George Schiro • almost 11 years ago
Block Calls like Google Voice - Submission Not Published - Why Not?
The following suggestion was submitted to http://robocall.challenge.gov on
1/3/2013. As of 1/7/2013 it has not been published. Can anyone suggest why it might have been held back from publication? Perhaps it really takes the reviewers that long? Or is it something else?
We heard about this challenge on NPR yesterday. It occurred to us that most
of the technology needed to handle it has already been implemented by Google
Voice. Why reinvent the wheel?
One of our "unofficial" young team members, Robin (17), is very familiar
with Google Voice and its capabilities. He's been using it for some time
Robin did some quick manual tests to verify that the features of Google
Voice closely match what the FTC Robocall Challenge is looking for.
Here's our approach:
.) Implement a service like Google Voice (or license
Google's service). Let's call our new service "FTC
Block" (or "FB" for short).
.) If you are having robocall troubles, you will need
to signup for FB. Doing so will get a new phone number
assigned to you. Let's say your new phone number is
123-456-7890. This new phone number will automatically
route calls to whatever existing phone you have.
Now suppose that two people are trying to call you at 123-456-7890: your
friend Chris (123-555-1234) and Robo Joe (123-555-4321).
.) The first time Chris calls you at 123-456-7890, she
will hear your greeting asking her to leave a voice
message. The message will be translated from audio to
text and emailed to you along with Chris's identifying
phone number (123-555-1234) together with a copy of the
audio message as an MP3 attachment.
.) The body of the email (with Chris's voice message
text) will also include a link asking if you would like
to add Chris to your contact list. There will also be a
link asking if you would like to permanently block
Chris's phone number. You decide to add Chris to your
contact list. Do nothing and the calls will just go to
.) Next you get a call from Robo Joe (123-555-4321).
The email text obviously shows Joe to be a robocaller,
so you click the "Block Caller" link. The next time Joe
calls, you will get no phone call or email. You will
never even know that he called.
.) The next time Chris calls you, her call will ring
through to your smart phone, your dumb phone, your land
line or your VOIP line (whatever you setup). Why?
Because Chris is now on your contact list.
.) If you would prefer to manually provide a contact
list (while initially setting up your FB service or
at a later time), that option will also be available.
Of course, if you currently have robocall trouble on an existing phone line,
those problem calls will still get through on that phone number directly. To
use this approach successfully, you may initially have to change the phone
number of your current phone. In the future, such a phone number change (if
necessary) will be completely transparent to your contacts. This is so since
they will only know about your FB phone number and they can continue to call
you that way without any problems.
We hope to implement at least some of this functionality for demo purposes
at FTCblock.com (before the challenge deadline):
Here are the challenge judging criteria questions:
Q) Does it work?
Yes, it works. How do we know? Because most (but not
all) of the functionality described here has already
been proven in the marketplace by Google.
Q) Is it easy to use?
Yes, it is very easy, especially considering
the automated way of approving new contacts.
Q) Can it be rolled out?
Yes, most of it has already been
put into production by Google.
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