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08/24/2009

INums: Staying in Touch While Changing Phone Numbers 20 Times

People who move a fair amount in their lives have trouble staying in touch, especially by phone. Every time they get a new address, they get a new phone number. That makes it hard for all but their closest friends to keep track of them. A recent Voxbone survey showed how much of a problem that can be over time. The survey found that some 26 percent of respondents had had more than 20 phone numbers in their lives. And 70 percent had lost contact with people as a result of changing phone numbers.

Modern life makes the problem both worse and better. People are moving more than they were, but the ways they have to stay in touch are also increasing. They can, for example, keep e-mail addresses not tied to specific Internet service providers permanently. And in some countries, they can port their old phone numbers to new subscriber accounts when they change carriers.

Better yet are virtual numbers, which are inbound numbers not linked to any physical phone line or account. Users can access a Web portal to have incoming calls to the virtual numbers forwarded to any landline or mobile phone. That's as useful when changing jobs as when changing homes. But neither portability nor virtual numbers help much when moving between countries.

Voxbone's iNum initiative aims to solve that problem as well. When fully functioning, it will let friends call a person's iNum number from any country around the world. An iNum consists of the country code 883 and the individual subscriber number. Calls to iNums will travel over the Internet to wherever the subscriber is located. They will then ring on the the subscribers' conventional phones or SIP accounts. The caller will pay only the cost of a local call.

There's still some work ahead to make that happen. Callers currently have to dial access numbers, which are available in 45 countries, then the iNum. The ability to dial just the iNum directly depends on Voxbone's ability to strike deals will local phone companies around the world. INums subscriber numbers, which Voxbone provides to phone companies for free, are currently available through a number of VoIP providers. A somewhat larger group of VoIP providers routes calls from their users to iNum subscribers, with no need for access numbers.

Though the service is limited at present, its momentum is building. Voxbone recently assigned its 15 millionth iNum, which means there are a lot of users looking for local access. More important, the first incumbent carrier has just opened its network to iNum. That means it's now possible to dial an iNum directly and reach its subscriber.

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Reports

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         This 7-page buyer's guide gives SMBs the information they need to choose the cloud-based video conferencing service that fits their needs. As a for-purchase download priced at $9.99, this document avoids the conflicts of interest of papers and guides that are offered for free, or sponsored by, vendors and service providers. Instead, it provides the kind of objective and authoritative information that would otherwise require assigning a staffer to spend days or weeks searching out and evaluating.

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         This 31-page VoIP Evolution report provides an in-depth analysis of a market that has suddenly become very competitive. It identifies and dispels some of the misconceptions that have become part of the conventional wisdom surrounding SMB video conferencing. Chief among these are unrealistic expectations regarding the cloud approach and interoperability.
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  • Voice Over LTE: More Pitfalls Than Promise for Now
        This 18-page Heavy Reading Insider report, written by Robert Poe, analyzes the prospects for delivery of voice calls over cellular networks using LTE (long-term evolution) 4G wireless technology. Operators are originally looking to use LTE mainly for mobile data services, since a number of technical issues make delivering voice traffic over LTE complicated. The report describes the various options available to operators, and explains why they are likely to move to voice over LTE later rather than sooner. Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider.

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        This Heavy Reading Insider report by Robert Poe evaluates the impact HD voice will have on voice services providers ranging from traditional telcos to cable MSOs to cellular carriers to VoIP operators. The 20-page report also analyzes the role vendors' and providers' choices of codecs will play in ensuring that HD voice services can be delivered end-to-end, rather than only within individual providers' or enterprises' networks. It also surveys the HD voice efforts of 14 vendors.
        Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading Insider. A column about the report is available at Light Reading.

  • Disruptive VoIP Services: What Carriers Need to Know
        A report by Robert Poe for Heavy Reading, analyzing the innovative VoIP services with the most potential to disrupt the telecom services market over the next three to five years.
        The 57-page report describes the changes VoIP innovation brings to telephony models, practices and concepts. It identifies 17 categories of potentially disruptive VoIP services, and analyzes their potential impact on the market. It also profiles 50 potentially disruptive companies and services.
        Information about the report is available on the Heavy Reading Website. Coverage of the report is available on the Light Reading Website.


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