I’ve been finding more and more of a need for conference calls in my work and suddenly more and more conference calling solutions coming online. I also find that conference calls add something to my work that has been lacking since I’ve become so reliant on email: the warmth of human voices!
I recently reviewed Rondee, the easy-as-pie phone conferencing site, but just heard about a new conferencing site worth mentioning to expand your options for free conference calls.
Calliflower provides services to cover the entire process of conference calls – from setting them up to holding them to the followup and continued dialogue after the call is over. Calliflower is all about “building conversations” and sharing media, and they do it through a relatively clean dashboard so all of the elements of your call are on one screen.
Calliflower actually began as a FaceBook application adding free audio conferencing capabilities to people’s FaceBook accounts. As the app grew in popularity, the demand for the services apart from FaceBook became increasingly apparent to the company’s founders. They expanded their solution for not just conference calls but kept an eye toward being a solution for holding teleseminars and teleclasses as well.
To showcase their site’s capabilities, the company is offering their Calliflower Communiques, regular tele-conversations between a host (life enhancement speaker and writer Allan Hunkin) and authors and celebrities ranging from Alan Alda to William Shatner presented as teleseminars.
Here are some of the aspects of Calliflower worth noting:
1. Pin-free access to calls. After registering a call participant’s phone number becomes their personal pin. Easy to remember. Those who don’t want to register can access calls with a pin sent to them when the call is set up.
2. Controls at your fingertips. You can mute and unmute participants; acknowledge raised hands (a little hand icon that participants can use to signal they have something to say); lower hands; and other moderator functions. Everything is visible on a handy dashboard, a single Web -page view of your controls.
3. Multiple ways of accessing calls. Participants can opt to use VoiP (Truphone) or even a “call my phone” service (Sitofono) which is especially popular in Europe were mobile phone calls are free when received but incur a fee when made.
4. Enhancing call with a chat wall. You can carry out a simultaneous text chat as well as drop in links to MP3 files, flicker URLs to embed photos, share slides, and other multimedia resources to supplement the call and allow others to follow along.
5. “Seeing” the callers. You can see the names, pictures and caller status of everyone participating in the call – all on the dashboard. You can also see if their mike is open or closed or if their hand is raised.
6. Accessible call archives. You can archive the call agenda, any handouts, links and files to be accessed anytime after a call has been completed. This can also include an MP3 recording of the call.
Calliflower is looking to “reinvent business conversations” and provide new ways for people to interact within a conference call. Looks like they are on their way.