ILNews

Technology Untangled: Versatile conference calling available with Spiderphone

Stephen Bour
October 9, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

technology-bourSpiderphone sounds like the hotline for that imaginary masked superhero. It is, instead, a useful and inexpensive Web-assisted telephone conferencing system that makes it easy to set up and conduct multiple-caller speakerphone meetings.

First off, why is it called Spiderphone? According to their website, conference call engineers refer to each connection to a conference as a “leg.” Spiders have lots of legs and, of course, they are on a web. Silly name aside, Spiderphone is a versatile communication tool.

I originally discovered Spiderphone because I was fed up with the cost and hassle of setting up multiple call-in speakerphone events through the phone company. I tried some Internet-based VoIP conferencing solutions but was unimpressed with the call quality. Spiderphone offered the simplicity, high quality and low cost I was looking for. The bonus was discovering all of the extra features that Spiderphone provides when managing conference calls using the Web.

While the system uses the Internet, the voice part of the telephone conference is conducted over traditional high-quality digital phone lines. This is not an Internet-based VoIP communication system, so it is not susceptible to the variable quality and performance issues that sometimes affect VoIP calling. I also like this service because all the servers, telephone bridge hardware and support services are based in the U.S.

Signup was quick, easy and free. If you have a need for a conference call today, you can be ready to go in five minutes. Creating the account is just like signing up for anything else on the Internet. You enter some basic information, including – of course – a credit card. There is no setup fee. You will then be provided a PIN and a permanent conference code that will be used by all participants whenever they call in for a conference you have set up. After initial signup, initiating a conference call takes no time at all, and you don’t even need a computer at that point. However, there are some advantages to using the computer, which I will discuss later.

The easiest way to proceed is with an on-demand call (no reservation needed), initiated from any phone. You provide your participants with the call time, the dial-in number for the Spiderphone switchboard and the conference code. As moderator, you then dial into the switchboard first and enter your PIN, then simply wait for the others to call in at the appointed time.

Billing for calls is as low as 4.5 cents per minute, per participant. If you choose to offer your attendees a toll-free dial-in number, your cost as moderator increases to 6 cents per minute, per participant. There are also monthly flat rate plans available.

If you prefer, you can set up a reservation for a conference through the Spiderphone website. This has the advantage of allowing you to generate email notifications for all participants that include hotlinks for them to click to connect via telephone to join the conference, as well as to connect via the Web to view additional information during the conference. The system even allows the option for the participant to receive a call to initiate participation in a conference. Alternately, participants can simply dial the phone number and the code provided in the email.

There are several advantages for participants using the Web-assisted interface while talking in the phone conference. First, you can see information displayed about all who are participating in the call. But more importantly, the identity of the specific person talking at any moment during the call is displayed, or more precisely, the line for each call participant is displayed. The system cannot differentiate between two attorneys who are sharing the same speakerphone in an office. This can be very useful during a deposition to quickly identify who is posing an objection, for example. It can also be helpful for sorting things out in situations when there are large numbers of phone-in participants involved.

There are additional interactive features. Electronic documents such as exhibits can be uploaded, downloaded and shared during a call, all from within the Spiderphone Web interface. This means you don’t have to fuss with e-mailing attachments to other participants while in the midst of a call. You can even upload and share PowerPoint presentations and audio and video clips. You can also send individual, private text messages to other participants during a call. This could be useful for attorneys to communicate with their paralegals about questions during a deposition, for example.

The audio from a call can be recorded and shared. As moderator, you can set up for automatic recording when making a conference reservation or you can choose to start recording at any time during a conference by simply clicking the “record” button. The system will automatically insert a “record” notification announcement. The recordings can then be downloaded by participants after the meeting, if you choose to allow it. Be aware, there is an additional fee for recording.

Spiderphone offers many other features and services that are worth exploring. You can learn more about them at www.spiderphone.com, or at their newer website: www.conferencecallcenter.com. There you will also find an offer for a 20-minute free-trial conference call.•

__________

Stephen Bour (bourtech@iquest.net) is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  4. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

ADVERTISEMENT