Meet the New GlobalMeet Democast

Allow us to reintroduce GlobalMeet®. We’ve upgraded it to use the latest technology and it has a fantastic new looking UI, if we do say so ourselves. This dramatically improves the user experience, allowing for quicker and more effective collaboration. So please join Adrian and Jason in this democast who will cover:

  • Reintroducing GlobalMeet, including our brand new UI, instant meeting access and seamless deployment
  • Our industry leading customer support
  • The new, superior user experience supported by the latest technology, with HD video and audio.
  • The future roadmap of GlobalMeet

GlobalMeet Audio Case Study: Hunter PR

Founded in 1989, Hunter Public Relations is an award-winning consumer products public relations firm with offices in New York and London. Hunter PR has made a name for itself as one of the most respected mid-size marketing communications firms in the country. Hunter PR executes strategic public relations programs that build equity, increase engagement and drive measurable business results for branded consumer products and services.

Communication is a key facet of Hunter’s business, and they have found success with PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio conferencing. With GlobalMeet Audio, Hunter is better able to maintain hourly communications with staff, clients, vendors, media, influencers and partners on a global scale. In 2016 alone, Hunter PR made over 21,000 GlobalMeet Audio conference calls.

"Everything has to be easy and done quickly, and GlobalMeet Audio meets that requirements for us every time."Chad Pearson, Hunter PR Operations Manager

To learn more about how GlobalMeet Audio has enabled anytime, anywhere meeting capability and fueled better communication with its easy setup and global coverage, download the full Hunter PR case study.

Skype for Business Audio Integration: FAQs

You may be wondering why you would need an additional Skype® for Business audio provider above and beyond your existing deployment. Skype for Business provides VoIP audio, but there are limitations in scale, audio quality and consistency, as well as global availability and accessibility.

By adding audio conferencing integration to your UC deployment, you will have better audio quality and consistency with best-in-class, 24/7 customer support, as well as the ability for external participants such as clients, vendors and partners to join your meetings. To understand more about a Skype for Business audio integration, check out these frequently asked questions:

Q: What should I look for in Skype for Business audio provider?

A: Choosing an audio conferencing provider can be challenging, but there are certain things that you can look for to ensure you’ll be working with the right one. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Strength of Infrastructure: An audio provider with a network and infrastructure that is enterprise-grade to ensure quality so that your service is never interrupted at a critical moment.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: When you're in a meeting, you need your audio to work. But let's face it, sometimes technology is fickle, and you need a support system that can provide live global support in real time.
  • Global Presence: Your next big client could be half way around the world, which is why a global presence and commitment to delivering quality audio to participants regardless of location is essential.
  • Integrations: Your audio provider should easily integrate into popular unified communications services so that all employees can experience the same consistent audio no matter where they are.

Q: How does PGi support Skype for Business audio?

A: GlobalMeet® Audio by PGi easily integrates with Skype for Business (formerly Lync Online), Skype for Business Server and Lync Server 2013. Users can set up the audio service quickly through the familiar Skype for Business interface with no additional training needed. PGi’s global service offers 24/7 regional support, account management and in-meeting, live support to ensure customers are getting the most out of their audio conferencing solution.


Q: What are the benefits of having a Skype for Business audio provider?

A: There are many benefits to integrating an audio conferencing solution like GlobalMeet Audio to your Skype for Business meetings. Here are just a few:

  • Crystal-clear, consistent audio quality for efficient communication and productive meetings
  • Dial-in, dial-out, VoIP and toll-free options to connect participants from both inside and outside of your company
  • Global coverage to connect participants around the world
  • A reliable network that hosts more than 60 million meetings each year
  • Larger meeting capacity on calls with up to 250 participants
  • A range of audio controls for better meeting management
  • Implementation services to ensure a seamless integration
  • Flexible pricing options

Q: How does GlobalMeet Audio work with Skype for Business?

A: Nothing is worse than poor audio quality during a conference call. GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business provides high-quality audio and enables internal and external meeting participants to connect from anywhere, on any device. Whether small or large, meetings become more productive when up to 250 VoIP and PSTN connections are supported.


Are you ready to enhance your Skype for Business audio? Check out how GlobalMeet Audio's integration can give your next online meeting best-in-class, crystal-clear audio with award-winning, real-time customer support to ensure that your meetings run smoothly regardless of how or where you join.

Do I Need a Skype for Business Audio Provider?

Audio is a crucial aspect of web conferencing; without great audio, you simply cannot have a great meeting. Here at PGi, we are dedicated to spreading the gift of crystal-clear audio far and wide, which is why we offer integration of our GlobalMeet® Audio into a number of unified communications solutions like Skype®  for Business. If you’re ready to take your Skype for Business meetings to the next level, read on to learn how choosing a Skype for Business audio provider can alleviate some of the challenges and pain points of your Skype for Business meetings.

Challenge #1: Poor Audio Quality in Meetings

If you’re experiencing less than perfect audio quality during your Skype for Business meeting, it might be time to upgrade to an audio conferencing provider like GlobalMeet Audio by PGi. With our audio integration, users get the highest quality audio for web conferencing and online meetings. 

Challenge #2: Trouble Connecting Outside Participants

GlobalMeet Audio allows you to connect participants that are outside of the organization’s firewall with your Skype for Business account. PGi’s dial-in and dial-out numbers connect PSTN callers from any location, including those outside of your company. With this feature, you can start using Skype for Business for internal and external communication.

Challenge #3: Lack of Global Coverage

Lacking global PSTN coverage with your current Skype for Business features? PGi offers an expansive and reliable global network, including 140 local access numbers and 30+ telecom carriers, all optimized for audio collaboration.

