GrandCentral

One Number for Life is the tagline of GrandCentral the brainchild of Craig Walker who by the way was one of the Internet Telephony Magazine’s Top 100 voices of IP Communications. He was also president and CEO of DialPad and stayed on with Yahoo! for a while when the online portal purchased the company.

GrandCentral is a telecom dashboard that is future proof. The main benefit is as long as the company is around they will save your voicemails and allow you to keep your phone number.

In addition you can forward calls to any phone number and provider certain callers or groups of callers with special rings, specific rules, etc.

This is exactly the sort of service that would have saved Tom Keating from having a Vonage number porting problem a few months back.

In addition this service — assuming everyone used it — could have saved service providers from having to spend millions on local number portability solutions.

Other benefits of GrandCentral? You can also use a ring back tone derived from an MP3 file so callers can hear the song of your choosing.

In addition you can have call screening on your calls so you will know who is calling before you answer. You also will have phone-number@grandcentral.com as your e-mail address so this is a unified messaging/unified communications solution.

But wait, there is more. You can listen in when people leave voicemail and pull people out. You can block callers. You can even switch calls from one phone to another mid-call. This is something we thought we needed IMS for.

My take on this service is — what’s not to like?

The service is in beta at the moment so everything is free. It is worth trying it out. This is the type of service that could change the world of telecom. Then again many of these features have been around for 10 years and they haven’t caught on.

But people are getting used to using the web as a telecom dashboard and I expect this trend to continue.

It is worth noting that many of these features are the advanced services we hope people will pay the telephone companies for. I continue to wonder how service providers will be able to compete against myriad free services like this.

It would seem to compete is such an environment service providers will need IMS to enable smaller and more nimble application developers to develop applications they can share the revenue in. Service providers will never be able to innovate rapidly on their own. So in a way this is the exact sort of service that puts service providers on notice. Start innovating or prepare to cease existence. I am sorry to be put it in such absolute terms but GrandCentral is the sort of application that can really change the telecom landscape if it continues to gain momentum.

Here are some articles mentioning GrandCentral:

Driving Revenue into the Network Through Higher-Margin, Value-Added Services
GrandCentral Gives You One Number To Ring All Your Numbers

  • skibare
    November 8, 2006 at 11:56 am

    Grand Central only has LIMITED numbers and until they cover the ENTIRE United States, they are a NOBODY in my book
    Skibare

  • VoIP Blog - Tehrani.com
    November 8, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    FierceVoIP Fierce 15

    I have been contacted by one of the winners of the Fierce VoIP “Fierce 15” list. In addition I received an e-mail from Dan Rosenbaum the editor of FierceVoIP about their new list. Without further ado – here are the…

  • Rich Tehrani
    November 8, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Interesting perspective. I am unaware of their coverage as Connecticut has numerous exchanges available. Still, it seems unfair to say they are nobody until they have every area of the US covered. A worst case scenario would be to pick a phone number from a different sate that can always be forwarded to an in-state number at a alter date. Right?

  • Duane Dale
    March 26, 2007 at 8:30 am

    One downside of GrandCentral is that your next-door neighbor may have to call some distant part of the state (unless you give the neighbor your “real” local number). From a wired phone, such in-state long distance calls are often more expensive than out-of-state long-distance. But that says something about GrandCentral’s current lack of numbers in some states: You could do your next-door-neighbor some degree of favor by giving them a (cheaper, but of course not free) out-of-state GrandCentral number.

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