By Alok Saboo on June 9th, 2012
Fun is not a term that one typically associates with conference calls. If you have been part of conference calls, you know how dull they can be. Despite the advances in the communications space, we still have to deal with lost calls, PIN numbers, background noises, echo, and limited options on many of the current conferencing solutions, making them a drain on productivity. There are a few exceptions (e.g., ZipDX has served us well at VUC), but on the whole there has been little innovation in conference calls over the years. With ton of “voice” experience, Craig Walker, founder of Dialpad (now Yahoo Voice) and Grandcentral (now Google Voice), is now set to disrupt the conference calling space with his latest offering – ÜberConference.
ÜberConference seeks to eliminate all the pain points in existing conference solutions by:
- Making it easy to join – eliminating unwieldy PINs
- Providing participant details – know more about the participants
- Providing speaker information – know who is talking
- Providing an easy to use interface – anyone can use it
Before getting into the details, I must mention that the best part about ÜberConference is the slick interface. From the moment you login, you will notice the emphasis on design. It definitely is the coolest conferencing service.
Initiating a FREE Conference Call
You get a conference number and two PINs – a presenter PIN and a participant PIN. Neither you nor the participants have to use the PINs if you call from a registered phone. To initiate a conference, just add the participant details and ÜberConference will send the conference details via email and text.
You can manually enter participant details or import your contacts from Google, LinkedIN, Yahoo, or a CSV file.
Managing the Conference Call
ÜberConference really shines once inside the conference call. All the participants have access to a visual dashboard that provides all the information and controls at a click! All the invited participants are shown on the dashboard; those not on the call are grayed out. The active speaker is highlighted at the top.
Just click on any participant and you can get all the details about the person. Basically, ÜberConference pulls the profile information from your social networks for easy access.
You can mute a participant or use the Ear mask feature to carry out private conversations. You can record the entire conference for later use.
At the end of the conference, you get a nice summary.
ÜberConference is a next-gen conferencing solution with lot of “social” goodies. Given that the service is just getting started, it already has lots to offer and can give many commercial services a run for their money. Here’s a video overview of the service:
ÜberConference is based on the freemium model. The free version is limited to 5 participants (increase the conference size by connecting your social networks), does not allow outbound calls, has ÜberConference branding, and has a few other limitations. The premium version will get rid of these limitations and offer additional features. Some features are glaringly missing, at least in the current version – no SIP or Skype interconnectivity, no wideband audio. I am sure, some of these features will be added as the service matures. Also, smart phone apps are in the works and should be available soon.
If you are looking for free conference calls services, ÜberConference will not disappoint you. Even for professional purposes, you may find ÜberConference useful. However, if you are looking for advanced features that are currently missing in ÜberConference, you may want to consider ZipDX.