Communication is one of the most important things in our age, and effective communication is the driving force behind every successful business. According to Bluesource, productivity improves up to 25% in organizations with connected employees. Luckily, there was a lot of progress in this field over the past few years. Thanks to that, it is now easier than ever to communicate remotely and connect with multiple team members, using a simple conference call.
But what is a conference bridge call, and why it is so important today?
We’re going to explore this topic in-depth and cover everything you need to know here.
What is a Conference Bridge Call?
A conference bridge is simply a way to connect people all in one call. It allows a group of selected people to participate in a single phone call that connects them virtually.
But why is a conference call called a bridge? The bridge is simply a term we use when referring to the equipment or software that links people together.
How Does a Bridge Work?
The conference call bridge usually allows participants to dial into a virtual meeting room, where they can communicate with the team remotely. Depending on the bridge, participants may be able to choose the best place or device to join the meeting. Many of the business phone systems today come with powerful conferencing software, hardware, and add-on features.
Most conferencing systems of today support multiple conference rooms, and each one of those can host multiple participants. It is a modern and efficient way to communicate with the team, especially when considering the flexibility of these systems. Both the admins and participants have access to multiple features that enable efficient, modern conferencing.
It is also possible to set up a rich conferencing studio with all of the equipment needed to have top-quality meetings. If you want to know what else is out there, feel free to check out our video conferencing showdown article.
Why Are Bridge Conference Calls More Popular Than Ever?
A decent set of collaboration tools can help small businesses minimize the time wasted on inefficient communication and maximize productivity. That’s why bridge conference calls are getting more and more popular.
Web conferencing allows people to meet virtually, regardless of time or place. You spend less time scheduling face-to-face meetings and spend less money on arranging for entire teams to meet in a board room together. Web conferencing software puts you in control of who you communicate with along with the when, where, and how of business communication.
Today, almost all major business phone system providers offer some kind of collaboration software as a bonus. This enables businesses to host virtual meetings anywhere in the world using a simple conference call. When part of the team is at the office, someone else is at an airport, while another group is at the client site, the meeting can still happen.
Various communication obstacles such as time and distance can be overcome using a conference bridge. The technology is designed to provide a seamless connection with multiple people in the same virtual meeting room. Small businesses can also employ some additional tools to improve the pre and post-meeting experience.
With the right setup and equipment, audio conferencing can save a lot of time for everyone. Instead of wasting time on organizing, scheduling, and hosting a meeting, you can simply have everyone join the conference call at a specific time, regardless of their location. Most modern conferencing tools also support multiple different devices as well.
The versatility of bridge conference calls cannot be stressed enough. The option to schedule meetings around small business needs rather than the participants’ availability is a huge time saver. Also, let’s not forget that remote teams and partners can finally join the business conversation.
If you’re looking to minimize your small business VoIP expenses, online team collaboration is a no-brainer. Instead of spending money on management, venues, or travel costs, you can invest in a simple bridge tool and get everyone on board. It works even better with remote teams, and you can hold regular meetings with little to no cost.
Of course, conferencing software also has a cost, but it’s nothing compared to what real meetings costs. It’s worth mentioning that online conferencing also saves time, and you can minimize the hassle of event planning by switching to a conference call. Overall, it is a cost-efficient approach to team meetings and collaboration.
Most businesses value security and there’s certainly a lot to gain with encrypted conference calls. Live meetings require a lot of planning and organization, and important information may sometimes leak out. With conference bridge calls, there’s little to no risk of information leak, and security is always a top priority with such products.
Conference calls are usually secured with passwords, PINs, and visibility commands for admins to control. A decent conference service also delivers data encryption, and if a hacker does get access the call information will be hidden. Some systems also provide “long access codes” to make sure the call is always secure.
As we can see, there are a lot of reasons why conference calls are growing in popularity, and we can expect companies to put even more resources into these systems.
Trends in Conference Calling
Web conferencing is still somewhat fresh for businesses, but the features keep getting better and better. Each company has something unique to offer, be it hardware or software-related. So, what are some of the latest trends in conference calls?
Video conferencing is not the latest invention, but it is nonetheless an important step forward when it comes to team collaboration. Standard phone meetings always relied on voice, mainly because the video technology was just not up to par. However, it’s now safe to say that high definition video conferencing has finally become the industry standard.
There are many benefits to seeing the people you’re talking to in real-time during a video conference. It’s an important feature to have when you’re holding large meetings that invoke emotions and require decision making. Conferencing with top-quality audio and HD video is the way to go for all companies looking to maximize team productivity.
