While not as flashy as the latest communications technologies, audio conferencing remains mission-critical to businesses of all sizes all around the world. The spoken word is the foundation of collaboration, and without consistent, high-quality audio connections, all of the latest web and video features are all but useless.
Choosing an audio conferencing provider, however, can be a bit daunting. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when purchasing audio conferencing:
1) Strength of Infrastructure
At the core of any audio conferencing purchasing decision should be a careful consideration of the strength, stability and resilience of a provider’s audio infrastructure. As all of the technologies around the conference call have evolved—smart phones, VoIP audio, unified communications, etc.—audio conferencing has grown increasingly more complex.
Your organization needs an audio provider with a network and infrastructure that is enterprise-grade to ensure quality and hardened against failure so that your service is never interrupted at a critical moment.
2) Hybrid Audio Support
The evolving complexity of audio infrastructure makes it vital to have the capability to seamlessly combine audio from a variety of endpoints and access methods—mobile, VoIP, PSTN, desk phones—into a single conference call. And all of this has to happen invisibly to the user to provide frictionless, intuitive collaboration experiences to power productivity and business growth. This type of audio support is called “hybrid audio,” giving your organization the ability to have a single call combining all of these various devices and connection methods.
Ensure that your audio conferencing provider’s network can support hybrid audio. As your workforce becomes more mobile and the BYOD phenomenon more prevalent, facilitating multiple access methods will be key to maintaining productivity and collaboration within your business.
3) Global Presence
Even if your company primarily works within a single country, providing global access to conference calls is paramount to extending your business’s reach and bridging gaps between employees, customers and partners. Without local dial-in numbers, in-language support and in-region network infrastructure, international conference calls can be confusing, poor quality disasters.
Carefully consider your providers’ global presences and their commitment to serving and delivering quality audio to participants all over the world. Just because your operation is in one place doesn’t mean your next big client will be.
Finally, your audio conferencing solution needs to integrate easily to any existing collaboration solutions your company may have deployed in order to avoid needless complication and clunky interactions and, more importantly, to increase the overall ROI of your collaboration deployments.
Verify that your audio conferencing provider can integrate easily into popular web, video and unified communications services so that your employees can experience the same consistent audio experience regardless of how they’re meeting.