How Free Call Software is Changing the Phone Industry and How we Talk to Each Other

Technology is revolutionary and has a continuous affect on the world we live in. As a new technology is discovered, the existing technology is going to be dramatically altered, and even sacrificed. TV killed the radio star; the mobile phone made landlines obsolete, and now free calling software is changing how we communicate and altering the well-established phone industry. 

The Phone Industry

The phone industry has experienced faster and more dramatic changes in recent years then it has seen in the past 2 decades. Although it’s not great news for the phone industry, it is great news for customers who have been at the mercy of unfair bills, expensive plans, and restrictions.

The Internet and smart phones have had a dramatic impact on just about every sector in the world, and the lucrative phone industry isn’t exempt. The web, smart phones, and tablets have matured, improved, and become undeniably reliable at delivering information and connecting people. These free call software platforms have no networks, no hardware, spend very little on marketing and can be run by a minimal amount of people. This means that they can keep their prices extremely low, free in most cases, and force the phone industry to become more competitive. In Denmark, telecommunications have made threats to block free software communications because of the imbalance on network costs. Although most countries telecommunications are not making the same threat, they are feeling the pressure to create their own VoIP programs (of course, not for free.)

Today millions of people use free call software such as Skype, Viber, apple’s iMessage and FaceTime, Tango, or the new free call player KNCTR, and many more. Therefore, people are disconnecting from their 3G or 4G network, connecting to WiFi and sending free text messages and making free phone calls – without wasting the expensive data plans. Why would you spend 9¢ per minute to call your friend traveling to France, when you can use Skype for free – and with video?

Photo by Steve Garfield

The mobile phone corporations are trying to determine how long can they hold onto their current revenue models and IDC predict that free phone call software is rapidly on the rise. Although the majority of Phone Corporation’s revenue is still coming from SMS and voice rather than data, the model of charging by minutes or SMS is becoming increasingly distant from the reality. Although free software calling isn’t a replacement for a regular mobile phone plan or landline just yet, the phone industry is facing an upheaval in the face of free call software.

The Way We Communicate

If you’ve spent sometime around a smart phone or the internet lately then you know that there are seemingly new free calling software programs created every day to help you stay in touch domestically and internationally. Free Internet calling software has dramatically changed the way we communicate and how often. Skype revealed that its users spend more than 2-billion minutes per day using its VoIP services.

Free communication software has virtually done away with time zones, distance, boarders, and roaming cost. People no longer have to wait 10-days to hear about their family’s vacation, or look at photos to remember the face of their loved ones. We can now be in constant communication with our friends and families from all corners of the world – for free.

Photo by Ewan McIntosh

Free calling software hasn’t just changed the personal world, but the corporate world too. It has provided reliable and viable alternatives to expensive communication methods, made it possible for video conference calls, and has made connecting with partners all around the world easy and cost-effective. This has had a direct effect on how and where business done, making it more effective for both the business owner and the customer.

Technology is going to continue changing the world, as we know it. Rather you are using a desktop, mobile phone, or tablet, you can take advantage of the free calling software that continues to improve on both quality and reliability. Free calling software is changing established business models and how company’s conduct business, but one of the best changes is that free calling software has made distance irrelevant and brought the world closer together.

‘Smart’ Traffic Lights Could Cut Commute by 60%

Here is some good news for commuters and anyone who has a short traffic fuse. Someone has finally “built the better mousetrap” of the traffic light world, and it looks as if the days of spending over 165 hours a year sitting at red lights may be quickly going the way of the dinosaur.

In-Dash Traffic Lights

traffic lightThere are currently two developing ideas vying for the title of Traffic Savior. The first idea involves the elimination of traffic lights completely. Engineers would develop an in-dash system that would alert one vehicle to the presence of another. Using this advanced wireless communication technology, the system would be able to assess how much traffic is coming from any direction. Drivers who find themselves amidst the largest group of cars at an intersection would receive a green signal on their dashboards, giving them permission to proceed through the intersection. Those drivers on paths less traveled would be sent a red signal. Essentially, where the heavy traffic goes, the heavy traffic flows. Engineers working on this system will soon tackle implementation, real time simulation and detection of pedestrians and cyclists as well as a number of fail safes to prevent collisions.

