AccuConferenceAccuConference

Oct
26
2007
Choosing The Right Hardware For Video and Conference Calling Maranda Gibson

The conference calling equipment of today comes with almost too many options for the average business owner to choose from. It becomes so much more than just an issue of eliminating the nasty entanglement of wires. Sophisticated options for muting, recording and call inclusion are among a few of the special premiums offered. If your video conferences are not quite up to par because periodic static or fuzziness of picture interferes with their presentation, there is hope that these and other problems can be easily resolved or eliminated. Read on for some tips on what to look for when choosing the proper hardware for your video and conference calling.


Desktop Computers and the Internet

Although it would seem almost unnecessary to say it, some offices, particularly newer ones, are not fully equipped with desktop computers. You must invest in PCs for your staff if you plan to incorporate conference calls into your business protocol. You can actually calculate your net worth based on the quality of the computer technology you can afford.

Each employee should also have total Internet access, far beyond the ability to check email or download a joke of the day. The extra expense is worth it for the vast array of information and the ease and speed of communication that it provides for web conferencing.

Avoid low quality and Mobile Phones

With mobile phones, many variables can cause issues such as changing environments, wind noise (when talking outside) and background noise. Make sure you are using a solid land-line (cannot be had with a cordless phone).

There are a few cordless alternatives, however, should you prefer to go that route. Conference call cell phones shaped like a half star-fish can operate without the wall outlet and only need battery power. This might work well in a conference room, which lacks the floor telephone jack in the middle of the room, which does sometimes occur. A wired phone still might be a better way to go because of the problems with frequencies that often occur in many office buildings.

VOIP services have their pros and cons. Their lines use the Internet to transfer audio and because of the varying levels of speed involved, these lines can waver in voice quality. With VOIP, make sure to use *6 to mute extraneous noise.  VOIP costs less, especially in regard to long distance calls, which are offered at flat rates, and incoming calls can be automatically routed to a VOIP phone regardless of where the Internet connection is located. VOIP phones can also be integrated with other Internet services and a user can easily send or receive messages or data.

About headsets

For best results, use a headset with a quality microphone. A headset allows you to have both hands free, and when you use a standard model, in which the phone is held with your hand, it can cause variations in the volume due to the unstable position of the microphone and your mouth.

About microphones

Whether built into your PC or an external plug-in, you can't do without a microphone if you wish to communicate over the Internet. Spend a little more than the minimum because the cheaper ones will not eliminate static or provide for a clear conversation. Microphones provide that which there is no substitute for during a video conference; namely, the clear enhancement of voices picked up from other participants on the conference call.

About Webcams

A webcam is simply a camera that is connected to the Internet. This broad definition makes it difficult to determine which type will best suit your particular business needs. If your conference calls will be soley of a verbal nature, you won't need a webcam. Face-to-face-interaction however, should never be underestimated, as it permits the utilization of facial expressions and professional demeanor. A webcam will allow you to turn a computer-enabled meeting into a personalized one.

One of the biggest business mistakes made with webcams is that they aren't given the "marketing attention" they deserve. Often they are simply “thrown together by an astute computer employee who doesn't realize the economic power that a webcam can generate. Highly rated webcam sites are almost always capable of 5 frames per second or more. Consider investing some time and money to make your company webcam pay off for you.

Choosing the right hardware for your next videoconference can make all the difference between creating an effective business meeting and a disappointment. Choose wisely and spend some quality time in understanding all the options available. Don't buy impulsively even if you are under pressure due to a time frame or other factors. There are so many options available that there probably are several hardware solutions that would work for your company.

Just remember that the videoconference you save may well turn out to be your own!

Oct
25
2007
Teleconferencing Technology Can Improve Health Care Maranda Gibson

Agencies that provide health care can use teleconferencing to confer with and counsel patients.

A network of mental health agencies in Ohio has used teleconferencing technology since the 1990s. They faced several hurdles in training staff and reaching patients, especially in rural areas. Teleconferencing provided a way for them to keep staff up-to-date and communicate with patients who lacked transportation.

At the Woodland Centers there were some questions about how patients would handle talking to a screen, but they found that the technology was a boon to their operations.

In addition to the challenges the agencies faced in instructing their own staff, it was also difficult to find qualified psychiatric staff. They were able to find the staff they needed by offering a teleconferencing option.

