An all-in-one on-demand conference solution can help businesses of any size enhance productivity levels, significantly lower expenses related to travel, ensure high levels of security around meetings, and make it easy to archive meeting minutes.

Conference calls are a big part of today’s work life. The growing need to expand businesses, manage global supply chains, enhance collaboration, enable work on-the-go, and lower travel expenses, are key drivers in embracing conferencing solutions.

Like fax, old-school audio conference call services are still popular. They may seem out of date, but they are common fixtures in most companies that connect people across multiple locations for important business meetings or sales calls.

Common Problems with Traditional Conferencing Solutions 

These traditional conference call services, however, can be difficult to use. If you’ve ever had to schedule a conference call, you’d be familiar with some of the following problems:

  • Forgetting your conference code/PIN
  • Mixing up the parties involved in a conference call
  • Complexities involved in scheduling conference calls
  • The absence of file-sharing software
  • The immobility associated with conference calls
  • No records of your meetings

Over the years, as the world tackles globalisation and the needs of mobilised workforces, the demand for teleconferencing has evolved. Many leading conference call service providers have revolutionised teleconferencing services into Unified Communication (UC) solutions.

However, many companies are yet to embrace the full spectrum of technologies available to them with UC conferencing solutions. As companies strive to fully understand and reap the benefits of the technologies available today, you might be interested to know how some companies are using such collaboration solutions. recently surveyed 250 IT professionals to understand their future plans with regard to the adoption of  UC solutions and their expectations from such solutions. Here are some excerpts from the survey:

  • Audio and web conferencing tools reign supreme, though many offices fail to integrate the two.
  • Video is the most likely feature companies will add in the next three years.
  • Most Important Unified Communication Tools for an Organisation’s Success
    1. Audio conferencing
    2. Web conferencing
    3. IM/presence
    4. Video conferencing
    5. Screen sharing

According to another recent market report published by Transparency Market Research, the global market for video conferencing equipment and services, in China, India, and Southeast Asia, is expected to grow at a brisk compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% between 2015 to 2023. The report also highlights that key drivers of this market include lowering operational costs, and the adoption of cloud computing.

Common UC Features to Look Out for When Choosing Conferencing Solutions

Now that you understand the growing trend of how users are adopting UC technologies, you may want an “all-in-one” on-demand conferencing solution that unifies audio, web, video and mobile. As such, businesses should look out for the following features when choosing an all-in-one on-demand conference solution:

  • Mail and calendar integration that ensure seamless flow of meeting-related information to invitees. This can save time by automatically informing participants about schedule changes.
  • Voice Over IP (VOIP) that eliminates the need to remember conference codes or leader PINs. .
  • Integrated live chat, which allows participants to interact with a peer without disrupting a meeting.
  • Reporting tools for attendees to highlight key elements of a presentation online.
  • The ability to allow executives to conduct polls and receive real-time feedback and opinions from attendees.
  • Meeting lock-in features that ensure high security and privacy levels.
  • Built-in recorded playback feature that allows executives to access archived meeting information anytime.
  • Easily compile work by sharing via your desktop or through applications.

Apart from enhancing meeting engagement over multiple platforms, anywhere and anytime, executives gathered for a conference call should bear in mind certain best practices to enhance the conference experience.

The first best practice is on lighting. This is a key aspect in achieving a pleasant video experience. People present should always ensure that indirect lighting is used. In other words, diffused light achieved through reflection. Harsh light from direct sources results in shadows and can adversely affect the video experience by making attendees look unnatural. And if your conferencing solution has a full-HD video option, use it to improve picture quality.

Similarly, taking measures to enhance audio experience is equally important. If a meeting room comprises hard, flat and impenetrable surfaces (thick plaster walls, curtain-less windows etc.) then the quality of audio will suffer. A simple fix to this is building soft surfaces that absorb sound including carpets, padded sofas, and curtains.

Following such best practices and coupling them with an all-in-one on-demand conference solution can ensure high-quality meeting experience and engagement.