MobileDay – Making Audio Conference Calls Work On Smart Phones

Each day I do at least two, and sometimes as many as a half dozen, audio conference calls. I make almost all of them from my iPhone when I’m walking somewhere or driving in my car. I find the process of dialing into a conference totally insane, maddening, and archaic. Here’s how it usually goes when I’m in the car.

  1. I go to my calendar on my iPhone at the appointed conference time.
  2. I try to memorize the conference call id. If I’m lucky, the phone number is underlined so I don’t have to remember that.
  3. I dial the number (or it dials automatically). Once the conference bridge answers, I press the keypad (#) icon on the phone.
  4. As I’m driving, I try not to crash into something as I type the conference code.
  5. By this point, I’ve often forgotten the code, press the home button on my iPhone, go back to my calendar, read the code again, press the home button, go back to the phone icon, and try to finish entering the number before it times out. If it times out I get a second chance (usually) and go back to step #4.
  6. Usually I’ll get into the conference. But if I don’t, I go back to step #1, but only after screaming “fuck” at the top of my lungs at my phone.
  7. Once I’m in the conference, I once again go back to concentrating on driving. I usually realize that I’ve paid no attention to the road for the last 30 seconds.
  8. If I’m driving to the Denver airport, I can guarantee that at least one time during the call I will drop and have to start over at step #1.

All I really want is a notification to pop up on my phone when it’s time for a conference call that allows me to have one touch access into any conference call automagically.

This is what MobileDay does. And it’s available now on iPhone and Android. Go try it and give me feedback.

 

It’s an early release so there will be plenty of rough spots, conference call numbers that don’t have the right sequence in their database, and funny iPhone glitches (since Apple locks down a lot of the phone dialing stuff), but I’ve been using it for all scheduled phone calls for the last 30 days and it’s rapidly improving with each release, especially based on user feedback as we learn all the different cases we need to solve for.

The MobileDay team has been quickly adding features like being able to – within the app – send email and SMS messages to meeting participants (for example to tell people I’m running five minutes late) and automatically map locations of meetings from the address block.

I was involved in the creation of reservationless audioconferencing, which was pioneered by Raindance (I was a seed investor) in 1997. Today, reservationless audioconferencing is ubiquitous (and I view it as a platform for communication), but the UX has been relatively unchanged and is still optimized for phones with keypads that don’t have integrated calendars and scraps of papers with numbers scribbled on them. It’s time for a completely new way to interact with this platform and MobileDay is obsessively focused on this. Play around and help us focus on the key things that are needed to make this a completely flawless experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/meshugineh Joel Wishkovsky

    I’m a big fan of MobileDay. I’ve been using it for the past month or so too and it has been invaluable, especially when I’m traveling.

    • http://twitter.com/MobileDayApp MobileDay

      thanks Joel!

  • namit

    It is a valid problem all over the globe. Is there an app that is similar for India & China?
    (Not sure why is this app not available for these geographies.)

    • http://twitter.com/MobileDayApp MobileDay

      Another great idea. MobileDay will one day solve the international mobile conference calling problem as well. For now, we are aimed at a flawless mobile experience in North America. Hope you enjoy!

      • http://www.pointsandfigures.com pointsnfigures

        Solve this. The only reason I have a landline phone is because multiple people can talk on a call easily. When grandparents call, it’s easy to get the entire family on the line to interact. On cell phones, it’s more point to point unless you use the speakerphone and the quality isn’t as good. We need an app to add cell phones to a call easily so multiple people can talk.

  • http://freepository.com John Minnihan

    wonder how often you’re actually bridged in at step #6

    I’ve heard people mumble / cuss / rant at least a 1/2 dozen times over the years as they believe they aren’t yet connected, but in fact… are. fun stuff

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Hah – I expect more often than I realize.

      • http://jackdempsey.me Jack Dempsey

        This really cracked me up. “So how’s everyone *beep* FUCK!!…..hi Brad…”

  • jusben1369

    That is so true. And I noticed a disturbing trend over the last few years. Connection codes have gotten longer and longer. They used maybe 6 digits like “347 622″ but now they’re full phone number codes.

    Conference call systems are designed by stationary people and sold to stationary people for use by road warriors. But you’re right. A proactive call that asked you for a verbal password “Rotten tomatoes” would be pretty awesome.

    • http://twitter.com/MobileDayApp MobileDay

      Great idea!

