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Teleconferencing Providers

Dan Wassel's Profile

I am going to put our web teleconferencing out to bid and would like to hear any vendor recommendations from the group.  I would also appreciate any info on what kind of toll-free audio rates folks are seeing out there (i.e. toll free rates per minute).  I feel like we are paying too much for this component of our current web teleconferencing solution.

Answers

Jeff Taylor
Title: CFO
Company: Communications Co.
(CFO, Communications Co.) |

FreeConferenceCall.com and GoToMeeting. The former is, as the name suggests, free for all con calls up to a certain # on the line. I don't recall what that number is b/c we have never breached it at our mid-sized company that I have seen. It's perfect for intra-company con calls and for calls with customers. Yes, they hear "welcome to free conference calls dot com" when they dial the number, but there is nothing beyond that. No commercials or anything else, and you can get a dedicated number for everyone at the company to have their own con call #. We have had almost zero issues with them and you can't beat the price. We do not use the toll free # b/c that would cost us extra (I think we got a quote of $.06/min but I can't find the quote right now so that might not be accurate) and all of our corporate phone numbers provide for unlimited toll free calls within the U.S., so we don't pay for toll calls to call our non-800# con call numbers. I think most companies have the all you can eat phone #'s these days so having a toll free con call line is really not necessary.

We use GoToMeeting for web conferencing and it's $50/month all you can eat and it includes a con call # for each webcon if you want to use it (this is a "toll" number but what I said above about that not mattering to most applies here as well). Dirt cheap and great for sharing documents over distances.

Hope that helps.

Pete DeWeese
Title: EVP & CFO
Company: Tanknology Inc.
(EVP & CFO, Tanknology Inc.) |

While we use the FreeConferenceCall.com at times, what we have found is very useful is we added a module to our phone switch which provides for virtual conference rooms. This is just another extension on the phone switch. This way customers can use our 800 number to call or if for company use people use the cheapest system, whether it is cell or unlimited phone plans. The benefit is this is not like using the conference feature on your phone because generally in that case if you get more than 4 people the quality can diminish substantially. With our phone system is the limitation is number of lines or T1 tracks you have available. If you have two phone T1's to you office you will have 43 available lines. Internal callers do not count for line connections.

Saul Kemble
Title: Accountant
Company: National Association of Social Workers C..
(Accountant, National Association of Social Workers CA Chapter) |

If you just want free teleconferences Talkshoe.com is pretty great. The chat room makes the call semi interactive for web links and things like that and the "host" gets to control who has rights to talk and post. It also saves the recording so anyone who missed it can catch it later. I'm not sure how Talkshoe gets funded, they may have premium services available or something like that.

Our business has been using CommPartners for the last few years and the rates for teleconferences have been unbelievably low, so low I don't think it would be appropriate to post. I highly recommend them. They also have webinar services.

Tim Hackett
Title: CEO
Company: Iocom Communications
(CEO, Iocom Communications) |

There are some video conferencing providers these days offering up free services for limited edition versions of their software. These versions still provide more functionality than the web conferencing and if you have a camera embedded within your laptop or a stand-aside camera, you can actually share crisp video along with the audio portion of your calls. You can also share data, record meetings for future playback, and for a cheaper monthly fee include unlimited number of participants. Video conferencing is sure to displace the web conferencing solutions in the near future. Riding the public internet with HD video/audio combos is a huge advantage. Check out iocom.com if you have the chance as an example.

Topic Expert
Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

For smaller conference calls, this is also useful and free. Audio conference is available for a few users, video works for two parties only. It also has a "Share Desktop" feature like gotomeeting.
We found Skype really helpful on a project where we rolled out a SaaS accounting package to 20 overseas subsidiaries in AsiaPac and Africa, and we often used Skype for calls to each sub on support calls. The video component really helped with getting to know each other and collaborate.
The call quality was great, and often better than landline quality in some countries.

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