We’d like to make the argument for it. But… Isn’t it antiquated? Since toll connections are included in most “bundle” plans from collaboration providers doesn’t that make it the in vogue way to connect these days? Maybe the answer to both questions is, to an extent, yes. However, what happens when the power goes out and you still need to host meetings? What happens if you’re not able to connect to the internet, but have a phone and still want to host a meeting? Even with a mobile device the lack of power and therefore likely internet could make that a difficult way to host a meeting. Well my friends, this is where it never hurts to have a service like the traditional audio conferencing system in place for your users with a palatable pricing model for your enterprise.
Getting caught in traffic
Call “traffic” includes everyone who is dialing in to calls or otherwise attempting to connect to networks in some manner. As the public is communicating via telephone more than ever, there will be an increase in the number of calls handled by carriers across the globe. Many of those connections will travel over VOIP connections through data centers that are usually powered by multiple tenants to create the user experience. Of course the internet, and therefore the connections running over it, by nature is an unstable environment. The increase in internet traffic can cause bottlenecks and network congestion which leave you unable to connect as a host or participant. However, hard-wired phones and wires in the ground tend to be more stable through the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).
Someone pays for the toll and transport as there is almost certainly a charge for the call taking place. If not the consumer (caller) then the telco which is why there’s been such a push to close loopholes in the FCC regulations that allow “traffic pumping.” Here is how the FCC defines traffic pumping: https://www.fcc.gov/general/traffic-pumping. You’ll see that this includes “Free” conferencing services that have you dial in using NGN’s (Non-Geographic Numbers). The apparent goal at some point is to stop this behavior.
Unfortunately things come up while you’re on conference calls that affect the sound quality. Background noises, static, and echo as some examples. There are ways to control these issues as the host by using keypad commands. However, if something needs technical troubleshooting you want to know that a person can be immediately summoned to the call to assist. Sometimes it can be a challenge to get real time support from the turnkey collaboration solutions because they are software driven. Not only is it important to get real time assistance during a call, it’s also important that you have a point of contact in case you have questions, concerns, or need some guidance on best practices.
Another big reason to consider at least having this service available is the flexible pricing model. Having a toll-free option on a pay-per-use model gives you the flexibility of being able to provision everyone in your enterprise with a conference line, but only pay when they use the service. You will also have a toll number which is used as a global option for callers from around the world to dial in to America using “1” which is the U.S. country code. International dial-in capabilities are important as well given the global nature of many businesses. Sometimes connections from overseas can be challenging when using IP instead of fiber because they have to travel over more circuits to the end point of an already strained network. With all the technology built into portals for audio call monitoring the call dynamics can be controlled to mimic the desired audience interaction without the distraction of video or presentation tools.
So, in summation
The point here is that toll-free dial-in audio conferencing has a place in the technology toolkit of today’s business due to its flexibility and stability vs. other platforms. It can also function simultaneously in just about any UC environment because with most of them you have the capability to bring your own audio provider by manually entering the dial-in details. Many times if you have a bundle plan that includes audio conferencing and for any reason you need toll-free access those rates can be exceptionally high since it isn’t included “in the box.” Whether you just need something basic or want to customize a platform with specific settings and features we’re here to help. Contact us today to explore the options!