I haven’t tried Ooma yet, but it sure feels like the greatest thing since sliced bread, given all the hype and buzz surrounding it. And it’s just started private beta. You can find some of the greatest reviews at GigaOm, Crunch, Engadget, Mossberg, – some of the writing are pretty clear indications that Ooma reached out to these folks to publicize the private beta launch. So I thought I’d do a quick analysis to see if there are any drawbacks.
In any case, here are some of my concerns:
- Ooma routes calls via another Ooma box’s POTS telephone connection to terminate calls. This also means that you could hook up a recording device or an IP-PBX like Asterisk between Ooma and your phone jack on the wall and record conversations. You might not know the people in the conversation, but the receiver of the call is in your area code. The called number should be trackable, and then you could easily get the name and address associated with that number online.
- If some else’s call is terminated through the telephone connection hooked to your Ooma box, the caller ID seen by the called party would be your number, even though you wouldn’t even know that a call is routed through your Ooma box.
- If some else’s call is terminated through the telephone connection hooked to your Ooma box, your local calls (for many people most calls are local) will be routed via the Internet and then via someone else’s Ooma box. Despite having local phone service, you will now get lower quality service. Might as well not get rid of local service and get vonage.
- If you are making a call that goes through someone’s Ooma box and that person dials 911, then your call will be automatically and immediately get disconnected. This has low probability of happening, but a valid concern nonetheless.
Ooma is still in private beta. By the time Ooma goes “public beta”, hopefully these concerns will have been alleviated!