I don´t know how often that happens to you. It happens often to me.
I am invited to a web conference, and the group leader decides to use Skype, Skype for Business, Zoom, Teamviewer, Webex, Whatsapp, Zoom, etc. etc.
I hate it because it is never 100% reliable. For various reasons.
Watch this funny video if you have never attended a bad web conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNz82r5nyUw
And it is incredible how stubbornly the organizers of such web conferences stick to the crappy software that they are using.
This Is What I Use
I have finally found a solution that flawlessly works for me so far.
It is Uberconference.com
The beauty of this software is that you can simply click my link from any device and thereby join the conference call. No PIN needed.
It also gives you the ability to dial in via phone while viewing the screen share via laptop.
Or you can both view and speak/listen via laptop.
Screensharing is fantastic, there is no encroachment on the screen, and you get 100% screen space during sharing.
Any person can mute anybody else. This is a heavenly feature as you will no longer be at the mercy of some person with a noisy connection who is unconscious of all the noise and feedback that he is generating.
Once you start using Uberconference.com, you will never go back to any other tool out there.
I have been using it for participants from Asia, from the USA, and from Europe, all in one single web conference, and some while they were on an airplane. Believe me, all the other web conference apps don´t work in that kind of environment.
There is a free version which is not bad, but it does not come with a personal dial-in number, which is crucial for me. Talks in the free version are limited to 45 minutes, and there are 10 participants max.
The real power of Uberconference.com comes with the Business version which is 10 USD per user, per month. The uberconference.com Business version comes with a unique call-In-number (US and CAN available), with international access points in over 50 countries, and with a dial-out feature for adding guests to a call.
The 10 USD per month is definitely worth it. I shall explain why.
How It Works
Uberconference.com is built as a simple phone conferencing system. With the business account, you can own your own teleconferencing number. You can host conference calls with groups large and small.
It has many great features. One of my favorites is that your callers don’t need any access codes. They simply dial a ten-digit phone number at the appointed time and they are instantly on the call.
But one important feature for this topic is that your guest can use their computer to join your call. This allows you to get the signal from their high-quality microphone into a digital connection which will come through with excellent clarity on your end.
Uberconference is well-built. It functions in the web browser itself, so you don´t need to install any app on your computer. I have had good results on all the major browsers, but it works best in Google Chrome. Your guest simply needs to navigate to your personal Uberconference webpage at the appointed interview time, select their external USB microphone as the audio source, and the call starts.
Even your most technically incompetent guest should be able to figure it out. And if not, there is a backup phone number, as discussed below. You can even dial-out to people who are not able to dial into the conference.
It is All About Preparing for Failure
Every web conference has multiple points of potential failure.
The most frequent ones are where your guest forgets the interview, or he is too early or too late. You can solve this by reminding them well in advance of the web conference, and by telling them the right time for their time zone. I have written an article about this, here https://ip-lawyer-tools.com/a-free-tool-that-helps-you-to-arrange-international-online-meetings/
In addition to that, there are technical points of failure and I will show you how Uberconference.com solves these technical points of failure.
Common problem: a guest doesn’t find the microphone for their desktop computer. If that happens, I have the guest pull up my Uberconference page on their mobile device and join it from within the web browser of the mobile device. Any mobile device works: Apple, Android, Huawei, telephone, tablet, etc. etc. This allows me to use their mobile device ‘s microphone as my audio source and it’s transmitted to me in high fidelity. I have even recorded podcasts in this way. In a quiet environment, an iPhone held to the guests’ ear produces really nice quality sound.
If a guest has a microphone but he can’t get his microphone to work or he can’t get his computer to work, I have the guest dial into my Uberconference.com land phone line, using a landline or mobile phone. I will lose their high-quality audio that way, but it’s better than the web conference failing.
If a guest loses internet service or Internet service is slow/intermittent: they call into the land phone line.
