Connecting to Conferences & Managing Your Profile
- Q: What is the Call-Me feature and how does it work?
A: Most conference systems expect you to make the phone call to connect to the conference bridge. But sometimes you lose track of time or just forget. We can call you.
When your conference is about to start, we will call the number(s) you supply (or that have been supplied on your behalf). If there are multiple numbers in your list, they will be called simultaneously unless you explicitly specify a sequence.
When you answer, you’ll be asked to press “1” to accept the call. (Any other phones will stop ringing.) You’ll then be guided into your conference; the first time (only) you’ll be asked to record your name.
Your numbers are stored in your Profile and can be updated by you at any time.
- Q: How do I update (or add or disable) my phone numbers?
A: You can manage your Profile, including your phone numbers, on-line by logging into the web portal. Follow the link inside the email we send you, or log in at the web site using your email address and PIN. Go to the PROFILE tab to make changes to your phone numbers and call-me settings.
In your profile, you can also set a “time window” (under Edit Personal Profile “Advanced Preferences”) when Call-Me will be active. And it is possible to “opt out” of individual meetings — do this from the HOME tab, under the “Pending Conferences” heading.
- Q: What if I miss the call? Will you keep calling until I join the conference?
A: No. At most, two attempts are made. The first will occur just before the conference scheduled start time. If it doesn’t reach you on the first attempt, it will try again 3 minutes later. Then it gives up. If you answer, press “1”, then immediately hang up; you will not be called a second time.
If you are busy when the system calls, treat the Call-Me feature as a “reminder” and dial into the conference when you’re ready.
You can also use the “Call Me Now” function from the HOME page once you’ve logged in.
- Q: How do auto id numbers work? What if I call from a conference room?
A: If you call from a number in your Profile, the system will try to identify you automatically using Caller-ID. If it can’t recognize you, it will ask you to enter your PIN. You can change your PIN to something easy to remember — but hopefully something confidential. Just go to (Edit Personal Profile from the Profile tab).
- Q: Does all this only work in the United States?
A: No, it works worldwide. Our North American Toll-Free numbers (starting with 800, 888, 877, 866 or 855) can be dialed toll-free in the USA and Canada. We also have dial-in numbers in numerous countries around the world. And with the call-me feature, you can be reached anywhere.
(Certain connections cost more than others, and some Administrators may restrict participation via high-cost connections.)
- Q: How do I invite others? Can I just give them my PIN?
A: No, you shouldn’t share your PIN. It is your PERSONAL identification number, meant to identify just you.
If you want to invite somebody else to a conference, add their name to the invite list via the portal Web site (or ask the host to do so), and we will issue them their own PIN. If you DO share your PIN, others will be able to use it to join meetings to which you are invited, and you (and they) will hear a warning over the phone stating that your PIN has been compromised.
- Q: Can I have more than one E-mail address associated with my user profile?
A: Yes. Log in with your existing E-mail address and click on the PROFILE tab, then next to your E-mail address near the top, look for the link that says “add another” and follow those directions.
- Q: How do I re-record my name?
A: The first time you connect via phone, you will be asked to say your name. The recording will be stored in your profile so you don’t have to repeat it every time you connect.
If you want to re-record your name, just dial in. If you have any calls active, you’ll have to press star for other options. Otherwise, you’ll hear, “You have no scheduled conferences.” Then you will hear a list of options. The last is “Press 9 to re-record your name.”
- Q: Can I connect to conferences over the Internet?
A: Yes. You can use our Web Phone to connect to a ZipDX conference. The Web Phone requires Chrome web browser and works best when you have a headset.
- Q: When I am called, it tells me to press 1 and I do, but it doesn't hear me.
A: Sometimes a problem with a phone or a particular network prevents the system from detecting the “1” when you press it. If you can’t find any setting on your phone that might correct this, then you should dial INTO the conference instead of using the Call Me feature.
Or, you can use the Call Me Now capability from the HOME page. Click the gold Call Me Now button (which appears when you are invited to, or hosting, an upcoming meeting) and select or enter your phone number. Once you’ve answered, you can click the “Acknowledge” link in the call-me-now box, instead of pressing 1 on your phone.
- Q: I get too many emails from the system. How do I turn them off?
