Intercall Makes Unified Communications More Accessible
April 28, 2010 @ 11:11 AM | By Cambria Vaccaro

Unified Communications is the next step toward a global workplace. But what exactly is Unified Communications? And can you afford it?

Unified Communications integrates real-time communication services with non-real time communication services in one unified user interface across multiple devices and media. In other words, UC gives you the ability to operate and manage the following business processes together:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Web conferencing
  • Email
  • Instant messaging (chat)
  • Voice mail
  • SMS (Text)
  • Call center
  • VoIP
  • Network and Infrastructure

It may sound complicated, but it’s actually a process designed to simplify and integrate communications. That means faster project turn-around times, improved customer service, and more productivity across the board. Now that InterCall hosts UC solutions, UC has gotten even easier—and less expensive.

Unified Communications and InterCall Collaboration

InterCall recently partnered with CallTower to offer InterCall Hosted Unified Communications. You may have heard of Software as a Service (SaaS), where your software applications reside on the Internet, speeding up processing speed, eliminating hardware installations or upgrades, and cutting costs. Hosted UC, or UCaaS offers the same benefits, with InterCall’s renowned training and 24-hour customer support behind the service.

But InterCall’s Unified Communications and collaboration offers more than just integrated phone, text and messaging. The robust package, with custom options available, includes central hosting and management of:

  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Office Communicator
  • SharePoint
  • Active Directory
  • Cisco UC Manager (IP PBX)
  • IP phones
  • Data and telephony services

How Can Unified Communications and Collaboration Improve Productivity?

Hosted UC can make projects run more smoothly and collaborations—even across thousands of miles—go faster. For instance, InterCall Hosted Unified Communications lets you quickly escalate an IM between project team members into a full-fledged Web video conference, complete with virtual whiteboard and shared browsing capabilities.

Schedule audio, video and web meetings with a few touches using any communications device and, through InterCall’s Mobile Assistant, team members can sign on from any location in just one easy step. The Connect2Meeting function delivers automated reminders to participants e-mail inboxes through UC, which can reach them anywhere they are. Never start a meeting late again!

The Future of Business Lives on the Web

As more and more businesses rely on the Internet and smartphones for the bulk of their communications and collaboration, UCaaS hosted by InterCall makes it easy, at a price affordable to nearly any size business.

Technology blogger Charlene O’Hanlon said it best when she speculated, “The question is whether your organization is ready to embrace that level of change and attenuated innovation or sit back and watch somebody else eat your company’s lunch because they put in the time and effort to reinvent their business processes.”

It may sound harsh, but it’s true. Technology is advancing quickly, and only developers have a hint of what’s next on the horizon. By taking the next step into UCaaS, with a trusted company that will walk you through the sometimes-confusing process, you’ll be that much further ahead of the curve than your competitors, and prepared to offer the advanced levels of customer service, project management and production that today’s clients expect.

Have you thought about integrating United Communications into your business communications plan?

Read the press release »

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.


Lots of opportunities exist for small to medium size businesses to use classroom video conferencing technology to train employees, reach out to prospects, and even generate solid sales leads. But which ones to choose? Let's peek inside a virtual classroom and have a look at the different types of learning environments available.

Virtual Classroom

A virtual classroom uses video conferencing technology to place the teacher at the front of a “room,”—that is, in front of his webcam. The seminar is then transmitted to students in various locations. The students may be gathered together in another room, or may all be studying from the comfort of their homes or office desks. Alternately, the teacher may be instructing students at a near site, while other students on the far site learn simultaneously.

Web-based Video Conferencing

Typically more interactive than a virtual classroom, web-based video conferencing takes advantage of services from companies like InterCall to create easy-to-use, relatively inexpensive (compared to thousands of dollars in video conferencing hardware and software) audio and video conferences over the Internet.

Mobile-based Learning

With services from InterCall, students and trainees can take audio and video conferencing with them on the road, for the pinnacle of mobile-based learning. A web conference sent straight to a prospect's smartphone, recorded and archived to be viewed at his convenience, is a great way to reach out to potential clients.

E-Learning

E-learning could accurately be described as comprising any and all the above technology. Typically, however, it involves the distribution of course materials, including eBooks, and then focuses on education in a digital environment, through chat programs, forums, and web-based testing. E-learning can be used to market a company's products or services, or can, in fact, be sold as a service.

Whatever your virtual classroom video conferencing needs, the specialists at InterCall can set you up with the program that is right for you.

