BT to offer teleconferencing service with Internet link-up

BT is to launch a telephone and Internet teleconferencing service this autumn, which gives businessmen and women in distant offices the chance to “see” each other.

Conference Call Forum aims to do away with the confusion of conference calls by giving participants the chance to log onto an Internet site and see “virtual” representations of themselves sitting round a table.

No extra equipment is needed – just a phone and Internet access. The access software is free, but the cost of the service has yet to be set.

An icon on the screen shows who is talking, and when a delegate wants to ask a question, a button can be pressed on the phone keypad and an icon in the shape of a hand appears on screen.

BT Conferencing head of marketing Simon Lubin claims the teleconferencing market is poised to explode, increasing at a rate of 100 per cent year-on-year.

He adds: “Companies can’t carry on with meetings as they are, it’s not cost effective. We are trying to accelerate behavioural change.”

Lubin aims to educate the business community about the benefits of joint Internet and audio meetings – primarily cutting travel and cost – before following up with information about the actual products.

Conference Call Forum will be promoted with a 250,000 above-the-line advertising spend at launch.

Its more basic sister product, Conference Call Presenter, uses phone and Internet where data, graphics or pictures can be shown to up to 100 people for a flat rate of 100.

A 2m national BT radio and press advertising campaign for Presenter breaks this week through Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray.

It focuses on the cost and travel savings and a free one-hour meeting trial.

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