This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
A conference bridge is a dedicated phone line that enables multiple people to communicate over a single platform. While its functionality is similar to a conference call, a meeting host is not required to manually add callers to the meeting. Each participant dials the number or enters a code to join a virtual meeting space. This feature benefits businesses looking to manage distributed teams, maximize productivity, and minimize the cost of online team collaboration.
Keep reading below to learn more about what a conference bridge is, how it works, what makes it popular among remote teams, and the top conference call providers:
How a Conference Bridge Works
When we talk about what a conference bridge is, it refers to the equipment or software that links a group of people together in one call. It allows participants to dial a specific phone number or enter a meeting code, giving them access to a centralized virtual meeting room. Depending on your phone system provider, a virtual meeting room accommodates dozens or even hundreds of participants in a single meeting.
Here’s a step-by-step process on how to join a conference bridge call:
- The meeting host sends the participants a dedicated link or a code, which leads to a tab or a platform where the conference call will take place.
- The participant will dial into a virtual meeting room using a link or code.
- Once the host grants the participants access to the meeting, the group of callers now communicates and listens to each other as if they were in the same room.
Beyond the basics, many modern conference systems support multiple conference rooms and other advanced features, such as cloud recording and screen sharing. These tools make team collaboration easier by making online meetings more efficient and productive.
Key Features of Conference Call Services
Now that you know the meaning of a conference bridge, let’s discuss its popular features. According to Harvard Business Review, video conferencing is one of the common communication methods to communicate authentically. With this in mind, many phone system providers have been offering a number of features to support remote work communication.
For example, most providers offer the following business phone features in addition to conference bridge services:
In remote team collaboration, video conferencing has become an essential tool as it allows distributed teams to join in business conversations wherever they are. Its visual nature enables participants to see everyone’s non-verbal cues and maintain “virtual eye contact.” Conference call providers are working hard to offer high-quality audio and video to ensure a smooth video conferencing experience.
When so much information gets passed around during meetings, file transfer makes a very useful feature for team collaboration. Sharing important documents with other users becomes simplified since it allows a specific number of files to be transferred while a meeting is ongoing.
Screen sharing has made online presentations easier by showing meeting participants what is being presented. This eliminates the need to connect to a laptop or projector to show off your work. Anyone in the meeting has the ability to share their screen with other participants, making project collaboration easier to manage.
Traditionally, recording meetings would require additional equipment and workforce resources. With online conferencing, a user will simply press the record button, and the entire meeting will be recorded and stored in the cloud. It saves everyone’s time from taking notes and revisiting project details. Those who couldn’t make it will have the opportunity to see what was discussed in the meeting.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Many providers have invested in AI and automation to build into their platforms and provide enriching business conversations. AI-powered features range from live transcription, real-time coaching, and post-call summaries. Through built-in machine learning, these AI features offer real-time recommendations and in-depth post-call notes.
What Makes Conference Bridges Popular?
Conference bridging has become more popular for teams working remotely and wanting to maximize the benefits of hosting online meetings. Here are some reasons that a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) conference bridge is a great communication investment for your business:
Convenient Way to Manage Distributed Teams
With the rise of remote and hybrid working, businesses with employees distributed over multiple locations require a solution that helps ensure constant dialogue and team collaboration. Conference bridging enables the entire workforce to virtually gather and connect to discuss the pressing issues in the workplace. You just need a mobile device, such as a laptop, smartphone, or VoIP-enabled phone, to join in the conversation wherever you are located.
Drives Cost-effective Team Meetings
Free conference call services are available in the market for budget-conscious business owners and for those who want to eliminate the need to spend money on venues and travel costs. Simply set up a conference bridge to avoid the expense of making your employees travel to the office to attend meetings. Most of the best business phone systems offer conference bridge services in their pricing packages, ranging from $15 to $45 per user, per month.
Saves Time & Boosts Productivity
Since conference bridges remove the need for a host to manually dial the numbers of meeting participants, it becomes a huge time saver for everyone. It also reduces the chances of misdials and dialing the same number to connect to a call. The host simply needs to provide everyone with a conference number, choose a date and time, and ensure everyone joins the same meeting room.
VoIP Providers With Conference Call Services
The best phone system providers with conference call services come with advanced features, streamlining communications and facilitating team collaboration. These features include the ability to record meetings, share files, and present slideshows. To help you find which one suits your needs, we rounded up the top three providers offering conference call features:
RingCentral offers a robust, cloud-based platform for facilitating communications across various channels, such as voice, video, and text. By subscribing to the Standard plan, every user gets an unlimited number of audio conference calls, with up to 1,000 participants per conference. Hosts and attendees get unique access codes to ensure security and privacy during meetings. It also comes with built-in integrations from popular business tools, such as Slack and Microsoft 365.
Check out our RingCentral review to learn about its pricing packages and unique audio/video conferencing features.
GoTo Connect is a unified communications solution with team collaboration capabilities, such as drawing tools, screen sharing, and remote desktop control. All plans support calling via desk phones, browsers, and mobile and desktop apps. One of its standout features is its ability to adjust its bandwidth, making it easier for remote users to join meetings amid varying internet speeds.
If GoTo Connect fits your business communication needs, check out our GoTo Connect review and learn more about its comprehensive offerings.
Dialpad is an all-in-one communications platform known for its advanced AI-powered phone call features, such as voicemail transcriptions and automated post-call summaries. Its base plan includes unlimited domestic calling, HD voice, toll-free number support, and custom call routing. You may subscribe to Dialpad Meetings to get free unlimited video meetings and host up to 10 participants.
To find out if Dialpad is a good fit for your conferencing needs, read our Dialpad review and discover more of its unique features.
A conference bridge is simply a method to connect multiple people in a single meeting. It offers a cost-effective solution, making team collaboration more seamless and efficient. Regardless of the time and location, a conference bridge allows teams to meet virtually anywhere in the world, so you spend less time arranging face-to-face meetings.
If you’re looking for more providers to consider, check out our guide on the best conference call services. We reviewed the top six providers offering bridge conferencing services based on pricing and feature sets.