 Nichole_blog 

Nicole Scheel is the Director of Training, and the “Tips & Training Blogger”. Nicole has been in training with InterCall for eleven years and currently manages our internal and customer training departments, also known as InterCall University. Nicole has her Masters in Training & Development from Roosevelt University. When she's not training someone, you can find Nicole volunteering in her community.

Teleconferencing from Anywhere Just Got Easier
April 26, 2010 @ 12:16 PM | By Cambria Vaccaro

Blog_iphone Conference calls offer the convenience of attending meetings from anywhere—your home, your office or on the road through your cell phone. If you have a smartphone, including a Blackberry or Apple iPhone, not only can you attend conference calls, but you can enjoy full-featured teleconferencing through Mobile Assistant from InterCall.

Recently released for the iPhone and available for free download from the iTunes store, InterCall Mobile Assistant lets you manage your conferencing on the go. How does it work?

After you install InterCall's free Mobile Assistant application on your phone, every time you open the app you’ll see a user-friendly, intuitive screen. Join a call—as a participant or a leader—with one touch.

Once your conference information (up to 256 different profiles) is loaded into the phone, you can start or join your call every time with one click. No need to keep track of multiple dial-in numbers and conference codes or worry about booting up your computer to look up the number for that important mobile conference call while you're on the go.

You can edit, add or delete your conference profiles easily at any time. Have a weekly meeting? Keep the information in your phone for easy access. A one-time presentation with a big client, but you know you’ll be on the road during the meeting? Set up a profile and then delete it when you’re done.

We’ve all been there—we had an important teleconference and left the information at our desk, in the hotel room or on our laptop—which, of course, was not with us at the moment.

InterCall Mobile Assistant makes mobile conferencing easy, convenient and as portable as our iPhone or Blackberry.

Have you ever been in the situation where you had to hunt down access codes or call-in numbers for an important teleconference? What happened?

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

Incorporating the Right Technologies For Today's Challenges
April 23, 2010 @ 12:25 PM | By Maribeth Brown

Gone are the days of switching off the computer and leaving work at the office. Chances are, you are wi-fied, plugged in and synced up to your work email and corporate Rolodex, no matter the time of day or where you go. If so, the findings in a recent U.S. survey probably won’t surprise you.

The struggling economy and a weak job market keep us motivated to do more with less. Our commitment and availability is being challenged, as employers shift to a leaner mindset, cutting corners and slashing budgets. A quarter of those surveyed report that their job security is partially dependent on their supervisor seeing they are connected to work even after hours and one-third of respondent feel the need to stay connected 24/7.

Not a pretty picture, but let’s face it—it’s part of the current landscape. To survive, we have to adapt. Incorporating the right resources and tools, like conferencing services offered by InterCall, can limit the stress of having to be ‘always on.’ Schedule and manage your meetings via email using business communication tools compatible with Microsoft® Outlook and Lotus Notes. You can now even host and participate in a web conference using just a smartphone.

So, take that much needed vacation and enjoy your weekends. No doubt, you deserve it. But rest assured, if you need to ‘be there,’ you have the right technologies to keep you connected.

Do you feel the pressures of being ‘on-call’ around the clock? What technologies have you incorporated to maintain your work/life balance?

See what others have to say about the survey or read the results for yourself.

Maribeth Brown is an Associate Marketing Manager for InterCall. She has been with InterCall for 8 years. She lives in Auburn, Alabama with her two daughters.

A Mile is a Mile, Except when It’s Green
April 22, 2010 @ 12:37 PM | By Jill Huselton

Did you know that a 3000-mile cross-country car trip has the same carbon footprint as the equivalent flight from New York to Los Angeles? If you’re a green business, the best way to travel is “not at all.” And many members of the green business community are doing just that, relying on audio conference calls, video conferencing and web meetings to manage projects, “meet” with clients, and do business remotely.

In fact, a survey conducted by InterCall ranked “using conferencing tools to cut back on travel” as the number one step green businesses are taking to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, 71 percent of all respondents say their companies encourage telecommuting for at least part of the work week.

InterCall’s Own Green Efforts

Blog_leaves

In addition to providing conferencing tools that make it easy for members of the green business community to decrease their own carbon footprint, InterCall implements measures to use green business practices whenever possible, too.

For instance, the company celebrated last year’s Earth Week by inviting employees to work from home during one day that week, using web or video conferencing when collaboration was necessary. When employees didn’t work from home, they worked on carpooling or taking mass transit. (Although a mile truly is a mile when it comes to a carbon footprint, by increasing the number of people in a given vehicle, you reduce each person’s carbon footprint and also eliminate the carbon footprint of additional cars on the road).