For example, a psychiatrist can have patient records sent to a computer in a home office. This file transfer can take place while the professional is teleconferencing with a patient. This way doctors can cut down on travel time to medical facilities.

Continual improvements to technology mean that medical professionals and patients who communicate through teleconferencing can see and hear each other much better than in the past.

Using teleconferencing can benefit health care providers and communities they serve.

Oct
23
2007
Teleconferencing in Community Colleges Maranda Gibson

For students at community colleges with multiple campuses, it can be a big hassle to travel from campus to campus, sometimes hours away from each other. Thanks to teleconferencing technology, students from any campus can be taught by one teacher in one "virtual classroom." This increases the availability of students to be able to take the course, as well as decreasing the need for multiple teachers a college has to hire to teach one specific course.

This amazing technology makes classroom teaching more educationally efficient, by being able to share pictures, slides, and video, virtually anywhere and to anyone. This idea is also very fuel efficient, as it cuts down on travel for both students and faculty.

Most community colleges in the United States are taking advantage of this astounding breakthrough in the world of virtual interaction. Teleconferencing can be great for almost any subject, especially the sciences, math, liberal arts, history, foreign languages, business, economics, human resources and anything else that involves a great deal of talking and visual learning. With special microphones built into each of the screens, teleconferencing can also be a practical tool for class discussions.

Teleconferencing has changed the traditional classroom into a worldwide network of educational possibilities.

Oct
23
2007
Use Teleconferencing to Plan Family Gatherings Maranda Gibson

Teleconferencing isn't just for moguls and executives: this technology can be used to plan all kinds of events.

Many families spend a lot of time and energy on the phone planning family reunions. You can cut down on numerous phone calls by using teleconferencing. Seeing everyone face-to-face can minimize the time spent organizing the festivities.

Although the reunion is a social occasion, there is nothing wrong with taking a business-minded approach as you put it together.

If there are things that family members in other parts of the country need to see videoconferencing makes it easy to share. Relatives can preview and give their opinion on the family reunion t-shirts, decorations and other items.

Teleconferencing can make planning smoother and cut down on any misunderstanding. It is much easier to understand people when you can see them. Plus, there will be no need to pass on messages when you have everyone right there.

Using teleconferencing is also a way to get some of the family together beforehand. There'll be fewer awkward greetings because a number of you will have been working together. Those of you who have already built some camaraderie can spread the cheer around once the reunion actually takes place.

Oct
18
2007
Webinar Marketing 201: Pricing and Bundling Maranda Gibson

As we indicated in the previous blog, the biggest mistake in producing webinars is under-pricing them.  In part this is because people forget that this is a completely new medium, not your old-fashioned Marriott ballroom seminar event.  Remember, webinars free people from the costs of having to travel and stay somewhere to participate in the event.  Build some of this convenience that you are providing your audience into your price.

It is a lot easier to initially set the tuition of at the high end and see what comes in than it is to try and increase prices at a later date for the same information.  Keep in mind that the important and timeliness of what you can tell participants, in addition to the convenience you are providing, can overcome almost any pocketbook issue.

An alternative way to charge for attendance is to offer a site license, as opposed to a per-seat charge.  Consider this option in your pricing as it can be great way to increase participation and get more customers.  Although companies will typically pay a higher tuition cost, more than one person from the same office can participate. You may even want to encourage this in your marketing message.  The advantage of multi viewer participation to the company is that all of their people hear the same message at the same time.  This sure beats paying for one person to go to a meeting and then come home and try to brief their colleagues.  This team webinar participation approach also provides your staff with a vehicle to discuss what they have learned and share questions and think of applications after the webinar is over.

Oct
18
2007
Fort San Cristóbal - Picture of the Week Maranda Gibson

Fort San Cristóbal

Taken on a Trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico

Oct
16
2007
Webinar Marketing 101: How Much Should You Charge? Maranda Gibson

Believe it or not, nobody wants something for nothing.  If you look at any kind of event or class, virtual or real, no matter how much interest people have in it, if you don't charge money people stay away in droves.  Seems counter intuitive, but almost any kind of event where tickets or reservations are given out free-of-charge to potential attendees typically will have high no-show rates… on the order of 35% or more.  In comparison, when people have to pay real money, even if it's a relatively modest amount, no-show rates drop to 5% or less.