Challenge #4: The Need to Let Participants Join from Any Device

Make Skype for Business even more convenient for your team by enabling participants to join meetings from any device. GlobalMeet Audio connects participants on dial-in, dial-out and Internet connections in the same Skype for Business meeting.

Challenge #5: Lack of Easy Integration with Skype for Business

Integrating an audio conferencing solution doesn’t have to be difficult. Organizations that are missing a solution that easily integrates with Skype for Business should consider GlobalMeet Audio by PGi. Our solution seamlessly integrates with the user interface and workflow of Skype for Business.

Final Thoughts

Choosing an audio conferencing provider can be challenging, but there are certain things that you can look for to ensure you’ll be working with the right one. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Strength of Infrastructure: An audio provider with a network and infrastructure that is enterprise grade to ensure quality so that your service is never interrupted at a critical moment.
  • Hybrid Audio Support: An audio conferencing provider’s network that can support hybrid audio will be key to maintaining productivity and collaboration as the workforce becomes more mobile.
  • Global Presence: Your next big client could be halfway around the world, which is why global presences and commitment to delivering quality audio to participants is important.
  • Integrations: Your audio provider should easily integrate into popular unified communications services so that all employees can experience the same consistent audio no matter where they are.

Request a trial today to learn more about how Skype for Business integrates with GlobalMeet Audio by PGi.

Getting the Most Out of GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business

PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio for Skype® for Business audio integration is a hybrid solution that seamlessly delivers enterprise-class audio for meetings anywhere around the world. It helps ensure that every meeting has the best audio quality possible, regardless of the device you choose to meet with. In order help you get the most out of your next GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business meeting, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks below:

Set Meeting Audio Options:

Pick the device that you’d prefer to use, whether it’s your computer, desk phone or mobile phone. Setting meeting audio options to best fit your needs will help save time at the start of your meetings.

There are three different ways to join the audio portion of a Skype for Business meeting. Each time you join a meeting, Skype for Business will automatically displays the Join Meeting Audio screen and guide you to select your audio option. You can choose from the following options:

  1. You can connect over Skype for Business by using your computer microphone and speakers, or a headset.
  2. You can have Skype for Business call you at a number you specify.
  3. You can call into the meeting from your desk or mobile phone.

Music on Hold Feature:

Using the music on hold feature during your meetings will make it so that participants will need to wait for you before they can begin conversation with other guests. This gives you the chance to properly introduce meeting participants if necessary.

If the music on hold feature is available for your company, you and your guests should dial in to your audience conference bridge instead of using the Skype client to attend. Why? When you use the Skype client attend, music on hold is silenced as soon as the first participant joins the meeting. As the meeting host, you can dial in and provide your moderator passcode so that guests will hear music until you join.

Mute & Unmute Audience Command:

Understanding how to use the mute button correctly will help you become a better meeting host and avoid any unnecessary background noise or distractions.

To mute all participants in the meeting, go to the Participants panel and then click Participant Actions. Select Mute Audience. All guests’ lines in the meeting will be muted.

To unmute participants, select Participant Actions then Unmute Audience. All meeting guests are automatically unmuted. Attendees on their computer will be shown a message that the presenter has unmuted the call. Participants are free to unmute themselves using their own controls.

If you don’t see a Participant Access button in your panel, your Skype for Business meeting is set to allow all people to join equally. You’ll want to go to your Skype meeting options and change who’s a presenter and who has restricted access.

End Meeting & Disconnect All Participants:

Make sure your conference call ends the right way, and that all your meeting participants are disconnected properly.

To end your audio conference call, simply use the Disconnect button. But, be aware that it leaves you meeting guests connected to the audio conference. To end the meeting and disconnect all participants, you’ll need to click More Options, and then select End Meeting.

Use these tips and tricks for your next GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business meeting to make sure your event is flawless and interruption-free. New to GlobalMeet Audio? Be sure to check out PGi’s Skype audio conferencing capabilities and see how your company can get the most out of Skype for Business.

How to Set Up GlobalMeet Audio with Skype for Business

You’ve already made the commitment to better audio, but you probably have a few questions about how to get GlobalMeet® Audio with Skype® for Business up and running. The guide that follows will walk you through the setup process and answer any questions that might arise as your prepare to use GlobalMeet Audio with Skype for Business for the first time.

Getting Started

When you signed up for GlobalMeet Audio conferencing for your Skype for Business, PGi set up an account for your organization. With this, you should receive a set of telephone access numbers and passcodes in a credentials spreadsheet. Use these credentials to configure dial-in conferencing for your users.

Set Up GlobalMeet Audio

Dial-in conferencing should be configured so that your users can join a Skype for Business audio conference call from their desk or mobile phones. Head to the Skype for Business Admin Centers in the Admin area of your Microsoft Online Portal to assign the dial in numbers and passcodes for each user.

Users can dial their assigned access numbers and passcodes to join an audio conference call. Admins have the option to set up dial-in conferencing for users one at a time or several at a time by using the Bulk Import feature.

Audio Passcodes & Music on Hold

GlobalMeet Audio conference accounts have two passcodes – moderator and participant. When setting up dial-in conferencing for Skype users, you should enter the participant passcode. Most of the time, this is the only passcode users will need to know.

When music on hold or enhanced authentication for high-risk countries is enabled (which requires music on hold), your users should dial in to the audio conference bridge, instead of using the Skype client to attend. If users dial into the Skype client to attend, music on hold is turned off as soon as the first participant joins the meeting audio.

Meeting hosts will need to know their moderator passcodes and use them when dialing into each audio conference call. This ensures that participants hear music and cannot talk to each other until the host joins.

Skype for Business Users Outside Your Organization

If you want to allow Skype for Business users outside your company to be able to communicate with internal users, you should enable SIP domain federation before setting up dial-in conferencing. Configuring SIP federation with GlobalMeet audio conferencing will allow PGi audio to accept connections to the same meeting from two different infrastructures.

