As efficient as the Web can be at giving people in disparate locations a centralized spot to exchange memos, messages, and flowcharts, sometimes live communications are called for—especially for things like time-sensitive projects or sales presentations. In those cases, the Web can welcome everyone into the same conference call or virtual room, so you can hammer out the details in real time. Conference-call setup on the Web can be less expensive than using an audio- conferencing service, and you can usually have at least 25 people on the line—far too many for an IM audio-video chat.
When the time comes to round up everyone in the project for a progress meeting, a conference call (by telephone) lets you cut right to the chase, especially if half the team is in San José, the other half is in New Jersey, and the client is in Indianapolis. When it comes time to set up the call for all involved, FreeConference.com (www.freeconference.com) gives you a gathering place. It provides a dial-in number for all your participants to use, as well as an access code to punch in so they can enter the digital conference room and talk to the others.
FreeConference.com has three levels of service:
Reservationless Standard. This free service is fine for small, uncomplicated group chats. (Free, that is, except for the actual phone calls the participants make.) No registration is required. You pick out your own dial-in number from the site's directory—numbers ...