InterCall employees also participated in clean-up efforts within their communities and took small steps to reduce their carbon footprint throughout the year, such as switching to reusable coffee mugs. Each participant in Earth Day activities also received a reusable canvas shopping bag to eliminate the use of paper or plastic bags while shopping.

What Are Your Green Business Plans?

It’s not too early to start planning this year’s Earth Week activities for your company. Will telecommuting and web or video conferencing be a part of how you celebrate? What green business activities do you have planned to raise awareness about our environment?

Jill Huselton is a Senior Marketing Manager at InterCall

How Will You Celebrate Earth Week?
April 20, 2010 @ 10:11 AM | By Cambria Vaccaro

The green business community has begun celebrating Earth Week 2010, from April 18 - 25. As a green business (after all, “using conferencing tools to cut back on travel” is the biggest step the green business community has taken to reduce its carbon footprint) InterCall has celebrated Earth Week with fun, environmentally-friendly activities every year. And 2010 is no different.

Last year, InterCall permitted its employees to work from home one day that week, on a rotating basis. Those who didn't work from home carpooled, took mass transit—and even rode bicycles to work.

InterCall also scheduled after-hours Earth Week activities, with employees participating in clean-up efforts within their communities. Employees switched to re-usable (rather than disposable) coffee mugs, and received a free re-usable canvas shopping bag courtesy of InterCall.

Earth Week Ideas for Your Green Business

If you pride yourself on running a green business—or would like to join the green business community in 2010—here are some ways you can reduce your company's carbon footprint and contribute to preserving the environment.

  • Schedule a community clean-up day with employees in a local park
  • Plant trees on your office property
  • Plant a small vegetable garden behind your office building. Employees can take turns caring for it throughout the season and everyone can enjoy the harvest in the break room
  • Switch to reusable coffee mugs
  • Print on both sides of paper for in-office documents
  • Recycle paper, plastic and glass
  • Let employees telecommute for one day—or the whole week. Stay in touch through web meetings.
  • Skip just one business trip each month—use InterCall's Unified Meeting service to host a full-featured web conference instead.

Join us over the next few days in celebration of Earth Week.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

Don't Let Mother Nature Slow You Down
April 16, 2010 @ 03:26 PM | By Jill Huselton

Is Mother Nature throwing a wrinkle in your travel plans? Between the snow, rain and now the volcano eruption, millions of people can’t get where they need to go for their business meetings.

As a result of ash clouds hovering over much of Europe, airports are closed and not a rental car, hotel or train ticket is to be had. This is just the latest example of events beyond our control that prevent you from getting to or from your meetings. And for this particular incident, relief won’t come until the weekend at the earliest.

What is a business traveler to do?

The people whose companies have invested in audio conference calls, web conferencing or video conferencing solutions, like those offered by InterCall, to provide virtual meeting capabilities can tell you. Instead of being stranded at an airport, they are sleeping comfortably in their own beds. These conferencing solutions let you get just as much done, if not more, right from your desk or conference room without the expense of time and money.

So next time your plans call for a trip, either across the country or the other side of the world, consider the possibilities: leaving your fate in the hands of Mother Nature or taking control of where you are and what you do. With just a phone, computer and the Internet, you can still share your presentation, conduct your product demo or get everyone together to make a decision and still be home for dinner.

Jill Huselton is a Senior Marketing Manager at InterCall

With training and travel budgets shrinking, organizations are struggling with the issue of how to continue to provide effective development opportunities. Using a virtual classroom, if done well, can be a powerful and effective development tool. But there are challenges along the path from the traditional to the virtual classroom.

Attend our FREE webinar to ensure your Virtual Learning has the right design, the right delivery and the right learning transfer strategy. Explore how to create a high-impact and successful virtual learning experience. Specifically, you’ll have a chance to explore some of the most common questions clients have about virtual learning:

  • How is virtual learning different from Virtual Presenting, anyway? Is it more than a talking head or a PowerPoint webcast?
  • How do you keep people actively engaged during the session rather than multitasking?
  • How do you deal with varying degrees of technology proficiency?
  • What do facilitators need to do differently when facilitating a virtual program?

For answers to these questions and more, join us Thursday, April 22, 2010
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern
Register Now »

Maribeth Brown is an Associate Marketing Manager for InterCall. She has been with InterCall for 8 years. She lives in Auburn, Alabama with her two daughters.

The tax credit of $5000 announced by President Obama for each “net” new hire in 2010 promises to help SMBs expand with new employees. (The term “net employees” refers to additions to an SMB staff, not employees hired to replace employees that left the company).

