Monday, February 8, 2010

How to Configure ACD in Asterisk

ACD = Automatic Distribution of Calls is extremely important for supervisors and the company to distribute the incoming calls among the team members.

How the fundamental works

Incoming call will be segregated among the teams

Example : Sales and Support

Objective :

Customer calls up a Toll Free number and hears the IVR - asking press 1 for Sales Support and press 2 for Technical Support

Call should get queued for the Sales team if customer press 1 and agent of that particular team should ring and if customer press 2 call should get queued for the technical support team

Steps to Achieve the above mentioned scenario

1) Queuing

Queues needs to be configured in the queue.conf

Example : [Sales Queue] and [Tehnical Support Queue]

[sales queue]

member => Agent/8700

[tehnical queue]

member => Agent/8701

And then create members(agents who will receive the call) in this queue

2) Agents


agent => Number of the agent,Password,Name of the Agent
agent => 8700,1234,Dip Mehta
agent => 8701,1234,James Anderson

Create agents in the agents.conf file and make them as members in the queue

3) Dial Plan Configuration

In extensions.conf, perform the following

Create the Agents Login Code which will be used for agent to login

exten => 4455,1,AgentLogin(8700)

exten => 7000,1,Queue(sales queue)


This is how it works -

Agent logs on, e.g. using code "4455" as in the example above, hears music and waits for call.

Inbound call gets transfered to extension 7000 and agents hears beep and inbound call gets connected to agent.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to record a new prompt on Asterisk

This document will help you to record a new prompt on Asterisk, which can then be used for welcome IVRS messages.

For example, if you want a custom prompt like "Welcome to XYZ Company, please dial 1 for Sales support and please 2 for customer support"

Steps :

In asterisk you first need to define a number where you will call up and record the prompt.

Also you would need a location to store that prompt

In extensions.conf please do the following

; Record voice file to /tmp directory
exten => 1111,1,Wait(2) ; Call 1111 to Record new Sound Files
exten => 1111,2,Record(/tmp/asterisk-recording:gsm) ; Press # to stop recording
exten => 1111,3,Wait(2)
exten => 1111,4,Playback(/tmp/asterisk-recording) ; Listen to your voice
exten => 1111,5,wait(2)
exten => 1111,6,Hangup

Dial the number 1111 and you will hear a beep, start recording the prompt and press # when you are finished.

Asterisk - Things to know before making buying decision

In many ways the decision-making follows what’s now a well-worn path. On the one hand, do you choose the large, stable supplier whose proprietary PBX has as many features as you could ever use and that you know will be well-supported? Or do you take a flier on the far-less expensive open source system that may not yet have as full a set of features and where the future support is much less certain?

Perception vs. Reality

No one is pretending that companies such as Avaya and Cisco feel threatened yet by the likes of Digium and Fonality, which sell Asterisk PBXes, or by SIPfoundry-basedPingtel.

Digium, the leading Asterix-based open source PBX provider, is still viewed as a “nit” in the overall scheme of the telephony and unified communications market, according to E. Brent Kelly, a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research. Though he also believes it could ultimately prove an able competitor.

For many potential users, the final decision may be one of perception. As it still is with more established open-source solutions such as Linux there’s a cultural bias against open-source on the part of IT buyers at many companies.

Bill Miller, vice president of product management and marketing at Digium, admits that’s a barrier for him. A lack of support for his company’s products is not a problem in reality, for example, but he still has to struggle with the perception that it is.

“We are in the transitional period for businesses and enterprises to change their mindsets as they experience the differences [with open source PBXes],” he said.

Open Source = Support

To that extent it’s incumbent on the open source vendors to provide solutions that will put the buyer’s mind at ease.

The downloaded Asterisk software is community-supported through email and online forums and this works for many folks, Miller said. But for mission-critical businesses, he recommends using Digium’s Asterisk Business Edition for a “fully regression tested” version of Asterisk that comes with 24/7 tech support and complete maintenance and support programs.

Large enterprises will also have to be convinced that open source PBXes, which so far have mostly been used in small and midsize businesses, will scale to the thousands of users they need the products for.

However, if credibility is a guide to the future for the open source PBXes, then the past year was a good one for the movement.

Pingtel scored a major coup in October, for example, when it announced a deal with Amazon for that company to replace a legacy PBX with Pingtel’s SIPxchange Enterprise Communications Solution. Given that telephony is such a critical element of Amazon’s business, that was seen as a major endorsement of Pingtel’s product and open source in general.

Likewise, Digium also in October struck a multi-year deal with conferencing giant Polycom Inc. for that company to integrate Asterisk telephony features into its SIP-based desktop and phone products for sale to small and midsize businesses.