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Programatically make VOIP call using VB in Access

Posted on 2011-02-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We have an existing database that is a MySQL backend and an Access front end. It has served us well for many years. We are now extending this to include touchscreen monitors and linking the database to a couple of web applications. One function I would like to have is to use the touchscreen to click on a client, then click on a "call" button. This should be able to use some kind of command-line call from VB in Access to launch or control some VOIP app to place a call (the monitor will have speakers and I can mount a mic on top of the monitor).

I suppose what I need is suggestions for a VOIP app/service/software that can place a call over the internet to a mobile or landline that can be controlled, or at least can be directed to place a call from the VB in Access. Of course free would be great! But I highly doubt that is going to happen so lets say it needs to be reasonably affordable.

If you also happen to have examples of calling that app from VB that would be a bonus!
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Question by:AMPLECOMPUTERS
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LVL 84
ID: 34892406
The first thing you'd need to do would be to settle on a VOIP solutions, since that solution may have a builtin utility to allow you to call into it.

Barring that, you can always make use of the TAPI features of Windows to manage this. This is a massive subject; here's the starting point:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms734273(v=vs.85).aspx

VB classic has a control you could use, if I'm not mistaken. And .NET seems to be much more tightly integrated with this as well. Access will be a tough nut to crack with the TAPI stuff, I'd bet.
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Author Comment

by:AMPLECOMPUTERS
ID: 34907083
Therein lies the problem, I can not settle on a VOIP solution unless that solution provides the capabilities I need.

I think this may be a little over the top. I was thinking more along the lines of a command line parameter or something. For example:

Dim CustNumber as String
Dim DialString as String
CustNumber=Me!txtCustNumber
DialString = "voipapp.exe /dial" & CustNumber
Call DialString
msgbox("Placing call...")
Call "voipapp.exe /close"

This would get the phone number from the form on the screen and pass it in the call statement to the executable of the VOIP calling app. Then it would pop up a box telling me that it is connecting, then once I click OK on the messagebox it would close the VOIP app.

Now I am not dead set on command line parameters, but I am looking for a simple solution that requires a minimum of programming. All I need to be able to do is place a call to a particular number and disconnect.

I suppose I should also clarify something. I am looking for a single line solution, not a multiline business service, I need no incomming line or number, no voicemail, no frills. I would prefer a solution that would allow unlimited calls in the US for a flat monthly fee. This would strictly be so that an employee could be at a service terminal, click on a "call" button and be connected to a client using an internet phone service (VOIP) speaking through a microphone mounted on the front of the monitor.
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Accepted Solution

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Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE ) earned 500 total points
ID: 34907253
Then you'll have to examine the various VOIP solutions out there to determine if they provide that sort of automation. Command-line style interaction is governed by the program, and is not something that is forced by Windows. In other words, if you use Skype, for example, then the Skype.exe program would have to be written such that it would accept commandline parameters, or would have to provide you with some form of an API/SDK in order for you to automate. If the developers of Skype decided to NOT do this, then you're out of luck.

BTW, I'm a big fan of Skype, and in fact Skype offers an API:

http://developer.skype.com/accessories

I'm not sure you could do this within Access, however. In most cases, web-based applications like Skype require you to be able to consume WebServices, which requires a web-based application or a more advanced programming language (like VB.NET).
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Author Comment

by:AMPLECOMPUTERS
ID: 35207925
I found that Skype can be called from the command line so I will work on that angle.
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LVL 84
ID: 35447752
Seems like the author went with Skype, so my suggestion here 34907253 would qualify as the solution, it would seem.
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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:Dhaest
ID: 35714971
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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