Productivity

Make ridiculously easy conference calls with Speek

Traditional conference calls can be a huge hassle. There's the phone number, the password, and, if a Web site is involved, a registration (which itself often requires yet another password).

Speek promises hassle-free conferencing calling--and from what I've seen, it delivers.

It works like this: You sign up for an account, choosing a custom username that'll double as your unique URL. For example: Speek.com/pcworld.

Next, you hand out that address via email, text message, or whatever. When it's time for the call, participants click the link, then type in their phone number. Speek dials that number, and presto, the person who answers is immediately on the call.

At the same time, that Web page transforms into a call page where you can share files, add callers (via phone, email, or SMS), and so on. It's all blissfully easy.

When the call is over, Speek immediately emails you a call history that details who was on the call, how long it lasted, and any documents shared.

In my brief tests, Speek performed exactly as advertised. I especially liked the conference-room-table visual that accompanies each call.

However, Speek can't deal with extensions, so if you're calling in from the office, you'll have to dial in manually via a toll-free number and PIN.

As noted earlier, Speek is free, though the company plans to roll out a Pro version in the future. Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but you can get upgraded to Pro right now simply by referring a friend to the service.

Obviously there are lots of ways to work around normal conference-call hassles. For example, CrowdCall for Android and iOS lets you set up a call right from your smartphone, and MobileDay makes it easier to join a call from your phone. But Speek really does keep things as easy as can be, and you can't beat the price.

Now if only someone would invent a technology to keep the boss from blathering on for 45 minutes. (Just kidding, boss!)

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