Tuesday, November 6, 2018

An unexpected phone call at the elevator

Sometime ago, I was visiting an apartment block. This was a relatively new apartment block, I think less than 5 years old.

I entered the elevator, and I heard "Hello, hello... Are you there?" booming from the speakers. This never happened to me before of course; elevators don't talk to me often. I thought maybe someone had pressed the call for help button, and left the elevator, and I can help sort this out.

I said, "Hi, yes!"

The voice continued saying:
-"The reason I am calling you is because of your last energy bill".

After a second of cognitive dissonance, I started laughing:
-"Umm, I don't know what happened, but I am in an elevator now, and your voice is literally streaming from the elevator."

The voice stopped for a brief couple of seconds, then continued explaining something about the bill, following the script he was given.

-"Dude, this is my floor, and I got to go now. Ok, bye."

It turns out most elevator phones ---which are mandated by law to allow you to call for emergency services in case you get stuck in the elevator--- are public network connected phones. And this occasionally leads to receiving phone calls at the elevator. This short youtube video is so funny. Unfortunately I was so shocked by the phone call it didn't occur to me to record it.

From now on, this is how I will answer any unwanted spam call I receive: "Dude, I don’t know what happened, but I am in an elevator now, and your voice is literally streaming from the elevator. This is my floor, I gotto go now."

MAD questions

1) If we have Internet-of-Things vision realized, do I have this to look forward to? Collection calls at the elevator? Or when trying to drive my car?

2) What is the worst malicious thing you can do if you have (or can find) the phone numbers for elevators at apartment buildings or workplaces?

Huh, of course, there is prior art on the Web.

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