Hosted PBX Audio Conferencing

Welcome to Cogeco's Hosted PBX Audio Conferencing service. You now have the latest technology to connect your business to your colleagues, partners and customers. This handy guide will show you how to seamlessly and quickly set up your conference calls. We'll also cover such features as accessing the Web Interface, managing ongoing calls, and recording calls and sharing them with your colleagues. There's also a Quick Key Reference at the end. Let's get started.

Starting a Conference

To start a conference, dial the access telephone number for the Conferencing service.

  • You are prompted for the moderator code. Enter this on your telephone keypad, then press the # (pound/hash) key.
  • You are then prompted to record your name. This will be used in announcements within the conference (to indicate that you have joined or left, or in a roll-call listing who is in the conference). Say your name clearly, then press the # key.

If your telephone does not have a # key, you can still use the interface. After entering the code or recording your name, simply wait for a few seconds until the interface responds with the next prompt. The interface allows you 30 seconds to enter the moderator code, and 10 seconds to record your name.

If you do not dial the moderator code correctly within 30 seconds, you will hear an error message stating that the conference is not scheduled for this time, and you are prompted to redial the code. You have a total of three attempts to dial it; if you do not provide a valid code on the third attempt, your call will be dropped and you will need to dial the access telephone number again.

If there is already an active conference that was started using your moderator code, the error message informs you that the conference has already started. This may indicate that an unauthorized user is using your moderator code; this can occur if you have provided the moderator code instead of the participant code by mistake. To check this, use the Web interface, or join the conference using the participant code.

The announcement saying "conference code is not scheduled" normally indicates that you have dialed an incorrect code, as above. However, it may also indicate one of the following.

  • You have access to Conferencing only at specific times (for example to hold a weekly conference at a specific time) and this is not a valid time for you to start a conference.
  • Your access to Conferencing has been suspended. You will not be able to start any conferences. Please talk to your service provider to resolve this.

When you have successfully logged in using the moderator code, you may hear an announcement that one or more conference recordings (stored from your earlier conferences) will soon be automatically deleted. You can check these using the Moderator Web Interface as described in section 2.5 and download them to your local computer if you need to store them for future reference.

At this point you are in the conference, and can start to manage it using the functions described in the remainder of this chapter. If no participants have already dialed into the conference, you hear on-hold music if you have configured the Conferencing application to use it, as described in section 2.6, Options (either the music that you have uploaded for use in your conferences, or the default on-hold music for the server). If you have not configured this function, you hear silence.

When the first participant dials in, the on-hold music stops. Depending on the conference options that have been enabled, you may then hear a series of tones announcing the new participant, which may be followed by an announcement of the participant's name.

If one or more participants have already dialed into the conference before you, you do not hear on-hold music. Instead, you will be connected directly into the conference. You may hear the joining tones and your own recorded name before being connected if these options are enabled. For more information, see section 2.6, Options.

Moderator Web Interface

This section explains how to use the Moderator Web Interface to set up and manage conferences.

Accessing the Web Interface

To access the web interface, you will need the following information.

You will need both of these codes to log in. Start your web browser and enter the web address in the address bar. You may see one or more security dialogs; choose OK or Yes to accept these.

You should then see the web interface logon window, which asks you for the participant and moderator codes.

Moderator Web Interface logon window

Type the two codes in the appropriate edit boxes, then click the Log On button.

Moderator Web Interface Logon Window

When you have logged on successfully, a list of options for managing conferences appears on the left-hand side of the screen.

Moderator Web Interface options

When you first come into the interface, the Current Call option is selected. This option allows you to manage a conference, as described in the following section.

Moderator Web Interface Options

Current Call

The Current Call window allows you to manage a conference. If this window is not already shown on the screen, click on the Current Call button to display it.

If you have not yet started a conference, the screen shows the message "There is no conference at this time".

When more participants join the conference, the window appears as shown in Figure 3.

An active conference in the Current Call window

The panel at the top right provides information about the current conference.
To the left of this are two buttons to control recording and locking the conference, which are described later in this section.

