What to Look for When Buying an Audio Conference Bridge

by : Ricardo Trinidad

An audio conference bridge can be vital to business, allowing you to connect branch offices or individuals together for conference calls or for audio presentations to be given to individuals in a different location. Of course, as with all technology there can be a significant difference in quality and features from one audio conference bridge to the next. If you are considering the purchase of an audio conference bridge to benefit your business, then the information below will not only help you to better understand the functionality and features of the equipment but will also assist you in choosing the audio conference bridge that will best suit the needs of your business and let you get the most out of your purchase.

Purpose of an Audio Conference Bridge

As the name implies, an audio conference bridge is designed to allow audio conferencing to occur among a number of individuals. The bridge itself works in a similar manner to an internet server, in that a number of different locations can all call in and connect to the bridge at the same time and have their connections managed simultaneously. The users may interact freely with each other as with a standard conference call, but there is no need for a single user to initiate the call and contact the others; they all simply connect to the central bridge and from there are able to conduct the audio conference as they would with any other such call.

Useful Features

There are a number of features which make using an audio conference bridge worthwhile in addition to the different users being able to dial in separately. Most audio conference bridges feature security codes which are required to connect to the conference, meaning that unwanted listeners arent able to simply join in the conversation without the PIN number or security code. A number of conference bridges also are equipped with scheduling software which will help to sync up the calls at the proper meeting time, and in many cases are even equipped with an autodialer so that when the time arrives for the conference the bridge itself places the calls to connect the participants in the conference call. Audio conference bridges are generally compatible with both landline public telephone systems and Voice Over IP (VOIP) internet-based telephone systems.

Choosing the Right Audio Conference Bridge for Your Business

Different businesses may have different needs in an audio conference bridge, and there is no sense in paying extra for features that your business will never use. In order to make sure that you choose the bridge that will best suit the needs of your business, take the time to evaluate how the bridge will be used and which users will most commonly be accessing it. Look at the options that you have available to you and compare them on the basis of security, the number of users that the bridge can easily support, whether it is compatible with VOIP, public telephone systems, or both, and whether it features any autodialing or scheduling functions. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each in relation to your business needs, and choose the audio conference bridge that best meets the level of use and features that your business requires. A small business that will only be coordinating a few local offices will need a significantly less sophisticated bridge than a larger business that needs to be able to accurately schedule teleconferences for offices and clients across the nation or around the world. Along these same lines, a company which only uses VOIP services in all of its branch offices wont have much use for a bridge that isnt designed to handle VOIP telephone setups, while a company which regularly conferences with both public telephone and VOIP users will need to make sure that their bridge can handle both. By basing your decision on your business needs and not simply which model has the most featuresComputer Technology Articles, you will be able to avoid overspending while still ensuring that your conferencing needs are met.