  • http://www.thefeinline.com mfeinstein

    Definitely a problem for me. I want this app to work!

    The Android app seems to get hung up a lot. I end up with a lot of the ‘Wait/Force Close’ dialog box. I just keep hitting ‘Wait’, and it finally catches up.

    Also, two conference services I use didn’t connect seamlessly. One of them asks you to press ‘1’ after you dial the PIN to confirm you dialed the right one. I had to do that from the keypad. The other one has a PIN that you enter after the conference ID. That dialing sequence didn’t work well. It would be good if you could customize the dialing sequence when you set up these accounts so you could work around these issues, of which there are probably many.

    • http://twitter.com/MobileDayApp MobileDay

      Thank you for the feedback. This is EXACTLY what we are seeking to understand about user experience on the varied phone/operating system/carrier combinations that Android has in the marketplace.

      The first concern may be device memory related in your case. We have seen some of this and have it addressed in the update to come soon. In your second comment, a PIN is typically reserved for the host of a call. If this is the case you can set up your host profile for the provider you use under Settings one time. It will then recognize you are the ost, dial the PIN when required and allow for One-Touch access to those calls. Should this not be the case, send us an email to support@mobileday.com with your dial in # and some detail about the call you are trying to enter and we will address it in detail ASAP! Thanks again!

  • Eric Neef

    Love this app. Just installed it after reading your blogpost. Can’t wait to use it more.

  • http://twitter.com/billralston Bill Ralston

    Good point on the UI, why hasn’t it evolved to call the attendee? It would be awesome to see the app bridge the call like Google Voice does, calling me first and explaining what the meeting is about, and then calling in for me and connecting the lines.

    • http://twitter.com/MobileDayApp MobileDay

      Bill. This feature does exist with many conference service providers (CSPs) today, at a metered cost due to telecom transport usually, as not all connections are IP end to end to date. It is usually initiated form a visual interface like a web browser so multiple devices are typically required. To keep calls free when the service provider offers that model to users, this feature is not enabled due to cost containment by the provider.

      The audio call/meeting explanation at call receipt is a great idea as well!

  • http://twitter.com/hims Himanshu Sahani

    I use pause:p or time delay:t all the time with my calling cards and conf calls

  • http://rfreeborn.blogspot.com/ rfreeborn

    I’m going to pass this on to my iPhone and Android using friends as my Luddite self remains enamored with BB (please fix yourself $RIM….please!!) and *love* to use BB Mobile Conferencing #flawlessvictory (in my best Mortal Kombat voice)

  • http://www.repeatablesale.com/ Scott Barnett

    Hear hear! I laughed reading your use case, I go through EXACTLY the same thing. Unfortunately, my company is not BYOD-compliant yet, so I’m required to use a BB which sucks. I do have a personal phone using Android, so I downloaded that, I got an error trying to login via Facebook, I will try again later.

    One “trick” for BB (or iPhone/Android) users – when I schedule a conf. call myself, I put the phone number AND conf ID in the Subject line with all the ‘#’ and ‘….’ necessary for it to be fully automatic. So, when I click that number, it goes through the whole process without me having to remember anything. Of course, this doesn’t work for other people’s conferences, but if you ask them to send it in that format (or edit the invite) then it cuts down on the bad driving habits.

  • http://sisyph.us/ ErikSchwartz

    The IP of my old company could totally solve this problem if it were integrated by a conference call company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.ronchetti Frank Ronchetti

    Wow, that’s pretty irresponsible Brad. Check out http://www.distraction.gov/.

  • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

    That’s a brilliant app/idea. I’m going to try it.

    #4 & #5 are so familiar to me as well!

  • James Mitchell

    Given how busy you are and how much money you make, it is beyond ridiculous that you do not have a chauffeur.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      When I travel I never drive. I hate to drive. Uber has been wonderful for that recently as it’s a lot more cost efficient than having a driver all day.

      However, when I’m home in Boulder I drive as I live in a hard to get to place. I’ve missed flights because the car service couldn’t get to my house at 4am because the driver couldn’t find it. I’ve decided that’s not worth the anxiety.

      • James Mitchell

        You are using a car service, which is OK when you are traveling but not in Boulder. You should have a full-time personal assistant whose responsibilities include chauffeuring. Or pool him/her with your FG partners. If you took 1 percent of your share of the profits you made from Zynga, you could probably pay for such a person for the next 100 years. At $25 all in, at 40 weeks a year, you are talking only $50,000 a year.

