Today, I see a new idea about Conference Call – the Reservationlesss Conference Call from MCI. Counting the four years at work, I may have attended 100 conference calls. All of them are in either of the two routines:
1. Use the Conference Function of the PBX in the company.
The Meridian system from Nortel seems good enough for me. The conference call function on the phone set is handy.
- Just call party 1
- Press Conference botton on the phone set
- Call party 2.
- When connected, press Conference key again to put Party 2 into the conference.
Easy? However, most new comers to the company don’t know how to conference. Seems the function needs to be simplified. (I am using Meridian 2616)
Image courtesy: Nortel
I see a lot of large companies are using Nortel’s PBX system, like Microsoft (China), Dell (China) and 114 (Yellow Page service) in Shanghai. I am very interested in the expensive big boxes in the data center.
2. Using Meeting Place.
I also used meeting place.
- I was given a U.S. meeting place telephone number.
- Then enter the meeting ID.
- At last, speak my name and get enrolled in the conference.
The problem is, I have set up the reservation and send out the invitation before the conference call. I attend many such conference, but never hosted one.
Reservationless Conference Call
The idea behind the reservationless conference call is simple – they give the subscriber a participation ID and a passcode, something like username and password.
Whenever, yes, at any time, a conference call is needed, the lead of the conference call just call their toll free number and enter the username and password, or in their terms, participation ID and passcode, then the conference call is setup.
The other participatants just need to call the same number and enter the participation ID. They are enrolled into the conference.
The benefit is obvious:
- I can arrange last minute conference call – just send out the participation ID and the phone number to my friends via MSN Messenger, Email or just phone call.
- There is no time limit – I don’t have to worry about the 1 hour or 2 hour prefined time block.
- The ID is simple. The participation ID don’t change once I get it. Others can remember my participation ID just like remembering my extension. Then they can call me. The meeting place meeting ID always changes.
Read more about Reservationless Conference Call from MCI (or as they would call it: Instant Meeting) at their website.
BTW, they even have a web based tool to control the participants. I didn’t try it yet, but I will find some time to give it a try and share my real experience.
Shanghai is still hot
Shanghai is still hot. I attempted to go to the near by Xujiahui Park after work but it was too hot outside even around 8:00 PM. So I returned to the Metro Tower to find some film. To my surprise, there is only one film in all the four world class theater – Matrix Reloaded. The price for a ticket is 60 RMB (about 7USD). Still expensive for me and for most of people in Shanghai.
In good theaters like the Kodak Theater in Metro Tower, the original film in English (with Chinese subtitle) has more audience than the interrupted one. People in Shanghai has got used to the English film. I believe, most of them, including me, still have problem to understand the English without the help of the Chinese subtitle, but the sound effects of the original film is still attractive.
What an interesting subject you decided to write about. I happen to work in the IP-telephony space, so it’s refreshing to see the perspective on this subject from the user’s standpoint.
We do alot of voice conferencing at work for our meetings, so I have experience with the different areas you described. Using the conference button on the phone is definitely the most convenient when you just want to bring in another party into your conversation, but it’s not as convenient when you want to setup a meeting for numerous parties. First you have to get all their phone numbers, and then you have to call them when they are available. Like you said, most PBX’s support transfer and conference on their phones. The different companies and PBX’s you mentioned, are any of them IP based? I’m curious to hear what PBX’s are used by large companies in China.
Which brings us to meeting place. Meeting place uses the paradigm of real meetings, which is participants can join whenever they feel like it. So you publish the meeting ID, much like you tell everybody the meeting room, and then people can join at their own leisure. You mentioned that there is a set time and duration. Similar to conference rooms, there is a limit of the resources on the system. Without reserving a set time and duration, it would be impossible for the system to know if it has enough resources to handle all the participants. Another thing to mention, is that many systems charge corporations by the time they spend. So companies really just pay for whatever time they use on the system.
And logically this leads to the reservationless conferences. This is analogous to having your own private chat room, where people can just join whenever they want, always going to the same location. The only limitation of this is the server has less control over resource usage. So it might be possible that when the server’s limit is reached, additional participants cannot join. This might not be a problem for regular chat rooms, but for important meetings, this can be a huge problem. So to avoid this, you would need additional resources on the server side to handle extra load.
I feel fortunate that I choosed this subject to talk about yesterday so I get your valuable input. I am very interested in the topics related to telecom and IP…. Your explaination is concise, to-the-point and easy to understand. :-)
In China, the largest PBX player in the market is not Nortel, CISCO, it is Huawei, the China based telecom equipment provider. I never used their system yet.
Jian Shuo Wang
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please mister, can u help me ?
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best regards from adriana
hey got on this page by accident- well I googled “it got cold”- and this site came up….
it is good to get out of my little “microcosm” via reading or seeing that there are other ppl around this world who willingly and open share ‘their world’ with others…
just wanted to say thx