Food, clothing, and shelter- those are our basic necessities. At least they were. Today, it’s the Internet over everything else. It’s hard to imagine ordering food, booking movie tickets, flight tickets, paying bills without the Internet. Heck, we now use the Internet to meet that someone special. In such a scenario, is it possible to have a conference without a mobile app? PSTN audio conferencing – has anyone even heard of it? What if you found out that PSTN was the first step we took in the world of conferencing and that it can still be used to our advantage in business? You’ll know more as you read on. 

What is audio conferencing? 

Simply put, it is an audio call between more than two people at the same time. Our service providers offer to the conference too. But there is a limit on the number of people who can be called, depending on the operating system you are using (iOS, five and Android, six). You simply are required to follow the steps to make a call and then keep adding participants to the existing call till you have called all of them. But what does one do if there are 10 participants who must be called? 

What is PSTN conferencing?—the traditional one 

Businesses, back in the day, also got on regular conference calls. However, they made PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) audio conference calls. That meant no Internet, no mobile app. If you remember correctly, the mobile phone is a very recent invention. Moreover, smartphones are even newer in the market. So, calling someone through the PSTN was the only way out. 

While PSTN offers very great audio quality and connectivity, businesses would have to rely on a conferencing service provider. There would be heavy, sometimes clunky equipment that would enable these conference calls. These would help create a bridge line that would have a phone number attached to it. The participants would then have to dial-in to this bridge number, while it was active, to become a part of the conference. The biggest advantage of this kind of PSTN audio conference was that it permitted people to call from landline phones also to connect. However, the trouble of dialing-in created chaos and confusion. Businesses were also charged quite some money to make these calls and it was considered a luxury to be able to have a conference call. 

Is there a better alternative?

Yes, there are a few.

There are applications like Viber, Skype, and Whatsapp that have been around for a while trying to make connectivity an easier exercise for us. They offer both audio calls and video conference calls. With these applications, you simply go to the mobile interface and click on the name of the person and choose whether you’d like to make an audio call or a video call. If you’d like to add more participants, you can select their names from the list of contacts on your account. 

However, you can only call them if they also have the same application on their device and a good Internet connection. 

Expecting the other party to have the same application installed on their phones can be slightly too optimistic. Sometimes, people have too many applications installed and don’t have space for new ones. Problems like these can arise and though they may seem trivial, they can defeat the purpose of conference calls. 

What if there was a simpler way to a conference that combined the best of mobile-based conference calling and PSTN? 

The answer is grptalk

What is grptalk?

grptalk is an audio conferencing application through which you can make conference calls to other mobile devices and landlines also. The application is quick, hassle-free and very convenient. It does not require an active Internet connection, because it uses PSTN to connect to conferences (yes, PSTN rocks!).  As a result, it can be used without installing the app. It is a dial-out based conference calling app, so it does not need you to dial-into complex bridge numbers. 

How grptalk works?

If you’re the host, you must download the app. Once you do so, your contacts will be synced with the server. Next, to get on a conference call you follow the steps that you would follow on Skype or Viber. With grptalk, you can schedule calls, customize your calls- add/delete contacts, change settings to increase privacy or allow more people to join. You can also add your agenda which will be shared with the participants of the call. 

The application also has a web version named “grptalk web” that has even more features. You can upload huge contact lists, and also call as many as 10,000 people at one go. As a result, grptalk has been used by many public sector undertakings and Govt bodies for the purpose of campaigning or simply surveying citizens on governance and the like. If you are of the opinion that PSTN is old-fashioned and inconvenient, think again. grptalk is a great example of how older technologies can be combined with new ones to make a product that is twice as effective! 

And now that you know what PSTN Conferencing does and how it has somehow aged out of use, it’s time you make a choice. You can either continue ith traditional audio conferencing practices or you can be the part of the new wave of telecommunications with mobile conferencing apps. The choice is yours. 

Do you still use PSTN audio conferencing? What are your thoughts on using mobile conferencing apps?