The Rise of Conferencing
Conferencing has become an integral part of business communications these days. There have been many reasons why this has come about, but one of the powerful driving factors is the advent of telecommuting, as well as the whole outsourcing business.
PSTN phone systems have traditionally been a bit weak in implementing all the facilities that should be available for conferencing. A large part of it is how easy and customizable the whole process should be. Is it secure? It is extensible? VoIP has seized this opportunity to showcase it's strengths vis a vis PSTN lines, and indeed in no application has this been more evident than in conferencing.
A Typical VoIP Conference Call
Imagine a regular conference call. The person who wants to set it up merely dials a pre set number which then presents them with a variety of options. They can either set up a conference room, delete one, or join an existing room. The system allows them to create a security key that is shared with everyone who needs to be present. This ensures that the conference is kept private.
In addition, it's easy to keep track of who has entered and who abstained. Advanced applications can also go ahead and record the entire session for analysis later. Sophisticated VoIP conferencing applications with high end hardware can even have each person's image displayed on screens bringing it as close to real life as possible.
However, one doesn't need high end equipment to support advanced features such HD Voice. Even if some of the participant's hardware doesn't support HD Voice, the conferencing server (if hosted VoIP solutions) has the ability to stitch together a conversation where those who have the facility to send and receive HD voice are able to do so, while gracefully providing the next highest level of service to the others.
Though VoIP has the capability to handle just about any conceivable requirement, it's important to understand that the features offered are limited by the what the provider is able to implement. If your VoIP provider for example doesn't support HD voice, then you won't be able to use that functionality.
Different providers have different pricing schemes for various features such as the cost of an additional unit and so on and so forth. It's very important to do your research beforehand. Contact your provider to find out what exactly they offer if your organization is going to be using a lot of VoIP conferencing.