Dial-In Conferencing for Single User

Admins can also set up dial-in conferencing for a single user or remove users from the settings. Setting up dial-in conferencing is especially important if you’re using Skype for Business on mobile devices. Mobile users won’t be able to join a Skype for Business meeting with the single click feature unless the meeting includes dial-in conferencing.

Dial-In Conferencing for Multiple Users

Set up multiple users with the import and export feature on Skype for Business. The Bulk Import option will let you set up dial-in conferencing for multiple users quickly and easily by importing a CSV file. First, export your users to a CSV files. Then, enter the access numbers and passcodes from your PGi credentials spreadsheet. Lastly, import the completed CSV file.

Once the above steps have been taken, you are officially ready to experience GlobalMeet Audio in your Skype for Business meetings. Prepare for crystal-clear audio and better meetings ahead.

New to GlobalMeet Audio? Be sure to check out PGi’s Skype audio conferencing capabilities and see how Skype for Business can benefit your company.

Lync to Skype for Business Update: FAQs

With the transition from Microsoft® Lync® to Skype® for Business complete, you might still have some lingering questions. To make sure you’re up on the latest from Skype for Business, PGi brings you a Skype for Business FAQ update. Read on to learn all about how to incorporate Skype for Business into your work life.

Q: What is Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync)?

A: Skype for Business is a unified business communications solution that merges the user-friendly Skype interface with enterprise Lync capabilities. The software upholds the enterprise-grade security that Lync users know and love while providing fresh features. Key features include instant messaging, one-click audio and video calling, easier file transferring and more.


Q: Is Skype for Business a rebrand or a new product?

A: It’s both! Lync officially became Skype for Business in March 2015. With this update Microsoft released a new client experience for mobile, tablets, and desktops, a new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365 under the Skype for Business name.


Q: What features have changed in Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business offers a variety of new features for Skype and Lync users to enjoy, including a fresh look, the ability to make calls using your desk phone for audio, integration with the Skype directory, Call Monitor, Rate My Call, quick access to call controls, emoticons.


Q: What are the benefits of using Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business makes it easier to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, customers and/or clients, cut business costs and better tracking your expenses. Users can:

  • Replace unnecessary business travel with a quick and easy video call to cut back on costs.
  • Set up accounts for staff, allocate credit and track everyone’s expenses, which makes it easier to budget calls and identify any areas where you can save.
  • Stay connected with colleagues through instant messaging or affordable audio calls, and keep in touch with customers with one-click audio and video calling.

Q: What is the proper migration procedure from Lync 2010 Standard to Skype for Business?

A: To correctly update from Lync 2010 to Skype for Business, users must first move to Lync 2013.


Q: What will Microsoft rebranding Lync as Skype for Business change besides the name?

A: The Lync to Skype for Business rebranding is more than just a name change. The updated software allows users to connect, share and collaborate easier than ever with an improved experience new features.

The new client experience takes on the popular Skype icons for calling, adding video and hanging up, as well as easy content sharing and telephony. Connecting with coworkers and colleagues is simple with instant messaging, and audio and video calling. Professionals can reach hundreds of millions of other Skype users outside of their organization to help build valuable business relationships.


Q: How is Skype for Business different from Skype?

A: People already using Skype will appreciate the enhanced control and ease of S4B. It’s simple to find and connect with colleagues, and you can use the devices you already have to reach businesses through an enterprise-grade, secure, IT-managed platform.


Q: How is Skype for Business different from Lync?

A: Those coming to Skype for Business from Lync will recognize all of the security and compliance you’ve come to expect. You’ll experience a fresh look and feel with simplified controls and some great new additions like Call Monitor, Rate My Call, emoticons, access to the Skype director and the ability to call from any phone.


Q: Why use Skype for Business instead of Slack?

A: There are many benefits of using Skype for Business instead of other communication platforms like Slack. Users can host free group chats, reference chat history that is automatically saved, instant message, and audio and video message. Make, receive and forward calls whether you’re in the office or on-the-go from any device – phone, laptop or mobile. Place calls on a mobile or office phone using S4B and your phone number will appear as if you were calling from your company’s main phone number. But, what’s the best part about using S4B? The user-friendly interface.


Q: How does PGi support Skype for Business?

A: PGi’s GlobalMeet Audio Hybrid for Skype for Business brings superior voice coverage, quality and service to every conference call. Users can join calls from any mobile or landline phone, host or join meetings with up to 300 participants, access over 100 local and international toll-free access point. Request a trial today to experience the superior audio quality during your next Skype for Business meeting.


Learn more about Skype for Business and how it can benefit your company!

FAQ: Skype for Business Audio Integration with GlobalMeet

Delivering enterprise-class audio for meetings anywhere around the world is one of our many goals at PGi. GlobalMeet® Audio helps ensure that every meeting has the best audio quality possible. That’s why PGi offers an audio integration solution to work with various unified communications solutions like Microsoft® Skype for Business®.  To learn more about GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business, check out our list of frequent asked questions:

Q: What is Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync) is a unified business communications solution that merges the user-friendly Skype interface with enterprise Lync capabilities. The software upholds the enterprise-grade security that Lync users know and love while providing fresh features. Key features include instant messaging, one-click audio and video calling, easier file transferring and more.


Q: How does PGi support Skype for Business?

A: PGi’s GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business brings superior voice coverage, quality and service to every conference call. Users can join calls from any mobile or landline phone, host or join meetings with up to 300 participants, access over 100 local and international toll-free access point.


Q: What are the benefits of using GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business?

