Next-Gen Cellular Voice

by Colin Berkshire

Colin here. What is the future of voice and cellular?

I believe that HotSpot 2.0 and VoLTE are the most profound trends in cellular in the 3~5 year horizon. HotSpot 2.0 means coverage in homes and offices transitions to nearby WiFi and LTE towers are for filling in the gaps between home and office. VoLTE means that there is nothing special about voice or SMS on cellular.

I can see the day when you subscribe to cellular service and don’t even get a phone number from your carrier. It’s much like how many people subscribe to Comcast for the Internet and they don’t even plug in their TV receiver box.

There is an interesting thing happening this year. I think it may be a trend…

We’re installing gobs of SIP apps on smart phones like the iPhone. A favorite that we use is the iPhone app “Groundwire” but there are a number to choose from.

What I am seeing happening is that mobile users want their office telephone extension on their smartphone. You call the main office and punch in my extension number and it concurrently rings on my office phone and on my iPhone. If I am in the office I grab it there. If I am on the go I can answer it on my smartphone. Plus no matter where in the world I am, you can reach me at my office extension (plus: no roaming charges!)

I get all of the benefits of my office phone, too! I can transfer callers to another extension and I can call internal numbers.

Initially it seems odd to pull out my smartphone and dial x6249 to reach a co-worker when we are both out of town in hotel-rooms down the hallway. But it is also very “unified”. I’m not using their personal number and if we’re both in another country there is no worry about roaming charges. (China’s problematic SIM cards get solved, too: A typical Chinese SIM card does not allow for international calling. But using the SIP app I call globally through the office system.)

I travel globally a lot. With my SIP app on my iPhone people can call my office extension and reach me. But what is great is that we have main access numbers in dozens of countries. So I can be reached by calling the company main line from any country and then entering my extension number. It’s way better than cellular roaming.

So if you haven’t thought out ditching your cell company phone number as you lead number, perhaps you should think about it.

The future of office phone service is to have your office extension right on your smartphone.