This User’s Guide will introduce you to the system and help you get started:
- Participating in conferences to which you are invited
- Setting up conference calls as a Meeting Organizer
- Using the Dashboard
- Accessing Internationally (and Other Frequently Asked Questions)
How It Works
Our conferencing system allows a group of colleagues to meet via the telephone (audio-conferencing). With most audio conferencing systems, you dial a phone number at the appointed time, enter a code that you’ve been given, and all of the participants are “bridged” in a virtual meeting room.
Our system can work that way, too, but it has unique “identity-based conferencing” features that will make your meetings more convenient and more secure. With these special features, we’ve virtually eliminated the series of cumbersome codes associated with other conferencing services. Welcome to “No-Codes Conferencing.”
- Our system works with electronic calendaring programs (like Outlook, Lotus Notes, Google Calendar, Zimbra) and knows who is supposed to be in what meeting when.
- Each individual involved in a conference can have a user profile keyed off an e-mail address. The system can learn your phone numbers, remember your spoken name, and record various other preferences. Each person also has a unique, confidential PIN (Personal Identification Number).
- At meeting time, we can call you and put you right into the proper conference. Or, you can dial in, and we will recognize you by your phone number. If we can’t figure out who you are, you can enter your PIN.
- When meetings are set up with the calendar interface and each participant is listed, the meeting is secure; only those that are invited will have access to it.
Setting up a user profile is optional for participants but highly recommended. It only takes about two minutes. After that, you’ll enjoy these benefits whenever your meetings are set up using identity-based conferencing.
TIP: When visiting the portal web site, you’ll see “(Explain)” links on some of the pages. Just move your mouse over these links to get additional help.
Participating In A Meeting
When you are first invited to a meeting, you’ll get a “Welcome” E-mail from us (it will look like it comes from the Organizer of the meeting) with instructions on how to join:
Just note this information for now. At meeting time, dial the listed number and enter your PIN. We will send you a reminder E-mail a few hours before the meeting unless you complete registration.
The first time you dial in for a meeting, after you enter your PIN, the system will ask you to record your name. Usually it will also give you the option of storing your phone number so you can be automatically recognized the next time you call in. And if you wish, you can have the system call you at that number for subsequent meetings. When you’re invited to another meeting, all this information will have been saved, and even your PIN will stay the same unless you choose to change it.
To take advantage of additional features, you should ACCESS YOUR PROFILE. Click on the link inside the E-mail to go to your profile page at the portal web site.
If you use MORE THAN ONE E-MAIL ADDRESS, you can link them all under a single user profile. This is important because otherwise the system will think that “email@example.com”, “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com” are three different people.
Remember we use your personal information ONLY to facilitate conferences. We keep the addresses and phone numbers you give us confidential. We do not sell information or accept advertising.
Organizing A Meeting
Organizing a meeting is a snap once you’ve dealt with a few prerequisites:
- You must be listed as an “Organizer” (or “Administrator”) on an account. When your meeting ends, the charges will be posted against that account. (Contact your Account Administrator – probably your IT department – for help getting authorized.)
- You must have completed your registration, so that the system can validate your E-mail address and knows your name and timezone.
The easiest way to set up your meeting is to use your Electronic Calendar. Typically, you would send out a meeting notice to all of your participants to reserve the date and time for your meeting. Just add the system as a “participant” so it can learn about your meeting plans.
Use this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
When we get your meeting notice, all the pertinent information will be stored in our database. An E-mail will be sent to your participants with instructions for accessing the meeting. See the example text above that you can include in your notice. You will also immediately get a “confirmation E-mail” back from the system.
If you make a change to the meeting using your calendaring program, make sure to choose the “Send to ALL Participants” option so that we will learn about your changes. Also note that we can schedule recurring meetings using the options that are available in most E-calendaring systems.
You can also schedule meetings at the portal web site:
Just log in and use the “Create a Conference” link.
The system allows you to customize the features that will be active in any given meeting, such as the playing of chimes and name announcements as people come and go, or whether the meeting is automatically recorded. You can do this when you create a meeting at the web site, or you can create conference TEMPLATES for subsequent access.
For example, you can create a template called “Staff Meeting” that has a specific group of feature settings. When you want to invoke those settings using your E-calendaring program, instead of including email@example.com use firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that the portal web site will always let you review your “Pending Meetings” and show you your conference history.
When you invite participants to their FIRST meeting, they may be a little perplexed, because our system works differently from systems they’ve used previously. You can help them by storing profile information in the database on their behalf, BEFORE you issue your meeting invitation. This will allow them to be called at meeting time – a huge convenience!
After logging in, look for the “Pre-register a Participant” link in the upper right of your HOME page. After entering your participant’s email address (twice), you’ll see the form shown below. Fill in the requested information and click SUBMIT. You’ll then have the opportunity to enter an additional number for that user, or to pre-register somebody else.
