Saturday, 2 October 2010

iNum Dialing - Speed Dial Methods

If you are familiar with the new international iNum country code (+883) numbers now being issued by numerous VoIP service providers (and eventually PSTN carriers), you may recognize the dialing format required to access iNum's (supplied by Voxbone) by the familiar +883-5100-xxxxxxxx dial sequence.  And, if you have taken the time to count the digits required to dial an iNum number, you will recall that it requires a minimum of 15 digits to dial a number.

iNum's Are Great.... but, they are very, very long
15 digits is the best case scenario if you are dialing directly through your VoIP or PSTN carrier who supports iNum routing (not all do, as yet).  In fact, the VoIP carriers I use require that the iNum be preceded with the IDD (International Direct Dial code).  Remember, the + sign in front of a country code typically implies that it may also require addition of the IDD code.   Because iNum (+883) by nature is an international country code, it will typically require dialing to be preceded by the IDD for your country (or VoIP carrier).

Here in North America, the international IDD direct dial code is 011.  Thus, dialing an iNum from a North American carrier becomes:  011-883-5100-xxxxxxxx.  Now, the dial count becomes 18 digits.

How to Reduce the iNum Digit Count
I've come across a few methods that can be used to reduce your digit entry count when calling iNums.  How much you can shorten your iNum dial string depends on your calling method and which speed dial method you choose from the options discussed below.

Your Telephone's Contact List
Once you create a contact entry for an iNum number in your telephone's contact list, then there are no more fumble fingers trying to get the number right.  Just look up the iNum contact of interest, and dial the contact at the press of a single button (once you find the contact in your directory).  This is probably the first method most people will choose to use.... as long as your telephone has a built-in contact directory.

The iNum Gateway Digit Short Cut Method (9-digit dialing) themselves recognized that users were having fumble-finger problems (and digit tedium) while entering the 15 digit numbers when making calls through iNum world-wide gateway access numbers.  Thus, implemented the Digit Short Cut when calling from PSTN phones or mobiles through one of their iNum access gateway numbers.  Now, when calling through an iNum PSTN gateway number, when prompted by the IVR, you only need to enter your last 9-digits of the destination iNum as:  0xxxxxxxx.  That's a savings of 6 digits!  (Good job iNum and Voxbone!)

The VoIP Provider Phone Book Method (5-digit dialing)
I obtained my iNum number through CallCentric, for free.  One of the great features CallCentric provides on their user web-based dashboard is the Phone Book feature.  It can store up to 100 phone number entries.  Now, the bonus to this is that I can Speed-Dial any of my phone book entries just by directly entering a 5-digit speed-dial code matching a particular phone book entry hosted on their web site.  The 5-digit code follows the *75xx format.  Now, from any VoIP ATA, IP-Phone, or softphone registered to my CallCentric account, I just directly enter *75xx of the corresponding phone book entry on my CallCentric dashboard.  That's a savings of 13 digits!
(You may need to edit your VoIP ATA dial-plan to accept *75xx dialing)

The Linksys-Cisco ATA Speed Dial Method (2-digit dialing)
I use the Linksys-Cisco SPA2102-NA and PAP2T-NA ATA's.  These VoIP phone ATA adapters have the ability to store up to 8 Speed Dial entries.  Once your numbers are programed and saved, it only requires 2 digits to dial an iNum.  That's a savings of 16 digits!!   I explain how to program the SPA2102 here, and the PAP2T here for 2-digit speed dialing.

The VoIP Phone Dial Plan Method (8-digit dialing)
If you use an IP-Phone or ATA and often manually dial your iNums, you will find that editing the VoIP device internal dial plan will enable you to enter only the last 8-digits of any iNum. This will provide a savings of 10-digits!  
For example, the following entry into a Linksys Cisco IP-Phone or ATA will enable 8-digit dialing of iNums:
I explain about Cisco SPA2102, SPA504, and Linksys PAP2T Dial Plans here.

If you are an iNum user like I am, I hope you will find at least one of the above dialing methods useful for streamlining your calls.