A: After you’ve logged in for the first time, the system will stop sending you meeting reminders (the duplicate notices that come a few hours before the meeting is scheduled to start). If you get invited to meetings via electronic calendar notices, you can turn off the additional emails that are sent in those cases from the Profile tab, Edit Personal Profile. Look under Advanced Preferences and check the box labeled Suppress additional notifications.
Scheduling A Call
- Q: Do I have to know each participant's phone number to invite them to a conference?
A: No, invitations are done with E-mail addresses.
You can leave it up to individual participants to register and provide their phone numbers; then, they can choose to dial in, or to have the system call them when the conference begins.
If you know your participants’ phone number(s), you can “pre-register” them before scheduling your call if they aren’t already in the database (on the HOME tab, look for Pre-Register a Participant).
- Q: What are my options for scheduling a conference?
A: You can schedule a conference at the portal web site. Just log in and choose “create a conference.” Set the date and time, fill in the participants’ E-mail addresses, and set the conference options to your liking.
Alternatively, use your on-line calendaring tool (such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Google Calendar, Zimbra). Invite everyone as you normally would, but include this special address as an additional participant: email@example.com. When your meeting invitation is received, the system will automatically learn the date and time of the meeting, as well as the identities of all the participants.
For those participants that are already registered with us, it will send a reminder E-mail containing their credentials; for new participants, it will issue new credentials. They’ll be able to click on a link inside the E-mail to finish the registration process.
- Q: So if somebody doesn't have an E-mail address, how do they join a conference?
A: You can still assign an “old fashioned” code to your conference if you wish. Log in at the portal web site and assign a Conference Code to your template (so the code will apply to all of your calls), or just to one specific call. You decide.
- Q: Do you handle recurring meetings (e.g., Staff Meeting every Tuesday at 9:30 AM)?
A: Yes. Set these up using your on-line calendar and include firstname.lastname@example.org as a participant.
- Q: What is a Spontaneous Conference?
A: It’s a conference that hasn’t been planned in advance for a specific time using the Calendaring or Web interfaces. Here are a couple of examples of how this can work:
Suppose you and your colleagues have just wrapped up a customer visit, and you’re all walking out to your cars. You want to post-mortem the visit, so you tell your team, “Let’s have a conference ? Call from your mobile and enter conference code 654123.”
- As the host, you dial in first. Once recognized, start a spontaneous conference by pressing 1.
- Then enter the code for a call template you set up in advance (in this example, 654123). The conference will begin immediately.
- When the others dial in, they enter 1 and then that same code to join the call.
- If they aren’t registered users, they can enter the conference code at the main prompt.
Now, here’s a more powerful example. Suppose you’ve got a crisis management team that you occasionally need to put into action when the going gets tough.
- Create a call template that includes each of the team members as a participant, and give that template a conference code, like 911911.
- Subsequently when the need arises, you just dial in, enter 1 and that crisis code, 911911, to invoke the spontaneous conference.
- If all of your team members have enabled Call Me, they’ll immediately be called (at all of their defined telephone numbers) in an attempt to get them to join the conference.
You’ll want to use this feature judiciously, but a little advance planning could be a tremendous help in such a crisis.
- Q: Do I need a conference code?
A: Your conference will be most secure if you DO NOT assign a conference code to it. Invite participants individually with their E-mail addresses; let them each use their own PINs.
If you want to do Spontaneous Conferencing, then you’ll need to assign a conference code to at least one of your Conference Templates. And if you’re planning a more general “public” conference, you can assign a Conference Code to that conference. Publish the code to your guests rather than inviting them via E-mail. In these cases, anybody that knows the code will be able to join the conference.
- Q: Can I send a meeting reminder?
A: Yes! You can send a meeting reminder email to anyone invited to a conference. In the upper right portion of your Home tab there’s a link labelled Send a participant a reminder email. Click on this, then enter the person’s email address. Finally, click on the Send Reminder button.
The system will immediately send an email reminder with connect details for their next scheduled conference.
- Q: Is the system secure?
A: Yes. With code-based systems, anybody that you invite to one conference can potentially dial into another of your conferences in the future. With our system, you invite the participants to each conference explicitly via E-mail. It’s up to you to open your conference to others via a code.
