Friday, 31 July 2015 02:48

VIDEO Presentation: World Phone, the new Uber and AirBNB of roaming telephony


Norwood Systems has unveiled World Phone, a consumer-focused communications app for international travellers that harnesses the “sharing economy” to provide global access to high-quality low-cost telecommunications.

Founded in 2011 to develop and supply the best possible global mobility and roaming solutions for mid-size to large organisations, Norwood Systems developed its cloud services offering, CORONA (COrporate ROaming Network Access).

‘Corona’ delivers what Norwood says is ‘the world’s most advanced international roaming solution leveraging non-cellular networks,’, integrating ‘mobile devices securely and seamlessly with the organisation’s existing voice assets – the PBXs and voice WAN links that make up its private voice cloud – no matter where they are.’

Norwood has leveraged its Corona learnings and success to develop World Phone, a new communications app for iOS and iPhones, which will come to Android in Q3 2015, for international travellers that harnesses the ‘sharing economy’ to provide access to high-quality low-cost telecommunications providers around the world.

In plain English, this means World Phone is ‘a professional-grade Voice Telephony App that lets you make low-cost long-distance and roaming calls, by connecting you seamlessly and locally with high-quality phone networks in more than 90 countries.’

The company claims the World Phone app ‘is especially suited to addresses the needs of international travellers with exacting communications requirements, and a desire to continue conversing with contacts beyond the travel period.’

Just as Uber has disrupted traditional taxi-based transportation, and AirBNB is disrupting the world of room rentals, World Phone says it ‘disrupts the personal mobile roaming experience by providing tight integration to high-quality fixed line networks worldwide, delivering much lower-cost per-minute calling (up to 80% lower than corporate plans).’

In addition, Norwood says World phone delivers ‘clearer audio to the end-user, while introducing completely novel features, such as effortless in-app provisioning of local numbers when travelling – all without needing an additional SIM.’

World Phone was created because individual travellers, businesses and governments globally are incurring significant international call roaming charges, with Informa Telecom estimating that ‘mobile operators today bill more than US$55 billion annually in roaming charges,’ something Juniper Research has forecast ‘to grow to more than $80 billion by 2018.’

Norwood System CEO and founder, Paul Ostergaard, gave iTWire a great presentation explaining how the system and the app works, which is embedded below, after which this article continues.

It’s easy to buy additional minutes - it’s all done via an effortless in-app purchase mechanism, while an optional flat-rate, capped ‘Ultimate Plan’ is available for those who make lots of calls while travelling.

World Phone’s UI is modelled directly after the iPhone’s standard dialler, making it extremely easy to use, presenting an extremely familiar user experience right out of the box, after you install the app.

As you dive into the World Phone app, you will discover that virtually all of the capabilities of the native Phone app are also made available in World Phone, letting you even launch a FaceTime call from within World Phone.

World Phone promises to never download or share your contacts with anyone, with privacy one of Norwood’s key concerns, the company says that ‘all call signalling to and from Work Phone is encrypted using TLS sockets, the same level of encryption used to secure your Internet banking transactions.’

Norwood says that World Phone uses VoIP for the ‘first hop’ to let you bypass expensive international roaming rates when traveling.

Crucially however, Norwood notes that ‘World Phone then connects you straight into a nearby telephony point of presence, wherever you are travelling, minimising how far your call has to traverse the Internet’.

The company says its ‘Internet-Path-Minimisation strategy delivers the end-user much improved call quality and reliability versus regular VOIP services, at a much lower cost than when using cellular roaming.’

For more information, check out the World Phone app at the iTunes Store here

For business users who could benefit by using something like World Phone on a corporate scale, World Phone has a twin that CIOs and IT department should know about called ‘Work Phone’ which works on a centrally billed, post-paid basis, and using Corona, can integrate seamlessly and easily with any corporate phone network.

Work Phone can be seen on the iTunes Store here

More information about Norwood Systems is here

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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