How to do conference calls easily? We’ve all been there… You’re driving on your way to work and you have taken an early morning conference call. So when the meeting reminder pops up, you pull over, pull out your phone, open the calendar app, scroll through the invite details and try to memorize the access code. You dial the conference bridge, punch in what you hope is the correct access code and pray that you punched in the right numbers. Still, you get the dreaded “The access code you entered is invalid. Please try again.” message.
Apps to Make Conference Calls
I’ve experienced this situation so many times, sometimes when driving to work and at other times while trying to connect to a call from home after hours. Each time it’s the same problem over and over again. So I thought, there must be an app that can make this easier. And there actually are, a number of apps out there whose entire purpose is making conference calling easier. Here are some of the top ones.
- Tempo Smart Calendar
Tempo (which was recently acquired by Salesforce and won’t be available past June 30) is a basically smart calendar app for iOS and Android that not only lets you dial into conference calls with a single tap but it also helps you manage your day by providing useful titbits like the directions to your next meeting, pulling up emails and attachments related to your upcoming meeting, LinkedIn profiles of the meeting participants, etc.
When you open the tempo app for the first time, you’ll be asked to log in to a variety of services, basically all of your email accounts, your Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The app will ask for permission to access your location, calendar, and contacts. After it has pulled all the information from each of these sources it’ll ask you to wait for several minutes while it processes this data. One the app was ready, I tried out the one-touch conference calling feature since that was the reason I downloaded the app in the first place.
If your calendar has an event that has a conference call details associated with it, Tempo picks it up as long as that info is in the meeting summary. In which case, all you have to do is tap on the conference call number to dial into that conference bridge with Tempo and then tap the dial button again to let Tempo dial in the access code. Since I use multiple services for my conference calls like WebEx, GoToMeeting, FreeConferenceCall and a few others, for me at least, detecting conference calls from my calendar was hit-and-miss.
The tempo picked up some of them that I could dial into with no effort, but for a lot of the other ones, I had to manually go in and pick the correct combination of the dial-in number and access code. That’s what not what I expected from an app that promises one-touch dialing for conference calls.
Although Tempo’s smart calendar features worked really well, especially the meeting scheduler using natural language. But for that I already have Sunrise. I wanted an app specifically for my conference calls. So then I tried MobileDay.
MobileDay is purely a one-touch conference call dialing app. It syncs with your phone’s calendar and pulls all conference call events from it, and enters the dial-in and the access code numbers for you for each conference call, so you can dial in by just tapping the call icon. This is particularly helpful if you’re joining conference calls while on the road, which of course you shouldn’t do while driving, but you do anyway. MobileDay isn’t a one-trick app though. It also lets you host conference calls and send text and email messages to meeting attendees with predefined messages like “I’m running late,” “Is the meeting still on,” etc. with 1 tap.
It’s a great app, but they recently turned it into a paid service with a $9.99 annual subscription. I’d be ok paying that once, but the annual subscription really turns me off. So moving on I tried Agenday.
Agenday is a free smart calendar app that automatically pulls your conference information and gives you one-touch dialing into your conference calls and online meetings. It also analyzes your calendar to show you expert meeting tips and information relevant to your day, like LinkedIn profiles of meeting participants, reminder & alerts for upcoming meetings, etc. It also lets you schedule meetings on the fly, suggest several open time slots to meeting participants so they can confirm a mutually acceptable time for the meeting, send pre-defined messages to other attendees if you’re running late, etc. Quite a useful app, but more of a smart calendar app than a conference call/smart meetings app. So I moved on to MeetingMogul.
MeetingMogul – http://www.meetingmogulapp.com/ is also a one-touch conference call dialing app, but one that focuses purely on making the whole meeting experience smarter and easier, when dialing in from a smartphone. When I started using MeetingMogul I was overwhelmed. There were so many things you could do.
Like the other apps I tried, MeetingMogul also read my calendars to extract all the conference call events that were scheduled on them. My calendars have a lot of conference calls that aren’t listed in the perfect (xxx) xxx-xxxx format, which is the problem I faced with Tempo, which was not able to read this call info and thus couldn’t dial me in at the first try.
Surprisingly, MeetingMogul was able to read all of my conference calls correctly and synced all their details perfectly. It gave me a simple interface that showed me my upcoming calls and meetings for the next 2 weeks, on a day by day basis, with a nice big Dial button next to each of them. So I could dial all my conference calls with 1 tap, just like I wanted. And it worked with all the conference services I used, WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc.
It’s the perfect solution, especially if you take a lot of conference calls on the road like me. It’s a lifesaver in that sense, since it saves you from dialing and texting while driving, since not only can you dial into conference calls with one tap, you can also take voice notes with a single tap as well so action items and next steps from your meetings are never forgotten. MeetingMogul also offers a lot of other useful features like the ability to add a conference bridge that you use frequently to a favorites list. By doing that you can quickly create conference calls by just tapping that bridge and the conference dial info is populated automatically in the meeting invite.
MeetingMogul also lets you text and email users if you’re running late, etc. like the other apps I tried, but it goes a little further by letting you create custom messages as well, and not just limited to the predefined options like some of the other apps I tried. You can also call any meeting participant directly from the app with one touch, and record the agenda for a meeting right from your phone, in collaboration with other participants.
Another feature that I really liked in this app was the ability to modify the dialing sequence for any conference call, so if any call doesn’t dial in the first time, you can easily go in and edit its dialing sequence so the app can dial you incorrectly. You can also search for and view all emails relevant to an upcoming call or meeting and also sync calendars and notes with popular CRM like Salesforce and NetSuite.
From all the apps I tried, I liked MeetingMogul the best. It’s the perfect one-touch conference call app that worked with all the conference services I tried plus it’s totally free to use.
I’m using MeetingMogul as my daily driver now and thanks to this app, I’m able to join any conference call or online meeting instantly even while I’m driving. It’s made my day so much easier and I honestly cant’ imagine going back to my iPhone’s default calendar, calling, messaging and email apps after this.