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Posts from June 3, 2018 - June 9, 2018

The Traditional Phone Call is Dead

Like many, I've been a Skype user forever. I also use WhatsApp, Facebook's Messenger and a host of other "calling apps." Many of my calls are scheduled, so it's UberConference or Zoom and sometimes GoToMeeting or WebEx. For some "personal" calls its a combination of Apple's FaceTime and Google's Hangouts. And as far as the idea of "dialing" a number, that's rare air territory, as I click someone's name, a number listed in an email or on a website or something found in a Google Maps listing. So, when I say the traditional phone call is dead, it really is.

Back in the day we dialed, or punched digits. The smartphone, with its integrated contact directory meant we no longer needed to "remember" someone's phone number. Then with click to call, we didn't even need to dial. The web did it for us. With WebRTC calls are being made right inside the browser or mobile app, and we really don't know (or care) if the call goes over WiFi, LTE or dials out over the carriers network. Yes, the traditional phone call is dead, we just don't know that.

Where I see all this going is someplace very much just around the corner. Already we can make calls via the Amazon Echo, and using tons of applications on our smartphones and tablets. With voice activation, imagine compiling your order with say, Amazon owned Whole Foods, and then wanting to talk to the butcher at your local store to custom order some burgers made with a bit of lamb, some pork, but mostly sirloin. You put your order in, schedule it for pick up, ask to talk to the butcher and add the special order to your digital one, and then go pick it up, or have it delivered. 

Let's go one step farther. You're doctor prescribes a medication for your upset tummy. The local pharmacy can send it over via Postmates, but you have questions on drug interactions. Inside the pharmacy app is a voice connection, you navigate through the IVR to get some help, and either a live pharmacy assistant or an AI powered voice bot provides information and answers questions.

The key to both these scenarios is the "call" goes through the app, and all the data associated with the call does too. At the end of each call, the voice AI provides you a summary. In the case of the pharmacy call, the interactions and proper usage instructions are dropped inside your in app inbox. If you want, you can, by voice, send them to your doctor or to a family member or caregiver. For people who take care of their parents or have a nanny taking care of their kids, the information helps avoid mistakes, but more importantly, if everyone has the app installed, the caregiver can call back in, and pick the language they want to hear the instructions in further avoiding complications.

In all of these scenarios, it's the App that makes the call.  

Oh, and for those who still think calling their friends happens the same way as always..think again. How many times do you text and touch to call them. Once your friends have their own "calling" service, that call will be like the old days of Burger King. You'll have it your way.