Remember when Caller ID (CNAM) first emerged onto the scene in the early 90’s? The unique feature turned the traditional calling experience on its head by providing callers with full transparency into who was calling them. In time, it became one of the most popular phone features in the country. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a household today that doesn’t have some sort of caller identification.
Caller identification was introduced to the world 25 years ago—the same year the World Wide Web was made publicly available—and yet it still reigns supreme among the 41 percent of American households that use both cellphones and landlines. Compared to other popular technologies from the early 90’s (tape recorders, anyone?) the fact that it is still in-demand is nothing short of impressive.
Here are three of the top reasons why the world just can’t get over caller identification:
1. Gain Visibility
Perhaps the top reason why we all still heavily rely on it is because it provides peace of mind as to whom is on the other line. For instance, the phone number calling you may be unrecognizable (we’re all too familiar with ignoring the phone when we see “Unknown Caller” appear on there). On the other hand, you may see an incoming call from “Private Name, Private Number,” in which case you’ll likely want to pick up as those calls are usually from doctors.
2. Report Fraud or Harassment
Caller identification is extremely valuable in the unfortunate case you need to report an invasive telemarketer or need to protect yourself against a fraudulent caller looking to hack your landline. It happens more than you think. Consider, for example, Caller ID spoofing—it's a system that allows an attacker to call someone with a disguised phone number. Hackers will use this system to access voicemails without needing a passcode. If you see suspicious activity on your phone, you can at least have a track record of which numbers have recently been calling you.
3. Keep in Touch with Those You Need to
At its core, it is simply meant to ensure users can keep in touch with those they need to by seeing who called them and at what time. Perhaps their parent rang while they were out, or they missed an important call from a friend. Caller identification makes it that much easier to stay on top of your most meaningful conversations.
As it celebrates its 25th birthday this year, it remains more relevant and useful than ever.