Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Ideas to Toss: Mobile Caller ID

Posted on: August 11, 2007

I was in the middle of a board meeting when the phone rang. There are a lot of new people whose numbers are not on my address book who do call me these days – or maybe i have a very small set of folks on my address book. I excuse myself from the boardroom, whispering away and slowly moving my way out and picking up the call. The voice on the other end greets,

“Hello Sir. This is Nithya calling from ICICI”
“Hello Nithya”

I knew exactly what this was about – either a credit card or a personal loan, or some magical insurance policy which isn’t just any other insurance policy, but I am a little determined to be courteous on phone to those who call. I thought I’d finish the call on a good note.

The conversation continued and I did manage to achieve my goal of ending the call at the earliest, but by refusing to accept anything they were selling.

Day two: I am in a brainstorming meeting and my phone is ringing. I didn’t want to disrupt the flow of thoughts, so I just cut the calls, and put my phone on silent. After the meeting was over an hour later, I pick up the phone and realize that there are about 12 missed calls. I call them back to see who it was and what this was about. About five of them were call centers trying to sell me more products. The rest were important calls – family, friends and work-related.

I have a dilemma here. I do get calls and I do want to screen them. Yes, there are some very complicated and sophisticated tools that are coming into the market which can screen, filter and route calls halfway across the world, to your mailbox, trascribe the message and all that. But I am looking for something more simple… the vital information that helps me decide whether i need to pick up a call or not, and if I need to call back on any of the missed calls. I wish there was a name attached to these numbers.

In Canada, you can get the name of the person (as on directory) as part of the CLID. For some reason the folks at the GSM committee thought that this was a pesky feature that people could live without and the standards for the switch do not quite directly support it – but the provisions to make it happen are quite simple.

If that can be enabled, and I can save a number right off the bat into my address book without having to retype the name and such, there is a killer usage for this application.

I have almost lost hope in a killer app in the horizon of the telecom world – maybe I am part of a group that has fantasized much more of what could happen to the communications world, and every major achievement still seems to fall short. But to me, this would be my killer app, in terms of usability and relevance.

5 Responses to "Ideas to Toss: Mobile Caller ID"

Really wonderfull thought Vijay.. It would really reduce the number of spam calls and make mobile usage a better thing !!


Vijay, I think there are ideation still possible in the area of caller id’s and its applications in relevance. The problem though would be these BIG Telecom Players. Selling/partnering into them is a nightmare. Do drop in a line, if you are interested in talking.

[…] idea is and probably will form a crucial element for the Mobile Caller ID service that I have been talking about. The basic concept is this: If you take all these mobile operators, […]

Paisley! That’s a perfect fit.

Too bad that it doesnt work for India. Yet.

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