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Asterisk, outbound calls and recording capabilities

The purpose of this question is to determine if Asterisk can be used to accomplish the below goal, and to get a summary of the work/resources involved.

Process:

Calls number: (555) 555-5555 based on date and time
Pauses for connect
Sends DTMF: 55555# (access code for conference)
Records the line clearly for a set period of time
Saves the audio recording
disconnectes

Single standard phone line, tapi compliant voice modem, debian based linux

I do not need dtmf or silence detection or anything like that, simply to do the above.

Can asterisk be used to accomplish this, if not, is there an open source solution?

If it is possible, please outline the process needed to accomplish this - not looking for a complete walkthrough, just a summary of steps that would need to be taken with an emphasis on the configuration of asterisk, if extra hardware will be needed, etc.  Please paint a picture of what I'm getting into (intermediate linux user).

Thanks in advance,
Scott
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scott_audio
Asked:
scott_audio
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1 Solution
 
ai_ja_naiCommented:
Asterisk can quite do everythingyou listed, most of what by command line

>Calls number: (555) 555-5555 based on date and time
you do it with Asterisk CLI via crontab

>Sends DTMF: 55555# (access code for conference)
there's an appropriate command (http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/index.php?page=Asterisk+cmd+SendDTMF)

>Records the line clearly for a set period of time
Asterisk can do it

>Saves the audio recording
I belive that it is a recording built in feature..
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darrickhartmanCommented:
The "tapi compliant voice modem" will certainly not work in Asterisk.  Asterisk supports very specific hardware.  Digium, Rhino and Sangoma make some of the better internal hardware.  Linksys and others make what are called ATA (analog telephone adapters) which will interface between Asterisk and your analog line.

Otherwise, Asterisk can do everything else you have listed, but you'll need to either learn the dial plan logic or have someone do it for you.
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scott_audioAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your responses.   Glancing through the documentation for asterisk, it looks as though it will do about anything except for maybe making my breakfast.  I'm wondering if it is overkill for what I need to accomplish or if there is a better, less expensive solution.

Can either of you provide a summary of what will need to be done to set this up?  Again, I'm not looking for step-by-step, but a description of what's involved in setting it up.  I need to be able to justify the time spent to my employer.

For example:  is installing it as simple as most other program?  what problems can i expect?  Is it just a matter of editing a few conf files, or is the configuration more complex?  It looks as though I'm going to have to spent about $500 for a decent telephony card, or is there a less expensive solution?  From your experience, can you estimate about how much time it would take a beginner to set it up?  Would you recommend a specific flavor of linux, or will a simple debian based system do the job?

I am thankful for any added comments,
Scott

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darrickhartmanCommented:
It totally depends on how much time/experience you have with Linux.  I'm one of the developers for a custom embedded Linux distro that focuses on Asterisk (AstLinux http://www.astlinux.org).  It sounds like you're just dealing with one phone line and no analog phones.  The simplest set up would be either a mini-itx board with a CF adapter or direct plug flash storage (or a hard drive if you so choose) and a Digium TDM410p with a single FXO adapter module.  Those cards are relatively cheap.  Here's a link to one supplier:  http://www.8774e4voip.com/Digium_TDM401B_p/digium%20tdm401b.htm
You can add the hardware echo cancellation if you need to in the future and support up to 4 phone lines.

I'm guessing it would take about an hour to get the hardware configured (if you go with AstLinux, the configuration is pretty straight-forward and the install is a matter of a few minutes).  Future upgrades are pretty painless too.  Getting the dialplan configured may take a few hours to work out the bugs.  There is a reference book available here too:  http://astbook.asteriskdocs.org/

Hollar if you have any other questions.
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scott_audioAuthor Commented:
darrickhartman:  that's exactly what I was looking for, thanks.  The links especially are helpful.  Once I have everything it looks like I could set it up in a few days at most.

Is it reasonable to assume that I could also dial out and play/broadcast a recorded message?  Calls are sometimes 2 hours in length, so if there are any time limitations other than storage space, please let mme know.

I'll count this as a solution, thanks.

Thanks for all comments.

Regards,
Scott
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darrickhartmanCommented:
Scott

You should be good.  I know of no time limitations other than the storage space.  I have a client who has to record certain parts of calls due to government regulations.  He occasionally will record longer calls when he does a seminar over the phone.  Those are probably around an hour in length.
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scott_audioAuthor Commented:
Good day to you, I hope you don't mind the followup question darrick

I installed astlinux (very well done by the way, thanks), and I've ordered the recommended card and a couple usb drives... does the digium card have the hardware built in to do the recording, or does the recording process use a sound card?  I know nothing about these cards and I just want to make sure I have everything I need to get this working this week.  If it uses the sound card, then I'll want to use something other than the onboard sound.

Thanks again for everything, you've got me off to a good start, and I'm learning lots

Scott
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darrickhartmanCommented:
All audio interfacing with the analog phone lines is done through the Digium card.  No need for a sound card.
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scott_audioAuthor Commented:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Telecommunications/IP_Telephony/Asterisk_/Q_24371254.html

posted another question at above link, if you have time, and care to respond

I've read the documentation of course, but because I don't have fxs, phones, etc, the examples I can find are nothing but confusing for a newbie, I'm not even sure my confs are done right nor not to get this to work

Any help would be appreciated - astlinux has made things much easier so far
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