How to Do A Land Line Call Into My Ongoing Uberconference.com
I have stored the following little manual in my Evernote account. If I am in a web conference that does not work, and the other sides have stubbornly tried to re-establish the conference multiple times with their Skype, Whatsapp, whatsoever, then I just send the message below around, using Whatsapp or whatever messenger app the other participants use. The result is that within a minute or less than that, we are all in the same web conference. People are usually amazed by that experience, and I am the hero.
„Please use this link https://www.uberconference.com/martin-schweiger to login into the conference call, you can then share files from your computer or even your entire screen. You need a headset and headphones attached to the computer.
This will also work from the Internet browser on your smartphone if you have mobile data or wifi.
If you don’t have a computer, you can dial in using a normal phone and my personal US number +1- 321-234-5471.
Instead of dialling my personal US number 321-234-5471, you can also use a local number, taken from this list https://www.uberconference.com/international (China is not listed there). Please then use my personal US number 321-234-5471 as a PIN.
The local number for a few selected countries are:
Hong Kong 5808 3219
Singapore 3158 0641
Germany 030 30807999
France 01 82 88 57 11
Brazil (11) 3500-8339
Japan 03 4578 0172
Austria 0720 883760”
Dial Out Participants during Web Conferences
The above fallback solutions have helped me tremendously in the past.
For the sake of completeness only, Uberconference.com also has an option to dial-out to participants in the US and in Canada. UberConference.com will dial your participants, allowing them to join by answering the call and pressing “1”. And f they miss the call, they will still receive an email and an SMS text invite.
There are two ways to auto-dial participants: either during an ongoing conference or through a pre-scheduled conference.
To auto-dial Participants during an active conference, there is a “Invite Others” button within your conference screen. You can simply add your participants, enter the phone # you want UberConference to dial and have UberConference to dial them.
When scheduling a conference, add your participants, hover over their name to reveal their contact options, and check the phone number # you want UberConference to dial. All participants who are set to auto-dial out will receive a 5-minute reminder SMS.
It is as easy as that.
Yes, there is screen sharing in Uberconference.com. Make sure that you have the latest version of Chrome browser installed.
Did you know that the Chrome Browser can be installed on your computer without having administrator rights? This is described here https://www.webnots.com/how-to-install-google-chrome-on-windows-and-macos/
Adding On The Extra Goodies
Uberconference has the ability to use a setting where all conference calls are automatically recorded by the computers at Uberconference. In addition to the local recording on my own computer, this provides a redundant recording mechanism that I have already often needed and the audio quality is quite high.
The great thing about the Uberconference.com solution is that it is built for large conference calls. It is easy for a moderator to assign the audio to anyone of the participants. The technology is built to grow. And because you can use either internet or phone connection, you can bring in multiple participants around the world using multiple forms of connection.
This platform can be used to host a panel conversation. Uberconference has very well-built real-time call control tools for the host which allow you to mute/unmute all, some, or one of your guests. In fact, everyone can mute/unmute everyone.
I use this feature every week to record a live call-in meeting with my firm´s staff, in order to discuss an ongoing case with them, for the purpose of training them.
I advertise the call-in time and details to the participants. I spend just a few minutes grabbing everyone’s name before I begin recording. I then mute all my callers, open up with an introduction, and one-by-one unmute the callers in whatever order I choose. Quite literally, it’s “Ben in Singapore, welcome to this weeks web training. Go ahead with your presentation.” We can then discuss Bob’s presentation afterward until it’s been adequately covered. I then mute Bob and move on to Cindy in our Munich office and her presentation.
At the end of the presentations, we publish it in our Intranet. Using automated software, one can process, upload, and publish the recorded screencast file in about 15 minutes.
Call to Action
Sign up for an Uberconference account.
And try it out.
Then upgrade to Uberconference business.
Copy/paste my above manual into your Evernote and update it with your own phone number information so that you have it ready when you need it.
Martin “Phone Conference Hero” Schweiger