Review: BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing for BlackBerry smartphones

By Ryan Blundell on 26 Sep 2011 05:03 pm
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BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing

Before RIM released their mobile conferencing application, I always found it a pain to join in on those types of calls – I would end up making sure I was back at my desk in order to use my landline. I would use this method, as I could view Outlook to see both the number and the password needed. BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing definitely had my interests in mind as it ended up doing most of the dialing duties itself. Doesn’t it make sense that your BlackBerry makes all types of communication so easy? You know your time is important, so BlackBerry Mobile conferencing helps you schedule and join conference calls almost effortlessly – especially with the seamless integration with both your BlackBerry Calendar with accessibility from your Email. For those who are looking for an easier way to participate in conference calls, without losing mobility (or asking someone to dial in for you), let’s review what BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing can do.

About BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing

This application was announced as a beta back in April and was then officially released in June. It is available for BlackBerry smartphones running OS 5.0 or higher. The supported countries list only consists of Canada and the United States at this time. Currently in version 1.0.0.50, it has a file size of 569 KB.

Cost: free

Rating in BlackBerry App World: 3/5

If you haven’t read the release notes, or the online user guide, after installing the application, you probably thought- ok I have it, where the heck is it and what do I do with it? Well let’s get the application set up before we get into functionality.

Conferencing Profiles

The application allows you to set up multiple conferencing profiles; up to five, to be exact. Audio Profiles are the key ingredient to streamlining conference call access. To create, edit or delete profiles, you need to head to your native Calendar application. From there, press the menu button and select Conference Profiles. You can assign a conference number (which could be internal, direct or a toll free number), which can be followed by either a Moderator or Participant access code (or both!). After that, you then name the profile and add a description (optional). Mobile Conferencing is smart enough to recognize when you add a pause or a “wait” (represented by a comma or exclamation mark, respectively). You can use these in cases where you need to identify yourself as a moderator with the required passcode, thereby making the command automatic.

BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing create profile

BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing Creating profile

Creating a scheduled conference call

Now there are a couple of ways you can create a conference call using this application. Adding a conference call is very similar to adding a new appointment in your Calendar. As you look at the New Appointment page, you will notice an additional button staring at you - "add conference detail”. This button redirects you to your Conference Profiles, once you select a profile; the details are then listed under the notes section of the calendar appointment. If modifications need to be made to the number or access code, the appointment entry screen also has an Edit Conference Details button. From your inbox, select an email then press Menu> Schedule Conference and follow the steps above.

BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing create schedule

The Call

BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing dialing

I just loved how easy it was to dial out to the conference call. All that you do is access the appointment in your Calendar. There’s a button named “Join Now” that, when pressed will dial in for you. Remember when I mentioned the access codes, and pausing earlier? This is where you will see those commands executed. Simple as that. If you are, for some reason, dropped from a conference call, you can click the Reconnect button to rejoin. Just make sure that you review the details prior to making the call to ensure you are supposed to be joining as the organizer or as a participant and that your pauses and pins are entered correctly.

Conclusion

BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing is the kind of app you don’t think of (or need to) and fits smoothly into my routine. I don’t miss mashing out bridge numbers and access codes every time I want to join a call. Hopefully this review helps those who asked “What do I do?” and enables you to benefit from this application. You can grab BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing, for free, from BlackBerry App World.

More information/download BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing for BlackBerry smartphones
Watch the demo video

27 comments

sbx9900

i have used it several times already...very convenient, as it is integrated into your calendar....once the notification goes off, all you have to do is press the "Join now" button and it will do all the dialing for you. All you need to do is press 1 to confirm....

first?

jimpilot

Been using it since beta and love it. Saves me from getting up early to make calls.

