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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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