Thursday, February 19, 2009

As Smartphones becoming Mission Critical...

I've only had a Smart Phone now for about two months, and learned yesterday the impact of not having it.

An accident yesterday morning rendered my phone useless. No huge problem, I bought phone insurance for just this reason. I went to the website of my provider's insurance carrier, Asurion and filled out their claim form. Their web pages says you'll likely have your replacement phone the next day, and indeed I did. it arrived about 4:30 PM today, or about 31 and 1/2 hours after the incident.

After filing the claim yesterday, I called my own cell phone from a land line, and changed my outgoing message to tell callers not to leave a voice mail, but to instead call my home number. I didn't have to do that, but would have needed to check my voice mail from another phone frequently.

The other concern was text messages. My provider does not offer a way to either go on to their website and ask that text messages to my phone to forwarded to my email, or alternately, generate a auto-response asking people to email me as my phone is broken.

As more and more people use their mobile phones as their primary, or only phone, more thought needs to go into losing or breaking a phone.

Truly mission critical users should consider owning a backup phone. While Apple and other phone makers would love it if you owned two of a high end phone and kept one in the drawer, I'm thinking more of having a low end, voice only phone you an quickly tie in to your phone line.

Or provider's stores should offer "loaners" with certain plans, or inexpensive daily rentals until your insurance provider gets you a new phone.

Asurion did what I paid them to do, they got me a new phone fast. Although they made it more nerve wracking then it needed to be. Their confirmation email gave me a website to check status on. When I did that when the mail came in, it told me the claim was being processed, and to check back 24 hours later. Twenty seven hours later, it still did that. I called their automated customer service line 24 hours after filing the claim online, and it said the claim had been approved but they had no tracking information yet, and the phone should arrive in the next four to five day!

My nerves were soothed when the Great Dane let out the bark that tells me someone had stepped on the porch. Ahh, the new phone.

Citing a study from Gartner, MediaBistro thinks Smart Phones will one day replace office's desktop phone. Before we get much further down that road, users, providers and the users employers need to do a lot more thinking about what to do when the worst happens.

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