Cloud-based data storage is perhaps one of the best ongoing trends in the industry. The ability to keep all of your information in one place, accessible at all times, is a true game-changer. There’s also a hidden benefit to cloud-based business solutions, and it’s the fact that they enable a bunch of other useful features.
A busy organization is always filled with files and documents that constantly require attention, and it’s always a good idea to keep it all in one place. A lot of more information gets passed around during the meetings, and file transfer is a great feature to have around. With file transfer capabilities, team members can easily pass important documents to each other and they won’t get lost.
File transfer is one of the important trends in web conferencing and it’s only getting better thanks to cloud technology and storage.
Screen sharing was something hard to accomplish during traditional team meetings. A team member would usually have to connect his laptop to a projector to show off his work.
Now, the whole team can just connect using a conference call and share their screen to show what they’re working on. Screen sharing is a welcome collaboration addition that’s here to stay.
Businesses were always able to record their meetings though it took additional equipment and workforce. Now, you can just click the record button and the whole team meeting is recorded and stored in the cloud.
Almost all providers are starting to offer this feature, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s always a good idea to have that file stored in case someone missed the meeting you revisit the subject later.
Multiple Device Access
While most companies offer standard web access to conference calls, the latest trend seems to be mobile access. Providers are working hard to enable both tablet and mobile access to video conferencing, and it’s a very welcome change.
In-office meetings are important, but today we have the option to hold a conference call with someone using their phone at the airport or the beach. Mobile apps allow users to connect anywhere and anytime they want, and their popularity is on the rise.
Some providers have begun to experiment with AI technology to enhance the user experience.
Currently, AI is used for things like voice transcriptions and automation, but it’ll be interesting to see what else can be improved with a little bit of artificial intelligence.
Post-Call Reporting and More
Conferencing solutions powered by cloud-storage are also able to produce great post-call reporting and analytics. This includes certain data collected from the call, including audio/video quality and other useful metrics. And let’s not forget all the other post-call features such as reminders that drive productivity forward.
There are a few more trends in conference calls, but for now, it’s hard to predict if these trends are going to stick or not. Social media integration seems to be getting more popular, as well as surveys and polling. It’s going to be interesting to see what will the providers come up with as we move forward.
The Top Conference Call Services for 2019
In 2019 and beyond, businesses will be able to leverage conferencing services to drastically increase their productivity and reduce costs. Providers keep coming up with new features, and there are already many great conferencing options to choose from.
If you’re looking for a decent product to start with, UberConference by Dialpad seems to be a great choice. UberConference strives to make voice calls simple and easy, no PINs required. The basic service to host calls is also free, so you can test it out before signing up for a plan.
The whole product comes at a cost of $15/month with a full suite of web conferencing tools including things like live video, screen sharing, and even AI transcription and automation.
If conference calls are a regular thing in your business, GoToMeeting should offer enough to meet your needs. GoToMeeting is a popular meeting tool for businesses of all sizes, and there are features like business messaging and meeting assistant that business owners are going to love. This service is known for its support of different devices, messaging and overall user-friendly experience.
The plans start at $18/month and go up to $47/month for more advanced features such as AI transcripts, unlimited recording, and a few more extra tools for dedicated users.
Zoom.us is a new player in the call conference space, but the company is here to compete. Zoom allows you to set up a free conference call, and the users love it for its simplicity and ease of use.
Free plans offer a lot of good amount of basic features, and by investing $15/month you can get rid of all limitations and enjoy a seamless conferencing experience.
As we mentioned earlier, many phone system providers are working to develop team collaborations tools, and that’s exactly the case with RingCentral. RingCentral Meetings is a conferencing software with team collaboration tools and a great option for those who are already working with RingCentral’s Office platform.
This conference call service is also free, but there’s a $15/month cost to access premium features and remove limitations.
These are some of the top conference call bridge providers, but there are many more unique options such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Join.me, ClickMeeting, and ReadyTalk. It’s up to each business to decide which of the options work the best for their particular needs.
Conference Bridge Technology is Here to Stay
We saw exactly what kind of benefits are to be gained with conference bridge calls and online meetings, and now is the perfect time to make a switch. Most larger enterprises are already taking full advantage of team collaboration software, and you should too. There are a lot of bridge conference call services to choose from, so it just comes down to finding the right fit.
If you’re looking to improve business efficiency and explore office phone systems with team collaboration software, feel free to check out our comprehensive review of 7 best office phone systems in 2019.