Telephone keypads and Unicode characters

From: William_J_G Overington <>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2012 16:58:32 +0100 (BST)

Telephone keypads typically have twelve buttons.

These are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, *, 0, #.

Traditionally, the ten digit buttons are used to initiate a telephone call. However, in addition, the keys can be used, when the recipient of the telephone call is an automated service, to indicate different meanings.

For example, using pre-recorded voice messages, an automated system can ask a question over a telephone link and a person can press 1 on the keypad in order to answer yes and press 2 on the keypad to answer no. In other contexts within the same interaction between a person and the automated system, pressing 1 or 2 or 3 and so on can be used to have other meanings, such as selecting from a menu and thus steering the discussion onto the particular matter that the person wishes to interact about.

It occurs to me that it could be useful to have a standardized way that people could, when prompted in an appropriate context, send a string of Unicode characters to an automated system using an ordinary twelve key telephone keypad.

For example, one way would be the following.

For each character in the string, enter the base 10 value of the Unicode code point of the character followed by pressing the star key.
When the string has been entered, press the star key again.
Maybe the hash key could be used to erase the key press last entered, so that if the person making the telephone call makes a mistake in keying the sequence then he or she does not need to go all of the way back to the start.
Would this idea be worth encoding as a standardized Unicode method so that perhaps standardized software modules could be produced and then used in automated systems accessible by a telephone call using an ordinary twelve key telephone keypad?
William Overington
1 October 2012
Received on Mon Oct 01 2012 - 11:04:12 CDT

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