Wednesday, 15 February 2012

IDEA BLOG #2: Mobile Home Phone.

Dear anyone,

Why can’t we de-mobilize our cell phones when we get home? or connect our home phone number to our cell phones…. or even our office line, optional forwarding to our cells when we are out of office? or vice-versa?

Now there are few solutions out there, take this neat bluetooth style option:

    This little hub allows cell phones in battery battery-vampire bluetooth range connect to home/office phone. Sort of like having a car phone at your home/office.

    nifty? not really. It really only de-mobilizes a cell phone while eating up it’s battery.

The problem is deeper than this, first, to understand this problem one must analyze

What’s in a phone number?

A phone number generally identifies one of many entities:
  1. A person – generally given to people with cell phones,
  2. A business – generally found on business cards,
  3. A location – the still too common home phone, or,
  4. A device – like a fax machine
The problem with this association of identity occurs when a phone number is made to identify two or more items on the above list.

Things start getting even-more cloudy when people use their cell phones for work. This becomes rather uncomfortable when someone answers a personal call professionally or vice versa.

but wait, Alex! there is a solution that phone company’s recommend because they like making money:

The typical solution is to give each specific item it’s own number where we often see people often involve themselves over many phones during the course of the day including home landline, personal mobile, business landline, business mobile, business fax. 

Unfortunately, because of this prescribed solution we often see things get out of hand when there is the two phones – one person issue. Where you get a cell phone call and a location call simultaneously, or, the most awkward of them all: two calls on two different cell phones for the same person issue. What? why? what is going on here???

The history of the problem comes from the recent history of how phones were used. 15-20 years ago, almost all phone numbers have been wired into the telephone network. Since wired networks are non-mobile, phone numbers were often issued according to location. For example, Area Codes typically identify an area to where a phone could be found. My area code is “905” which represents the Greater Toronto Area.

The impossible dream !!!

Ideally changing the structure of the phone networks and the numbering system could better facilitate the nature of landlines vs mobile phones. For example,

- Land lines should remain localized. duh. with less numbers though.
- an individual should optionally be connected to a location (up to 99 individuals per location)

1 (905) ### ## <- Location Number. Where (905) is the area code of said landline, this particular area code is Greater Toronto area.
1 (905) ### ##(15) –> connects to individual / extension associated with that location either call forwarding to a mobile/or designated ring type or specific phone in the office.
1 (905) ### ##(16) –> another individual associated to that location
1 (905) ### ##(00) –> the main phone number of a location. can connect to whoever.

1 (23) ### #### <- Individual Mobile Number. The area code in this instance can be an identifier of a plan and provider – allowing the caller to determine if a call is long distance, what type of mobile phone service they have, ect.ect… Adding additional meaning to the mobile number and allowing people to memorize one number less than they currently do.

Now… granted, the above is a |pipe dream| of sorts, re-structuring a phone network may not be too viable for everyone. And way too expensive to implement, there are, however alternative solutions that CAN be implemented, like… today:

We have the technology, we can fix many of these issues… now!

- Cell phones should have a dock option which automatically forwards cell phone calls to whichever dock it’s connected to such as Dock A forwards the cell phone to Number 1, Dock B = Number 2, Car Dock = Bluetooth, Alarm Clock Dock = straight to voicemail don’t bother me i’m sleeping. ect… Meanwhile offer alternative options like: charging your phone, avert being charged for calls that consume restrictive plans, play music off your phone, forward text messages to a computer’s instant messenger program. I don’t know… Think of things…

- Location based phones should easily enable call forwarding without charge (and include distinct identification to the forwarded phone) either via undocking a cell phone from said dock. Or, implementing a simple “*0#” sequence or something.

What I don’t get is, any of the above features would be great selling points of either a cell phone or a home phone service. If advertised correctly, these features could easily promote the sale of additional numbers / services / phones / features. That, get this… convenience the customer.

Is that too much to ask for?



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