ETel Coverage: GrandCentral's Grand Features

by Bruce Stewart

I spent some time this morning at ETel talking to Craig Walker, CEO of GrandCentral, and getting a tour of this exciting new application. I've been slow to jump on the GrandCentral bandwagon, and wasn't initially that interested in a service that seemed to basically offer me yet another new phone number.

Well, I stand corrected, and after seeing all that GrandCentral can do in person, I'm going to start using it in my daily life now. Craig showed me a bunch of cool features that GrandCentral offers, including its well-known "one number for life" that can ring multiple phones, customized voice mail greetings and ringback tones (and playlists!) for specified groups or individual numbers, call recording, voice mail to email, and a nice web management interface.

But I'll confess the feature that really sucked me in was its ability to send calls that come to my cell phone to voice mail, but with the option to listen in on the message and break in on the call if needed. I admit it, I'm a call screener -- I've refused to let go of my home answering machine for just this reason. And the ability to extend my screening to all of my calls, especially mobile calls, is something I've wanted for a long time.

Craig likes to position GrandCentral as "your own little phone company", where the control of your telephone features and settings have moved to the edge of the network, and are made much easier for users to access. I think that's a good selling point for GrandCentral, I know I'd much rather log onto a web page to make some change to my phone settings than try to call my carrier to add, remove, or change a feature.

(Preview hint: GrandCentral was one of the companies selected to participate in tonight's ETel Launch Pad event, and they will be unveiling a brand new web site with some new and improved features, like better voice mail playback control, to coincide with this. Check back soon for the new site.)