        Get a Lincoln Town car, which has the smoothest ride of any car manufacturer, and has lots of room in the back. Set it up with a built in desk, a computer, a real telephone which is easier to use than a mobile phone, and you can be 100 percent productive.

        You are an example of what I called the “underlimousinization of America.” The top 1 percent of income earners radically underspend on limousines, given what their time is worth.

        Hopefully in a few car a car that can drive itself (like the Google car) will be commercially available.

        One of the things I love about Uber is that you can see where you car is and have a sense of when it will arrive. With normal taxi services, you call up, it’s 15 minutes later, the car has not arrived, you then call up and ask where the car is, and the operator (who is different than the dispatcher) has no idea, and they don’t let you talk with the dispatcher. And if they tell you something, they probably are lying or just making it up.

      • James Mitchell

        Your post prompted me to consider using Uber. These bozos do not have telephone support! You could be stranded in Detroit, worried about your personal safety, wondering where you car is, and you have to depend on sending them emails. It’s too bad they have done this, this means I would never consider using them.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          Did you actually try the service? You can communicate easily with them – and the driver – via SMS. And the driver’s location is mapped on real time on the app.

  • Erica Brandon Phelps

    I’m reading everyone’s comments, and my original thought to this blog post still lingers – what is the advantage to any of this over skype mobile? I use it all the time and it’s seamless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erika-Tyker-Werner/725249208 Erika Tyker-Werner

    This is plain awesome. Thanks for sharing and helping make the world a little safer. ;)

  • Josh

    This falls into the “why didn’t I think of that!?!” category. Awesome app, it’ll get A LOT of use from me!

  • http://twitter.com/djbressler David Bressler

    Hi Brad,

    Where can I leave feedback? Downloaded as fast as I could touch the screen! This is a huge problem/frustration.

    I wonder why it requires a Host Code? I’d like to enter a bunch of my colleague’s numbers – so that if I know I’m getting on with Brad, I’ll just dial into his call, and I won’t always have the host code. I know I can make one up, but wonder why it’s required (and if it really should be).

    I’m sure i’ll have other feedback, really looking forward to using this.

    David

  • http://www.facebook.com/wetzler Michelle Wetzler

    Got another great service for you. My buddy just made a personal conference line service that doesn’t require any access code. And it texts you when people have joined your line. https://www.hipdial.com/

  • Elisa Camahort Page

    You may just save my life with this. Seriously, the curves of 280 aren’t meant for trying to remember and enter an eight digit conference code.

    You’re screaming of “Fuck” reminds me of the time I was trying, for once, to use my voice dialing…both on my iPhone and my car’s…to dial one of my colleagues. After multiple failed attempts I screamed “Jesus Christ”, and heard in reply “There are multiple listings that match that command.”

    All this time, and I didn’t realize I had a direct line…

  • http://www.pointsandfigures.com pointsnfigures

    thanks for this, and thanks to them for trying to solve this problem. I didn’t get to the midpoint of your blogpost. Read the first part and went to the app store….

  • http://twitter.com/Thoughthound Luke Sankey

    Both me and my business partner and I want to try out Mobileday, for all the reasons you state in the intro. However; we both have Samsung SGII mobiles (updated to Ice Cream Sandwich) and Asus Transformer tablets and it isn’t compatible on any of our devices.
    Do you know why this is and when it will catch up?

    • http://twitter.com/MobileDayApp MobileDay

      The Samsung ICS phones are compatible with MobileDay. Can you gice Google Play another try? We have several ICS phones in the office for testing. We do not have tablet support just yet. Support at mobileday dot com is the best place to get answers to further questions or support on this. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/joshhuang joshhuang

    This is awesome! I can’t believe they aren’t charging for this!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Glad you like it. There will be some premium services coming but our plan is to keep the base app free.

  • http://www.loupaglia.com/correlate loupaglia

    Laughed out loud on this post. Countless times have I had similar experiences getting into the conference bridge from my mobile, the process is far from ideal even when you have your computer there with the cal open. Having to type the credentials is Byzantine. Absolutely trying this app, great tip.

  • Pingback: MobileDay – Making Audio Conference Calls Work On Smart Phones – SchemaByte

  • Pingback: free credit reports

  • Pingback: quote for car insurance

  • Pingback: affordable auto insurance augusta ga