Teleconferencing (conference call) is becoming a core communication technology for everyone, from businesses to non-profit organizations to families. It has revolutionized communication in much the same way as the cellphones completely revolutionized personal communication, and for the same reason.
But free conference calls weren't always so easy.
The dumb phone
Believe it or not, phones used to be complicated.
In the olden days our ancestors didn't have smart phones, they had 1,000 different communication tools. The heart of all this was a "land line" telephone, which was a big clunky thing attached to the wall by a wire. Many people had two or three.
They thought that was "convenience."
Beside it sat an "answering machine," with a little spool of analog tape in it for the messages. In their bedroom was an alarm clock to wake them up.
If they were lucky, they had a "cordless phone," which was great until you went into the backyard, out of range. Most people owned two or three, because they were easy to lose. And if they were really lucky, they had a "mobile phone" too. It sat in their car because it needed to be plugged in, and it was too heavy to carry anywhere.
They had paper maps in their cars if they got lost and computers to check their "emails" on, Michelin Guides to look up restaurants in, and egg timers in their kitchen.
So many different gadgets!
Then one day, the smart phone came along. One little thing to slip in your pocket to wake you up in the morning, read yourself to sleep with at night, take messages, send texts, reply to emails, take novels by dictation, record demos of song ideas, and play solitaire on. You could even make a phone call with it!
All those other obsolete gizmos were packed off to special Museums of Dead Technology (landfills) with the 8 track tape decks, banana holders, cufflinks, paper address books, and other stuff that we just don't have time for.
The simplicity of the smart phone is what propelled it from novelty to necessity.
Video conference calls
Video conference calls used to be complicated too. In 1982, you had to buy a $250,000 television studio, pay $1,000 an hour to run it, and get all the participants to go and sit down in front of the cameras.
Lights! Camera! Action!
Nowadays, you can pull your cellphone out of your pocket and set up a Video Conference call in less time than it used to take to boot up your computer to send an email.
The secret ingredient that makes conference calls so easy now is that you don't need to own the software and hardware you need to make any kind of conference call. It lives in the Cloud at FreeConference.com, just waiting for you to access it. There is nothing to download, nothing to struggle with, buy, plug in, connect, wear out or call an IT person to fix.
All you need is your cellphone. Just click and call.
Although conference calls have become simple themselves, they continue to evolve as an incredibly powerful communication tool. You can set up calls between ten different people on 3 continents in moments with Call Scheduling, and coordinate the call logistics with the Moderator Controls in your online Personal Meeting Room.
All of this is free, and it is all as simple as finding a restaurant for lunch.
The other big reason conference calls have become so easy and useful now also has to do with smart phones, and that is audio quality.
Unlike Skype and VOIP computer phone calls, which are prone to creepy robotic voices and echoes, your telephone is designed to deliver a crystal clear audio signal.
So keep it simple.
Phones were made for talking, and your phone is your gateway to a whole world of teleconferencing.