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With the current growth of IM/VOIP/email etc do we actually still need the humble telephone number? At least for now, (and probably for the foreseeable future) I guess it’s going to still be there. But think about it, when you send an IM or make a call from a mobile, you more than likely don’t actually dial a number any more, you select a name from a contacts list. The only time you actually type the email address or phone number is when you actually enter it into the device.
I guess the next logical step in this is that everyone is issued with a single id (preferably something long non numerical and random to prevent spamming). This then is used to identify you with which ever service you happen to be using and for storing your status information. Then you can add people to white lists and block them easily and you can be contactable (or not) on whichever device you happen to be using. Imagine sitting at home and the local double glazing salesman rings. Up pops his profile information on the display of your phone and you can make a decision to reject the call and block future contact from him. Even if you choose to answer it and then later decide you want to block him then that’s easy, same with email. If your email address was never published anywhere but was encoded against your unique ID anyone could send you a message but you could decide to ignore anything not in your white list for example with the benefit of this being a one stop shop as it blocks other forms of junk too.
What are the problems with this idea? I guess someone gaining access to your ID. But that’s a problem now anyway. I guess there are occasions where you don’t want some company you are calling to be able to get your details. (E.g. getting a price on something to compare, or a bit of spying on the competition) This could be handled with a request/reject system. Imagine ringing for a pizza and they can press a button to get your address. Up pops a dialog on your screen requesting that information and you can accept or reject it. (And of course imagine if the status (online/offline etc) was location aware so if you were working late at the office the system would know that and the pizza would come to you.
What are the other problems? Is anyone working on this? Are the privacy/security issues too much for people to be accepting of the idea? Would the phone companies/IM systems accept it or would they see it as a threat?
I’ve been having all sorts of problems with my Bluetooth adapter on my PC. It worked great until my hard drive died before Christmas but now it just blue screens XP when I try and install the drivers. (There are some specific XP drivers available (MS HCL approved ones), but they don’t support the headset profile so aint any good to me as I only want to use the adapter with skype.
As an experiment I plugged it into my Mac Mini it was immediately recognised and I was paired up with my mobile in a few seconds. I’ve yet to see if the Mac actually supports the headset but if it does with the recent release of skype for the Mac my problem could be solved.