SMART Signal

The other breakthrough making the rounds in traffic circles is SMART (Systematic Monitoring of Arterial Road Traffic Signals) Signal technology. This is a system that gathers data from different points across a traffic grid for real time analysis of travel time, stops and intersection delay. Engineers monitoring this data (again, in real time) can consider preset metrics that would signify a necessary change in red light duration. For example, a traffic light that consistently hosts a line of no less than 15 cars would have its green time extended by a few seconds to allow more vehicles to pass through. Once the line shortens, the engineers would set it back to normal with the flip of a switch. This is already gaining traction as there is similar technology in play at over 100 intersections in Minnesota and California.

The Bottom Line: Sanity

With this advance in communications technology, our time spent in traffic could be cut by as much as 60%. That means we’ll suddenly have an extra half-hour a day – multiply that by 365 days a year – to spend with our families, get work done, or enjoy the hobbies and pursuits that make us truly happy. Car drivers around the world deal with commutes to work, school and the like – making this commute shorter and less stressful would be heavenly. Can you imagine if long lines of stopped cars were a thing of the past?


The Bottom Line: Economic Uplift

Aside from the ramifications on everyone’s personal lives, Americans would be saving billions at the gas pump. In addition, if the city of Toronto, Canada is any indication (where gridlock costs an estimated $10 billion annually), getting people to work faster means macro-level economic uplift as well.

The Bottom Line: Shallower Carbon Footprint

Lastly, there’s a huge environmental aspect to this technology. Spending less time in traffic means, of course, less time with the engine running, and that means less carbon emissions from our nation’s city streets. This has some saying that the Smart Traffic Light just may be the next giant leap for mankind in regard to climate control.

Coming to an Ocean Near You: Taking Wifi to New Depths

For thousands of years, nets have been actively used in all of the major bodies of water around the world. However, so far, the world’s largest net—the Internet—has been almost completely absent from the underwater world.

Internet users can log on from land and air, but water-logged logins are as rare as Loch Ness Monster sightings. While Wi-Fi radio wave signals have helped to make the Internet a ubiquitous presence on dry land, regular Wi-Fi doesn’t work underwater.

Lifesaving Potential

This situation may change if research being conducted by the University at Buffalo pays off and becomes more widely adopted. A team of researchers are working to develop a deep-sea Internet that might someday be used for a wide range of practical applications.

Tommaso Melodia, the UB associate professor of electrical engineering in charge of the project says, “A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time.”

UBPhoto by Douglas Levere (source)

As an example, Melodia explains that information gathered from beneath the sea and transmitted via an Internet connection could warn anyone with a smartphone about an approaching tsunami or other kind of natural disaster, possibly saving lives.

Overcoming the Obstacles

The team had to abandon the use of radio waves to develop a prototype underwater Wi-Fi network and instead turn to sound waves. In a historical perspective, it’s an interesting reversal of events. Using sound waves underwater has a long history; in fact, sonar—the underwater locating system that uses sound waves—was being developed in 1912. It wasn’t until the 1930s that radio waves were used for location in the first radar systems.

Organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Navy already use sound waves to communicate underwater. NOAA, for example, uses sensors on the sea floor to detect tsunamis. These sensors use sound waves to send information to buoys floating on the surface of the ocean. The buoys then transmit the data to satellites that send the information to computers on land.

This system, and others like it, all have their proprietary means of communication. If communication could be standardized to the Internet protocol that the World Wide Web uses, it would be far easier for users around the world to “plug into” this information and make good use of it.

UB 2Photo by Douglas Levere (source)

Lake Erie Testing

To prove the new system’s viability, Melodia and his team tested it in Lake Erie, not far from the Buffalo campus. They dropped two 40-pound sensors into the lake. Using a laptop, they sent commands down to the sensors, and within seconds, they received the response they were hoping for. You can check out photos of the operation in the UB photo database.

Not only could the system help improve tsunami warnings around the world, but also, it could be used to study pollution, detect sophisticated smuggling operations that are now using submarines, monitor aquatic life, protect shipping and assist in underwater mining exploration. The potential applications are limitless.

While the system seems to hold a lot of promise, whether or not the world is ready for monster squid selfies may be questionable.

Mira Yarden, who works with, enjoys working abroad wherever there is wifi. From high mountaintops to sandy beaches, Mira has a laptop and is hard at work. Perhaps she’ll soon be chartering the ocean with her laptop in tow…with an internet connection! Follow Mira on Twitter.