The PhoneBoy Blog


Simplifying Telecom, Mobile Phones, Gadgets, and More!

This iotum and FWD Partnership

One of the many things that got lost in the shuffle of last week was FWD announcing they are deploying iotum’s Relevance Engine. It got some notice in the blogosphere. I noticed–heck I was forwarded a press release about it, but as I said, it got lost in the shuffle of last week.

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what iotum is doing with their relevance engine and how I might apply it to my own life. As it is explained on their website, the Relevance Engine will figure out, depending on who is trying to reach you, how to best route a communication to you based on who is trying to reach you from where and how. I am trying to figure out how this is going to work logistically.

As I am sitting here at my desk in the wee hours of the morning, I am staring at no less than three phones: my mobile phone, one of my landline phones (augmented with PhoneGnome), and my Linksys SPA-941, which is connected to an IP PBX. This IP PBX has no less than four different telephone numbers associated with it, though it depends on what providers I configure into it. Really, only one of those numbers matters in any significant way, but I mention it to make a point. When I have GAIM loaded up, I am connected to no less than a dozen different Instant Messaging networks, one of which is only accessible via a VPN to a corporate network. This doesn’t even include FWD, Gizmo Project, Skype (BTW, I’d read Andy’s blog entry on technical problems with Skype), or anything else that might come along now or in the future.

Aside from the fact I have got way too many ways for people to reach me, the real question is: how is iotum’s Relevance Engine going to mediate the communication when there are so many ways to reach me? Will it become the “virtual secretary” that monitors all these ways to connect to me, and forward calls as needed? Will all my contacts have to funnel themselves through a limited subset of these methods or some completely new and exciting method? How will I train the Relevance Engine about the relevance of communications? Will it monitor all my interactions and learn from me? Do I really want a “computer program” I can’t see Will it work on multiple platforms (Linux, Windows, Mac, Symbian, whatever)? Maybe I’ll find the time to chat up Alec Saunders and he can tell me how this all works.

Let’s look at it purely from the point of view of FWD. I am going to assume that the vast majority of people on FWD don’t use FWD as their primary means of communication. Given that assumption, how is FWD going to utilize this Relevance Engine? Is this perhaps a means of making their upcoming FWDin and FWDout services more useful? I mean if someone called me on an FWDin PSTN number and it figured out based on who it was and how they called me whether or not I wanted to take the call and forward it to where I am (assuming I wanted it), that would be just HOT! Having this kind of capability built into FWD would make their services way more compelling.

Enough dreaming while I’m awake at least…


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.