Blackberry_boffin

Okay next: Video calls and video conferencinng.

palm

Nice app but very sad for me.
This is one of super apps not available in my country (Portugal).
I don't need it in Portuguese, English is perfect for us. I can also help to translate. Sure don't need because there's some Portuguese in RIM.
I getting bored because I don't have access to this apps in my device.
There are other apps I don't have here like:
Blackberry Podcasts
Blackberry Travel
Blackberry News Reader
The ap for Ebay
etc, etc
How long I'm going to stay using Blackberry ?

Joe257

Is this an issue of apps not being available in Portugal or simply apps not being available for your BlackBerry model? Some of those apps aren't available for all recent models of BlackBerry. This is a result of RIM having too many models to support. If they're having issues porting to other BlackBerrys & testing against numerous platforms, you can bet third party companies have the very same issue.

The result is buggier software and system instability... or your App World just shrunk from the 30,000+ apps to maybe 12,000.

For example, BlackBerry Mobile Conference is available for the Torch 9850, but I cannot get it for the 9860. Really??? It says that all OS 5.0 and newer devices are supported. That doesn't appear to be true. Is this an issue with the carriers? Perhaps RIM can answer this one.

netviper

How about a go to meeting app PLEASE

Bob G

This is just another example of how BlackBerry is so much more *advanced* than iOS or Android. These little details make BlackBerry the ultimate tool for business productivity. Yet, reading the mainstream press would give one the impression that, unless you can choose from 100,000 entertainment apps, a smartphone is worthless.

Joe257

Hey, Bob, I think we supporters of the BlackBerry platform, understand this best. It's not about the silly games or playful apps.

If you want a gaming machine, get a Sony Vita! It rocks!!! If you want a real smartphone that really knows and does business, get a BlackBerry.

Now, I applaud Apple for paving the way to a new reality in user interfaces, and their hardware & software excellence is impeccable. However, that isn't why I buy a phone. I buy a smartphone because it handles my messaging with ease, syncs my calendar & contacts effortlessly, and the device itself is built like nothing else. Solid and reliable. Until BB7 devices, battery life was amazing. I'll see if RIM returns to its roots rather than going for the quick sale -- thin but less than average battery life.

RIM needs to go OLED with their phones for less power drain and easier readability in bright sunlight. However, I am still pleased with the display on my 9860. It's wonderful. Even with the backlight down to its lowest setting, I can still read the display in bright sunlight! Nice!

Bob G

Sure, I'd *like* more battery life on my 9900, but considering the tradeoff (thinner, lighter, cheaper) I'd call it 'adequate' (not as good as my 9700, better than my Android/Samsung Captivate, but on par with my wife's iPhone 3GS).

Joe257

Okay, would you trade thin for more battery life? That is the question. Should RIM build for a larger battery or a thinner device?

I'd much rather a longer battery life in my device. In the course of a day, perhaps you won't notice if you're a light user. Nevertheless, if you are stuck outdoors and don't have access to an outlet or car adapter, then what?

Thin is nice, perhaps really nice, but what good is your device if it is dead! I'd rather have enough battery life to last me a day and a half, for a medium-heavy user. The 9700 and 9800 come to mind. Perhaps a 1500 mAh battery would have done the trick in the present day 9900/9960.

BravoBBY

OTA anyone?? Stupid app world is not working on my phone.

Joe257

The app may not be available just yet to all devices. Some BB7 devices may have to wait a bit. I don't think it's quite ready yet... at least based on last week. I couldn't find it for the 9860 yet.

HofstraJet

Great app. Use it daily - only issue is that if the organizer doesn't put the dial-in information properly, the app can't see it. Otherwise, I love it. Can store domestic and international conf call profiles and add them very quickly to meeting requests, Joining is simple as well.

yivek

Blackberry manages conference calls well already. Edit your meeting invite and put in a "x" at the end of the phone number and then the your passcode with a "#". Now when you open the meeting invite and you click on the phone number and tell it to "dial" it will dial the number, pause for 3 seconds and then enter the pass code with the # sign to get you into the conference.

Don't get me wrong the button is easier, but Blackberry does it better than other phones I have seen without an app.

