Joining WHWB Teleconferences

Workplace Health Without Borders holds its monthly teleconferences and some of its committee meetings using the web conference application Calliflower. Access to the meetings is by both Web and telephone. To join meetings you can open a free participants account at Calliflower.com. The Web channel is of course accessed via the Calliflower web site, usually from a link received from Calliflower, by email, or alternatively by joining the meeting from your participant’s account. Here you link to the WHWB conference call by supplying the WHWB conference code number. Calliflower will always send you a reminder of any meeting where you have RSVP’d. If you go to the Calliflower site by following the link in the email reminder, you are automatically connected to the correct conference without having to enter a conference number.

To access the conference audio, the simplest approach is to dial in to a local Calliflower telephone number, if one is available. On the Calliflower web site there is a link to the list of countries and cities with local Calliflower numbers. While there are many North American cities listed, there are fewer numbers for other parts of the world, typically with only the capital cities of some countries represented. When you call a local number (assuming one is available) you will be asked for the conference code. When you supply this number followed by the # sign, you will be placed in conference.

Using Skype
An alternative approach for audio is to call in to Calliflower using Microsoft Skype, a voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP). This allows people to dial in from a computer using the Skype number pad. Details are available at the Calliflower web site, but all that is required is to accept Calliflower as a contact and then call to Calliflower using the same procedure as you would use to make any Skype call. When you connect to Calliflower, you will be asked to enter your conference code, which you will have received in your invitation to the meeting. To enter this code, you must use the Skype dial pad, which is accessed using the Skype call menu at the top of the Skype window. Select: call/show dial pad. After entering the conference code, you will be placed in conference.

Using Calliflower Connect

Anyone with access to the Internet can use Calliflower’s own VOIP system, Calliflower Connect. I use this in preference to Skype because it is slightly easier for me. I do not have to fumble with the Skype dial pad where I usually make at least one or two errors before correctly entering the conference code. Although there is a local call in number for Toronto, I normally use Calliflower Connect instead. The instructions for using Calliflower Connect from their web site are as follows:

“Using Calliflower Connect is simple. Log in to your account on the Calliflower web dashboard. If your meeting is currently active, the green menu bar near the top will have a call button that will show you your calling options when you click it.

Click the green ‘Call Now’ button to call using Calliflower Connect. Your browser will then ask you to accept media permissions so that you can use your microphone with Calliflower. Once you’ve done that, you will be connected straight to your call, without needing to enter a PIN.”

If you have not opened a Calliflower connect user account, there is another procedure which I find is faster and easier for me.  To use this alternative approach, it is important that the Calliflower application not be already open on your computer when you call in. Trying to access Calliflower Connect directly from the Calliflower website does not work, at least for me. Instead, I always use the following procedure which works very well.

Easy Calliflower Access

The simplest way to use Calliflower Connect is to always RSVP when you receive a notification of a WHWB meeting and indicate that you will attend. The invitation usually goes out 1-2 weeks before the meeting. If you RSVP indicating your intention to attend, you will receive an email reminder about 12-15 minutes before the meeting is to begin. This reminder will show a graphic similar to the following on the screen.

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This graphic is as it appears on my computer in Toronto, Canada. Others will see a different local telephone number, or no number at all, if there is no local number for your city.

Note the link Use Calliflower Connect and the Conference Code used to check into the conference. Click on the Calliflower Connect link at the conference start time and Adobe Flash Player will then ask you to accept media permissions so that you can use your microphone with Calliflower as shown below.

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Pause for a few seconds at this point to ensure that the application has fully loaded, then give permission to Calliflower to use your audio, by clicking on the “Allow” radio button, then clicking “Close”. You will then be connected straight to your call, without needing to enter the PIN. Your web browser will open to the conference, if it is in session. If it is not, you will get a voice message telling you that the session will start when the moderator joins the conference. Warning! If you hear this message, close the browser window and wait a minute then click the Calliflower Connect link again. After waiting for the application to load fully, then giving permission to Calliflower to use your audio, you should hear that the meeting has started and someone is speaking. You will hear the audio through your earphones or headset. If your computer speakers are on, you should immediately mute your microphone. If you do not, feedback from your speakers to the microphone will interfere with the audio of all attendees.

You can only use your computer speakers to listen to the meeting if your microphone is muted and remains muted. If you wish to be able to speak to the conference, make sure you are using headphones, ear-buds, or a headset. Any headphones or headset that is compatible with your computer/tablet/smartphone will work for receiving the audio channel and will reduce the chance of feedback from your computer interfering with the meeting. I have the best audio experience using a USB headset or handset. Muting your microphone at all times when you are not speaking to the group helps reduce interference from your location. Of course you must remember to un-mute the microphone before speaking.

Using a Calliflower Participant Account

If you simply go to the Calliflower website, you will see this dialogue box. If you have a free participants account, you can log in and join the meeting from there by entering the meeting number (4711575). If you do not have a participants account, opening one will allow you to participate in Calliflower meetings using it.

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It is important to use the appropriate password to access our Calliflower meetings this way. I often have problems with an “Invalid Meeting” message when trying to login through my participants account. You may find the method I described above of connecting through the meeting reminder email is easier than having to first log in to a participants account. Try it!

Zoom for Teleconferencing – An Alternative to Calliflower?

Zoom is a great alternative to Skype for both one-to-one and small group calls. It is considerably simpler to use than both Skype and Calliflower, but has some minor constraints for large meetings.  For one-to-one calls it is an amazing application, featuring all you could want in a communications package. It is great for on-line teaching and mentoring. For more details on Zoom and to register for a free account, go to zoom.us.

There is a document with more details on Zoom on this site at this link:

Using Zoom For Teleconferencing (PDF)

There is a recent training webinar on using Zoom here:

https://zoom.us/recording/play/XgK-_tqshT3wg-fsXnvLbKzge_M_cfxpzil5CrnY7v4rV8zi9L2quOECKPP5xaBv