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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: