By Satya Kalyan Yerramsetti, CEO, Telebu Communications
Even though we live in the Snapchat video calling era, a recent survey concluded that 65% of all enterprise-level calls remain audio-only conference calls, with less than 35% being classified as web or video conferences.
It’s a surprising statistic to digest, as anyone would assume video calling is a more practical way of talking to colleagues. However, this is far from the case. Audio continues to dominate the conferencing space, and there are more than a few reasons for this dependence on audio-only conference calling. Apart from apps that offer dial-out conference calling and instant conferencing, user-friendly features that are available on most solutions today, allow hosts to do more with audio conferences than simply connect with colleagues for daily briefs.
On that note, here’s how the organizations of today use audio conferences -
1) Teleseminars - Sometimes, a business that has operations across locations may need to communicate with the headquarters for updates, training material, news, and changes to product/offerings, or compliance requirements.
Many online learning platforms use audio conferences on mute mode (where all participants are muted except the host) to conduct live teleseminars with a group of students or tutors and collect instant feedback. Usually, such solutions allow participants to press a key to either record feedback or be allowed to speak.
2) Political Campaigning - As the election draws closer, every political party is out and about on the campaign trail. And, with the ever-increasing pool of tech-savvy voters, many political parties have begun to use mediums like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp to arrange rallies and talk about electoral promises. The use of audio conference apps to organise rallies, talk to prospective voters, and conduct live surveys with people in every region has also increased.
Recently, Solapur BJP President and MLA Shri Sachin Kalyanshetti deployed a conference call app called grptalk to conduct a "support the BJP bike rally" in Solapur, Maharashtra. Mr Sachin was able to connect with 3200+ BJP party members and volunteers on a single call.
3) Last Minute Meetings - Traditionally, a conference call has been one of the furthest things from a last minute meeting. The phrase itself has tended to define a pre-planned exercise, where every call participant will receive an email invite with the bridge number and their unique PIN. However, with the advent of smarter solutions, which allow hosts to initiate a conference call on-demand, conference calls are being increasingly used to have last minute meetings, where the host can “dial-out” to all the participants, as opposed to waiting for them to call the bridge number and enter their PIN.
4) Evangelism - While organizations may have found more uses for audio conferencing than sales and operations, there is a new type of organization that has been steadily using conference calling to reach their followers. Many religious leaders and organizations today use audio conferences to deliver sermons, host sharing sessions and talk to followers about God, and godliness, etc. There have been many instances of such calls being recorded and being played over loudspeakers to conduct virtual townhall dialogue between religious groups and their leaders.
5) Live Surveys - Many times, a business decision needs to be vetted and approved at all hierarchy levels in an organization before it is implemented. In such cases, waiting on decision-makers to weigh in on that new CRM you’re signing up for, or expanding the office size, can be quite tiring. With audio conferencing, decisions like the one mentioned above don’t need to be delayed. All you have to do is host a conference call with all the decision makers and allow the participants to record their feedback instantly, saving time and work hours. Many organizations use conference call apps to conduct customer and employee surveys and improve their key products/offerings.
With more and more conference calling apps offering centralised and accessible ways of recording and monitoring calls, there are many uses of conference calls that remain undiscovered.