(Y) BootyDialer.com: Best Asterisk App EVER!

June 17, 2008 by Garrett Smith

So we had a contest last week….the gist of which was for our readers to submit their ideas concerning novel uses for Asterisk.

I was doing some research online today and I came across BootyDialer.com, which is certainly one of the most creative applications of Asterisk I have come across.

The application itself is hard to describe, so I grabbed the text below from the blog of one one the creative geniuses behind BootyDialer, Adam Simon. You can also click on the BootyDialer flowchart thumbnail below the quote, for a visual interpretation of the app.

For our Redial midterm, Corrine and Marc and I are creating Booty Dialer, an automated booty call system. The notion is that you sign up on the website, and enter the phone numbers of your potential booty calls. When you’re out and about and decide you want some booty, you call in, and it puts you on hold while it calls your contacts, whom it asks if they would like to talk to you. If they do, it connects the calls. If they don’t, it goes on to the next one, saving you the embarrassment of being rejected by returning the same response for a “no” as a person who didn’t answer.

We’ve got a loooong list of features we’d like to implement (including booty blocking, booty networking, proximity integration for finding nearby booty, and booty recommendations), but for this week’s midterm we’re just aiming to have basic contact list management and call bridging working properly…which means more adventures in AGI!

Adam is apparently an alumnus of NYU’s “Interactive Telecommunications Program”. Where was this program when I shrugged apathetically in the office of my high school guidance counselor when he suggested I pursue a major in “Communications” at a regional college? Oh well, it turned out okay….

My BootyDialing days are behind me….but that may not be the case for many of our readers. BootyDialer.com is free of charge, and appears to still be up and running.

New Senate Legislation Seeks to Level the 911 Playing Field

VoIP e-911 E911 FTC

Critics of VoIP often point to safety concerns surrounding the availability of reliable 911 services for consumers of VoIP services. The FUD surrounding the 911 issue, which certainly has some merit, has been a rallying cry for those who would seek to slow the adoption of IP telephony.

It’s been hard to miss the widespread, mostly negative media coverage concerning VoIP and 911.

Back in 2005, the FTC passed legislation mandating that all VoIP providers offer enhanced (E911) services.

This new legislation is a mild victory for independent VoIP service providers, and a minor defeat for traditional telco operators such as Verizon and AT&T.

For some, the original FTC mandate created a business opportunity, and a host of E911 providers sprang up to help VoIP service providers meet the new compliance regulations. Amongst these are Dash 911, RedSky and e911ToGo.com.

Now that traditional telecom operators cannot impose measures to block VoIP service providers from accessing 911 networks, the business model created by the original e911 compliance mandate may no longer be viable.

Women in VoIP: Running the Speakeasy

Our next VoIP maven is Ginny Hutchinson of Speakeasy (A Best Buy Company). Hutchinson is Chief Marketing Officer and has been working in the VoIP world for five years now. Now, we are not talking about a saloon or Prohibition here, headquartered in Seattle, Wash., Speakeasy provides broadband and voice service nationwide.

What is it like working as a woman in the VoIP world?

The telecommunications industry is more female-friendly than many other tech areas. I encourage and support women who are interested in making the move to the telecom industry. VoIP is an exciting, fast-paced, growing market with a lot of opportunity for talented employees.

How did you become interested/introduced to VoIP?

I spent over 10 years in the wireless industry. My wireless experience laid the foundation for my move into broadband voice services. It was a natural fit with my background, and I’m proud to be able to offer a product where the features and functionality truly make it a next-generation phone system.

What are some of your networking/marketing methods?

I serve on a number of boards, both business-related and non-profit. This allows me to stay connected professionally and with my community. I also keep on top of industry trends through trade publications both on and off-line.

How is it working with men in VoIP?

I feel that, in telecommunications as with any other industry, the talent and work ethic of my colleagues is most important factor, and gender is not an issue. I enjoy working with a wide variety of folks. At Speakeasy, we hold as one of our core values: ‘respecting individuals and individuality.’ I’m fortunate at Speakeasy to work with a dedicated and talented group of people who inspire me every day.

What do you see for the future of women in VoIP?

I think that more women are claiming their rightful places in technology than ever before. There are many rewarding experiences and opportunities for women in telecommunications both domestically and internationally. Telecommunications is a great place to be!

IPCS Word(s) of the Day: NAS

NAS = Network attached storage device. When using an NVR, it is often not necessary to archive recorded video directly on the local hard drive(s) of the PC or server running the NVR software, you can map a storage path to a NAS unit and archive your video footage there. NAS units come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 80GB to several terabytes in size.