Moderator Conference Controls

Each participant in the conference is represented by a panel with a telephone number at the top, as shown in 3.

  • The panel for each participant (including the moderator) shows the following details:
  • The participant's calling telephone number.
  • The participant's name, if the Conferencing server can determine it. This is taken from a directory entry matching the calling number or from the caller name that the server received when this participant dialed in.
  • A Mute button, allowing you to mute this participant's phone so that no sound from it is played into the conference.
  • A Drop button, allowing you to remove this participant from the conference.
  • A gain control, allowing you to balance this participant's sound level so that all participants can be heard clearly.
  • On the left of each panel is a "person" icon representing the participant, which appears in different colours to represent the participant's status in the call:
  • Gray: the participant is in the call but is not currently speaking.
  • Green: the participant is speaking, or other sounds are being played into the conference from the participant's phone.
  • Yellow: the moderator has muted this participant's phone.

Changing and Storing Participants’ Names

The panel corresponding to each participant shows the participant's name, if the Conferencing server can determine it. This is taken from a directory entry matching the calling number, if there is one. Otherwise it is taken from the caller name that the server received when this participant dialed in.

If there is no name displayed or it is not correct, you can change it. Click on the name, or in the blank space below the word "Name" if no name is displayed, and type in the correct details.

When you move away from the participant panel and click on another part of the Current Call window, the new name that you have entered is saved in a directory entry. This means that the updated information is available for future conferences: anyone who dials in to a later conference using this calling number will be identified by this name, in both the Current Call window and the Conference History lists.

Muting Participants

Depending on the purpose of the conference, you may want to set up the conference so that all participants can talk in the conference at any time, or you may be the only speaker in all or part of the conference. If you are the only speaker and do not need to allow other participants to speak in the conference, you may want to mute a participant's phone to prevent background noise picked up by this phone from being played into the conference.

  • To mute a participant's phone, click on the Mute button in the panel corresponding to that participant. The "person" icon on the left of this panel changes to yellow, and the participant hears an announcement that the phone has been muted.
  • To remove the mute so that the participant can speak into the conference, click on the Mute button again. The "person" icon on the left of this panel changes back to gray, and the participant hears an announcement that the phone has been unmuted.

If a participant whose phone is muted wants to speak, he or she can indicate a request to speak using the telephone interface. You then see an exclamation point over the "person" icon for this participant.

  • To allow the participant to speak, click on the Mute button.
  • To clear the alert, click on the "person" icon for this participant.

Controlling Volume Levels

You can control the volume level for each conference participant individually, so that the different speakers are balanced in the conference. You may need to do this if one or more participants are calling in over poor-quality lines and other participants are having difficulty hearing them.

In the panel for each participant, the gain control appears as a set of seven vertical bars, with a number of these coloured green to indicate the gain being applied to the incoming sound level. For example, one green bar (with the remaining six coloured black) means that this participant's sound is turned down low, and five green bars (with the remaining two coloured black) means that the sound is turned up just above a medium setting.

To change the volume level for a participant, click on the bar representing the level that you want.

Recording the Conference

To start a recording of the conference, click on the Record button in the moderator controls. If your service provider has not permitted you to record conferences, this button has no effect.

An announcement may be played into the conference each time you start or stop recording, to inform the participants that the conference is being recorded.

If you are the only participant in the conference and so on-hold music is playing, the music stops when you click on the Record button to start recording. This allows you to record introductory information about the conference (for example the date of the meeting, its purpose, and the expected participants) before the other participants have joined.

To stop recording, click on the Record button again. The recording is saved on the server. You can download it later, either to listen to it or to save it to your local computer, Recordings, for more details.

Locking the Conference

To lock the conference so that no further participants can join it, click on the Lock button in the moderator controls at the top of the window. You may want to do this if you want to restrict the number of participants on a first come, first served basis.

If you lock the conference and then perform a soft exit, you will still be able to join it by dialing in as the moderator. However, nobody will be able to join it as a participant.

To unlock the conference so that further participants can join it, click on the Lock button again.

