Audio conferencing systems

Audio Conferencing trends are undergoing major shifts. In additional to traditional reserved-line conference calls, there is also web-conferencing and data-conferencing. Audio conferences can take place over the phone, or over the Internet. As technology continues to shift and evolve, the lines between phone, web, and even video conferencing are blurring.

Regardless of their modality, conference providers/organizers offer a wide variety of services, from automated options to fully staffed operator services. Rates vary, services vary, and the source of an "ideal" conference call methodology may not be a traditional audio conference call company at all, but rather the Internet provider. Understanding what types of service are available is a necessary part of understanding what an individual needs, and how they can best be met.

There are essentially two sources of audio conferencing communication systems : Conferencing via the phone, and conferencing via the Internet. Some people even combine the two, and have data conferences with shared computer systems , while simultaneously talking on the phone.

Within the category of telephone-based conferencing , the market can choose between toll and toll free calling, reserved and reservation less conferences, and automated or operated assisted options. For companies who are communicating with fellow employees, whose phone charges are being directly billed to the accounting department of The Firm, toll calls are probably the way to go. They're the cheapest route, and there's no out of pocket expense incurred by the conference attendees. However, for companies that have regular audio conferencing with clients, or project meetings with freelancers, toll free calls are a requirement. It looks bad, from a client perspective, to be charged for a conference call. Many freelancers, too, will simply refuse to take part in any call that requires out of pocket expense.

On the other hand, "Reservation less" calling systems are currently the least expensive option. This kind of conference call service providers assigns an individual to a dedicated toll or toll free number for an extended period of time, like six months or a year. One can conduct conference calls any time of day. There is no need to call the company and request a line assignment, the line belongs to him and his team for the entire duration of the contract. Rates for this service range from free (not including local and long distance phone charges), to per minute per user, to a flat monthly charge. This service is completely automated. There is no operator assistance.

Internet audio conferencing can include text-messaging and instant message forums, data viewing and sharing, presentation viewing and sharing live audio transmission, similar in type to telephone audio, except transmitted via internet telephony, and video transmission.