5 Aug 2012

Four Principles for Simplifying Communication

There are too many ways to contact someone. Here are some ideas at simplifying communication:

1. People should be a first-class entity in the system rather than administrivia like email IDs, phone numbers, and Facebook handles. There are two ways to do this:
a. Profiles on social networking sites: say I'm connected to you on Facebook and you specify your phone number on your Facebook profile. Then I should be able to call you without knowing your phone number. Besides, if your phone number changes, all of your callers don't need to update their phone books. (Android already does this.)
b. Manual entry of information.
Aggregate all these sources of information to identify an individual.

2. Automatically choose the best fidelity or cheapest channel available to communicate with a given person. In order of preference: HD video chat, SD video, VoIP and PSTN. You shouldn't have to use different apps or different identifiers to choose a communication channel.

3. The device you use should be irrelevant -- why can't I receive PSTN calls on my Mac, or send an SMS from my Chromebook? Your devices should work together so that anything that you can do from one device you should be able to do from any of them, without having to sign up for additional online services, like a Skype account to be able to send SMSs from your computer. Instead, your computer should work with your phone to send the SMS. The point is not that you shouldn't have a Skype account; just that you shouldn't have to have it just to be able to send SMSs from your computer, when your computer can just use your phone.

4. We should have cloud proxies to bridge different systems (like making a PSTN call from your Mac, say in an airport, where your phone is powered off) and to save money. SMSs, for example, should be sent IP-to-IP if possible (iMessage), so that there's no delay or cost or risk of it being dropped, or if that's not possible, either send it as an SMS or as an IP message to a cloud proxy in the destination country, which converts it into an SMS, if that's cheaper. The point is that we should have cloud proxies to bridge different systems and to reduce cost.


(reposted from https://plus.google.com/104797602913203220453/posts/3GnaWwzovaL)

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