Removing Participants from the Conference

You may need to remove a participant from the conference, for example if he or she has obtained the participant code without your permission and is not authorized to be in the conference. To do this, click on the Drop button in the panel corresponding to that participant.

You are prompted with a Yes / No pop-up to confirm or cancel removing the participant. If you choose Yes, the participant hears an announcement that the moderator has removed him or her from the conference, and the participant's telephone call into the conference ends. The panel representing this participant disappears from the Current Call window.

Directory

The Directory window allows you to manage the names that were stored for conference participants in the Current Call window for a past conference. These names are stored for future use, so that anyone who dials in to a later conference using the same calling number will be identified by this name, in both the Current Call window and the Conference History lists.

Click on the Directory button to display this window.

Directory window

When you edit the name of a conference participant in the Current Call window, the name that you specify is associated with the participant's telephone number and stored in a directory entry.

The Directory window allows you to manage these entries while you are not in the conference. The list of existing directory entries is shown at the bottom of the window.

  • To update the name or phone number of an existing directory entry, click on the phone number in this list. The Phone Number and Name edit boxes at the top of the screen change to show the current contents of this entry. Edit the contents as required, and then click on Save Entry.
  • To add a new directory entry, click on New Entry to clear the edit boxes at the top of the screen if any data is shown in them. Type the phone number and name, and then click on Save Entry.
  • To delete one or more existing directory entries, click on the Del checkbox next to each entry that you want to delete, and then click Delete Selected.

Conference Directory Window

History

The History window allows you to view a list of past conferences that you have managed. Click on the History button to display this window.

History window

Conference History Window

For each conference, the following information is displayed.

  • An optional name for this conference.
  • The time at which the conference started.
  • The total duration of the conference.
  • The maximum number of participants, which may include yourself as the moderator.
  • The number of participants, if any, who were rejected because the conference had already reached the limit on the number of participants in a conference.

To see more information about who took part in the conference, or about rejected participants, click on the number in the Max Participants or Rejected Participants column. The screen shows the following information for each participant:

  • The telephone number from which the participant dialed in, or the dialed number if you dialed out to invite the participant into the conference.
  • The name of the participant stored in the Directory, if there is one.
  • Whether or not the participant used HD audio.
  • For rejected participants only: The date and time at which this person attempted to join the conference.

If one or more participants withheld their telephone number when dialing in, there will be a single entry "ID withheld" in the list of participants. If two or more participants dialed in using the same telephone number, there will be only one entry for this number.

Recordings

The Recordings window allows you to view & manage conference recordings you have made.

Click on the Recordings button to display this window.

Recordings window

The screen shows the start time and duration of each recording. It may also display a message to inform you that one or more of your conference recordings will be automatically deleted after a specified time. You can download these recordings to your local computer if you need to store them for future reference.

Conference Recordings Window

  • To listen to a recording or save it to your local computer, click on the Download button.
  • To delete a recording when you no longer need it, click on the Delete button.
  • The number of recordings you currently have stored on the server.
  • The total time of recordings you currently have stored on the server.

Options

The Options window allows you to view and manage options that control how your conferences operate. Click on the Options button to display this window.

Options window

Conference Options Window

Logging Off

The Log Off button ends your use of the web interface. Click on this button when you have finished using the interface. If there is a conference in progress, logging off does not end the conference. You can continue to manage the conference using the Telephone Admin Interface, or log on again to continue using the web interface.

Information for Participants

This chapter describes how a participant accesses and uses Conferencing. It describes the telephone interface as it appears to the participant, so references to "you" in this chapter indicate a participant and not a moderator.

The Conferencing Telephone Interface allows you to access conferences using your telephone. You join a conference by dialing into this interface and identifying yourself by dialing a participant code.

To access the Telephone Interface, you will need the following information, which your conference moderator should give to you.

  • The access telephone number of the Telephone Interface
  • The participant code for Conferencing

If the conference account is permitted to use HD audio, and if you have compatible phone hardware, you will benefit from greatly increased audio quality across all aspects of the service: when listening to other HD participants, prompts, announcements, greetings and on-hold music. If you are in a conference with a mixture of HD participants and non-HD participants, you will only hear other HD participants in high-definition, while you will hear non-HD participants in standard quality.

