With remote and hybrid work becoming the norm, keeping teams and employees connected has never been more vital.
A conference bridge stands out as an essential call feature to enhance communication and productivity in small businesses, making team collaboration as easy as chatting with your office neighbor.
This article discusses conference bridges in detail and guides you in picking the perfect conference bridge provider for your team.
What Is a Conference Bridge?
A conference bridge is a dedicated phone number that supports a group of people who call in from different locations to discuss a topic.
Participants can attend the conference from any phone number using their cell phone, web browser, or desk phone.
The dedicated nature of a conference call bridge makes it the go-to solution for audio conferencing, making productive collaboration effortless for remote and hybrid teams.
How Does a Conference Bridge Work?
Conferencing systems use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to establish private meeting rooms. Typically, these rooms also have a moderator who can mute participants, change PINs, or dial out a specific phone number.
How to use a conference bridge
- The meeting organizer provides participants with a phone number to dial into the conference.
- Participants dial the provided phone number from any phone or follow the link provided.
- When prompted, participants provide a meeting ID, usually 10 digits in length.
- Participants join the virtual conference room.
- Participants may hear a beep when other attendees join the conference call.
The conference bridge connects multiple callers simultaneously, thus “bridging” these calls into a single line where participants can talk and interact.
How Hybrid & Remote Teams Use Conference Bridging
There are many ways in which hybrid and remote workforces can leverage conference bridges.
Callers enjoy crystal-clear audioconferencing and seamless content sharing in a virtual meeting.
A dedicated conference bridge creates a virtual meeting environment that facilitates a deeper connection and collaboration between team members, meaning these meetings can be as impactful and productive as if all participants were gathered around the same table.
Conference bridges enable instant brainstorming, project collaboration, and insight sharing. No matter the time zone differences, these tools ensure that every team member is aligned and engaged.
Training and onboarding
When it comes to training and onboarding, conference bridges are perfect for all-day sessions. They allow you to connect with and train talent from anywhere in the world.
These business phone systems make the learning experience a reality, offering an engaging start for new hires, regardless of their physical location.
Your communication tools must keep pace as your organization expands and embraces more flexible work arrangements. This is where the scalability of conference call services truly shines by catering to small team discussions and company-wide events.
From up-and-coming startups to established corporations, conference bridge communication systems scale to meet your needs.
10 Most Popular Conference Bridge Features
- Video conferencing: Offers optional video to supplement audio calls, aiding in personal connections with team members.
- Chat and messaging: Facilitate real-time text dialogue without disrupting the ongoing audio conversation.
- Screen sharing: Displays a screen during a call to show documents or slides.
- Meeting scheduling: Simplifies the organization of calls with calendar integration and timely reminders.
- Call transcription: Converts spoken content into written form, which is useful for record-keeping and for those unable to attend.
- Recording: Allows the playback of meetings for reference or for those who missed the original call.
- Host controls: Provide the meeting host with moderation tools to guide the meeting’s flow and address any unexpected issues, such as when someone’s microphone is unexpectedly unmuted.
- Security features: Include measures such as encryption to ensure private and secure conversations.
- Dial-in numbers: Enable participants to join calls via a local phone number or toll-free line, offering an alternative for those without Internet access.
- Integrations: Allow for synchronization with other business tools (e.g., CRM, email, or helpdesk) for a cohesive workflow experience.
What To Look For in a Conference Bridge Service
Choosing the right conference bridge service is the first step in enhancing your team’s communication and efficiency.
What follows is a breakdown of the essentials, complete with practical examples, to help you find a service that meshes seamlessly with your business needs.
- Ease of use: We recommend a platform where creating or joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a button. Accessing a conference bridge should be stress-free for all users, meaning user-friendly interfaces are essential when selecting a conference bridge.
- Compatibility: Your ideal conference bridge should configure well with your existing tech setup. Integrating your phone system with your email client and offering a softphone app that works smoothly on both iOS and Android. This results in seamless communication between devices and operating systems.
- Scalability: As your business grows, your conferencing service should, too. You want your communication tools to handle client and employee meetings of all sizes, so choosing a conference bridge that is scalable from the start is a wise business decision. Adding conference phone lines for different teams should be simple.
- Features: The right features in your communications software will elevate your meetings. For instance, a marketing team can benefit from interactive features, such as whiteboards or polls for engagement. Knowing which functionality you’ll need early on in the process helps you make the right decision.
- HD audio and video: Premium-quality audio and video are nonnegotiable in today’s working environment. Consider a team member pitching to a key client: high-definition video and crystal-clear audio can leave a lasting impression of professionalism. It’s a good idea to test how your conferencing solution handles low-bandwidth situations to minimize jitter or other connectivity issues.
- Support and reliability: The conference bridge’s support and reliability are as crucial as its features. Dependable customer support, such as Nextiva’s award-winning service and support team, means having help at hand during pivotal meetings. Likewise, a service with high reliability means your meetings will be available to all participants.
- Pricing: It’s good to think about managing your costs as a business. With a business communication solution such as Nextiva, you won’t have to spend more than what you have in order to give your team dedicated virtual meeting rooms as part of its VoIP phone system. Think about it this way — your conference bridge pays for itself from the travel costs of one corporate meeting alone.
Top Conference Bridge Solutions
It can be challenging to select the right conference bridge solution for your business. With this in mind, we’ve chosen four stand-out options that many companies find highly beneficial.
Nextiva stands out as a user-friendly platform that allows users to streamline team communications in one easy, powerful platform.
An industry-leading and award-winning VoIP service, Nextiva offers audio and video conferencing tools and top-notch customer support, and its one-click join meeting conferencing service makes it one of the best phone service providers.
2) GoTo Meeting
A household name in video conferencing, GoTo Meeting brings its expertise to conference bridges for multiparty audio calls.
Celebrated for its simplicity, high-quality video, and dependable audio, it offers various features such as screen sharing, meeting recording, and mobile support. It’s a go-to for businesses needing a video-first conferencing tool.
BlueJeans was a popular conference bridge service for mid-market companies and universities.
Its forte includes great video and audio quality, stringent security protocols, and the efficient handling of large meetings. After being acquired by Verizon, BlueJeans will sunset in early 2024.
4) Dialpad (formerly UberConference)
UberConference, acquired by Dialpad in 2023, is a popular conference bridge.
It’s free for up to 45 minutes and 10 participants for personal calls. It offers web- and phone-based dial-in numbers. It’s best used for quick meetings rather than a dedicated voice bridge as part of a phone system.
Elevate Your Communications With the Right Platform
Integrating a conference bridge into your business communications strategy is key, given the growing prevalence of remote and hybrid workforces.
When you weigh factors such as ease of use, compatibility, support, reliability, and security, you will be ready to decide which conference bridge solution best suits your business needs.
Nextiva is much more than a conferencing solution — it’s a business communications platform. With its enterprise-grade features, user-friendly interface, friendly support, and more, it’s the perfect way to elevate your team collaboration and propel your business further.
Ready to give Nextiva a try? Speak to a Nextiva expert.