services only provide the “rooms” and not the “support” for those conference rooms. You might want to make sure you are choosing a service where you can get a hold of someone right away should you have anything you need help with.
There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of people in the meeting waiting for you to speak or show them something, and you can’t get it working right, and then can’t get the help you need.
When it comes to choosing a VoIP conference software provider, there are a lot of different choices you can make. To get help in finding the best service that is going to fit your needs, maybe try out different services before making a commitment.
Call the customer support number, see how long it takes to get a live person on the phone and how many menus do you have to get through to get to the right person.