“Follow me” is one of, if not the, most common phone feature. This is especially true if you often find yourself out of the office or working from multiple locations. It also goes by the name “find me”, but the core function is the same. Imagine you have multiple offices and you are not sure which office you are going to be in at a given time. You want to make sure when clients call you, you can somehow pick up the call. This is a great alternative to giving out your cell phone number.

The follow-me feature solves the issue by forwarding your calls to multiple locations, simultaneously, such as your two offices and cell phone. It is almost like broadcasting the call to many extensions and phone numbers. As soon as you pick up the call in one location, the call is transferred and pulled from the other location(s). With the follow-me feature, you can have unanswered calls  go to voicemail. We can also have some type of ring strategy, as well. For example, we want to ring to the first location, followed by the next location and so forward.

On-call Ma software takes the same feature and modifies it from ground up to help home care after hour on-calls. We know that home care agencies never close and therefore rely on after hour on-call coordination. Coordinator takes all the calls after traditional business hour and represents the company’s customer care. It was a challenge, but not impossible.

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“Doc, today seems to be slow, I haven’t received any calls yet,” said Jimmy who works as a medical receptionist. Dr. Secretname was confused as well, They have 3 receptionist and wondering if they need to decrease the number of employees. Finally, someone called Dr. Secretname cell and told him that he could not call his front desk. The confused face became a worried face. He had this problem before and took 2 days to fix the phone. “Jimmy, email the phone company about our issue.”  Two hours later, Jimmy finds the contact information. The phone company located in another state responds back toward the end of the day. To make it worst, the phone company told them it is an internet issue and their phone will not work until the internet is fixed.

Secret Revealed

The following day his marketer called stating there are too many Google bad reviews yesterday. His unresponsive office is broadcasted to the world. Dr. Secretname is not a secret anymore. Dr. Secretname studied and practiced medicine for 30 years before opening his clinic. He has no idea about IT. The IT guy that reaches out to him few months ago popped in his mind.

“Manny, I don’t know what to do. My phone does not work and the phone company saying that I need to fix my internet”. Manny took another job for 100k per year. “Dr. Secretname, I’m at my job, and I cannot talk right now. I would call the internet company”. For some reason, Dr. Secretname has no idea which internet company he is with. So he called his accountant to find out who he is paying for the internet.

Stories like this go on and on for small businesses. Experienced business owner knows this type of pain too well. After working for a few VoIP companies, it is clear to me that small business owners like the doctor office should hire local companies. Local VoIP companies provide better customer service such as on-site visits on the same day for emergency issues.

 Click here to get FREE Caregiver Replacement

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“Are you saying that if I could find a caregiver at the last minute, you are willing to pay half of your profit?” She replies, “Yes, because I am losing the money on the visit anyway.  If a caregiver calls-out or cancels the visit for the client, there is no profit”. That is one of the reasons why I started developing the On-call Ma application. Owners of a home care agency had a problem and were willing to pay for a solution.

Start and Stop Development? No Pain, No Gain

It was clear to me that the problem could be solved, but not sure about the details. As a system engineer, I am aware that creating software is like writing a story. We know what to write about, but we do not know all the sentences within a paragraph. In fact, we do not know all the paragraphs we need to write or the exact amount of paragraphs we need to write. It is a journey with uncertainty. It is important to mention that once we start the journey, we cannot stop. Either we come up with a solution or all the time spent is wasted.

Another way to look at the journey is the movie Sanctum made in 2011 and directed by Alister Grierson. The move is about “an underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world.”

If there is a cave next to the ocean, any cave driver knows that underwater usually always has a path to the ocean. However, there are, most likely, multiple paths. In the movie Sanctum, one of the main characters, Frank, one thing is clear is that once you enter a cave, either you exit on the other end or go back. However, Frank’s cave driver team did not have the option to go back. Either they exit the other end or die. That is not far from the truth when it comes to software development. Either we stop development or release software.

Another knowledge to keep in mind is that software has a cycle. We revisit our first draft and modify the writing on the next round to make the story better.

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Photo by Jasin Boland / Rogue Pictures – © 2011 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


“Rita, did you check your brother’s homework?” That is one of the daily questions my mother asks my sister. I do not think my mother ever called my sister by her full name Fahima Nessa. It is not her real name, but close to it. One of the reasons we do not call a person by their full name is that it is time-consuming. This concept is not far from hyperlink or URL. When we are dealing with SMS, we cannot afford to send a link that is very long especially since we have 160 character limits.

Short URL help get the message across quicker - person sitting on floor reading SMS

Another reason we do not call people’s full names on normal occasions is  because it feels weird. I can imagine someone hanging-up a call when trying to spell out the letters of a long sentence. It is one of the reasons company bitly.com came up with a URL shortener. Of course, there are other companies that can do the same thing. However, many business owners are not aware that the URL shortener also has tracking and other data linked to it. For example, if we sent a text to my sister Rita,  “New job found. Click the link to view job info – oncallma.com/xEfkx”, we know how often the link was clicked, what time, even their location. Furthermore, we can even determine if the link was forwarded to someone else by using what we call cookies.