Joining a Conference

To join a conference, dial the access telephone number for the Conferencing service.

  • You are prompted for the participant code. Enter this on your telephone keypad, then press the # (pound/hash) key.
  • If you do not dial the participant code correctly within 30 seconds, you hear an error message and are prompted to redial it. You have a total of three attempts to dial it; if you do not provide a valid code on the third attempt, your call will be dropped and you will need to dial the access telephone number again.
  • You are then prompted to record your name. This will be played in announcements within the conference to indicate that you have joined or left. Say your name clearly, then press the # key.

If your telephone does not have a # (pound/hash) key, you can still use the interface. After entering the code or recording your name, simply wait for a few seconds until the interface responds with the next prompt. The interface allows you 30 seconds to enter the participant code, and 10 seconds to record your name.

After dialing your participant code, you may hear a message indicating one of the following:

  • The conference is not scheduled at this time. Check the correct schedule and try again. If you are sure that this is the correct time for the conference but you experience repeated failures to join the conference, this may indicate that you have not been provided with the correct participant code. Contact your conference moderator to check this.
  • The conference has been locked. The conference moderator may choose to restrict the number of participants in a conference on a "first come, first served" basis, locking it when the maximum permitted number of participants has been reached.
  • The conference is full. If the number of participants in the conference has reached the maximum number permitted, you will not be able to join it.

When you have successfully joined the conference, you may hear a greeting message recorded by the conference moderator. After this, if the conference has not yet started, you hear on-hold music if the moderator has configured the conference to use it, or silence otherwise.

The conference typically starts when the moderator dials in. The on-hold music will stop and you’ll hear a series of tones announcing the start of the conference; depending on the configuration, this may be followed by an announcement of the moderator's name. (In some cases, the conference can start as soon as two participants have dialed in, even if the moderator has not yet joined, but the conference starts in the same way.)

You can then start to take part in the conference, and to use the functions described in the remainder of this chapter.

If the conference has already started when you join it, you do not hear on-hold music. Instead, depending on the conference options that have been enabled, you may hear any of the following.

  • A greeting message
  • Joining tones
  • A joining announcement including your recorded name

If none of these options are enabled, you will just be connected directly to the conference.

Quick Key Reference

Figure 8 provides an overview of the telephone interface.

Participant telephone navigation map

Telephone Navigation Map

Talking in the Conference

Depending on the purpose of the conference, your conference moderator may set up the conference so that participants can talk in the conference at any time (for example in a discussion meeting), or may mute participants' phones so that normally only the moderator can talk in the conference (for example in a lecture or presentation). If the moderator mutes your phone, you hear an announcement to indicate this.

If the moderator has muted your phone and you want to talk, press *9 on your telephone keypad. This alerts the moderator, who can then unmute your phone to allow you to talk in the conference. Again, you hear an announcement to indicate this.

Muting your Phone

In addition to the moderator's control of your phone as described in the previous section, you can also mute your own phone so that no sound is played into the conference. You may want to do this while you talk privately to someone in the room. To do this, press *2.

To unmute your phone so that you can resume talking in the conference, press *2 again.

Announcements in the Conference

Depending on how the conference is set up, or on actions taken by the moderator, you may hear one or more of the following announcements when the conference starts or while it is in progress.

  • An announcement that the conference is being recorded, or that recording is being stopped and the following section of the conference will not be recorded.
  • A series of tones to indicate that a participant has joined or left the conference. This may be followed by an announcement using the name that this participant recorded when joining the conference, for example "Joe has joined" or "Joe has left".
  • An announcement that the moderator has removed you from the conference.

Leaving and Returning to the Conference

To leave the conference, simply hang up the phone. If the conference is set up to announce participants joining and leaving, an announcement will be played to the remaining participants, indicating that you have left.

If you want to return to the conference while it is still running, dial in again as you did when joining the conference for the first time. If you hear on-hold music or silence when you do this, it generally means that the conference has already ended and you can no longer join it.

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