Advances to Phone Technology… Finally?

It’s 2019, Why Are We Stuck with Decades Old Tech?

Am I the only one who has wondered how it can be 2019 and fundamental call technology has not changed since the late 1990s. (VOIP was the last real technology and that rolled out to businesses in 1995, gaining widespread adoption a decade later.) Yet, those of us who live on conference calls for a living have remained largely overlooked — creating quite a few problems for workers who need their phones to be, uh, a phone.

Problem #1: The Conference Call Lag

Anyone who’s dialed into a conference call knows how stilted they sound. It’s because everyone’s communication is delayed to broadcast. While it’s not the 7 seconds you get on live radio and t.v., it’s long enough to disrupt the flow of normal conversation. When you don’t have the nonverbal cues you gain from seeing someone, these lags can kill the productivity of a conference call. I hypothesize this is the number one reason people tune out on conference calls — the lag that makes a stilted conversation.

Problem #2: Codes, Codes and More Codes

When we talk about friction in systems, conference codes and leader pins top the list. If you’re calling from your mobile, you need your mobile to see the code. Or if you happen to be lucky enough to have your computer in front of you, the code is usually buried at the bottom of an email, in print that is too fine to read. (Well, maybe that last part just relates to me.)

Problem #3: The Quagmire of Web Conferencing

So you want to host a web call so you can see your colleagues face to face. This will likely be your journey – download the proprietary software onto your computer and make sure it works before the web conference. Then at the time of the web conference, connect via web first, then get a code for the dial in or audio enablement. So. Many. Steps. Sure Google Hangout and Skype make things slightly easier, but they are primarily computer-based also (not mobile).

Relief on the Horizon?

In November of 2018, I posted my quandry about why we still needed conference call dial ins and codes when it seems that we should have advanced past that and one of my friends drew my attention to NetLines. NetLines is essentially an app that turns your smart phone into a conference call, business-doing, productivity machine.


Why It’s Hot

As I mentioned above, phone features of mobile (and other phones) have been ignored for two decades. It’s about time someone brought a lower friction solution to market. I’m just surprised they haven’t gotten more buzz about this.