A conference bridge is a telecommunications tool that enables multiple parties at different locations to speak together as if they were in the same meeting. The conference bridge is basically a computer that is connected to several telephone lines or to the Internet and it allows several conferences to take place electronically at the same time or over time. It can be a great money saver when you consider the cost savings of parties not having to travel to attend remote meetings. Conference services can be used, but they can become costly with heavy usage. Therefore, the ultimate solution to the corporation or non-profit organization is to purchase or lease your own conference bridge and hold as many meetings as you want.
A conferencing system has many features that are beneficial to the users. First of all, it has a recording and playback feature. This allows you to record any or all of your conference calls and place them on the bridge, allowing late parties to listen to the calls at a later date. The conferee simply calls the normal dial in number and enters a special code that routes him to the specific recording. If the moderator records his conference calls, he will always have a record of the content of his calls. These recordings can also be transcribed to where he also has a hard copy of his calls.
Conference bridges also have special features for the moderator to control his meetings. One of these features is the muting function. The moderator can mute the conferees when he wants to lecture or be the only party talking. The other parties are then placed in mute where their microphones do not work. When the leader wants to make the meeting interactive again, he can unmute the call and everyone will be able to talk on the call.
Another feature that can be activated is the operator call function. If the moderator needs the assistance of an operator to help him with any problems, he can simply dial a short code and the operator of the conference bridge will come into the call and assist with the problem.
When considering whether to buy or lease a conference bridge, your budget should be evaluated. Do you have some excess funds that you can tap for a one time purchase of do you need to spread your payments out over time to fit into your current cash flow? Another question would be do you want to buy or lease a new or used conference bridge? A used or refurbished conference bridge can provide the same funtionality but cost you much less that a new one.
In summary, if you are spending over $2500. per month in conferencing services, then you are a candidate for acquiring your own conference bridge. Check out the alternatives and then make your best decision. In the long run, you will be saving your organization lots of money and be in control of all of your meetings and conferences.