A successful teleconference relies on exceptional audio quality, and knowing what kind of audio you are getting should be a key part of your research when considering a conference provider.
There are two main types of teleconferencing platforms:
1. General Purpose Media Server
Service providers load a teleconferencing software program onto a standard media server. It is a cheap and quick setup for the provider so they often offer their services cheaply or for free. There are many problems with this kind of server, such as:
- Unreliability – these free services use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to deliver their service, and their network routers handle traffic on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that communication over IP networks is significantly less reliable than on a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the sound quality of these calls is often substandard.
- Inability to handle large traffic - if network routers are experiencing high volumes of traffic, you may experience 'call drop-outs' while conferencing.
- Trust Issues - the lack of security could leave your meeting vulnerable to hackers, resulting in your sensitive information being heard by other people.
- No support - Few free teleconferencing providers offer a support line available to address your needs, leaving you stuck if something goes wrong.
- No recordings - most free teleconferencing services will not offer the same features as paid providers, such as the ability to record calls.
- Hidden fees and charges - there's really no such thing as a free teleconference. Most “free” teleconferencing services incur hidden expenses that you may not have considered, such as the cost of dialling in long distance numbers.
2. Dedicated Purpose-Built Conferencing Platform
Ozlink's purpose-built platform ensures calls are routed via a digital telephone system, not the internet, so the output of the audio quality is high.
We only uses a purpose-built conferencing platform and PTSN lines, ensuring that your meetings are conducted with high quality sound and with minimal chance of anybody dropping out of the conference.
Ozlink is able to control the amount of people conferencing by owning our own conferencing bridge (the technology that link telephone lines). This ensures that our bridge is not overloaded, so that there are no drop-outs or bad lines. Our technology can accommodate hundreds of individual participants.
We provide the option of securely locking your conference, so you can have peace of mind when conferencing. When guests enter the conference, their name is announced. Once everyone is in the meeting, the conference is locked so nobody else can enter.
Ozlink support staff are available at firstname.lastname@example.org between 9am and 5pm on Monday to Friday. You will always be answered by one of our Australia-based support staff.
We are able to record your conference, which you can then download from our website for minute-taking or for future reference. You can read about all our features on our website.
The table below demonstrates the difference in audio quality you can expect from Ozlink’s Purpose-Built Teleconferencing Platform (Contex Summit) and an inferior General Purpose Media Server.
Quality of Speech Score = effort required ‘to understand’ the meaning of sentences:
5: Excellent - Complete relaxation possible; no effort required
4: Good - Attention necessary; no appreciable effort required
3: Fair - Moderate effort required
2: Poor - Considerable efforts required
1: Bad - No meaning understood with any feasible effort