Chad305

Chad305 - Do the participants on the call have to have a BlackBerry as well?????

HofstraJet

This has nothing to do with the other participants as far as dialing in. If you are the meeting organizer, the app adds the relevant dial-in details for all participants to the meeting calendar item. If they have a BB and the app, they too will get the "Join now" dialog box at the meeting time. Otherwise, the dial-in info just shows up in the body of the calendar item for others to read and dial-in normally.

Vanti

This is going to come in handy so much when they release the new qnx phones which are rumored to have front facing cameras and the app gets the necessary updates

Joe257

Yes, I've noticed the camera hole :) Yup, 10 o'clock as you suggested. My thoughts is that it was an initial design idea but they dropped it as they couldn't get it integrated in the timeframe they had. Maybe the guts are really in there (never checked)!

Some may not see it in bright light, but in low light conditions, it is certainly visible.

ekkescorner

not available in Germany - only CA + US :(

gtamhankar

One of the best apps in our (app) world!

I agree that such nuances help BB score better points but they should shout from the top of the buildings to make people aware of these...

JNM

I recall posting a comment/question here asking if this is different that what already comes on the Bold 9900 but that has disappeared. Did I ask improperly?

Anyways, I was only wondering if this offers something other that what is already on devices like the 9900 or if was meant for older devices that may not have this support built in. I do not recall having install anything in my Bold so it must have been included.

joeberrymomma

OS6 already has a conference setting. Open up any calendar event, scroll down and check the box Conference Call. Input the phone number and pass code in the appropriate fields. When the calendar reminder comes up, you will see "join now button." BB does the rest, dialing the conference line and code for you.

As the meeting organizer, you probably have a number and pass code you use regularly.
Open your calendar, select options on the BB Menu and then Conference Calling. You can input your regular conference number and pass code. Then when you want to schedule a conference call for an appointment, scroll down on the event, check the box conference call and your conference call number and pass code will auto populate the fields.

So, what does the app do that the stock OS6 does not?
Reading the article it looks like actually scheduling a conference call with other people may be a little easier, meaning you send a meeting request to other people and the conference call info is already in the invite? That would be cool.

How about inbound emails/meeting requests from other people where you are not the originator. Is it easy to add the conference call details from the calendar invite? That would also be a plus.

Lastly, if it integrates into the calendar, then I would expect calendar sync with outlook to flawless as well.

I recall in earlier releases, the conference call profiles were limited. Has this changed?

Life is like a cup of coffee http://bit.ly/ic8IFp

joeberrymomma

Downloaded the app. It essentially takes away the check box that OS6 already provided. Can now store multiple profiles, whereas the stock OS, could only store one. Actually creating a profile for the first time is a bit clunky though. The drop down on the calendar for choosing profile only has the default "current details." Did not see a way to create a profile any other way than to select new appointment and then "add conference call details." I then just deleted the appointment. The drop down should clearly have "create new profile, or provide a short list of saved profiles to select.

Other than this, the app is a nice upgrade to the stock OS. Especially if I get a meeting request with conference call details. The app will take care of the rest. That is something the OS would not do unless I was the meeting originator using my one stored profile. Also, the ability to send a meeting request with the conference call dial-in number and participant pass code already embedded into the calendar invite details is awesome! Worth the 800+KB's in my book.

Joe257

My 9860 does not have Mobile Conference. Where can I get it? App World won't present it to my 9860, but my 9800 (work Torch) has it! Not fair!

swegeman

Saddly RIM thought it would be a good idea to automatically add the # symbol at the end of the acess codes. Well some people (Genesys meeting center) can't have the # symbol at the end of the code because it can't connect when it hears the # symbol. I have called RIM and it cannot be removed from the access code with version 1.0.0.50. But if you don't have an access code if won't dial the # which is good! Because you can just enter the access code in the confrenece number as a work around for the #. So if you are getting fustrated by the # in the access code then just create a confrence profile with the participant or moderator access code in the confrence dial number then X follwed by the access code as a work around for now!