A:  GlobalMeet is an audio conferencing solution that is seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server to bring superior voice quality to every Skype for Business meeting. There are many benefits to integrating an audio conferencing solution like GlobalMeet Audio to your Skype for Business meetings.

Here are just a few benefits:

  • Hybrid audio: Connect to the same meeting using computers (VoIP), smartphones and telephones (PSTN). Better audio quality will improve your meeting experience and productivity.
  • Dial-out: Hosts can quickly add telephone participants to any Skype for Business meeting. Dial-in, dial-out and VoIP will connect participants from both inside and outside of your company
  • Global network: Connect meeting participants from around the world. Expansive geographical coverage with more than 140 local access numbers and a reliable network that hosts more than 60 million meetings each year.
  • Shared minute & single user bundles: Shared minute plans and user bundle packages offer better value and more predictable monthly costs.
  • Better meeting management: Larger meeting capacity on calls with up to 300 participants and a range of audio controls for better meeting management.

Q: Do I need a Skype for Business audio integration?

A: You may be wondering why you would need an additional Skype for Business audio provider. Skype for Business provides VoIP audio, but there are limitations in scale, audio quality and consistency, global availability and accessibility.

If you’re experiencing any or all of the following challenges, it may be time to consider GlobalMeet by PGi:

  • Poor audio quality in Skype for Business meetings
  • Trouble connecting participants that are outside of the company’s firewall
  • Deficiency of global PSTN coverage
  • The need to let participants join meetings from any device
  • Lack of a solution that easily integrates with Skype for Business

Q: How does GlobalMeet Audio complement Skype for Business?

A: GlobalMeet Audio makes every Skype for Business meeting more productive and efficient with capacity for up to 300 VoIP and PSTN participants and the best audio quality available in web conferencing.

When integrated with GlobalMeet, Skype for Business is enhanced with the following features:

  • PSTN-based conferencing services
  • Expansive, global IP infrastructure that is optimized for audio collaboration
  • Ability to dial out to PSTN participants
  • Capability to mix Internet and PSTN callers in the same Skype for Business meeting
  • Ability to include dial in numbers in meeting invitations

Q: How does GlobalMeet compare to other audio integrations?

A: There are certain capabilities that GlobalMeet offers that the competition does not. Some of the key features that set PGi’s audio conferencing solution apart from the competition include the following:

  • Enterprise-grade global service with 24/7 regional support
  • Professional account management teams that put the customer’s needs first
  • Greater flexibility in pricing with shared minute bundles available for enterprise and users.
  • Expansive, global IP infrastructure allowing you to directly serve customers around the globe
  • US-based telecom carriers who support audio conferencing for Skype for Business

Q: What is the difference between Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server?

A: If you’re currently using or considering using Skype for Business for IM and web conferencing, you may be wondering what the difference between Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Sever is. Here’s a brief comparison:

  • Skype for Business Online offers less than 1M minutes per month for audio. This is best for small companies with little to no global presence and less infrastructure or capital investment.
  • Skype for Business Server offers 3M+ minutes per month for audio. It’s best for company with a low number of users and high minutes per user.

Ready to see how GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business can help improve your next meeting? Click here to find out more.

Checklist: 8 Considerations for Selecting an Audio Conferencing Solution

It may be hard to believe, but not all audio conferencing solutions are created equal. In our constant search for the best tools to improve our productivity and collaboration, sometimes we go after the newest product on the market rather than refine an already tried-and-true solution. While we all want to sip a cappuccino street side in France or dig our toes in the sand while taking a conference call via virtual reality headsets, audio conferencing solutions remain an absolute cornerstone of many businesses’ day-to-day.

The good news is that current audio conferencing solutions aren’t those of yesteryear–or at least they don’t have to be. With PGi’s new checklist, All Conference Calls Are Not Created Equal: 8 Considerations for Selecting an Audio Conferencing Solution,  you’ll be able to better understand the key factors that can take your audio conferencing to the next level.

After you’ve downloaded the checklist and learned a little more about what to look for in an audio conferencing solution, check out PGi’s GlobalMeet Audio by requesting a demo with one of our experts.

GlobalMeet Audio Conferencing Integration Case Study

To support their rapid global growth, an American-based off-price retailer uses Microsoft Skype for Business for some of its conferencing sessions in order to reach their local and international stakeholders.

However, users commonly experienced dropped audio connections with the web conferencing solution, and in turn, also experienced some audio budget challenges. A customer of PGi for more than ten years, the retailer knew it needed to pair with PGi once again to get the most cost-effective solution for global audio coverage.

Using PGi hybrid audio conferencing integration, the company not only enriched user experiences during their global web conference calls, but also experienced more value from their existing investments while also saving additional costs on international travel.

"With thousands of calls every month to various countries, we definitely save a lot on our international travel budget by meeting online instead."Nicole Richardson, Network Engineer IV

3 Tips for Evaluating Audio Conferencing

In spite of the advances in communication technologies of late—face-to-face video, instant messaging, mobile applications and more—it can be easy to forget that audio conferencing is still the cornerstone of collaboration. All of the video chats and online meetings in the world are useless to your organization without consistent, high-quality audio tailored to your company’s unique needs.

Audio remains a bit of an afterthought in light of the complexity and innovative promises of your other communications software. Or, more commonly, you’re simply continuing a legacy audio purchase. However, audio conferencing has grown increasingly more complex (albeit not as visibly as some of our other collaboration technologies), and making an informed purchasing decision is more important than ever before.

Here are several key things to consider when evaluating an audio conferencing solution:

1) Ease of Use
While it would be easy to assume that dialing a phone number and tapping in a few pin numbers and passcodes is sufficiently simple, it can still be a frustrating user experience, particularly for guests. Instead of digging around in email looking for an invite with numbers appended, today’s audio tools can auto-connect users via Voice-over-IP (VoIP) or even automatically dial-out to you or your guests as soon as you’ve joined the conference via desktop or mobile. It may seem like a small time-saver, but multiplied across all of your meetings throughout your organization, those few minutes saved add up to significant costs saved—and time.