IPCS Word of the Day: Multiplexor

June 16, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Multiplexor= A communications device that multiplexes (combines) several signals or camera feeds for transmission over a single medium. An example of a multiplexor is the GUI provided by an NVR system or networked DVR, which allows you to view the feeds from multiple surveillance cameras simultaneously.

Hotels and Asterisk

Matthew Nickasch of NetworkWorld.com has written an interesting article about VoIP in the hotel industry.

Matthew notes (rightly) that albeit a little late, hotels are transitioning to VoIP because the cost of hardware has finally come down, and it has apparently become easier to implement changes to a large amount of extensions quickly.

At VoIP Supply, we have seen and worked on several initiatives to make deploying asterisk-based PBX’s easier to implement.

On a typical deployment we will use a Rhino Equipment FXS Channel bank, the Rhino Ceros IP PBX and Rhino Equipment Digital PCI card, along with Aastra analog phones. The magic is in the dial plan, and we can set a lot of that up ahead of time.

Women in VoIP: Vibrant VanDerHorst-Larson

June 13, 2008 by Garrett Smith

The next Woman in VoIP, Jennifer VanDerHorst-Larson, has over 10 years experience in the VoIP world and heads the controls as the CEO of Vibrant Technologies. Located in the Midwest, but selling worldwide, Vibrant provides consumers with quality used IT hardware and upgrades.

What is it like working as a woman in the VOIP world?

On a day to day basis, I don’t imagine being a woman in this industry is that much different than it is for a man. Individually, as CEO of Vibrant, I do have tendencies to communicate with my team and clients on a personal level…I often speak with every one of our 40 employees each day.

How did you become interested/introduced to VOIP?

Vibrant started out as a refurbished server reseller, and we would get these large lots of equipment from auctions and liquidations. We were increasingly coming across packages of Cisco routers, switches and telephony equipment, so we became more and more involved in trading networking and Telco hardware. We realized there was a big market in voice and networking and started to dedicate personnel to develop that market for us.

What are some of your networking/marketing methods?

I love to meet others in person at conferences and industry gatherings. Often the people you meet at these events may not have a direct business synergy with you but they have great insights and will link you up to new partners and clients.

How is it working with men in VOIP?

I enjoy working with the men in the industry. Of course I’m glad to see more and more women entering the VOIP world, but the men in the industry are great to work with. Successful people in IT sales have to possess a mix of intelligence, wit, toughness and integrity that it makes them such a great group to work with, no matter which gender they happen to be.

What do you see for the future of women in VOIP?

I hope to see more and more women take on a variety of roles from sales to technical positions, and of course more women heading up their own companies. Although currently male-dominated, women absolutely have the skills to thrive in this industry.

IPCS Word(s) of the Day: Motion Detection

Motion Detection= Refers to the feature in some NVRs and DVRs to only record video if something in the image moves or changes. Therefore you don’t have to look through hours of stored video looking for something to happen. It also saves a lot of space on the hard drive, and allows you to record at a much lower frame rate when nothing is happening. When the system detects motion, the cameras can be kicked up to record at a higher frame rate (FPS).

Unified Communications becoming a "must" in today’s business world

June 12, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Blackberry provides necessary link

With the ever changing advancements in technology, virtually anyone can be reached at any given time or location in the world. Today’s business needs require this seamless method of communication. Communication could quite possibly be the most important and most crucial aspects to any organization. Communication on an inter-departmental basis, communication with your customers, patients, or colleagues, communication that is considered mission critical, the messages that NEED to meet their destinations, such as health care personnel, IT managers in times of network emergencies, and virtually any position that requires attention immediately.

I was recently reading an article on computerworld.com pertaining to Unified Communication and how the Blackberry can take this process one step further. Imagine your personal or work-related Blackberry cellular device completely tied in to your corporate phone system (PBX), and the Blackberry inhabits all of the features and characteristics of the corporate system–now that’s Unified Communications at its best.

Now the Blackberry can’t do this on its own and according to John Cox, intermingling with the RIM’s Mobile Voice System (MVS) is needed to allow this mobility and functionality to work correctly. More information on the MVS system and how it essentially links the Blackberry with your corporate PBX can be found here.

With the ongoing need and push for a more mobile workplace, the idea for Unified Communications will become a must in almost every business out there; no more missing an important call, missing VM, or “I couldn’t get a hold of you.” In the Computer World article, David Heit, director of software product management, who focuses on MVS, server software introduced in 2007 and based on a product acquired when RIM bought Ascendant Systems, demonstrates on his own BlackBerry, selecting a five-digit corporate extension at a desk in RIM’s Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters and presses a button to connect over AT&T’s Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution network. For the first time, the BlackBerry becomes, in effect, the user’s mobile desk phone, not just his mobile e-mail device.