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Do Not Disturb

According to the Census Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, about 47.5 percent of the US population has registered with the federal Do-Not-Call list and this represents more than 150 million telephone numbers.

What does this mean to business? On the surface it appears the consumers are saying "don't call us, we'll call you."

Alaska has the lowest share of its population on the list, at 31 percent, with D.C. the highest at 65% as of September 30, 2007.

My suggestion that the lines between work and play (personal life) are diminishing still holds. I believe that people just don't want to be bothered by marketers but willingly accept a varying degree of business to personal communication. My wish that the technology would elevate itself to "communicators" (Star Trek) rings heavy with the above statistics. The technology is getting there; Vocera Communications offers its Wi-Fi communicator for doctors.

Voice recognition tied to artificial intelligence (AI) just might be some of the glue that is needed to make the communicators come to realization, and of course a huge cooperative effort between the carriers and manufacturers of present-day technology. In the interim, the money pit will deepen because we will be told if you want to save money and make a seamless approach to connecting the dots from office to cell then you have to pay a little extra and the more interwoven (not integrated) that cellular and telephony become into the network, the greater the propensity of the carriers to do what's been done many times before. Then, what makes anyone think that users want to carry two cell phones or continue paying what is a premium price for mobility? The technology does exist to share business/personal cell services but I guess all those "standards" that the IT gods keep citing are going to conveniently get in the way of carriers transforming their services to pay by the bit services.

Interesting also are other government statistics showing that 16 percent of all phone numbers change every year and 20 percent of Americans move each year. The vast moves and changes of people, along with an annual change of phone numbers, shows we continue to be stuck in an archaic process. The old system is still the old system built upon V&H coordinates, which translates to what to charge consumers for telephone calls and varying degrees of services based upon mileage. Note that this remains as a barrier and a means of stifling competition.

Secondly, with the transition that carriers made long ago to VoIP to carry billions of minutes of traffic at cheap rates, why do we still have the old V&H methodology and why won't the PUCs/PSCs/FCC throw the issue up against the carriers in the name of protecting the public interest? My head may be bell shaped in a lot of areas concerning telecom, but no one should have it both ways, and the system itself still remains monopolistic.

Again, looking at the statistics- it seems that the present day carriers of the PSTN are the sole beneficiaries of moves-adds-changes. Maybe telephone numbers are obsolete or should be. For my areas of interest, callers that know me would say, "Matt Brunk, this is Eric and Fred calling from the command ship." Of course it will take a wee bit more than voice recognition and AI to make this materialize, else they may get that kid working over at Apple, or the Matt Brunk that is a private software guru with Apple scripts, or the Matt Brunk insurance guy and not the Matt Brunk with the middle initial of "T" for telecom, trouble or my great grandfather's first name.

Today's social networks may be an indication of the future and if they are then telephone numbers may need to disappear faster, which won't be a cool thing for carriers, since the vanity and "recognizable" numbers generate lots of revenue. In the meantime, how many generations of gear will get dumped, dollars churned and efforts made to get us to that ideal form of open communications?

By the way people act today and interact between personal and business activity, the call for unrestrictive communications is sounding a bit louder than the noise decibels of keeping the networks closed. Hopefully, those communicators will have DND buttons along with voice announcements of who's calling and why.