Skip to main content
How telephone caller identity has changed over time
December 13, 2021 at 7:00 AM
How telephone caller identity has changed over time

Caller ID has been an integral part of our telephone culture since the mid-1980s. While it was considered advanced technology for many at the time and was extremely limited with certain telecommunications providers, this was the start of caller ID as we know it. At Prescott-Martini, we’re a part of the process that makes telephone caller identity work. Take a look at how it’s changed over the years and how it helps make our everyday life easier.

Caller ID box

The first tool used for caller ID was a small box that hooked up directly to your phone and had a small display screen. The screen showed the caller’s name and phone number upon receipt of a phone call, but residents were often limited to a single box in the home, so it wasn’t helpful if you answered another phone in the house.

Eventually, the screen from the box was integrated into cordless phones, which made for added functionality around the house. You could go about your day when expecting a phone call and not have to worry about missing it while completing your to-do list around the house.

Call waiting ID

Once call waiting was introduced in the mid-1990s, many homes were taken back several years by not having functional caller ID when they were on the phone. The implementation of call-waiting caller ID was a game-changer for many as they could multitask by talking on the phone without having to worry about missing an important incoming call. From scrambling to answer another call on call waiting, you were able to prioritize your current and incoming calls based on what was displayed on the caller ID screen on the phone.

Cable TV caller ID

Over the years, cable TV providers started to merge more with telecommunications providers. The marriage of the two industries brought the innovation of cable TV caller ID. People who had bundled their cable and phone services into the same package could see who was calling without taking their eyes off what they were watching. This new level of convenience encouraged many residents to stick with their cable providers rather than switching to larger satellite TV packages.

Cell phone caller ID

As telephone caller identity technology progressed, it was included with cell phones. Limited minutes packages made the decision of whether or not to answer the phone an important one. The implementation of contacts lists made it easy to see whether or not somebody you know is calling without answering the phone.

Smartphones took over the cell phone world in the mid-2000s and caller ID was changed again. Rather than simply displaying a phone number, the location of the area code from which the call was being placed became an added feature. Location displays made it even easier for people to decide whether or not to answer the phone because not everyone has a mental database of area codes. What’s more, the ability of cell phone users to move to a location and keep their old number convoluted geographic organization of callers.

Spam caller ID

While the inclusion of geographic caller ID, an increase in robocalls and scammers made it nearly impossible to get someone to pick up the phone if they didn’t recognize your number. Scammers will often spoof phone numbers within the area code where your phone is based to try to get you to pick up.

With a boom in robocalls, Congress passed legislation with the TRACED Act that requires organizations that make massive amounts of calls, like call centers, must register their number in a validation database. Implementation of the TRACED Act has made it easier for individuals to ignore spam calls and take legitimate phone calls as they come in.

Reach out to learn more

You can learn more about the TRACED Act and what it means for your business by reaching out to Prescott-Martini. Fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment, and we’ll help you identify how you can be compliant with new telephone caller identity verification standards.