- Q: So does that mean I'm guaranteed that nobody can eavesdrop on my conference?
A: No, we won’t go that far. For example, if you invite Joe to your conference, and Joe has shared his personal credentials with Fred, Fred will be able to impersonate Joe. But you can use our tools, such as the on-line conference dashboard and the post-call E-mail summary, as well as traditional techniques like quizzing voices that you don’t recognize, to make sure your conferences are private.
- Q: Can I share my PIN with a colleague?
A: No, you shouldn’t do that, and it shouldn’t be necessary. Your PIN is a PERSONAL identification number, meant to identify just you. If you want to invite somebody else to a conference, add their name to the invite list at the portal web site (or ask the host to do so), and they will be issued their own PIN.
- Q: How do I start WebSharing?
A: NOTE: To host a websharing session you MUST be running Google’s Chrome web browser. Chrome is free and available for Windows, OSX and Linux.
When you are ready to start your meeting, first connect on the phone to your audio conference. When you, as the host, login at ZipDX.com and click on the HOME tab, you’ll see your conference listed under In-Progress Conferences and a Start WebShare link will appear. Click on that and a WebShare controller window will open in your browser.
To start the WebShare click on the blue Share Screen button in the upper left corner of the browser window. A menu will open allowing you to select exactly what you want to share. You can share your entire screen or one specific window. Select one of the items offered and click Share to actually start sharing.
Others can join at this point. Note that when your audio conference ends, your WebSharing session will automatically be ended also.
- Q: How do others join the WebShare session?
A: Participants can view the WebShare using any web browser. Invited participants should log in at ZipDX.com. Once the host has started the WebSharing session, participants will see a link under the In-Progress Conferences heading that says Join WebShare. Clicking on that will open a new window.
In the upper right corner you’ll see a button that says Fit To Width. You can click on that to toggle the image size between “Fit-To-Width”, “Fit-To-Height” and “Actual Scale” modes.
If you’ve assigned a Conference Code to your meeting, you can also direct your participants to guest.zipdx.com, where they can enter that code and their name to get access to the Join WebShare link.
- Q: Can participants share their screens
A: Yes. As the host, in the WebShare Controller window of your browser there’s a list of participants. Participants connected using Chrome are shown as able to share their screen. Those using any other browser cannot share their screen.
Click on the link by a participant to request that they share their screen. If they accept the invitation they’ll be offered a button to Share Screen. When they click on it they will be prompted to choose which window or screen they wish to share.
Later on they can visit the list of connected viewers in the WebShare window to invite another person to share, passing the role of Presenter back to the host or someone else altogether.
Only the host that originally invokes the WebShare function can end the WebShare for the call. It will automatically end when the call ends.
- Q: Can I share control of another participant's computer via WebSharing?
A: No, WebSharing via Chrome does not give you remote control of another participant’s computer. Nor can they gain remote access to your computer.
- Q: Why can't I see all of a certain program when I use WebSharing?
A: There is quirk in the combination of Windows 8.1, Microsoft Office 2013 and Chrome. When you invoke WebSharing, selecting an Office application like PowerPoint as the window you wish to share, the entire contents of the application may not appear to the viewers. The solution to this is to share the entire screen, not just the specific application.
- Q: Can I record a WebSharing session?
A: Yes! The ZipDX recording feature records the audio portion of the call as an MP3 file. The WebShare visuals are also stored. When later accessed via the web portal, invoking playback of the call recording causes the shared visuals be displayed in sequence.
Managing A Conference Call
- Q: Is there a way to control the conference from the Web?
A: Certainly. This is the function of the dashboard. The dashboard shows who is in the conference and even who’s talking! The host can see who has raised their hand, tally votes, put the conference in “lecture mode” (muting the participants), remove someone from the conference, and much more. The dashboard is accessible from the HOME tab’s “In Progress Conferences” section. Look for the “Dashboard” button.
- Q: What is an alternate host?
A: The person that organized the conference (and sent out the meeting notice) is the “host”. The Organizer can share host “privileges” (and responsibilities) with others, if desired. In the portal website, you can confer host status to each participant as you add them to your conference list. When setting up a conference in a calendar program, include “Host” in the participant’s “Display Name” (the proper name that shows up beside the email@example.com E-mail address). You can also promote/demote somebody as an alternate host via the dashboard by clicking on their name.
