A conference call is a call that takes place between two or more callers over separate phone lines or an Internet connection. A conference bridge is the software that makes these multiple connections possible.
A conference bridge consists of:
a phone number (or DID) to call in for the conference (this can be a local or a toll-free number)
a pin number for the attendees
a pin for the administrator
With a conference bridge the administrator can do one of two things:
Conduct a conference call anytime using the conference bridge phone number. All he/she has to do is give the phone number and pin to anyone who will be in attendance.
Schedule a conference call using the conference bridge software typically accessible via a Web based control panel. The administrator simply logs in and inputs the names/email addresses of the attendees and the system will automatically email the attendees the conference bridge phone number and pin as well as the date/time of the conference call. The system will also remind the attendees of the upcoming conference call at set intervals.
There are typically a number of features that are included with a conference bridge including:
A permanent DID or phone number that can be used at any time for adhoc conference calls.
A pin number to allow access to the conference bridge.(A pin number is assigned to the administrator of the conference bridge and for those attending the conference bridge.)
The ability to schedule conference bridge meetings anytime via a Web based interface. Attendents are emailed a number of days or hours before the conference call reminding them of the number to call and the pin number to use.
The attendees are prompted to give their name so that the other attendees know who has joined the conference bridge and who has left the conference bridge (this can typically be turned on or off by the conference bridge administrator)
The number of attendents in a conference bridge can be limited by the VoIP PBX provider or it can be set to unlimited. Check with your provider for information on this.
A conference bridge makes conference calls easier and more systematic and ultimately more professional for the business owner. Each attendee must have a pin number to attend the conference. The system will prompt the caller for their name and announce it to the other attendees when they join as well as when they hang up.
What do you need for a conference bridge?
A high speed interenet connection.
A VoIP hosted PBX system
A conference bridge feature setup on your phone system (ask your provider to set this up for you if it is not already setup).
A great sounding VoIP phone to use in your conference room. Here is an example of a powerful conference room phone: Polycom Soundstation IP 6000. (not required)
Each attendee needs a phone that they can dial in on (does not have to be a VoIP phone).
A conference bridge can be a very useful phone system feature for any size business. They are not only professional sounding but can be very versitile.