Today, I learned that Ooma, a VoIP company who I recently reviewed, has added a pretty interesting feature to their telephony service. In the past, there has always been a bit of a question around the reliability of 911 calls using a phone service that uses an Internet connection for it “digital dialtone”. Advances have been made and now most VoIP services include Enhanced 911 service; the “Enhanced” part means not only is the caller ID sent to emergency services, but also the full address associated with the caller’s phone number, and the call is routed to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point.
But Ooma’s announcement today is not around Enhanced 911, a service that they have long had, but around adding more value to their customers that do need to call 911. Starting today, you can now add up to 3 email addresses or text numbers to the “My Ooma” online control panel within the 911 section. These addresses or numbers are used to notify key people should 9-1-1 be dialed on the subscriber’s Ooma phone. The configured text numbers or email addresses will be notified automatically when 9-1-1 is called. This is in addition to the call made to emergency responders.
This service does require you to be on the Ooma Premier plan, something that I definitely recommended in my review. The plan costs $9.99/month and you can pre-pay for a year for an additional discount. Ooma does also offer a “free” service where the only cost that you pay is the tax on the line.
I think this is a nice little innovation coming from Ooma, who recently was rated by Consumer Reports #1 provider of HD-quality free home phone service. “The standout among alternative VoIP phone services is the oddly named Ooma, a top provider in our Ratings. With free domestic calls and dirt-cheap international rates, it’s no wonder that users judged Ooma to be an outstanding value.” (From ConsumerReports.org – May 2011 – subscription required)
As I mentioned in my article, I believe that Ooma is a great second line for your home, specifically your kids. Since there is unlimited talk time and the ability to pick up the phone and get a second line immediately, even if someone is using the first, is pretty darn compelling. Now, if your kids are home and they call 911, you are also notified of this action. The more people who can act in an emergency, the better.
The full press release can be found here.
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: Ooma continues to think outside of the box…the telephone box, that is, and adds new and helpful features.