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Feature Article of Thursday, 12 January 2012

Columnist: Agyemang, Frank

Promoting teleconferencing in Corporate Ghana

Global village is a term used to describe the world because it is now easier for people to contact each other quicker by the means of different communication types. It’s now like a single village where information flows freely from one end to the other within some few minutes.
If the whole world is being regarded as a global village then it is not wrong to assume that corporate organizations would soon be recognized as global homes within the global village.
Corporate organisations in Ghana are growing faster and spreading out across the ten regions. Since offices and employees can be thousands of miles apart, getting everyone into the same room for meetings and training is practically impossible. That might halt company’s core operation and affect productivity.
The option is now for these companies to look out for a reasonable means of conducting conferences, seminars, trainings and demonstrations for their frontline or branch managers. For corporate organisations that keep an eye on their bottom line and want to be up-to-date on issues, conference calls are the perfect budget-reducing solutions for executive meetings. Not only will it eliminate costly travel expenses but will definitely reduce the inevitable delays that occur when busy officers have competing schedules. . It enables people in many different locations to receive information first-hand and simultaneously.
Without leaving their offices, staff members and executives can have effective meetings that reach several people who might not otherwise be able to come together. Teleconferencing reduces the need for holding several meetings in different geographic areas, thereby decreasing public involvement costs, particularly staff time and travel. It often enables senior officials to interact with regional or district representatives when such an opportunity would not exist otherwise, due to distance and schedule concerns.
Fast growing religious and educational institutions also definitely require teleconferencing platform to cut down cost of transportation and the per diems usually associated with official trips for seminars and meetings.
This is where Forum Networks comes in. Forum Networks is the number one voice and data value added provider in Ghana operating the single largest tele-conferencing bridge in West Africa and delivering its service through the GSM network of MTN Ghana.
The exciting thing about Forum Networks platform is that it can handle up to 1,000 participants on one call. Larger groups could also be accommodated based on an arrangement.
As part of their network roll-out Forum Networks needed an SS7 interconnect. To keep their upfront CAPEX low they wanted to utilise existing Cisco Media Gateways in their network rather than replace them with an SS7 enabled Media Gateway. To achieve this they turned to SS7 specialists Squire Technologies who remotely deployed and installed the SVI-MGC SS7 Media Gateway Controller. This significantly reduced their upfront CAPEX and gave them the security of working with global SS7 specialists for the installation and support of their interconnect.
The platform allows anyone to log on to Forum’s website (www.forum.com.gh), obtain their own conferencing number and access code and hold a conference or audio meeting at anytime. Once a user has a number, they simply give the number, the access code and the meeting time to all participants.
At the meeting time, all participants dial in to the conference number, enter the access code they received and they are all connected together. The service allows participants to exchange documents through screen-sharing on a computer or tablet.
There is no charge for using the service. Only normal call charges apply.
Politicians can also make use of the platform, especially taking into consideration that this year is an election year. The platform provides political parties a unique way to effectively strengthen their relationship with the electorate.
The technology gives politicians the platform for electronic fund raising, E-rally and on-the-fly town hall meetings. It is a secured platform to organize party meetings with members including those outside Ghana.
“We are happy for this announcement. It has taken us over a year to get here and it was worth every minute. With the platform we have deployed we are enabling collaboration, increasing productivity and improving bottom lines. There is some use in it for everyone....Corporate collaboration without vehicular traffic, Distance education, Polling Station Attendant training for reliable elections, and much more. We look forward to growing it and introducing other innovative value-added products that make meaningful contributions to our society”– Kwesi Amoafo-Yeboah, Chairman, Forum Networks Limited.

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