Feature Request: One-Button Conference Calls

I’ve decided to start a series of posts that I’ll call Feature Request. I’m going to gripe about things that bug me with existing devices, services, sites, life, etc. and also wonder aloud why certain features (or entire products) don’t exist. If anyone can point me to a product that solves my problem or knows about someone working on a solution to this problem, please let me know. This was partially inspired by Joshua Schachter’s rant about bad alarm clock UI. (Credit goes to Om for direction my attention to this.)

If you were to observe my daily activities, you might conclude that I am a professional emailer, phone caller and meeting attendee. Many meetings I attend virtually via conference call. Untold hours of productivity have been sapped by the idiotic machinations involved in setting up a conference call on a Polycom. Dial the number, wait for the annoying audio instructions, enter the conference ID incorrectly, hang up, dial again, enter the code properly. Are you the moderator? Enter the moderator password incorrectly. Lather, rinse, repeat. Oops, accidentally hung up the call reaching for the volume button on the Polycom. Lather, rinse, repeat. Shoot me.

I want to walk into a conference room, sit down, press a single button (heck, I’d settle for three or four) on the Polycom and be connected to my conference without having to listen to any voice-menus or enter any codes. One-button conferencing. (Obviously I also want the same functionality on my cell phone, office phone, directly from my laptop, etc). Who can give me this?

There are clearly many pieces that need to be put together to make this work. Maybe VOIP/Skype-enabled conferencing services and VOIP/Skype-aware Polycom phones? Skype can give me a four-user conference call, but I want the ability to have an unlimited number (within reason) of people come to the same “place” with no advance planning, but the current reservation-less conference call services are just too cumbersome and force everyone into lowest-common-denomintor touch-tone interfaces.

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