- Q: If I'm the organizer of the conference, can I control whether it continues once I leave?
A: You bet. For conferences that are started spontaneously, and for conferences that you specify require the host, there is a timer that will end the conference after a set amount of time. Even if you don’t want to leave your participants chatting forever, it’s a great idea to set this value to 10 minutes. That way, if you call in from a mobile phone for example, and get dropped during the conference, you can dial back in and your conference will still be going. The timer will reset, and it won’t start until you disconnect again. Another of our innovations.
- Q: Do you support side conversations between conference participants?
A: Yes! Each conference has 8 Private Meeting Rooms associated with it, numbered 1 through 8. Members of the conference can move between rooms by keying *4X, where X is the room number. “0” is the main conference, so just press *40 to return there.
- Q: What if I decide at the last minute that I need to include more people?
A: A host of a conference can dial out to anywhere in the world ? just key *98, followed by the telephone number (1 + area code + number in North America, 011 + country code + number elsewhere), and then #. The number you dial will be immediately patched into the conference, so the group will hear ringing (or busy). When the called party answers, make the proper introductions and you’re ready to continue conferencing. If you need to disconnect the call (due to no answer or voice-mail, perhaps), dial *99.
If you want to establish the call without involving the entire conference, just step into a private room (*41, for example), dial the number (*98-XXX), and once you’re ready, you can dial *941 to take both you and the new party back to the main conference.
Of course, the dial-out feature is also available (to conference hosts) via the on-line dashboard. Click on “Dialout” on the host toolbar at the top.
Most international phones don’t carry an extra charge, but it costs extra to call certain numbers in specific locations. To protect your account from unanticipated charges, you must contact us to enable extra-cost dialing.
Accounting and Administrative Questions
- Q: What is an account and do I need one?
A: An account is the mechanism that we use to authorize and charge for the service. You need an account if you want to ORGANIZE and serve as the HOST of a conference. Anybody can be a PARTICIPANT or ALTERNATE HOST. As a registered user, you can be automatically recognized when you dial in, and you can tell the system to call you when you are scheduled for a conference. Your user profile is linked to one or more accounts when the account administrator adds your E-mail address to the account’s list of authorized users.
- Q: Is this free?
A: No. Like many conferencing services, the conference organizer (or “host”) has to have an account and gets billed for the conference. Our conferencing costs less than most other paid services, yet offers much more in terms of sound quality, connectivity, features and ease-of-use. In North America, we offer a toll-free dial-in number, so participants don’t have to pay anything additional to use the system.
- Q: Can you call to overseas mobile or satellite phones, or places like Antarctica?
A: We can call anywhere in the world. However, some locations do carry an extra charge. An account administrator can prohibit calls above a certain cost from connecting to their conferences. Participants will have to connect using a lower-cost option (such as dialing the USA toll access number).
- Q: How do I include a physical conference room in my meetings?
A: A host or participant can use their own PIN to dial in from a conference room. OR, consider creating an “identity” for the conference room. Start by creating an E-mail address (MeetingRoom1@mycompany.com). Register that address with the system, and fill in the phone number of the room’s speakerphone. Then, whenever anybody schedules a meeting in that room, they can include MeetingRoom1@mycompany.com as a participant. They’ll enjoy all the system’s slick features — without needing any codes. You can even enable Call-Me capability if you like; we will call the room when the meeting is scheduled to start.
- Q: What is wideband audio?
A: Wideband refers to a digital technique for carrying a fuller, better-sounding and more complete representation of the audio signal, compared to “narrowband” which is what is used in the traditional telephone network. With wideband, it is easier to distinguish sounds, recognize speakers, and understand accents. It makes conferencing less fatiguing.
- Q: Will my whole conference sound better if just one person has a wideband phone?
A: You will get the most out of wideband technology when two or more participants in the conference have wideband-capable phones. Those connected in wideband will hear each other with high fidelity; while those connected in narrowband will suffer from the usual loss of quality associated with the traditional phone network.
Questions & Comments
- Q: My question hasn't been answered. Who can I ask?
A: Send E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Q: This system is cool, but do you want my idea on how to make it better?
A: Yes! Please fill out our feedback form.