Orcon has released an app for iOS and Android which lets its users take their homes phones with them, where ever they are in the world.
Genius Go acts as an extension to Orcon's Genius service, redirecting calls from the Genius modem unit to the app over the internet. Genius users already use internet phone services (VoiP) if they've opted for the phone line add-on. Users can now redirect phone calls directed to a land line number, to their mobile phones – using their existing landline packages instead of paying for mobile voice minutes (although data charges still apply).
Calls can also be made from the app itself, via the landline number – circumventing the mobile telco provider.
The app is developed by local outfit Sush Mobile and was more than a year in the making from woe to go, says Sush co-founer Sheenu Chawla.
"We were brought on board early last year ... It was challenging to build something that looks so simple on top but has some very complex underlying technology," she says.
Much like instant messaging apps such as Kik and Viber, Orcon Go can show who's online and send instant messages. The app tracks mobile data usage, sending users alerts when they've reached a designated limit. The key technology component is the ability to reroute VoiP phone calls to the app, which requires access to complex user management databases and telco systems on Orcon's end.
Building a solution with support for both iOS and Android was a no-brainer, Chawla adds.
"It's just the norm now. If you need to capture the market and support customers, you need to have Android which is growing at an exponential rate," she says.
Orcon chief executive Greg McAlister says the app is aimed for a telco market evolving away from traditional voice services.
“With home phone and broadband packages becoming more competitive, consumers are continually looking for new value and new innovation,” says McAlister.
“We created Genius Go with this in mind; so our customers could get the most out of their broadband bundles. We also wanted to set a precedent among other telecommunications providers. The advances in Internet Protocol technology over the past few years mean new and more affordable ways of communicating exist, and we at Orcon are here to make these new technologies available to as many New Zealanders as possible. "