In addition, audio conferencing apps for both desktop and mobile provide visibility and feature access that is normally somewhat obfuscated on conference calls, such as a list of participants; indicators of who is speaking and access to volume, muting and subconferencing controls. Normally accessible through a somewhat archaic list of “*” commands, having them visible on your computer screen or mobile device creates a more intuitive, efficient conferencing experience.

2) Hybrid Network Support
In addition to more intuitive user-facing features for conference calls, the underlying network infrastructure that makes those calls possible has also grown increasingly complex. Hybrid audio support, which allows for seamless mixing of VoIP and traditional PSTN within the same call, is essential to facilitating freedom and choice for your employees as well as any external guests. Without hybrid support, you may overly complicate your audio conferences by forcing a particular connection method.

3) Integration with Existing Tools
In order to avoid needlessly overcomplicating your employees’ lives, it’s important to consider collaboration tools that seamlessly fit into what we like to call a user’s “inertia;” in other words, how does a tool integrate into existing tools and workflows? If your audio conferencing solution and existing web and video solutions don’t play nice together or force users to navigate multiple interfaces and tools to get a conference together, you’ve done a poor job optimizing their collaboration. Any audio conferencing solution you consider for your organization should offer seamless integration paths for your existing communications.

Or, if you’re considering either adding or switching your web or video conferencing, the purchasing conversation may change to a web solution that includes audio conferencing, giving your employees the freedom and flexibility to meet how they want, without the additional costs of traditional per-minute audio models.

There are a lot of shiny new communications tools out there, and many of them have matured to the point where they’re ready to enter the enterprise. However, don’t let audio be on the backburner, or you may ultimately be hindering collaboration.

To learn more about advances in collaboration technology, including audio, download our free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration: 2015 Edition” today.

This post originally appeared on CIO.com‘s Collaboration Nation blog, sponsored by PGi.

When Should You Escalate Conference Calls to Online Meetings?

Despite all of the advances in online meetings, conference calls are still indispensable in business collaboration. Nothing beats the familiarity of a telephone, even if it is now mobile and smart, which makes conference calls still the fastest, most convenient and most accessible form of communication.

However, not every meeting is best suited for audio-only meetings. Sometimes, you need visuals to better communicate, engage and solve problems with the people on the other end.

All-in-one, “all-you-can-meet” conferencing solutions now let you choose the best way to communicate for each unique meeting, and they offer a unified communications and collaboration experience so you can effortlessly glide from one virtual meeting type to another.

So when should you escalate conference calls to online meetings? Here are some examples:

  • When you need to share content immediately and securely, escalate to online meetings. Online meetings include web conferencing features like cloud-based file storage and screen sharing so you can instantly share the agenda you forgot in the invite or collaborate on a document in real time. And, because everything is encrypted and available only to attendees, it beats sharing files on emails that can easily be forwarded or accessed by unintended third parties.
  • When you need to communicate a complex idea, use visuals. Our understanding of some concepts is limited by language alone. The richness of streaming videos, presentation slides and screen sharing better breaks down hard-to-explain ideas, and the non-verbal communication that accompanies being on webcams assures nothing is lost in translation.
  • When you need to address a sensitive matter or resolve a conflict, turn on your webcam. You cannot communicate empathy, sympathy, concern or sadness on audio only, and you won’t be able to discern the depth of emotions of the other party. It’s easy to reduce the person on the other end to a stance or position when all you see is a name, but when you can hear and see the other person, you’re better able to develop empathy on both ends and resolve sticky situations.

If you’re using an all-in-one collaboration solution like iMeet® or GlobalMeet®, you have the option to easily escalate from a conference call to a video conference. Simply click the camera icon to turn on your webcam or remain on audio only using the static user image cubes as visuals for who’s talking. And you’ll never have to take roll call again.

Learn More

Featured Image Source: Pexels

Can VoIP Save Your Business Money?

Looking for new ways to save your business money, enhance communication and collaboration and support your distributed workforce? Give your collaborators more ways to connect with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

VoIP Eliminates Costly Phone Lines
Softphones and audio conferencing applications that facilitate VoIP are now so common and familiar at work that businesses can completely eliminate the costs of maintaining traditional phone lines. All-in-one audio, video and web conferencing is now so seamless and user-friendly that workers can not only connect to meetings but also one-on-one calls just as fast as they can dial a phone.

Because voice information is transmitted through the Internet, the costs of making calls via VoIP are rolled into your regular Internet bill, and, SaaS-based conferencing solutions replace unpredictable spikes in minutes with steady, monthly rates. If you rely on VoIP as a complete alternative to desk phones, you don’t even need to invest in phone hardware or additional IT resources to maintain your audio conferencing solution.

For some businesses, desk phones could very well be a thing of the past. Softphones and mobile apps are increasingly important to the mobile workforce, as 79 percent now telework, and 74 percent of remote workers use these tools over traditional phones on a daily basis, according to VoIP comparison research firm Software Advice. Besides better mobility, VoIP audio conferencing also supports the unified communications and collaboration experience increasingly demanded by users.

VoIP Saves Money on International Calls
On the other hand, traditional phone lines still offer audio quality and reliability that VoIP can’t, yet, but even as a supplement to desk phones and mobile devices, VoIP audio options will save your business money. If your business collaborates with freelancers, telecommuters, global branches or clients around the world, VoIP saves you the costs of making unlimited international phone calls. Likewise, when you, your mobile workers or your sales team are on the go, VoIP acts as your professional, cost-effective, mobile desk phone.