If your mother sends you a text “Ur report card came in today. I took a picture – bitly.com/dktex. We need to talk.”, make sure to disable your GPS before clicking on the link. If you do not, then the next message could be “Tell Jr. that you need to leave his house right now”.

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“Manny, can you install Microsoft Office on my computer? When can you come by?”. The fact is most things have moved to a cloud model and does not require installation like before. Moreover, browser technology is maturing and can do anything a common person does . All you need is a link and credentials, such as username and password. For example, do you need billing software? Maybe your should try QuickBooks or Freshbooks online. Similarly, is there a need for word processing? In that case, sign up for the online version of Google doc or Microsoft 365.

“Marie, there is no installation need. Just go to www.office.com/launch/word and use the username and password I provided to you before”. And that was the end of the conversation.

One of the projects I am working on is tracking and monitoring cloud-based application software: oncallma.com. The application keeps on-call coordinators and caregivers accountable by using artificial intelligence (AI). It is 100% online based, no installation required. If a coordinator needs to find caregiver replacement, On-call Ma will find you one. Similarly, if clients need to chat with you, as a coordinator, the SMS feature is built-in with an automatic chatbot. It is a fact that most new software deployments are online. As a result, software can be used on any device that has a browser such as:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Tablet
  • Laptop
  • Desktop PC

Next time you are looking for software, do not limit yourself by forgetting about web applications.

 Click here to get FREE Caregiver Replacement

Photo credit: http://learnmore.economist.com/!5RrwM2


 There I was, trying to pull a fast one by taking my wife on a gondola ride in Las Vegas. They built an actual canal indoor to make it look like Venice, Italy where you can take a gondola ride while the gondolier is singing. “Wasn’t that great? Now we don’t have to spend all that money to visit Italy”. Of course, that did not work. The following year, I was in a hotel in Rome, booking a train ride to Venice. My wife deserves some credit for not showing a bad mood while I was talking to clients in the United States.

On all those occasions, I was using a Grandstream Wave softphone that connected to a phone system in the United States from Italy. After you  download the Grandstream Wave App from the Apple Store or Google Play, all that you require is a wireless connection, such as WiFi.

Softphones are not created equal

Many people do not know that there are two types of softphones:

📶 Internet-based softphone – Uses 100% wireless (eg: wifi, 3g, 4g, LTE and etc). Grandstream Wave falls under this category.

☯️ Hybrid softphone – Use minor wireless data in the beginning, followed by a carrier reception. When I say carrier’s reception I am talking about using cell phone towers as if you are using a non-smart phone to make a call. Examples are Google Voice or On-Call Ma mobile app.

Internet-based softphone has greater flexibility. It can work anywhere, as long as a quality internet is provided. On the other hand, Hybrid does have a number of advantages. For example, there are regions where Internet only softphones experience blockage by the internet service provider.  If you are not aware, some countries such as India or Bangladesh do not allow VoIP technology. Softphone falls under Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.  Consequently, it can be used to make international calls for free as I did in Italy.

Side by Side Softphone Comparison

The table, below, shows the difference between Internet based and hybrid softphones:

Internet-based Softphone

Hybrid Softphone

  • Must have quality wireless internet to work. It does not need a SIM card if quality wifi is provided
  • It was not designed to handle calls while moving very fast. For example, driving
  • Voice quality changes depending on the compression. Softphone compresses your voice and decompresses when it arrives on the other end. In voice technology, we call it codec. It is the same process as when you zip a file, send it by email, and the receiver unzips the file. 
  • A mobile phone needs to provide high-speed computing power to allow the softphone to compress on the fly. A slow phone might not work too well with an internet-based softphone.
  • Needs some type of cell reception. This means a SIM card is required. NOTE: Carrier such as Sprint do not need SIM and that is because they use CDMA technology
  • It works just like making a call using a non-smart phone. Softphone tells the phone system over the internet to call the cell phone and join the 2nd party like a conference call. When the call comes into the cell, the softphone app makes it look like you made a call. Also, the phone system spoofs the number so the call appears it came from your cell phone or whatever phone number you want to assign (e.g. a business line).  Moving at high speeds, driving or on a train to Venice, is fully supported by the cellular-based system.
  • The voice quality usually stays the same since the compression is mostly done on the phone system side.
  • You do not worry about the phone speed. Phone manufacturers make sure the phone has enough speed to handle calls from the cell tower.

It is also IMPORTANT to know that you should not pick-up your phone during a gondola ride because Return On Investment (ROI), namely your wife’s happiness, will decrease like a recession during the coronavirus season. However, you do not have to take my word for it.

(646) 687-7700

Photo by Antonio Molinari on Unsplash

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