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09/23/2009

Iotum Streamlines Calliflower Conferencing Service

VoIP-based conference calling is radically different from the traditional variety. The ability to integrate an IP-based service with Web and other applications transforms the experience for user and organizer alike. At a minimum, it can provide onscreen interfaces, and various other collaboration and communication methods besides voice. Iotum has been steadily upgrading its Calliflower conferencing service since its June 2008 introduction. And it has just added several new features that make the service quicker and easier to use, particularly in large conferences with plenty of outside participants.

Calliflower offers participants such features as the ability to share documents, to text chat, and to see who is on the call, as well as other information, in a so-called online "dashboard." Organizers have their own interface to manage the call and callers. The new version automates several functions for organizers, to make setting up and running large conferences more convenient.

One big advance is what iotum calls "simple sign-in." Rather than requiring all participants to have Calliflower accounts, it allows them to simply click on a link in the e-mail they receive inviting them to the conference. When they arrive at the Calliflower site, they need merely enter their names and e-mail addresses to join the call. They then have access to the dashboard, document sharing and other features.

A second advance is the ability to have co-moderators. A lot of large calls involve seminars or other informational events, often with questions from listeners. The traditional approach is to have an operator assist in identifying questioners and giving them each the opportunity to speak. But operator-assisted services are by definition expensive. The new Calliflower feature allows a second organizer to handle such details. Thus while one moderator is talking or perhaps interviewing guests, the other can mute or unmute callers, put questioners in queue and otherwise keep things running smoothly.

A third new feature is recurring call scheduling. It allows organizers to set up calls for the same groups of users at the same time each week, month or whatever. Participants can use the same IDs and PINs to log in each time. Organizers can reschedule or delete individual instances of calls, while keeping the ongoing series. According to iotum CEO Alec Saunders, the new capability will be particularly useful to one significant group of Calliflower users: religious groups that use the service to hold regularly scheduled prayer or other meetings.

Calliflower costs $50 per month for two organizers, and $25 per month for each additional organizer.

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Resources

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Reports

  • Choosing the (Near-) Perfect Cloud Video Conferencing Solution
         This 7-page buyer's guide gives SMBs the information they need to choose the cloud-based video conferencing service that fits their needs. As a for-purchase download priced at $9.99, this document avoids the conflicts of interest of papers and guides that are offered for free, or sponsored by, vendors and service providers. Instead, it provides the kind of objective and authoritative information that would otherwise require assigning a staffer to spend days or weeks searching out and evaluating.

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         This 31-page VoIP Evolution report provides an in-depth analysis of a market that has suddenly become very competitive. It identifies and dispels some of the misconceptions that have become part of the conventional wisdom surrounding SMB video conferencing. Chief among these are unrealistic expectations regarding the cloud approach and interoperability.
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  • Voice Over LTE: More Pitfalls Than Promise for Now
        This 18-page Heavy Reading Insider report, written by Robert Poe, analyzes the prospects for delivery of voice calls over cellular networks using LTE (long-term evolution) 4G wireless technology. Operators are originally looking to use LTE mainly for mobile data services, since a number of technical issues make delivering voice traffic over LTE complicated. The report describes the various options available to operators, and explains why they are likely to move to voice over LTE later rather than sooner. Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider.

  • Making HD Voice Happen: Choosing Codecs, Connecting Islands
        This Heavy Reading Insider report by Robert Poe evaluates the impact HD voice will have on voice services providers ranging from traditional telcos to cable MSOs to cellular carriers to VoIP operators. The 20-page report also analyzes the role vendors' and providers' choices of codecs will play in ensuring that HD voice services can be delivered end-to-end, rather than only within individual providers' or enterprises' networks. It also surveys the HD voice efforts of 14 vendors.
        Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading Insider. A column about the report is available at Light Reading.

  • Disruptive VoIP Services: What Carriers Need to Know
        A report by Robert Poe for Heavy Reading, analyzing the innovative VoIP services with the most potential to disrupt the telecom services market over the next three to five years.
        The 57-page report describes the changes VoIP innovation brings to telephony models, practices and concepts. It identifies 17 categories of potentially disruptive VoIP services, and analyzes their potential impact on the market. It also profiles 50 potentially disruptive companies and services.
        Information about the report is available on the Heavy Reading Website. Coverage of the report is available on the Light Reading Website.


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