To get the best of both worlds, make sure your all-in-one conferencing solution offers both VoIP and traditional phone lines as options to connect. By providing workers with a global, hybrid, IP audio network, you let employees, customers and external collaborators choose the most convenient way to collaborate for them.

Learn more about VoIP and the importance of hybrid audio.

When Should You Use VoIP for Virtual Meetings?

Many conferencing solutions now offer you the option to connect via VoIP or your phone, but which is best? When should you use your computer and when should you use your phone to connect to virtual meetings?

Wait, What Is VoIP Again?
Essentially, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is when you connect and talk through your computer on a connected microphone instead of through your phone. Because voice information is digitally transferred through the Internet, there are no additional costs to call via VoIP, as opposed to a traditional phone line.

VoIP streamlines the virtual meeting experience, eliminating the need to rotate between devices or applications to connect. This additional access method helps virtual meeting technology better support the plethora of ways employees work today, outside of the office, across the world and on the go.

How Would You Like to Talk?
VoIP has improved virtual meetings by leaps and bounds, but it still has limited reliability. Here are some guidelines on choosing between your computer and phone to connect:

  • When you’re at your desktop computer, try VoIP. The seamless experience provides more convenience than switching between devices, and reliability doesn’t suffer so long as you’re hard-wired to the Internet.
  • If you’re working on Wi-Fi, opt for a traditional phone line. You could experience occasional lapses in audio if you’re not on a high-speed, wired Internet connection.
  • When you’re out of country, connect via VoIP. VoIP typically offers better global availability and lower prices for international phone calls than traditional phone lines.
  • Skip VoIP when you’re mobile. If you don’t have a dependable connection or enough bandwidth, your connection could drop.

Both VoIP and public switched telephone network (PSTN) connections give users options to choose the best way to connect to virtual meetings, which is why the best virtual meeting solutions offer hybrid audio. Without sacrificing audio quality, security or functionality, hybrid audio networks seamlessly connect a variety of access methods and endpoints to accommodate users no matter where they are and what device they are on.

Learn More

  • Brush up on the basics. Learn more about what VoIP is.
  • Read more about the importance of having a hybrid audio network for better user adoption.
  • Find out how hybrid audio integration improved Northwestern University’s VoIP-only web conferencing solution for online learning programs.

Red Flags to Look for When Buying Audio Conferencing

Audio conferencing is a must have for the modern business. It can be used as a stand-alone collaboration tool or can be used to enhance web and video conferencing solutions. But when buying audio conferencing solutions, it’s important to understand what you’re purchasing.

Like investing in any tool to enhance your business operations, understanding the pros and cons of an audio conferencing solution is important. To get the right solution for your business, check out these five red flags to look for when buying audio conferencing.

  • No hybrid network support: The ability to seamlessly mix callers on VoIP and PTSN in a single conference call will allow participants to join from whatever device or method they choose. Hybrid network support will help make your next conference call easier for all parties.
  • Lack of global coverage: Is your business is working with customers or stakeholders overseas? Make sure your audio conferencing solution has more than just local coverage. Finding a solution that features international calling and a globally distributed network infrastructure will save your business cash and provide a better call experience for global participants.
  • Limited audio controls: An audio conferencing solution that has audio controls only accessible through the phone and “*” commands is a huge red flag. Thanks to advances in technology, most audio conferencing solutions will allow you to control your audio through apps and online on your desktop. You won’t be forced to stay at your desk to take your next conference call.
  • Limited customer service support: This is a feature many business may not really consider when looking for the perfect audio conferencing solution. Don’t let a solution’s limited customer service limit your business operations. Find an audio conferencing solution that has easily accessible customer service, available 24/7 just in case something goes awry during an important call.
  • Lack of integration with web and video: This is probably biggest red flag of them all. If you’re looking for a complete audio conferencing solution that will keep you connected with employees and able to seek out new opportunities both locally and internationally, then you need to have a solution that will integrate with web and video conferencing. Combining these three features will enhance your company’s ability to collaborate and conduct business.

Unfortunately, not all audio conferencing providers will be straightforward with the faults in their services or additional fees. By looking for these five red flags, you’ll be able to better understand what your company is investing in.

For a complete audio conferencing solution, try PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio. To learn more about audio conferencing, check out some of these related articles:

Why do Small Businesses Need Audio Conferencing?

Regardless of the size of your business, you’ll always need the right tools to support your collaboration efforts. The spoken word is the foundation of successful collaboration between the various parts of your business.

Despite all the advances in business technology – features like video conferencing, screen sharing, whiteboarding and more – audio is still the ultimate tool that makes meetings and collaboration possible. Without audio, you simply can’t meet.

Small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to conferencing and collaboration. From tight budgets for things like travel to limited IT infrastructure issues, finding an audio conferencing solution that fits within the realm of what’s plausible (and sensible) for your small business’s unique needs can seem tricky. However, with the proper strategy, you can find an audio conferencing tool that works for your business.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways your small business can benefit from the right audio conferencing solution:

Grow Global Presence: Thanks to advances in technology, the business world has gotten a lot smaller. The ability to reach new business globally is more attainable than ever before. Networks that were once only local and regional are now Internet-based and connected across the globe.

Thanks to modern audio conferencing solutions, you can forget about globalization difficulties by utilizing local dial-in numbers, in-language support and in-region network infrastructure. By harnessing the technology and power of modern audio conferencing software, your company can truly rethink the scale and reach for new business opportunities.

Lower Costs: As a small business, your budget is always top-of-mind, but so is looking for new business opportunities. And when you add up costs for travel or international calls in pursuit of new business, you may be running up a large bill.