Another thing that people understand is that "you get what you pay for", especially in business or any kind of competitive arena.  People commonly mistakenly think that the cheaper you make something the more people will be able to afford it and therefore want to buy it.  When you are talking about information transfer, this just does not apply.  Believe it or not, in the information arena, your price tag tells people what you consider to be the value of the information you have to offer.  Make sure that what you charge is commensurate with the importance of the information you are providing and/or with the credentials of who is presenting the information.

In terms of the latter, remember… you would not expect to pay $5 to hear management tips directly from the lips of General Colin Powell.  If you saw that advertised, you'd think it was a scam.  On the other hand, some people would pay $100's of dollars just to hear him speak even if the topic was about something they were only peripherally interested in, just to hear his perspective.  So keep the credentials of who is making the presentation in mind when you set your price.

Oct
15
2007
Air Pollution: Facts and Things You Can Do. Maranda Gibson

The amount of pollution in the atmosphere is increasing; there is no doubt about it. One way you can help reduce air pollution is to try and use less fossil fuel, limit your use of aerosols, as well as monitor your paper and energy consumption.

The air pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels like carbon, petroleum, and oil shale are impacting many of our metropolitan areas causing an increase in the incidence of asthma in children and adults alike. Many major metropolitan cities have adapted to these changes by requiring increasing amounts of ethanol in fuels as well as establishing an air quality index indicator. These air quality index indicators are broadcast on television, the radio, and featured prominently in the newspaper to encourage city residents to minimize travel, carpool, use mass transit, and even change the time when they fuel their car or mow their grass. Air quality in these metropolitan areas is impacted not only by the high amount of cars on the road but the time of year, heat index, and cloud cover.

Any significant decrease of travel in these times can be beneficial for children, asthmatics, seniors, and others who are pollution sensitive. By teleconferencing you lessen your own personal impact on your regions air pollution. You can help make a difference in the quality of the air in your own city if you make an effort to cut the amount of travel you absolutely have to make. One small step magnified by others making that same small step amounts to a significant step.

Oct
12
2007
Conference Calling and Frequent Flyer Miles: All Is Not Lost Maranda Gibson

There are a lot of generic things to look for when making a decision on a conference call service provider, such as: Do they offer the right package of amenities for the type of call you want to conduct? Do they have a good reputation for customer service? Can they handle the number of calls you require? And, are they priced competitively in terms of the services you need?

Given all things being equal, people wanting to hold conference calls can now look at other things that give them additional value for their money when searching for just the right company to service all their conference calling needs.

Although I know of no one who decries the decrease in amount of time they have to spend on the road due to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of teleconferences, I do hear people bemoaning the loss of all those frequent flyer miles they used to be able to use to upgrade to first class or to get free tickets for other employees or family members.

AccuConference is one company that is doing something about this issue. When you use AccuConference as your conference calling service provider, you can receive American Airlines Miles that match mile for dollar what you spend.

So when you decide to teleconference, as opposed to jumping on an airplane, grabbing a taxi or rental car, staying in a hotel, having your meeting and then getting back home, you can still build up those free travel miles without ever having to set foot on an airplane, unless you really want to do so.

Oct
11
2007
The Brave New World of Online Conferencing Maranda Gibson

Free, downloadable videoconferencing programs from several online providers just simply don't provide the quality and reliability that businesses need to function in today's high tech environment. With these free applications, depending on the software, up to 6 people can join the conversation. However, the more people, the more the quality of the transmission deteriorates via audio delay. Using them can be fun for personal use, but they are not good matches for the workplace.

For businesses a loss of quality or lack of reliability when using a free teleconferencing or web conferencing application can be a real problem. This is why professional fully featured teleconferencing tools are the top choice for mainstream business use. Nothing turns a prospect off faster than setting un an online conference with a free application and then having your client have a difficulty using it; thereby losing precious selling and online “face time” that you need to clinch a deal.

Leave the free applications for grandma and grandpa to keep tabs on growing children, and family member to keep in touch, but use the professional teleconferencing and web conferencing tools for the business world where you just can't take a chance in making a poor first impression.

Not only does video conferencing open up a brave new world of possibilities of staying in touch with clients and prospects, but provides high tech resources using robust featured technology that improves your productivity, keeps track of meeting notes for you, and speeds your online meeting follow-ups.

Free eBooks

Archive

Powered by
BlogEngine.NET 2.5.0.6
Sign in