Monday, 22 October 2012

The Voice Of Audio Conferencing

Save time and money

Audio conferencing allows you to be in several places at once; working from your office at home, conducting a meeting in the boardroom or striking a deal with a client on the other side of the world. With travelling no longer a necessity, everyone involved in the audio conference has more time to spend productively instead of waiting for trains, planes or automobiles. Time is saved, less money is spent and more goals are accomplished.

To join an audio conference, participants typically call a toll-free number, verify their entrance code and enter a virtual room where customers, clients and managers in different locations can converse as though they were sitting in the same office. Advanced systems from the likes of Konftel and Polycom can automatically record conferences, schedule calls, mute or un-mute participants and dial out to other parties during calls. The latter example is particularly useful in call centre scenarios. For example, when a customer requires technical assistance a sales person is unable to provide, the sales person can dial out to a technical advisor and bring them into the call. Without audio conferencing and only one line available, the customer would be passed around or left waiting and their experience would be less than satisfactory.

Is it worth stepping up?

In the business world, investing in audio conferencing technology has obvious financial incentives, but what about making the 'step-up' to video conferencing? Is it worth it? If money saved on travel costs does not outweigh the hefty investment made on equipment, then the answer is no. But doesn’t the video element put forward a slick, professional image for the company? The notion that video conferencing creates a more affluent business purely because face to face dealings are more effective is debatable. Face to face meetings will on occasion be more preferable for those involved, but the advantages of being able to see the people you're doing business with can't truly be measured against the personable, persuasive skills of those who only have access to audio conferencing. A conference will only be worthwhile if participants communicate with each other effectively, and video conferencing will not necessarily improve an individual's interpersonal skills.

 Video conferencing does offer a much more interactive and visual experience than it's audio counterpart, but it requires expensive equipment, a reliable maintenance service and a strong broadband connection. The high speed and capacity required to sustain a video conference restricts attendance to just a handful of members. Audio conferences can include hundreds, even thousands of participants. The only requirements for each member are a computer terminal and a reliable Internet connection, not necessarily a high speed one.

Whether or not a company should stick solely to audio conferencing or branch out with investment into video conferencing, depends entirely on the budget, the size and the needs of the business. There's no doubt however, that audio conferencing is a great solution for any company who needs a cost-effective, simple and reliable way to conduct business.

Click here to enquire about audio conferencing

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