While the tax credit helps offset costs of new employees and makes hiring that much more desirable, it doesn't pay for employee training software or other training tools for new employees. And because it only counts toward “net” employees, it doesn't help if your firm has a high turnover rate. As an SMB owner, how can you stay connected to your new hires, increase employee retention and train new and existing employees on rapidly advancing technologies?

The answers lie in distance learning tools and employee training software—and InterCall can help.

InterCall is best known as a full-service audio, video and web conference service provider. Our distance learning tools are also second-to-none. Whether you're training employees who work remotely, or bringing your staff together at their individual desks to learn about your company policies, InterCall's interactive solutions are easy to use, so employees can focus on the content, not the technology. WebEx Training Center

Some features of our distance learning tools, such as the Cisco WebEx Training Center provided by InterCall, include the ability to:

  • Easily scale training programs to reach more people, more frequently
  • Quiz and test trainees to ensure retention and track productivity
  • Reduce costs on travel and facilities rental
  • Organize “breakout sessions,” permitting trainees to bond and learn together, fostering a spirit of cooperation for improved employee retention

Knowing how you'll train your new hires rapidly and at a lower-than-expected cost makes that tax credit look even more enticing, doesn't it?

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.


InterCall has been making such significant strides in the past year as a full-service, international conferencing company, it's easy to forget we've been maintaining this growth pace for several years.

It's true that in 2009 to 2010 we introduced our popular Mobile Assistant smart phone application (previously available for Blackberry and mobile phones) to iPhone users and started rocking the InterCall Lounge with the coolest hold music you can find on the web.

For our innovation and growth in the challenging economy, we’ve been recognized as leaders in the industry in 2009 with the Frost & Sullivan North American Conferencing Services Growth Excellence of the Year Award for our:

  • Exceptional performance in a year of severe challenges.
  • Demonstration of the organizational prowess to ride out the challenging economy.
  • Enormous agility in addressing strategic market shifts and changes in end-user preferences.

We don't like to brag so we'll let Frost & Sullivan research analyst Subha Rama share more about why the global growth consulting company selected InterCall for this honor: “A comprehensive product portfolio built through a combination of innovation and acquisitions, strong technology, global footprint, a vast pool of high-value multi-national clients, and powerful marketing and sales strategies have helped InterCall become the largest provider of conferencing services globally. The company has consistently proven its ability to compete with incumbent service providers in a number of global markets and extend its leadership position in the conferencing services industry."

InterCall in 2010

We are going to stay the course and continue to:

  • Continue to build upon our solid proprietary online meeting service, InterCall Unified Meeting, to create a solid, yet simple, meeting experience.
  • Further our strategic partnerships with key companies like IBM, Adobe, Microsoft and Cisco to provide more services to our customers.
  • Keep the convergence of communications technologies at the forefront of our minds as we enhance our video and web conferencing services to keep pace with what today's business owners need.
  • Offer more than 400,000 conferencing ports and 150,000 IP conference ports available globally for superior international conference call service.
  • Provide 24/7 customer support for your international conferencing needs.
  • Offer a number of extra services in addition to international conferencing, including event planning to being a turnkey audio, video and web conference service provider for businesses of every size.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.


On February 27, the world saw another disaster—the second in as many months—when a series of earthquakes struck Chile, threatening tsunamis for most nations on the Pacific Coast, including the islands of Hawaii. When a disaster of this magnitude hits, emergency communications become critical for nations and individuals to receive the assistance they need.

During the Haiti earthquakes, a company called Intelstat established satellite communications, permitting cell phone communications as well as broadband Internet connectivity. More recently, when Chile was hit by an 8.8 earthquake, residents sent reports to BBC through email and Twitter.

Internet-Based Emergency Communications

Web conferencing over the Internet can add another element to important emergency communications, with real-time, face-to-face communications taking place with no more infrastructure than is required for email. Immediate responses are critical—and may even be a matter of life or death—in the event of an emergency. Other communication systems, including cell phone and email, fill certain purposes, but Web conferencing permits large groups of leaders to brainstorm solutions, make plans, and execute life-saving initiatives immediately.

It's easy to establish communication systems with Software as a Service (SaaS) web conferencing solutions—all that's needed is a laptop, desktop computer, or even a smartphone with Internet access. Imagine real-time reports, web cam images, and powerful graphics showing areas that need help the most.

Immediate Results with Web-Based Communication Systems

Web communication systems can also act as a powerful advocacy tool; a picture is worth a thousand words, but a live video showing how people can help—and exactly what their donations of time, money or living necessities can do—will move people to action immediately.

