Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Understanding and choosing a virtual telephone service

Navigating technology is a difficult process. Each technology sector has its’ own language, buzz words and goal. Just think back to the last time you read the instructions on installing something on your computer, or fixing something on an automobile, or even setting up a Childs toy. These are common place items, and we should be able to understand the basics of the items we use daily. Instructions seem to be written by “techies” and written to be read by “techies”. They frequently fail to convey meaning to those who don’t speak that particular technical language. That doesn’t mean we are unable to understand the technical nature of the item, it means the writer has failed to put it in a language we understand. I buy a car in France, but the user manual is in Japanese. Because you don’t speak that particular language, you can’t understand the user manual. Technology suffers from the same failure, and we have spawned a whole community called “technophobes”. The failure is ours, on the technical side, for not being good communicators.

Ok, enough of my daily rant! Now on to virtual telephone numbers. Go to the store, and purchase a mobile telephone. Your brand new phone comes with enough features to keep you busy for months. It has email, internet, a music player, a camera, and a list of features way too long to list here. But, even with all those choices, what choice did you get for the phone number? Probably few, or none. In particular, the location of the telephones incoming number. You live in Sydney, and you get a number in Sydney. Now, of course, this makes some sense. People in Sydney would be less likely to call you if your number was in Rio. But, let’s assume that your Brother lives in London, your parents live in Auckland, and you have important business clients in Singapore. Wouldn’t it be nice for your Brother to call a local number in London, and your phone rings in Sydney. If your parents are elderly, they may get confused dialing internationally. A local number in Auckland would solve that. And you would look like a real star when your valued clients no longer have to pay long distance charges to reach you. That’s the magic of virtual telephone numbers.

Until recently, these types of services required you to be connected to the internet, and use your computer to make and receive your calls. This has its’ advantages as well as drawbacks. You can take your computer almost anywhere and connecting to the internet is easy in hotels, at meetings, cafes or just about anywhere. You no longer were required to sit by your office or home phone waiting for a call. Voicemail is great, but when the client calls, you want to pick up the phone. The drawback here is that you need your computer, it has to be connected to the internet, and often you have to endure the awkwardness of a using a headset to connect to the computer. You now have traded the simplicity of the telephone, for the portability of your laptop. Recently, the ability to deliver your virtual phone call, to your landline and mobile telephone has matured. You could do so before, but it was often complicated, expensive or both. Particularly to your mobile. In many countries, calling mobile telephones is much more expensive than calling landline phones. While saving money for your family, friends and clients, you now have made your life more expensive. New pricing structures, and new technology has changes this drastically.

Flat rate, long distance telephone calling has not only blossomed, but become a very mature offering. The opportunity to have a telephone number in a location far from you, with absolutely no per minute charges for receiving calls on your mobile or landline telephone has arrived. You clients can call you as much as they want (that’s a good thing), and you only pay one flat fee. Your cost for your telephone service is always the same. Your business in Sydney, or New York, or London or wherever, can now have many telephone numbers, and you are not penalized with staggering long distance charges for expanding your business internationally. The manufacturer in China, or India, or elsewhere can have telephone numbers in the location where the product is sold, but not have to cringe every time the phone rings. Think of what that does for sales, or customer service! You no longer have to sit at your computer, waiting for a call. Your regular telephone rings, with your virtual telephone number, and you and the customer or family member, or whomever, save money. Sometimes lots of money.

Now, what about solving the problem of costly mobile calls. If your client in Vancouver, calls your mobile in Ukraine, that could be very expensive. That might even prevent the customer from calling in the first place, or cause you to lose the customer, once they get their telephone bill. This is where new technology really shines. Most mobile phones have a voice and a data connection. You know the data connection, because you use that to “surf” the web on your mobile. Well, that connection can be used to send, and receive telephone calls. This bypasses, or avoids the expense of calling on the voice connection. For instance, calling to a Kiev mobile phone costs around 10 cents a minute, or calling a Brazil mobile around 24 cents per minute can really add up. Most mobile data plans are either flat rate, or inexpensive. Allowing you to receive your virtual call for a fraction of what your customer would have to pay. Again, your customer calls locally, and you pay very little. Everyone wins! The costs are so little, that some telephone companies have tried, with limited success, to block these types of calls. The cost savings of virtual calls has really challenged the definition of traditional telephone services. Clearly, the customer and the proprietor come out ahead.

In later blogs, we will discuss how virtual telephone numbers can add security for personal use, as well as convenience on holiday. We will also explore how this technology can enhance many types of business. provides virtual telephone numbers in over 50 countries. Our service is flat rate, and you can receive your calls on your mobile or landline telephone.

1 comment:

  1. Virtual telephone system's features and services are very important in today's communication. So, It is very nice to read writings such as yours, that bring us new information in the world of communication technology.
    Good Job.