Discuss.io provides on-demand qualitative consumer depth interviews and online focus groups using webcams. We connect marketers, researchers, and brands to millions of consumers globally right from their laptops.

So what can we do when participants don’t have internet access?

Discuss.io offers a Phone Bridge feature as a supplementary tool that is used to augment the capabilities of our platform and as a back-up in case of poor internet connectivity. It itself is not  necessary to support the basic functionality of the platform, which instead uses the audio input from your computer or webcam microphone.

We recently released a new iteration of the Phone Bridge, widening its functionality. Previously, the Phone Bridge allowed you to dial out to a phone number from within the Meeting Room. With this most recent update, participants now have the ability to dial into the Meeting Room as well. The Phone Bridge can be accessed either from the big yellow phone icon at the bottom of the page or, alternatively, from the small blue phone icon in the participant list (as demonstrated in the screenshot above).

Using the Phone Bridge is easy! Participants are given a phone number by their moderator. After dialing the number, they will be asked to enter the Meeting ID, which the moderator has also provided for them. Once they have entered this code, the moderator will then accept the participant into the Meeting Room. That’s it! Dialing into the Meeting Room is quick and simple to set up, causing minimal interruption.

The Phone Bridge has many uses. Most often, it is used as a solution that allows our platform to continue to work even when participants are experiencing poor internet connectivity or have no internet access.

The Phone Bridge is also employed when sessions require a live translation. In these instances, the translation is conducted in the backroom, allowing participants and researchers to each speak in their native languages while maintaining face-to-face contact. The Phone Bridge supports both domestic and international phone numbers, requiring only that the moderator enter the appropriate country code before entering the translator’s phone number.

In addition to translators, observers can also make use of the Phone Bridge. Every session conducted on the Discuss.io platform is capable of supporting non-intrusive observers: people who can see and hear the session as it is happening in real-time, but who cannot be seen or heard themselves. Every call has at least one observer, a member of the Discuss.io support team, but many also include members of the research team who wish to observe the session in real-time. For team members who wish to observe the session, but who do not have internet access, or who simply want to listen to the audio from the session, the Phone Bridge provides a valuable alternative.

Finally, participants will occasionally choose to remain completely anonymous to protect their identity or for cultural reasons, opting not to use a webcam during the sessions. In these circumstances, the Phone Bridge ensures that their feedback is still captured and their perspective is still heard. Furthermore, the Phone Bridge audio from the participant is still automatically transcribed and available in the archive for clip editing following the session. 

The Phone Bridge plays into our big picture vision as an organization: to increase reach and access to consumers across the globe in an unprecedented capacity. We want to create an insight rich environment on-the-go to unlock access to consumers’ voices in a way that did not exist previously. By removing barriers, like the necessity of internet connectivity, we increase brand’s capacity for insights by presenting them with consumers who were previously inaccessible. Many people around the globe do not have reliable access to the internet, but this should not exclude them from the narrative. We give brands the opportunity to have multiple consumers who live in different parts of the world in the same conversation simultaneously, something that is impossible with traditional methods. With the Phone Bridge, we have created a vehicle for gathering deeper, more collaborative insights, regardless of the constraints.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Discuss.io Feature Series in which we address one of the major pains in the industry: recruiting.

Can’t wait to learn more? Book a demo for a tour of the Discuss.io platform and all of the features that will enable your organization to gather richer insights.

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