By using an audio conferencing solution that integrates with an online meeting tool, like PGi’s iMeet®, you’ll be able to recreate those traditional face-to-face meeting to nurture existing global relationships or forge new ones with video and audio conferencing.

Facilitates Collaboration: Having trouble getting everyone you need on the line when you’re trying to work on new business plans or to discuss monthly sales goals? Using an audio conferencing solution that can host multiple guests can help you reach out to various team members all at once in a simple, straightforward way, allowing everyone to join regardless of location or device.

If you and your business are ready to see how an audio solution can help you expand your business globally while cutting costs, try PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio.

Learn more about audio conferencing with these articles:

What is Audio Conferencing?

Tips for Choosing an Audio Conferencing Provider

How to Avoid Audio Conferencing Mishaps

How to Host a Conference Call

Though fast and simple, conference calls can be messy and confusing without the right guidelines and preparations.

Missing visual cues, you don’t know who’s speaking, when it’s your turn, what someone really meant and what page of a document everyone else is on. These are common conferencing calling traps that, when left unchecked, can collapse the productivity of your entire call just like a gaping sinkhole.

Control the chaos and avoid these mishaps by getting a little more organized. Use the following tips to experience better conference calling and collaboration.

10 Steps to Organize a Conference Call:

  1. Set a clear meeting agenda. Organize meeting objectives in an outline for a clear path to follow. This way, you’ll be able to get your audience back on track and remind yourself when you’re chasing too many tangents.
  2. Find the best time to meet. Conference calling that’s too early or too late winds up with late arrivals or participants hanging up early, as well as callers that are too distracted or too tired to participate. To make it easy (especially if you’re dealing with multiple time zones) send a free/busy poll to everyone at once with options for them to select.
  3. Send a calendar invite. Creating calendar invites is easy, but consider adding these extras for a more productive meeting. First, include the agenda and let your attendees know how they should prepare. Should they brainstorm ahead of time, come with questions or read over other attachments beforehand? Also, make it easier for mobile callers by including links to apps with one-click access. Don’t forget to set a reminder notification at least 15 minutes before the meeting.
  4. Find the mute button. If you’re new to playing host, practice with the technology. Find all the buttons on your visual conference calling controls, as well as your speaker phone, like how to mute a single line or all callers at once.
  5. Join early. Dial in at least five minutes before the start time to welcome participants and ensure they have everything they need to participate.
  6. Kick off with ground rules. To minimize disruptions, set quick guidelines. For instance, let callers know that putting the call on hold initiates hold music, that they need to state their name before speaking if it’s a large call or new group and to mute themselves at all times unless they’re speaking. In fact, include this conference call flowchart in your invite so they get the picture.
  7. Ask questions. This is a surefire way to get engagement and to make sure participants understand the conversation. Using your visual display of who’s on the call, direct your questions to someone new each time so everyone pays attention instead of multitasks.
  8. Jot down ideas, questions and feedback. Many conference calling solutions provide a recording and meeting summary afterwards, but if you want to be an active listener and better host, take notes during the meeting, too.
  9. Wrap up with action items. Outline any next steps your participants need to take so everyone leaves with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. In addition, use wrap-up time to review what was and was not accomplished and to ask callers what they think could be improved on the next call.
  10. Follow up with an email. Recap your meeting, next steps, assigned roles and deadlines in an email so everyone has a clear, written summary to cement what they learned and what’s next.

What else can you control for better conferencing calling? Your technology. Request a demo today of GlobalMeet® Audio to find out why PGi is one of the most trusted audio conferencing providers!

How to Build Stronger Relationships with Audio Conferencing

Beyond products and revenue, business will always be about people—without customers and fans or employees and partners, a company is nothing but a name and a logo. Whether you’re wooing new customers or improving teamwork, building relationships can be the difference between the success and failure of both your job and your company’s brand at large.

Relationship building no longer happens just face to face. It occurs over emails, tweets, webinars, instant messaging and other virtual forums that make it quick and convenient to do at a distance.

While these tools all have a place in connecting with the people powering your business, nothing beats the speed and human touch of a good, old-fashioned phone call. Don’t overlook audio conferencing as a tool to build stronger relationships.

Why You Still Need to Pick Up the Phone

Audio conferencing will improve your business relationships and ensure that they are long lasting ones.

  • Phone calls are quick. Every salesperson knows that the faster you respond to a lead, the better your chances are of turning them into a customer. That’s because prompt communication demonstrates your genuine interest in helping someone, and unlike email and social media, you don’t have to wait for the person on the other end to find your response when you call. So if you want to make someone feel like you really care, try audio conferencing instead of sending an email or waiting to find a time to meet.
  • Conference calls are convenient. Not everyone is always in a setting to turn on their webcam for an online meeting, but people are more likely to answer a phone call, no matter where they are. And even when someone joins an online meeting on the go, most people prefer a more reliable, higher quality audio connection over VoIP.
  • Audio conferencing is more personal. If you want to get to know your teammate or a sales prospect, it sounds much more authentic to go off your talking points when you’re on the phone rather than email. Getting to know someone on a more personal level and hearing each other’s voice helps you develop trust and rapport. Plus, everyone has different communication preferences and learning styles. For instance, some prospects may prefer talking with sales primarily over emails, but many people still prefer the personal, instant, human interaction of phone calls.
  • Conference calls offer richer feedback. Building relationships requires you to not only reach out often but also to listen and learn about the other person, and conference calls help you do that better than text-based tools. Knowing how someone says something, not just what they say, tells more about what they’re thinking and feeling. Hearing pauses, sarcasm, laughter or a grave tone reveals hesitancy, anger, joy or concern, and you wouldn’t be able to pick up those insights just by reading a response. As a plus, audio conferencing captures all of that deeper data in a recording so you can go back and further analyze and archive your conversation, too.
  • Calling gets you in the door. How many times have you ignored an email? While most people are bombarded with emails, updates and messages, phone calls and voice mails don’t typically arrive by the hundreds every day. People will be much more likely to engage with you and remember you if you call.

