[thelist] Computerized Automatic Phone Answering

Fred Jones fredthejonester at gmail.com
Sun Jun 14 12:54:38 CDT 2009

> Asterisk can most certainly do this.  If the number that people will
> dial is a POT then you'll need an analog-to-digital interface.  Some of
> the old Digium cards can be had for cheap on Ebay these days.

Yes, it's either POT or a POT-type of line provided by the switchboard
company--I called the switchboard provider and he said all he can
provide me with is a regular old phone line. :)

> OTOH, if the statuses are a small set then you can have a lovely sounded
> lady record them.  AGI scripts are what you'd use to retrieve the
> information from MySQL and play the status audio file to the user.

Yes, we would for sure record our responses--they are multi lingual as well. :)

AGI, right. I got the docs now:

> Just be careful though - expectations for what can be done through a
> phone UI are *incredibly* high, and many people are very, very unhappy
> about using 1st generation touch tone interaction (which ain't IVR
> btw). Yes, it's all possible, but doing it *well* isn't cheap, either
> in software, or in tuning, which is what can make the difference
> between a sweet, natural phone system and a very clunky one, even with
> the same SW.
> Also, I would imagine that the client may doing this as a cost takeout
> exercise; customers don't like that kind of thing, especially if
> they're forced that way (rather than it being an extra service).

The client in question is a digital photo developer. The firm I work
for has developed for him web software as well as POS software which
powers his stores. Part of his success is development speed--simple
prints are generally ready within a matter of minutes. Sublimation of
course takes more time. So all he wants is a dedicated phone number
that clients can call, probably from their cell phone, to see if their
order is finished, while they continue to shop in the mall. I think
it's a nice idea. I don't have any data, but I don't think people
would be unhappy to call the number and then type in their order
number in order to receive their status.

So the plan I am presenting to the boss is:

1. Purchase hardware--the PC can be a simple one--any modern machine
will do. The card issue I must clarify still. It seems I either need
"real" card which can be had for no less than $500 (new):
http://store.digium.com/productview.php?product_code=1TDM411EF or if
this simple card for $50 will work:
http://store.digium.com/productview.php?product_code=1X100MF I will
discuss this with Digium I guess.
2. Install Linux and Asterisk on the machine
3. Develop a small PHP script to receive the information from the
caller and return to him the correct sound file, using AGI, as noted

Overall this seems fairly straightforward. I presume that for a
complete beginner to Asterisk, however, it could easily take 4 hours
to setup the machine. :)


More information about the thelist mailing list