• peter0492

Dad… What’s dial tone?

That is the question I got from my boy recently when he overheard a work conversation. He is too young at the moment to understand what dial tone really is but he understands that to him it is the noise you hear before you dial.

In reality, how many people pick up and dial these days? I don’t. It nearly always works the other way around. I dial the number and then pick up the device. I haven’t actually heard a dial tone for ages.

But it got me thinking, is there a future for dial tone? Dial tone, if it survives, will go the way of the car indicators…. That ticking noise once made by the relays is now artificially added in just to comfort the driver.

Why would we need dial tone? In the background, dial tone will eventually be replaced by DNS resolution. All phones will become endpoints and smartphones running Lync, Skype or some other VOIP app and they will be just another endpoint.

You won’t give someone your number, you’ll give them your SIP address. They’ll add you to their contacts and the old, redundant telephone number will be reserved (for the time being) as an artificial way of contacting legacy systems as they die out over the coming decades.

Investing in SIP now may seem to some organisations as a bit too futuristic. But is it? I don’t pay for calls to the majority of our partner organisations. It is all over IP regardless of what or where the end point is. Some work needs to be done to integrate the big players, but in the near future there will be no need to dial numbers at all.

So it won’t be long before we have an entire generation who won’t know what a dial tone is or was. And as the next generations come through some things will get lost in annals of time, this will be right up there with ‘pips’ and scrabbling about to find another 2p/ dime to push in to the slot.

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