Now, when you issue your meeting invitation (either from your electronic calendar, or from the portal website), the “welcome” email sent to participants will include confirmation of the phone number(s) you’ve entered on their behalf.
If you want, instead of listing all your participants’ E-mail addresses, you can set your meeting up using a “Conference Code”. In this case, you assign a 6-digit code to your meeting and communicate that to your participants. At meeting time:
The ORGANIZER dials in and is recognized automatically or enters their PIN (or, the system can call the organizer if enabled in their profile). The PARTICIPANTS dial in and enter the Conference Code.
This isn’t as convenient or as secure as Identity-Based Conferencing using E-mail addresses, but may be appropriate for certain circumstances. We don’t recommend inviting via E-mail address AND offering a conference code, as all those options tend to confuse participants. Choose one or the other.
Once the meeting is underway, you can use the Dashboard to monitor your meeting. As the Organizer, the dashboard gives you the ability to add and remove people from the conference, to mute all or some participants, and to control various conference settings.
The Dashboard shows all conference participants. For active participants, it displays their mute status, if their hand is raised, if they’ve cast a vote, and if they are in a private sub-conference room. At the very top, drop-down menus give the Organizer and other Hosts access to conference-wide features such as “lecture modes” (to automatically mute most participants), to lock the meeting, turn chimes and announcements on/off, control the sub-conference rooms, turn recording and transcription on/off, dial out to others, and more.
The Activity box indicates which participants are currently talking (or making noise), exiting, or joining. If you hear background noise or echoes, use the mute controls to block audio from the offender(s).
The Chat box provides a quick and easy way for Participants and Hosts to communicate without interrupting the Audio portion of the Conference. Of course, only those using the Dashboard will see those messages.
TIP: After launching the Dashboard, click on the ‘help’ link for more details. Also, mouse over the various menus and icons for inline descriptions. If you are a Participant rather than an Organizer, you’ll have a more limited Dashboard view.
Attendees can dial in using local numbers in cities around the world. The list is updated frequently and can always be viewed at: Dial-in Numbers
The system can also dial OUT to any number in the world using the Call-Me feature. Most destinations don’t carry an extra charge; mobile numbers in some countries have a modest per-minute fee. Using the Call-Me feature is usually the most economical way to connect international attendees.
Each attendee customizes their profile so their Call-Me configuration suits their preferences. Once it’s set up, you can usually leave it alone. Click on the User Profile tab to review and change your settings.
- You can save up to ten phone numbers, from plain old telephone numbers to SIP registrations
- By default, we will call all your numbers at once, and wait for you to answer one of them and “acknowledge” the call (by pressing “1”). Then the other calls will stop ringing, and you’ll be sent into your conference.
- You can set a delay under the “advanced preferences” in the Call-Me settings for any individual number. This way, you can have us call your office phone first, for example, and then call your mobile phone if you haven’t answered. (Edit Phone Page)
- If your company has an “automated attendant” you can program ZipDX to dial “extension digits” after connecting to the main number. (Edit Phone Page)
- You can set a time window during which Call-Me is enabled; you will not be called outside this window. Use this to avoid conference calls that your international colleagues schedule in the middle of your night. (Edit Profile, advanced preferences section)
- The system will typically call you about 2 minutes before the conference start time. If you don’t answer and acknowledge the call, it will call again in 3 minutes. Then it will give up. You can always dial back into the call later.
- If you don’t want to be called for a conference to which you’ve been invited, you can opt out. Look for this feature on the HOME tab.
When you are on a call, you can use your telephone keypad to access various controls. To see a detailed list of all keypad controls, check out our dedicated keypad reference page.
Most useful: *6 to mute and un-mute yourself. A host can use *961 to mute everybody (if the conference gets too noisy); then individuals can un-mute using *6 when they want to talk. Most of these commands play voice prompts to help you navigate the options.
If you are a Host of a conference and need to add somebody to the call, just dial *98 followed by their phone number and then “#” and they’ll be brought right into the meeting. If you need to hang up on them (because you get voice-mail, for example) dial *991.
VoIP & Soft-Phones
The system can work with VoIP phones, including a Soft Phone that you install on your PC. If you are listed as an Organizer on an account, you can download a Soft Phone from the Profile View tab; look for the “SoftPhone Client” link and follow instructions.
If you want to connect using your own VoIP phone, you can dial this SIP URI: sip:email@example.com, where you replace 1234567 with your UNIQUE PIN.
For more details on advanced configuration of VoIP phones, just E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s possible to use the Call-Me feature with VoIP, and other advanced features are also available. Plus it’s cheaper!
Phone System Integration: We can work in conjunction with IP-PBX’s, and conference calls can be conducted in wideband (for better audio fidelity).
Experiment! Have a short call with a colleague and explore all the various features.