A few days ago Melanie Turek shared a very interesting, and worth while trying out, tip over at CollaborationLoop around the subject of How to Save Thousands on Audio Conference Calling where she wrote a quick overview of a service she has been using for three years already and with some very good experiences and that could save you thousands of $$$ in audio conferencing fees. We all know that we spend a good part of our day in different conference calls having to attend different meetings or collaborating with our colleagues through some audio conferencing where we would need to dial in a number with a pin code in order to access it. Of course, for each of those calls there are some expenses involved and although I am sure that most people reading this weblog would say how much they have made out of VoIP applications like Skype, there are still plenty of knowledge workers out there who still prefer to use the regular phone in order to make those phone calls, which in a way is a very understandable thing thinking how pervasive the telephone has become over the years.
But what happens when you face yourself with a huge bill having to cover for all those different audio conference fees you have been paying for a while? I mean, I can imagine that this would become a nightmare for companies who encourage their workers to connect through those audio conferences. So what can we do then? Well, we can do what Melanie says. Try out FreeConference, a free (As in free) audio conferencing system that allows you to save a good chunk of money of expenses for all those conference calls. Here is a quick quote from Melanie’s article that describes how it works:
"The site offers free reservationless conference calls, as well as a robust service that lets you schedule and control calls from the Web (also free). It also offers low-cost 800-number conferencing, but believe me, the real deal is the free stuff. Sign up is simple, and the Web-based scheduling option is especially good."
Yes, I know, there is a catch, like in almost everything that is free: "callers usually must make a long-distance call to dial in" but like Melanie mentions with those same VoIP capabilities it would become almost free and widely available to everyone. Later on in the article she gets to describe a couple of glitches of what it takes to use FreeConference but like she describes herself they are not major showstoppers that would prevent you from making use of it, which is a good thing. It is probably not a service you would want to use to host confidential business conference calls but certainly for those "day-to-day meetings" it would be quite handy to make good use of such service.
So I think that after reading Melanie’s article I am going to give it a try and see how it works. If I get such a good experience as she is having at the moment I am surely going to start switching some of those daily audio conferences into FreeConference and I am sure that phone bill would sound a lot better … and cheaper!
Thus from here a big thanks to Melanie for sharing such a great tip and let’s see how it goes. I shall let you know what my experience would be like over the next few weeks.