Teleconferencing/Audio Conferencing FAQ's

Listed below are the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) for audio conferencing/teleconferencing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ
  1. Is there a difference between audio conferencing and teleconferencing?
  2. What are the primary considerations for an audio conferencing equipment purchase?
  3. How do I buy audio conferencing equipment?
  4. If I don't want to buy equipment, how can I use a teleconferencing service?
  5. How many users or participants can I link together on an audio conference?
  6. Can I link callers on cellular phones into an audio conference?
  7. Can I use speakerphones on an audio conference or will it hurt audio quality?
  8. How do I schedule audio conferencing calls when callers will be in different time zones?
  9. How do I set up an account with TKO to use teleconferencing/audio conferencing services?
  10. Can I use a credit card to pay for audio conferencing?

1. Is there a difference between audio conferencing and teleconferencing?

a) No, they are interchangeably called both audio conferencing and teleconferencing. In each, three or more telephone callers are linked together in a telephone call with all parties hearing one another and some or all parties interactively speaking.

b) When using video conferencing systems, there is a similar interchanging of words that mean the same thing. Video conferencing is the same as video teleconferencing. The phrases are both used to describe a meeting between parties in different locations wherein the meeting participants use communications equipment to both see and hear one another as they interact.

2. What are the primary considerations for an audio conferencing equipment purchase?

a) Managing your own equipment, network, helpdesk and maintenance services can be a significant expense. However, if your organization serves a minimum of 1,000 employees (users) and averages the need for more than 20 teleconference meetings per day, it may be advantageous to consider purchasing your own audio conferencing equipment and network.

b) Security of communications is a primary consideration for many companies that use conference services (both audio and video conferencing services). Many service providers do not guarantee the teleconference call will be secure; in fact, it is not uncommon for the wrong caller to be connected to a private audio conference. Ask any teleconference service provider to describe their procedures. Take special note of security features that ensure your audio teleconference will indeed be private.

3. How do I buy audio conferencing equipment?

a) The most reliable method is to visit trade shows and ask vendors for demonstrations. At trade shows, each vendor's products can be easily compared without appointments. Ask about the most significant features available on each vendor's systems. Then, be sure to ask how their system is better than their competitor's systems. Usually, each vendor will claim their features are superior so you should be sure to ask if you can operate the equipment yourself to draw your own conclusions.

Once you have selected the equipment that meets your needs, ask the manufacturer for the names of three to five companies that sell their products (more companies selling a manufacturer's products are better than less). You will want to know the marketplace has accepted their products. Market acceptance means you will be able to find answers to both technical and administrative questions, spare parts will be available and perhaps pricing will be more favorable.

Some manufacturers sell their products directly to customers. This sales approach usually means the customer has limited alternatives for service and less pricing alternatives. It also means their products may be too complex for 3rd parties to sell.

TKO is always there to answer a question or provide insight into an important project.

b) Shop for a quality vendor in the marketplace and ask them to guide you through the purchase and installation of your equipment. A quality vendor will be able to list several well-known customer names for whom they have provided products and services for a number of years. Start with a search on the Internet, then yellow pages, and look for articles in trade magazines. Once you make contact with a potential vendor, ask them for the names of a few of their competitors.

Product selection can be quite difficult with many details of system operation left out of discussions by the manufacturers. A good vendor knows all the best products in the industry and should be able to point out the best features of each. Keep in mind that vendors get different pricing from each manufacturer and ask the vendor to describe their relationships with manufacturers. An honest vendor is likely to be a good vendor so pay particular attention to which products they recommend versus which products they get most benefit from selling.

Industry products and manufacturers change. Good vendors stay in business through many product changes and throughout changes in product leadership. For this reason, it is sometimes better to select a good vendor than it is to select a good product. A quality vendor will always offer the best products but when products become old and outdated, a quality vendor will still continue to provide support and technical assistance for them. Ask your vendor to describe how they support obsolete products and how they manage product line changes from the manufacturers.

4. If I don't want to buy equipment, how can I use a teleconferencing service?

a) Look up service providers on the Internet or in the yellow pages. Many companies offer teleconferencing services. Be sure to ask about how they keep your teleconference secure and private.

b) Call TKO at 800-216-3476, and we can arrange teleconferences for you with our equipment and our connections.

5. How many users or participants can I link together on an audio conference?

If you want to interact well with each participant speaking freely, more than 12 callers per teleconference can be difficult to manage. However, it is possible to link hundreds of callers simultaneously, some of whom can interact while others are muted (listeners only).

6. Can I link callers on cellular phones into an audio conference?

It is possible to connect someone on a cellular phone into an audio conference, however, usually that connection is less than acceptable and they tend to drop out of the conference frequently. When they reconnect, it can disrupt the entire conference.

7. Can I use speakerphones on an audio conference or will it hurt audio quality?

It is possible to use a speakerphone during an audio conference; however, most speakerphones negatively affect audio quality. Issues such as echo, buzzing sounds or a low voice level caused by speakerphones can disrupt the entire teleconference.

8. How do I schedule audio conferencing calls when callers will be in different time zones?

a) There are a number of options you can use to help organize your audio conferences. Some stand-alone software packages allow you to schedule people from different time zones. When notified, each user is given their local time for the meeting so as not to cause confusion.

b) Some scheduling software come with audio conferencing equipment. Most call scheduling software accounts for time zone differences among meeting participants.

9. How do I set up an account with TKO to use audio conferencing services?

We can assist you if you provide us with your company name, address, contact information, billing requirements and a password, if desired. Call TKO at 800-216-3476 and we can get you started in a matter of minutes.

10. Can I use a credit card to pay for audio conferencing?

Yes, we accept Visa and MasterCard. For frequent users, we can set up an account to bill your organization weekly or monthly.

TKO Video Communications

TKO also provides video conferencing software and equipment (Cisco/Tandberg, Polycom, LifeSize, and Sony), outsourcing and event management including satellite broadcasting and both video and audio streaming. In addition, we offer training in telecommunications and video conferencing.

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