If you want to accelerate relationship building and improve the quality of your relationships with customers, teammates, vendors or partners, audio conferencing should be part of your communication strategy.

Even if you’ve moved on from in-person meetings to video conferencing, having an all-in-one conferencing solution that includes crystal clear audio will ensure you stay in touch even when you don’t have the time for a formal online meeting or aren’t in the place to turn on video.

Learn more about the benefits of audio conferencing and all-in-one collaboration solutions for sales professionals and marketing teams today.

Featured Image Source: Unsplash

How to Avoid Audio Conferencing Mishaps

Thanks to the proliferation of mobile technology, telework is on the rise. Gone are the days when employees were forced to be in office to take conference calls. Now, audio conferencing can help generate meetings pretty much anywhere – from airport terminals to coffee shops.

But these on-the-go meetings can pose some unique challenges. From poor audio due to mobile service providers to loud background noise, we’ve all suffered through some audio conferencing mishaps. Check out the below best practices to keep your next audio conference trouble-free:  

Keep it Easy to Join
We’ve all been there, waiting on that one person who can never seem to figure out the passcode or get the right dial-in number for an audio conference call. Avoid this situation altogether by choosing an audio conferencing solution that doesn’t require extensive steps to join a call.

Sometimes though, dial-in numbers are unavoidable. If this is the case, you can make it easier for everyone, especially your mobile attendees, to join the call. Make sure the dial-in number or passcode is included in the meeting invite so when they are reminded of the call, their pop-up notification will give them access to the information they need. This will also make it easier for them to rejoin the meeting in case the call is dropped.

Have international attendees? Remember to give them access to local access numbers to avoid high international audio conferencing fees.

Keep Audio Clear
Mobile technology has improved tremendously since it was first introduced in 1973. But, as we all know, sometimes mobile carrier service can be weak, causing dropped calls or intermittent lapses in audio. If you’re a remote worker joining an audio conference, make sure your signal is strong to avoid audio break-ups.

To further the chances of clear audio, make sure you are cognizant of your environment. If you’re in the office, you may be subjected to the occasional side conversation from colleagues, but if you’re mobile, your environment may be a little noisier. In all audio conferencing situations, the mute button is a great feature to use. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not presenting or interjecting, keep your line on mute to avoid unwanted distractions.

Also consider using headsets or hands-free devices if you’re on the go while taking your call. Not only is it safer, but you’ll be less likely to accidentally hang up or unmute your line while juggling your luggage, coffee or brief case.

Whether you’re constantly working on-the-go or working in-office, audio conferencing doesn’t have to be full of mishaps. Execute these best practices with a reliable audio conferencing solution, like PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio.

 

How to Ensure a Flawless Investor Relations Call

Investor relations calls can be risky business. After all the diligent, time-consuming preparations, a lot can go wrong.

What if the audio sounds bad? What if your team forgets the call flow? How will you handle dropped calls and mispronounced names, and how will you recover from late starts and mismanaged Q&A sessions?

The complexity of a large-scale investor relations call demands so much—connecting hundreds of endpoints, complying with best practices, etc.—that they often take away the time you need to focus on your message. And the stress of minimizing slipups can deteriorate your confidence, which analysts and veteran listeners interpret as red flags.

Because there’s so much to do, and doing it all with confidence is imperative, you need the right features and solutions to ensure a flawless investor relations call. So all you need to do on the day of the call is deliver your message, you need complete IR support, such as:

  • Event Management: Veteran event managers with a thorough understanding of the industry take over the entire earnings call process, from planning and preparation to execution and post-event services. An entire team goes to work planning presentations, connecting participants and managing your Q&A. An event manager further simplifies the process by acting as a single point of contact and learning your preferences as you go.
  • Operator Assistance: Seasoned, dedicated operators with clear enunciation help make events more professional, welcoming and comfortable to minimize friction and maximize interaction. They welcome and connect callers, make introductions, moderate your live Q&A and seamlessly manage call operations with your event team behind the scenes on a separate communications line.
  • Rehearsals and Briefings: Your operator and event manager conduct rehearsals and pre-event speaker briefings to make sure there are no surprises during your investor relations call. Get audio quality checks, go over call flow and review the pronunciation of names to eliminate mistakes.
  • Host Controls: A visual audio display helps your operator or IR team prioritize callers in the Q&A queue so everyone gets a chance to ask questions (and so you can avoid disruptive callers).
  • Superior Audio Quality: Nothing’s worse than being asked to repeat yourself on an IR call, and when you’ve got hundreds of callers listening, you don’t want to fumble for solutions when connections drop. Your audio conferencing provider must be known for crystal-clear audio and reliability so you’ll be able to devote your attention to your investors, not your technology.
  • Hybrid Audio Support: Maximize attendance by choosing an audio conferencing provider with excellent hybrid audio support so you won’t have any problems connecting mobile callers and out-of-town executives.
  • Pre-Recorded Calls: By pre-recording your financial announcements, simulated live IR calls let you perfect your message and take some of the pressure off you to deliver a live event. Instead, you can stand by and wait on the Q&A portion.
  • Recording and Transcription: Make your financial announcements more accessible and extend your reach to those not in attendance with on-demand event recordings and transcription services available in multiple languages.
  • Web Streaming: Easy-to-join webcasts make your events even more engaging, interactive and impactful.

Remember, it’s not just what you say on IR calls but also how you present your message.

Explore PGi’s investor relations call solutions today for experienced event management, white glove service and customized experiences that let you minimize risks and focus on perfecting your message.