One of the first world problems we have these days : Leaving home without the mobile phone. And it happened to me couple of days. And when I discovered it, I was already 1 hour’s journey away from home. Returning home to get the phone was a tempting thought but I had to attend meetings, so it’s really not an option.
So what was my option for the day?
I still had my iPad Mini and Macbook Pro. First thing when I got to office was to iMessage a few colleagues informing them that I could not be reached by phone or WhatsApp. Yes. A lot of people use WhatsApp these days. Fortunately all of them were on iPhone so iMessage works. So I told they could reach me via iMessage or FaceTime, which can be used on either my iPad Mini or Mac.
Next, I called my wife over FaceTime, told her about me forgetting my phone. And yes, she could also reach me via iMessage.
When I got home, I found that I had only missed calls, probably from telemarketing because they were not in my contact lists. Most of the communications that day came in through iMessage. 12 hours without my phone!
This got me thinking. What would have made it better.
1. If the telco provided me with a way to forward my calls without using my phone, I wouldn’t miss any calls.
2. If I had a VOIP number, I could be reached anywhere or a number of devices as long as there’s internet connection.
Issue no. 2 can be addressed with partly with Google Voice or another VOIP service. It’s a pity Google Voice is not available in Singapore, as in they are not issuing Singapore numbers, otherwise Google Voice would be the best option. And that number could follow me for life. I don’t have to worry about changing devices, OS or telco. The imperfect portion is that I’m still tied with Google.
I got my own domain many years back for the exact reason even before the days of Gmail. I wouldn’t want to be tied to my ISP for my email communications.
I envision a day when telephone number would be obsolete and our email address becomes the ‘telephone number’. From a technical perspective, it’s definitely possible but requires co-operation from the major Internet giants. Let’s hope it comes true.