Emergency communications are all about immediacy—immediate action for immediate results. There is no medium more immediate than live audio and video conferencing over the Web.

Dawn Allcot is a business and technology writer whose work has been published in the audiovisual and communications industry for more than 15 years. She writes regularly for Sound & Communications and Worship Facilities magazines, among others. She's covered teleconferencing and streaming video systems for publications such as theWAHMmagazine, a digital magazine for the work-at-home industry, and Church Production Magazine.

InterCall and Stream57 Change Internet Broadcasting
April 12, 2010 @ 07:30 AM | By Cambria Vaccaro

Stream57
In a powerful move that promises to change Internet broadcasting with easy-to-use live and on-demand streaming audio and video, InterCall recently acquired Stream57, one of the nation's top web casting companies.

In a press release issued by InterCall regarding the acquisition, InterCall president Scott Etzler said, “By acquiring Stream57, InterCall is affirming our vision for the future of event streaming which is changing how companies get their messages out to customers, employees and partners. Stream57's incredible streaming technology combined with our global footprint and diverse customer base is a powerful combination unmatched in the marketplace."

The Benefits of Internet Broadcasting

Streaming audio and video over the Internet offers significant benefits over previous media distribution channels. As the technology advances—with top web casting companies like Stream57 and InterCall behind it—watching streaming video and listening to the accompanying audio truly is the next best thing to attending a live event. Businesses and organizations of every type leverage Internet broadcasting for a variety of purposes.

Who uses internet broadcasting? Nearly everyone. A sampling of streaming users includes:

  • SMBs
  • Large corporations
  • Technology companies
  • Churches
  • Schools and distance learning organizations
  • Not for profit organizations
  • Pharmaceutical, healthcare and medical device companies

The benefits of streaming are similar to the benefits of web conferencing:

  • Bridging the gap between geographical distances to encourage attendance at virtual events
  • Reaching out to the homebound
  • Fostering comraderie, encouraging teamwork and enhancing retention rates of employees who work from home or satellite offices

Platform Matters When You Shop for Web Casting Companies

Choosing a company for your Iinternet broadcasting needs is an important decision. You'll want an interface that:

  • Is easy to use
  • Runs on most user's computers
  • Is customizable to your unique needs
  • Offers comprehensive reporting and administrative tools

Stream57, a leader in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries for e-learning, online training and promotional programs, uses Adobe Flash, which is installed on 99% of all computers, and provides a very stable platform for streaming audio and video.

The acquisition of Stream57 by InterCall adds a level of financial stability to the streaming platform, making it a leading software solution for Iinternet broadcast in a variety of industries.

Cam_blog Cambria Vaccaro is the Senior Director, Marketing Communications and our “Industry News” blogger.  Cambria has been in the conferencing industry for nearly fifteen years, and has seen it evolve from a traditional video bridging service to include cool web features and remote communication services.  She is an avid runner, cook, wife and mother of two gorgeous girls.

InterCall Continues Quest for the Best Hold Music in Town
April 8, 2010 @ 03:39 PM | By Jill Huselton

The InterCall Lounge
We could say that the new tunes available in the InterCall Lounge are “not your father's hold music,” but that would be boring and uncreative—and the InterCall Lounge is anything but!

InterCall Listens

It all began when InterCall received user feedback about our audio conferencing systems. Users loved nearly everything about the conference experience—but they said the hold music could use some improvement.

We joined forces with Inspire, a leading music and branding company, with the goal of providing the best hold music available anywhere.

The hold music for our audio conferencing systems now includes top hits from cutting-edge artists at top record labels. We knew audio conference attendees would like it so much, they'd want to listen to it in between calls, too. So we launched the InterCall Lounge, where visitors can download free music in MP3 format from six featured artists.

InterCall Lounge, Volume 2

The second volume of InterCall Lounge can be heard right now and includes tunes from American Idol finalist Anne Marie and five other up-and-coming artists. A favorite of mine has been Trevor Hall. If you haven’t downloaded the free tracks yet, get them soon. We’ll be announcing Volume 3 in the coming weeks.

We know musical tastes differ, so we've aimed for a mix of pop, rock, country and even reggae. But all the music we've selected has one thing in common: it's designed to inspire our conference participants to new heights of creativity.

Because we care about what our customers think (you asked, so we changed our hold music just for you), we want your feedback. Listen to the music in our lounge, then take our quick survey and let us know if we really do have the best hold music around.

Jill Huselton is a Senior Marketing Manager at InterCall

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