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VoIP - One number to rule them all

Updated on July 28, 2011

Managing Telephone Complexity

When a new technology is created, it usually reflects the way of life prevalent at the time of its inception given the constraints of technology. For example, computers were initially created to be static machines which never moved around - this was not only because we didn't have the miniaturization technologies in place, but also because there was no need for them to have mobility. As people started demanding computing power wherever they went, laptops and smartphones arose to fill the need. Unfortunately, the telephone system still holds on to the legacy architecture designed decades ago.

While it's true that smartphone have given us mobility and have released us from the shackles of being at home or office to receive calls, one aspect of the system refuses to give up the ghost. Telephone numbers hang like an albatross around the PSTN system's neck. We find it difficult to give up because everyone uses it and network effects can be ridiculously hard to break. Instead of a phone number referencing a person, it references a device. So a person with multiple devices has multiple phone numbers.

This doesn't seem nonsensical until you visualize how it could be. Everyone has one dominant email address for example. That address doesn't change depending on where you travel, which computer you use to access it or even if you use a completely different device like a tablet. Your email ID references you. To change it if you buy a new laptop would be absurd!

Why then do we so happily accept the fact that our telephone number must change whenever we use a new device?

Multiple Phones - One number
Multiple Phones - One number

Multiple Phones with VoIP

It's a complicated situation and one that has no easy resolution. The recalcitrance of the telecom industry to change is a huge factor since they benefit most from the status quo. VoIP promises to shake things up and reintroduce phones the way they should work. Using VoIP technology, you can assign as many devices to a single VoIP number as long as those devices have an Internet connection. This means you can be reached at home, office or in your car with just one reference. After all, a caller has a relationship with you and not your phone.

The implications of this way of working are dramatic. You can assign an entire sales team one number for new incoming clients and be assured that someone will have the time to answer it. You'll also have one voicemail for all your phones which will be easily accessible at any time from your control center. Productivity in your office will shoot up as people shrug off the limitations imposed by the old system. Secure SIP accounts for each of your employees will save you money on International calls as well. Switching over to hosted VoIP is easy. Call your ITSP and get started in just 15 minutes.

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