There are many types of meetings, such as a product announcement, Webinar or “all hands” meeting, that require different settings from a typical teleconference. Sometimes, a conference host wants to publish a conference invitation to a large group or start an impromptu conference without any advance scheduling. Conference codes are a convenient way to have more flexibility. But any code must be readily changeable to maintain some semblance of security.
In addition, based on the meeting type, a host may want to change call features to accommodate different conference behavior. For example, in a small group it’s ideal to announce individual names as people join and leave the call, but in-and-out chimes might be more appropriate for a larger group. Either of those options would be too disruptive for a very large conference. The host must be able to pre-set these and other conference parameters to best suit the needs of the specific meeting.
Ideally, a conference service would combine the ability to change call settings based on the type of meeting and to have a flexible and secure code system.
ZipDX introduces the concept of “Conference Templates” to allow hosts to easily manage their disparate conferencing situations. Each host profile has a standard default template, but a host can create an unlimited number of additional templates. These are found under the Home tab after logging in to ZipDX.com. Each template specifies selections for a variety of conference parameters:
- Optional Conference Code: Participants who have not been explicitly invited by their E-mail address can access a ZipDX teleconference using a six-digit conference code. The host can choose the code for each conference template (as long as the value is not already in use by another ZipDX host). The host can change the code assigned to a template at any time. Conference Codes are less secure and less convenient for participants than invitations by E-mail address.
- Spontaneous Conferencing: Most conferences are planned in advance and scheduled on ZipDX either through an electronic calendar or directly after logging in at ZipDX.com (see section 3 ‘Integration with Online Calendaring’). But a host can start a conference spontaneously by calling in to ZipDX if you have previously enabled a template for “spontaneous conferencing”. Typically, only the host can initiate a spontaneous conference, but you can also set the template so that anybody who knows the code can start a conference.
- Participant List: A host can list one or more call participants in a Conference Template in order to insure that others have access to manage the call. For example, you can give an assistant access to the conference to help manage the session; and you can designate any participant as a “host” so they will have access to the dashboard and keypad controls. Another use for the participant list is for “scramble” calls. You can list several people in a template, and if they all have the ZipDX call-me feature enabled, they will all be called simultaneously and placed into the conference when you invoke a spontaneous conference.
- Template Name: This field identifies the template purpose (such as “Staff Meeting,” “Board Call” or “Project Review”) for your easy reference. The name shows up in various online menus and the host uses the name to select the template when scheduling a new conference. Note that when you include ZipDX on your electronic calendar invitations, you typically send the meeting notice to “firstname.lastname@example.org” to invoke your default template, named “Meeting. ” To invoke alternate templates, substitute the appropriate template name, e.g. : “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org. ” (To see any special character substitutions, view the template and scroll over the “Explain” link next to the Template Name. )
- Feature Selection: Each template contains options for:
- Name announcements and entry/exit chimes
- Conference recording
- Enabling the conference to start without the host, or to play music until the host arrives
- Length of time for the conference to continue when the host is not present or gets disconnected (applicable to spontaneous conferences)
- “Lecture mode” to mute all participants until the host unmutes them, either selectively or as a group
- Participant feature access, which restricts access to the dashboard and can disable access to the “private conference rooms” and the “roll call” feature that plays the names of other participants
- Account: To ensure all your ZipDX charges are properly and easily reconciled, you can link a template to a specific account (if you have more than one). For example, you might link the “Board Call” template to the “Investor Relations” account, while “Employee Meeting” would go with “Human Resources. “
Use this Feature
Here are examples of how to use the codes and template features once you are logged in at ZipDX.com:1Create a New Template: On the Home tab, scroll down to the Conference Templates section. Choose “Copy Template. ” Name your new template, for example “Board of Directors Call. ” Then, set the features, such as “Announce Participant Names” and “Record the Conference,” add one or more participants and set the HOST flag if desired. We recommend you leave the Conference Code blank for more security (unless it’s a spontaneous conference template) and save the template. That way, only participants explicitly invited by email address can access the call. You can go back in and change the features at any time. 2Host a Spontaneous Conference: Follow the directions above and create a new template. Then, set the features you want enabled, such as “Announce Participant Names” and “Record the Conference,” add one or more participants, set the HOST flag and assign a conference code. Under Spontaneous Conferencing, choose the option allowing the host to spontaneously start the conference and then save the template.
Encourage your invited participants to enable the call-me feature in their profiles. When you dial into ZipDX and the system identifies you, you’ll hear an announcement that “You have no scheduled conferences. ” You will be prompted to enter ‘1’ to initiate a conference and then enter the conference code you assigned to this new template. This initiates the conference, and the system will dial-out to your participants. If participants have not enabled the call-me feature, they can join the call by dialing into ZipDX. If you’ve already started the conference, it will be announced to them and they’ll be added to the call.