Teleconferencing fundamentals is an article about a communication technology that enables people from remote locations to conference together in audio only. To participate in a teleconferencing session, you only need a standard PSTN telephone. Using Audio Conferencing for trainings is quite simple. It requires almost no investment at all. Here are the main characteristics of Teleconferencing.
Teleconferencing Fundamentals: Overview
In Teleconferencing Fundamentals we can first define Teleconferencing as the process of joining multiple people together in a single phone conference. All participants dial a telephone number and they meet in the same call. Everyone can hear everyone and everyone can talk. You can have 10, 50 or thousands of people in the same conference call.
Conference calls are usually organised by companies that need to brief or train their employees. Several departments of a company may be using audio conference to train and educate their staff.
Conference calls save time and money. The individuals can convene remotely without the need to be at the same physical location. Each one of them only needs to have a standard telephone available to join the meeting.
Special service providers, the Conferencing Providers, have the infrastructure needed to create and join a conference call. Such a provider maintains infrastructure capable of connecting hundreds or thousands of calls that are held every day by their customers.
Teleconferencing Fundamentals: Standard equipment
To participate in a teleconferencing session, you only need standard equipment, i.e. a normal telephone of any kind (deskphone, home phone or mobile / cellphone). In some cases you may need a computer to access a web-based control panel that is given to you by the conferencing provider.
Teleconferencing Fundamentals: Features
Teleconferencing providers usually make several features available to their customers. These are features that have to do with call management. For example, there are options to mute or unmute your line, request help or other similar. There are also features that the organiser of the meeting would use: “mute all”, “lock conference” and many more.
Teleconferencing Fundamentals: Organiser and participant codes
When talking about teleconferencing fundamentals, we should mention security. It is easy to find the provider’s number for conference calls. Therefore, the provider needs to ensure that only authorised users can use the system. To join a conference call, you need to have a special code. This code will be recognised by the system and you will enter your conference. Another user with a different code will enter their designated conference. There is no risk of someone ending up in the wrong conference with confidential information.
The code that you enter is usually called the participant code or the guest code. This is usually distributed to all attendees of the conference call.
There is another type of code, the organiser or host code. Only the organizer of the conference can have this code. If the organizer has not logged in yet by using this code, then all the other connected participants do not hear each other. Instead they hear on-hold music. This makes sure that the call only starts when the organiser enters. Therefore, people trying to take advantage of the service by calling in to hold their own personal meetings cannot abuse the system.
The organiser code gives the relevant person more capabilities than the standard meeting participant. The organiser can mute and unmute everyone’s lines in order to better control the conference. The organiser can also lock the conference so that no one else enters after a certain time. He / she can also kick people out of the conference if needed. In general, the organiser can perform some call management tasks.
Teleconferencing Fundamentals: Assisted or Unassisted calls
The organiser and participant codes are given to a company so that they can perform self-service calls. All participants have the participant code. One person or a limited number of people have the organiser code to start and control the conference call. This means that the conference can be done without any operator assistance or any scheduling. The customer is fully capable of conducting a conference call without notifying the conferencing provider.
In some cases, some companies prefer an assisted conference call. They do not want to enter codes and they prefer to be assisted by a human operator who will meet and greet them and connect them to the appropriate conference. This is a high-touch service which also increases security, as each person is screened by a human operator to confirm that they have authorisation to join the call.
Teleconferencing Fundamentals: Conclusion
Teleconferencing calls are a very simple way of meeting, with audio only. They are cheap and they can be easily arranged. They do not require any special equipment or hardware except a standard telephone.