Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hooray for (Voice) Technology

Today, I received my first phonecall to my laptop. Someone called my GV number which I'd configured to ring through to my laptop's Skype application. I only just today activated the Skype inbound call functionality as I'd just received my Jabra 620 Duo in the post, today.

I've had a Google Voice number for quite some time, now. It seemed the best way to give people phone contact info but control how and when they could actually reach me. And, given the fact that, at any given time, I may be best reachable by either my cell, my home line, or any of four phone lines at work (depending where I am, that day), it was also the most efficient way to have people contact me. I hate having to give people a list of contact info and try to tell them what fallback order to try them in.

Unfortunately, GV's call routing isn't as fine-grained as I'd like. Really, I'd like to be able to set GV to have phones in the call rotation on a day-by-day and hour-by-hour basis. Unfortunately, GV's really designed around the traditional worker rather than the telecommuter. So, you can set your call groups to ring all or some subset of your phone numbers. Then, you can set each of those numbers to have calling windows. My work extensions, I typically set up to "never ring on weekends" and to not ring between 18:00 and 07:00.

Were I scheduled to be at my office desk/extension four the typical five-day workweek, that would be fine. For better or worse, I telecommute 2-3 days a week. Given the level of control GV offers me, my desk extension is frequently ringing when I have no possibility of answering it. This, by itself, wouldn't be bad except that, on the days I'm not in the office, people make use of the empty space. Often times, they also tell people "call me at (my desk phone's number), today". So, when the phone rings, they assume it's for them and pick it up.

What GV really needs is the ability to designate an extension as a "log in" extension.Then, restrict the hours when the phone can be logged in. That way, on the days I'm at my desk, I could call my GV number, log in that extension and then have the "login" auto-expire at the end of the work day.

Oh well. For now, I'll just have GV no longer ring my desk but, instead, ring me on Skype. I'll pretty much always have my laptop when I'm on the clock.

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