Those of us who spend our days focused on dreaming up ways to help people communicate better often get caught up in the minutia of esoteric features or applications. After all, we enjoy creating unique solutions to some of the most devious and difficult problems of business-to-business communication.
However, sometimes it’s good to take a fresh look at the basic operational realities, things that impact even the simplest use cases. To that end, we’ve started to revisit some of our most basic operation guidance, starting with the process of creating a conference via our web portal.
Who Can Schedule a Conference?
To be able to schedule a conference you must be registered with a ZipDX. Your profile must be associated with a ZipDX account that has given you “Organizer” privileges.
Scheduling The Conference
In order to schedule a conference using the web portal you start by logging in using your email address and PIN or passphrase.
If you can’t remember your PIN or passphrase you can have the system send you a reminder.
In the upper right part of the page you will see an item called Create a Conference with [Choose a Template.]
Every ZipDX user has at least one basic template called simply Meeting.
Select a template from the pull-down menu. You’ll then be shown a page to enter all the conference details.
Date/Time & Duration
Set the desired Date & Time for the conference.
Note that there’s a convenient link to Set the start time to now. This makes it easy to create a call that starts immediately when you save the conference settings.
You can also set the conference Duration. This number is used to inform participants of the anticipated duration. It doesn’t actually constrain the duration of the call.
In the Settings section, enter an informative Topic for the conference.
At this point you have a viable conference, nearly ready to go. How you proceed from here depends upon your approach to conference accessibility vs security. There are three options:
- Strategy #1: Traditional Conference Codes
Strategy #1: Traditional Conference Codes
The traditional approach to conferencing typically involves participants dialing in and entering a conference code. Most people are familiar with this approach. It’s appropriate where the conference must be accessible by a large, or potentially unknown, group of participants.
For example, it’s the best way to setup a webinar when you don’t know in advance who will be participating.
Participants who dial the access line will hear the following announcement:
“Hello, this is ZipDX. We were not able to automatically recognize you. Please enter your PIN. If you do not have a PIN please enter your conference code followed by the pound key.”
Upon hearing this they need only enter the conference code, and the # key, to join the call.
In this case ZipDX doesn’t know who will be attending, so it’s up to the organizer to distribute the access number(s) and the conference code.
If this approach meets your needs, make note of the conference code and proceed to the Audio Settings.
- Strategy #2: No-Codes Identity Conferencing
Strategy #2: No-Codes Identity Conferencing
In some cases, it’s important that only those explicitly invited to the conference are allowed to connect. This is the strength of our unique Identity Conferencing scheme.
This approach requires that the conference organizer invite participants to the conference as follows:
Step #1 – Add each person to the conference
Invite each participant by entering their email address into the “Participants” box as shown below.
Participants already known to the system will be shown as: (#1) Registered, (#2) Preregistered or (#3) Incomplete.
Participants that have never used the the system will be shown as (#4) “Not Listed.”
The text entry box where you enter a participants email address will accept a list of email addresses. Simply assemble the list in your favorite text editor. Copy & paste the resulting list into the participant entry box, clicking on the + icon to add the participants to the conference.
Step #2 – Preregister any participants indicated as “Not Listed.”
The Preregister link for each participant who is “Not Listed” allows you to enter them into the system.
This involves adding their name, time zone and company name. If you know their phone number you can add it as well.
The Dialing Option determines how ZipDX will use the Phone number:
- Select “Auto-ID Only” if you expect them to dial in to ZipDX.
- Select “Auto-ID & Call-Me” if you want ZipDX to call them.
For participants outside the US & Canada you can enter just their country code and select the dialing option “Country Code.” This will help the system include guidance about the most appropriate access line in the meeting invitation message.
When new participants are preregistered and invited to a conference the system sends them an invitation email. It contains everything they need to join the conference. Most importantly it contains their PIN.
At conference time, participants who dial-in may be automatically identified if their CallerID matches a phone number in their profile. Otherwise, they are prompted to enter their PIN. Either way, they are positively identified when they connect.
Only those who were invited to the conference will be allowed to join. Further, this approach ensures that participant names are accurately shown in the Conference Dashboard and post-conference reporting.
- Strategy #3: A Hybrid Approach
Strategy #3: A Hybrid Approach
It can be useful to leverage the best of both code-based and Identity Conferencing.
Consider as an example a large public webinar. You may wish to promote the event publicly, distributing the access number and conference code far and wide to attract a large audience.
Since the conference is expected to be large and you expect to be presenting, you may seek the help of one or two associates as a team of moderators. In order to help moderate the call your assistants must be assigned to the role of Host.
This is most easily done by explicitly inviting the core team to the conference. Once in the participant list, assign their role to “Host” as shown below.
This gives them access to the Conference Dashboard for managing the conference. It also ensures that they will not be muted by lecture modes, or sent to the waiting room when connecting in advance of the call.
Further down the page, the Audio Settings determine how the system behaves once the participants are connected.
In most cases the default settings, as shown above, are adequate. There are just a few things that you should consider:
Play Entry and Exit Chimes?
If you anticipate participants coming and going you may find it preferable to turn off the entry/exit chimes to minimize interruptions.
Start with all Participants muted?
If the conference is primarily a one-way presentation (vs a discussion) you may want to start with all participants muted. Also known as Lecture Mode, this will ensure that the presenter is not interrupted during the formal presentation.
The host can use the conference dashboard to take questions from participants once the formal presentation is completed.
Host advance start
The Host advance start parameter allows anyone assigned the role of host to join the call before the schedule start time. This gives them some time to get prepared for the meeting prior to the formal start of the conference.
If you want the conference to be recorded automatically you can set this to Yes. You can also turn call recording on/off via the Conference Dashboard once the call is underway.
Click the big Blue “SAVE” button and the conference is scheduled. You see a summary page listing anyone who was explicitly invited, and whether they’ve just been sent an invitation via email.
Click on the HOME tab and you’ll find the new conference listed in your Pending Conferences.
If you need to make changes to the conference just click on the topic and you’ll be returned to the a page where you can revise the conference details.
If you have questions about any aspect of ZipDX please contact our support team at:
- Or, +1-312-348-8175,
- Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re here to help you get down to business