InfoStreet Offers Conference Calling for Cost-Conscious Businesses

As communication giants such as Cisco tout virtual meetings as the future of business, InfoStreet adds integrated conference calling to its suite of business management software.

Management software and software as a service provider InfoStreet announced the addition of integrated conference calling capabilities to StreetSmart, a suite of Web-based small business management software. The service, which will be provided at no extra charge, is integrated into the Calender application to facilitate convenience and improved workflow.

InfoStreet said this offering reflects a larger move by the company to provide "big business software and services" to the small business sector at prices they can afford. In addition, rather than provide a "flat" conference calling system, InfoStreet has integrated this feature into the aforementioned Calendaring application. Now, when users go to plan a meeting or send a meeting request/invite, one-click functionality will allow them to automatically have a unique conference number and call ID generated and included in the invite.

For recurring meetings, the system will maintain the same call details each time for added convenience. In addition to anytime/anywhere Web access, calendared items can also be synchronized with Outlook, Palm and Pocket PCs. Siamak Farah, CEO of InfoStreet, said today's work environment is all about collaboration, noting virtual meetings are on the rise due to the tight economic climate. "Whether it is collaboration with colleagues or clients or perspective customers, having the ability to connect people together easily - and at no extra cost - is a paramount," said Farah. "We know that our customers will quickly benefit and enjoy this StreetSmart feature enhancement."

As noted, virtual meetings are seen as a way to reduce businesses' communications expenses at a time when IT and travel budgets are tight. This August, American Express jumped into the virtual meeting space, unveiling the pilot program foreXpert, an offering that expands businesses' options for virtual meetings and helps companies determine whether a particular meeting would be better done online or face-to-face.

At Cisco's partner summit this June, company CEO John Chambers said collaboration and communication will be primarily video-based, predicting that within the next few years, 90 percent of all network traffic will be around video, and video will continue to play a larger role in communication and collaboration. Cisco also now uses Telepresence for its biggest internal meetings. A recent sales meeting that in the past would have required bringing employees in from all over the world for an average of $4,300 a person cost only $437 each.