How to innovate with your POTS connection

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Andrea Mocherman

Everything’s a mess. The world of communications technology is at a tangled crossroads that seemingly forks off in every direction, even (and sometimes especially) backwards. Just trying to decide how to have a conversation can often warrant a conversation in itself. Ironically, the answer to organizing all this technology is more technology.


When it comes to how we communicate there has been an explosion of options in the last 20 years. To the point where even the FCC is heralding the not-all-that-slow demise of landline connections.

WebRTC is the latest buzz-maker companies are scrambling to understand and integrate (not necessarily in that order). And less recent innovations such as SIP trunking and hosted VoIP have gained broad acceptance. With so much flux, we’re not in a place to put all our eggs in one basket. Because, well, some baskets are made for pterodactyl eggs and some are just for GMO chickens.

The goal of forward thinking businesses is to kick complex on-prem communications infrastructure to the curb in favor of cheaper cloud options, but many enterprises are tied to legacy telephony infrastructure that’s strangling them in the past. For financial, procedural, and contractual reasons they’re committed to traditional line carriers that fail to deliver the full range of connection and collaboration possibilities required today.

That causes a problem. To keep up with competition, businesses need to keep pace with advancements in how people communicate. A more robust, better integrated suite of communications enhances your accessibility and creates efficiencies (cost and process). E.G. the savings provided by VoIP and SIP trunking connections, and the collaboration and simplification afforded by Unified Communications [link to “…and how you should too” post].

Relying solely on a POTS connection for your business communications in 2014 is shooting holes in the hull of your metaphorical Good Ship Enterprise halfway across the Atlantic.

That’s where Plivo comes in – to help refit your sinking rust bucket into a fuel-sipping high-capacity supersonic passenger jet that jumps whole oceans in just enough time for a beverage service.

Plivo is a application platform that delivers “everything you need to create powerful voice & SMS apps.”

But what do apps have to do with your legacy phone system?

Company founder, Venky B, has the answer. “We’re bringing the past and today together,” he told TechCrunch last year. He went on to describe the Plivo platform as one that, “takes advantage of all WebRTC has to offer while ensuring that enterprise customers can leverage the investments they’ve made in existing infrastructure.” E.G., when a call comes into your TDM phone line, it’s intercepted by some clever programing, and gets delivered via WebRTC to a browser on your sales rep’s laptop.

The power of Plivo is that by giving developers the tools to integrate new technology with existing workflows and legacy infrastructure, it minimizes investment and limits disruption to productivity.

Where Plivo further differentiates itself from competitors such as Twillio, is with their Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) platform. Allowing users to choose their own telephone service provider frees companies that are stuck to legacy telcos and helps revitalize old systems by integrating new technology.

But integrate what exactly?

Telecom apps can perform a wide variety of useful business functions beyond simply connecting disparate technologies. As Venky told Venturebeat, “companies can bypass the middlemen by incorporating voice and messaging capabilities in to their products through a few simple lines of code.”

You can grow your communications toolbox by adding international phone numbers, bulk calling, call recording, text to speech, conferencing, real-time call logs and queuing, and the ability to connect and move calls across mobile, PSTN, and IP networks.

Much of the benefit telecom apps afford has to do with ease of use and automation. You can turn your Plain Old Telephone System line into the gateway to an advanced, modern communications suite by inserting an application layer between your POTS connection and your users.

Here are a few simple and impactful ways you can use an app platform to get more from your existing telephony infrastructure.

Customize Calling:

Using the Plivo platform you can build customized call flows through and around your existing system to make sure calls are routed to the right place (your sales rep’s web browser) at the right time (instantly) so customers are spending less time on hold, and more time placing orders.

Essentially, you integrate all the ways in which people get in touch with you. It won’t matter how someone calls, or where you are when you answer.


A customized IVR can be one of your most valuable customer service weapons [link to blog post]. But pre-packaged systems can be expensive and gnarly to manage. Application platforms such as Plivo give you the tools to build and control your own agile IVR in the cloud for the cost of a monthly subscription fee.

Tracking to Plan:

Your marketing team can easily acquire distinct phone numbers for individual campaign pieces in order to track success and strategize future spending. Tell me they won’t get excited by that.

Bulk Call Delivery:

Send out voice and text messages to a mass or tightly targeted audience so you can talk to more customers and prospects in far less time while sidestepping all the usual clutter to speak directly to them through the trusted phone in the palm of their hand.

International Reach:

Enter new markets with a local feel by adding numbers from the region and forward them to whomever it is that should be answering calls from that region.

The right apps extend availability, reach, and intelligence, adding strength and ability to your communications. There are many innovative ways you can program telecom application platforms to serve your communication needs. Companies such as Calliflower and Calltacular have built businesses on their use of Plivo. (Maybe your application will branch off into it’s own money maker too. Although first you’ll have to come up with a clever and punny way to integrate the word “call” into your product name.)

If you feel like your telecommunications are stuck in the past, you’re probably right. But there is something you can do to breathe new life into stale systems. Connect the telecom of yesterday, today, and tomorrow with the power of adaptive telecom applications.