A telephone call involving more than two parties in which all the parties involved can take simultaneous part is termed as conference call. Conference calls can be arranged in such a way that the called party can participate along with other parties during the tenure of the call. Alternately, arrangements can be made to ensure that the party which has called the conference can only listen, while others participating in the call continue to converse. These conference calls are termed as ATC or Audio Tele-Conference calls.
Conference calls are sometimes designed in such a way that the calling party can call other parties and add them to a particular call. However, the participants are normally able to participate in the conference by simply dialing the telephone number that will enable them to get connected to the "conference bridge". The conference bridge is a certain kind of equipment that links various telephone connections to set up the conference.
Companies nowadays take the help of service providers who are specialized in maintaining conference bridges. These service providers generally offer phone numbers along with their respective PIN codes that participants need to dial so as to access the conference call.
Various businesses take the help of these high tech conference calls regularly to meet various business associates likes suppliers, clients, customers, and others related to the business that are located in other parts of the state, country or world. These calls help businesses maintain a better and a seamless coordination between various parameters of the businesses even they are located miles apart from each other. And today, with the introduction of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, these conference calls have become all the more easy and advanced, riding high on some state-of-the art features.
Common applications of these conference calls are meeting with clients and sales representatives, discussing about sales projections, and regular updates pertaining to the business, usual team meetings, and conduction of remote training classes and maintenance of standard communication with the employees who are situated in various locations for optimization of day do day performance. Conference calls are today considered as primary means of slashing travel and transportation costs and assisting employees to become more productive without spending much time on transit.
Various type of conference calls that are conducted nowadays include party line or group conferencing which is basically for social or entertainment purpose, flat rate conference calls, prepaid calls, free of charge conference calling, and premium conference calling.