2020 is likely to be known as the start of the COVID-19 era in history books. Until it ends, the coronavirus has disrupted life as nothing else has before, not even Tsunamis or earthquakes. The world cannot just sit twiddling its thumbs while the virus keeps everything under lockdown conditions. People must talk to get things done, especially in business, financial services, education, and governance.
Knowledge and Information
These are anxious times. People are on tenterhooks, wanting to know all that is going on. Those in the government must be particularly alert to coordinate activities, find out the latest developments and initiate action through orders to appropriate officials. Phone lines are simply not up to the task, especially when it is imperative to collaborate and communicate with many people simultaneously. Take, for example, an official in one city who must share one piece of information with his superiors and with everyone else concerned. It becomes a chore to phone each and every one. The best way is for the official to initiate a conference using conferencing software. It is the same for business employees who must collaborate. The many features of conferencing make it ideal in various use case scenarios.
Admittedly video conferencing is so much better. Participants can see each other and share videos within videos or make presentations and exchange documents. However, the video does consume bandwidth and if one must stay in touch throughout the day the costs can be quite high. Audio conferencing is relatively “light” in that it consumes less bandwidth. The best audio conferencing solution tweaks and compresses audio for crystal clear clarity and no delays in transmission or breaks as would happen with video conferencing when the internet speed is slow. This is one feature. There are others that make it the ideal collaboration tool during this COVID-19 outbreak where lockdown and social distancing are the norms.
Even those using 2G/3G feature phones in remote areas can join audio conferences with ease
One to one chat, one to many and many to many discussions possible during the conference-leading to faster decision making
Raise hands, mute, unmute, engage in a private chat during an ongoing conference
Invite anyone to participate with no need for the participant to install software
Record the entire proceedings for later review
High levels of encryption and security as well as authentication for users
Schedule a conference and invite people from a list culled from the CRM
Conduct multiple conferences and handle over 1000 concurrent calls
All these features make the audio conferencing software the perfect tool to maintain continuity of work in various segments.
There are essential industries such as pharma and food that must keep operating while non-essential segments like automotive or machinery cannot operate in a full-fledged manner. Still, it is essential to keep things running even as employees work from home under lockdown conditions. Audio conferencing proves vital in getting work done in both industry segments. Industries do not operate in isolation. They must keep in touch with authorities, transporters, and distributors too for which conferencing becomes indispensable to know the current position and take decisions.
Even if the lockdown is lifted parents will not send children to schools and school authorities will not take the risk of opening schools. Education need not come to a standstill. Audio conferencing makes it possible for education to continue. Teachers can schedule a class, notify students, mark attendance with the roll call feature and conduct the classroom. Students can “raise hands” to ask questions and studies continue.
There is immense pressure on the administration to manage the pandemic and to continue with routine work even as they must keep tabs on what is going on in various departments and in regions. The audio conferencing software proves invaluable, enabling a hundred or more officials to stay in touch using desktop computers, laptops or smartphones to monitor and report on happenings in remotest areas. Governments and courts must keep working and for them, the ideal solution is a multi-tenant audio conferencing solution.
There Can Be Glitches
Work from home is the new norm in these COVID hit times. What this means is that there is a higher load on the internet and you can expect connections to be slow. That makes audio-conferencing ideal but you must choose the right solution because there can be glitches.
The audio conferencing software may not include compatibility with most of the audio codecs in use. This means some people may not be able to participate.
Compression and packet management is necessary to ensure that there are no dropped packets and that packets of reduced size travel fast even on slow internet connections. Some developers offer fine-tuned conferencing software that assures flawless transmission and calls quality.
VoIP can suffer from issues such as echoes and delays that affect the clarity of audio. The finest solutions do not exhibit any such issues.
Conferencing solutions must offer more by way of recording and analytics besides being easy to use even by a first time user as is the case in these corona hit times.
Some software solutions require that participants at both ends must install the software to be able to make use of the conferencing facility. Look for software that does not have this bottleneck and allows anyone to join through a simple authentication feature.
Security is vital. If the software does not offer encryption simply ignore it.
Why Multi-Tenant Audio-Conferencing?
You may wish to segregate phone records and operations of each department within the organization. The multi-tenant feature kicks in here and allows centralized operations while maintaining compartments. Each compartment can have its own phone book, set of users and accounting and yet all these go into a centralized database for overall ease of management. Find the right vendor offering a multi-tenant audio-conferencing solution and stick with it.
Conferencing Post COVID-19
A look into the crystal ball indicates that conferencing could become an established part of education, governance and industry post-COVID-19. Therefore, if you are looking for an audio conferencing solution then you should not look at short term solutions but with the future in mind. Full-fledged, secure, feature-rich software is better than a half baked one that proves problematic and hinders rather than helps operations. Forget about the free to use chat and conference apps. Instead, pick the best Audio Conferencing Solution with all the bells and whistles. It will prove to be a worthwhile investment even when normalcy resumes.
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