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As a knowledge worker, you are likely to at least participate in conference calls, if not hosting them yourself. I have been doing audio conference calls in business for more that 15 years, watching the technology change and morph from scheduling calls with operators into its current form used today, which is primarily reservationless conferencing, that is, using unique combinations of toll-free numbers and pass codes and/or PINs to get into a particular call instead of using an operator. Heck, these calls have even become free to organize and use. Simple right? Well, the mad growth in the business use of the mobile smartphone, and the giant wave of remote work and road work being done, has created a whole new dimension to this newer method of conferencing. Mobile devices now account for over 25% of all the people dialing into conference calls each day and that number is increasing. As we transition to joining calls from our cool new mobile device, there are new nuances that make things more challenging. Multitasking, network quality, battery life, pass codes and PINs, an app for this and app for that… it can be a challenge just to join a call.
Since going mobile, I have had my fair share of times where the call was a bust. I was working from home and discovered that my dog left the screen door open while I was on a conference call. (Yes, my dog can open doors, but cannot close them.) A squirrel had entered the house while I was in my home office and proceeded to tear about trying to find solace from my dog, the nice canine gentlemen that let him into this fine establishment (aka my living room). Dog chases squirrel, things get loud, I start to yell (profane) all while my mobile phone remained un-muted. The kicker was that this call was with my whole staff. I sounded (and acted) like a lunatic until it discovered the open screen and returned to the yard. Needless to say, they will never forget.
What is your worst mobile conference call story? Please comment below.
by Brad Dupee
You can’t wait for a train, watch a major sporting event, or attend your child’s recital without seeing the image so common to us now: the soft glow of a mobile phone’s screen. The ubiquitous smartphone has made us go nuts for mobile apps. And, with over 900,000 apps in the Apple store and the list always growing, there are many cool ones to explore. But for the business professional, it’s about mobility, not mobile apps. We’re not in our living room playing games or “pinning” our favorite items. We’re running for a plane in Denver, trying to find a conference center in Chicago, or driving the infinite abyss of I-95 on the east coast during our business travel. So for us, it’s about movement – what are the apps that will allow me to hit the road, and meet face to face with key contacts, without losing the ability to be as productive, if not more, as if I were in my office.
Seventy-five percent of the workforce is now mobile. And as an executive of a mobile app venture start-up, I am my target audience, and I’ve created my own list of essential road warrior apps that keep me moving, while enhancing my productivity.
- TurboScan – I don’t know about you, but the paperless office never really happened in my line of work. This app turns my phone into a multipage scanner for documents, receipts, notes, whiteboards, and other text, to help me manage all that paper. (iPhone only; $1.99)
- WiFi Finder – You may not need it in New York City, but drive an hour along the Hudson, and this app will be your best friend. It searches and scans for free WiFi hotspots, so you don’t get stuck in the proverbial boonies. (Android and iPhone; free)
- FlightTrack – Flight details, delays, gate information, baggage claim, if only the signs at airports were this helpful. (Android and iPhone; free)
- TripIt – This one’s a beauty. It takes all the email confirmations for hotels, flights, and rental car information, and spits out a personal itinerary. (Android and iPhone; free)
- MobileDay – Yes, I work for the company, but conference calls suck, and this fixes that. If you are in subscriber PIN hell, burning in the flames of access codes, this is the way out. MobileDay provides one-touch access to any voice conference call in the country. (Android and iPhone; free)
What are the apps that keep you moving? I’d love to hear.
Company: Internet/mobile startup
Testimonial: “You are my favorite app on my iPhone. Every time I use it I marvel at the magic. Seriously, this is so beautifully executed. I recommend MobileDay to everyone.”
Company Type: Telecommunications
Testimonial: “I give MobileDay the biggest thumbs up yet! I can now throw away the Post-it notes that have the conference dial-in numbers scratched on them. MobileDay reminds me of the conference call time and date plus dials the bridge with PIN number and all. Easy. Everyone that makes conference calls during their mobile day should use this app.”
Title: Product Management Director
Company Type: Security Software
Testimonial: “It seems there is ALWAYS a problem getting everyone on a conference call. I’ve always said that when someone figures out how to get people on a conference call with one click, the problems will go away. MobileDay has done it! I tell all my coworkers who are ‘on the go’ about it. Now we can all get the first 10 minutes of our meetings back.”
Title: Regional Sales Manager
Company Type: Security Software
Testimonial: “This App is awesome! It has worked flawlessly since the first time that I used it. Reliability aside, just the simplicity of not having to worry about punching in all the conference numbers is great, especially when I am traveling. You make it easy. Thanks MobileDay!”
Title: Social Media Consultant
Company Type: Marketing Consultancy
Testimonial: “I am on conference calls constantly (isn’t every entrepreneur these days!) I tend to find myself fumbling through calendars to find the call in numbers, access codes and pin numbers, then writing them down on any scrap of paper I can find – sometimes while in my car – so that I can call in. I’ve been using MobileDay for a couple of weeks now and it’s so easy! As a business owner, every minute counts, so I’m always looking for time-saving apps, tools, and techniques! MobileDay helps me save time and makes it easy for me to create my own conference calls, as well as join others. The numbers I’ve entered work with their system so that when I need to, the app dials the numbers correctly (at this point 100% of the time!) Excited to continue using MobileDay and see just how much time and headache it can save me!”
Title: Operations Manager
Company Type: E-learning
Testimonial: “I am a remote employee and spend thousands of minutes a week on conference calls. Each and every call requires the unmanageable string of numbers & symbols that are impossible to memorize – and you can only waste so much time trying to program these into your smartphone. MobileDay makes these calls effortless – I can join quickly with a single touch!”
Company Type: Construction
Testimonial: “I’m typically on the road about half the workweek and I have several weekly audio conference calls with clients that can’t be missed. In the past, I had to either pull over to tap into those conference calls (wasting precious travel time) or attempt to dial in while driving (making me the scourge of other drivers). Not to mention that highway driving lulls me into a daze that makes it difficult to remember to call in at the right time. MobileDay installed in seconds, is extremely easy to use, allows me to dial in without taking my mind off the road, and it even reminds me to dial in at the right time. An awesome product all around!”