Chat, email, voice, video, and file-sharing: illumy does it all. And … <drum 🥁 roll> there’s more! illumy also offers local and international calling. With an i2 or higher plan (as little as $3/month), your phone number is virtual. That unlocks all sorts of cool features and functionality that a regular phone ☎️ number (like the one tied to your smartphone) just can’t handle.
We sat down with illumy co-founder Matt McGinnis to hear more about what makes illumy phone something special.
Tell us a little bit about how phone systems work.
MM: I don’t want to bore you. But, in a nutshell: Phone systems have been pretty much the same since the late 1800s. They use a technology called “public switched telephone network,” or PSTN. Compared to the old days of operators and switchboards, PSTN has come a long way. Today, it’s almost fully digital, and it uses fiber-optic technology that can handle thousands of calls at once.
But PSTN is inefficient, because it needs to keep a circuit open any time you’re on a call. And it’s limited in terms of what you can actually transmit: voice or fax, that’s it.
But illumy does things smarter?
MM: illumy is a lot smarter! illumy voice calls happen over VoIP. VoIP gives you clearer calls than landline phones, because VoIP is fully digital. VoIP also lets you “virtualize” your phone number. If you have a VoIP number, you can be reached anywhere in the world, as long as you have internet. That’s way easier, not to mention a lot cheaper, 🤑 than relying on traditional phone networks.
And illumy does even more?
MM: Yes, there’s more! What sets illumy apart is the backend systems we have. It’s unique in a few different ways.
First is the micro-services architecture we built. Basically, it’s like the Terminator T-1000 🦾—think liquid metal. If part of the network goes down, our architecture adapts automatically to patch 🩹 everything. It happens so quickly, you don’t even notice.
Second is the audio 🔊 codec [editor’s note: “codec” is a portmanteau of “coder-decoder”]. It’s an open-source technology called Opus, and it gives you the best call quality with the lowest data consumption. It not only adjusts dynamically, based on how much bandwidth you have, but it offers HD audio.
Finally, there’s the way illumy connects to the PSTN (which happens any time you call a non-illumy number). Unlike some of our competitors, we will transmit both your caller ID and your phone number—for inbound and outbound calls. That means the person at the other end can see your number and easily call you back.
No other messaging platform does this.
Very cool. Is there anything else?
MM: I can talk about this stuff all day, though our readers may not have that long to listen. 😆
There are a few things. First, illumy is fully encrypted for what we call “on-net” calls—calls to other illumy members. That protects you from eavesdropping and keeps you secure. We also have extremely strong carrier relationships, so we offer VoIP calling at much lower rates than our competitors. We’re usually the lowest (or verrry close to it), depending on your location.
What’s your favorite use for illumy voice?
MM: That’s a good one—and I haven’t gotten a chance to try this out myself, due to the pandemic. But I think our ideal use case is for international travel. It goes back to the whole idea of a virtual phone number. Your illumy number isn’t tied to a SIM card or a landline. Instead, it exists in the cloud. That means when someone calls you, they’re not calling your physical phone; they’re calling the illumy cloud, which is always on and always connected.
As long as you have an internet connection, we will then “forward” the call on to you, no matter where you might be. No roaming, no long distance. And you’ll get the very best audio quality.
It’s clear that though illumy shares some functions with existing apps, it’s worlds better in terms of speed and quality. See for yourself—sign up for a FREE account today!
Photo by Diogo Brandao on Unsplash