Microsoft® Response Point™ PBX, Asterisk® and Beyond

Philippe asked me to post some great stuff I’ve been working on recently. So my name is Ethan Schroeder, and in case you are wondering, I’m one of the organizers of the Open Telephony Training Seminar coming up in a few weeks.

With the "analysts", integrators and Microsoft fan-boys (and girls) going crazy over the Microsoft® Response Point™ PBX, I wondered what all the fuss was about. It has some interesting UC/UM (Unified Communications/Unified Messaging) stuff that links into the Microsoft family of products. Microsoft's new Office Communications 2007 server really seems to shine in the UC/UM realm. Then I saw a video on the Response Point "magic button." A voice recognition button for a PBX? It appeared that Microsoft really did something here.

I wondered to myself if Asterisk could do it. A while back I utilized the LumenVox speech recognition software for Linux/Asterisk to build a speech enabled company directory for Asterisk. That was pretty cool, but a magic button would be a Killer App.

From the start of a dream to actual implementation was quite an experience. Creating a button that works when you are not in a call for some functionality (call initiation) and works while you are IN a call for call control turned out to be a difficult task, but I managed to make it work.

The result is a magic button that when pushed plays a fun tone and let's me speak to my phone system in wondrous ways:

  • "call John Smith" or "dial John Smith" - dials by name (John Smith, John) or extension number (Four-thousand-one/4-zero-zero-1/4'oo'1), or even speak the digits of a 7, 10, or 11 digit phone number.
  • "Transfer to John Smith" - transfers a call to a name or extension.
  • "Transfer to John Smith's Voicemail" or "Transfer voicemail John Smith" - transfers the call directly into John Smith's voicemail.
  • "Park call" or "Park caller", parks the call and announces the parking slot.
  • "Retrieve calls" - queries asterisk for all the parked calls and gives the user their options using the Flite text-to-speech engine (which I'll soon be switching over to the incredibly cool Cepstral engine with their new "Asterisk Allison" voice).
  • "Retrieve call [parking slot]"- Retrieves a specific parked call.
  • Needless to say, that’s only the beginning!

Want to see this in action, and even take home the technology? I'm demonstrating it all to participants of the FreePBX training when I present in South Carolina February 27-29th, 2008. I'll also be giving away all the parts to make the magic button work, the AGI, LumenVox configs, Asterisk dial plans and an Asterisk 1.2.x patch required for the parking feature, back ported from 1.4. All you need is a LumenVox starter kit and it looks like you’ll get that too. To quote LumenVox: "FreePBX provides a user-friendly and full-featured wrapper to Asterisk, and we are pleased that LumenVox speech recognition capabilities are embedded and will be part of this new training course." Gerd Graumann, Director of Business Development, LumenVox. This is an exclusive for attendees. All of this will coincide with my talk about Microsoft, the potential threat, and the future of Asterisk with Microsoft on the horizon of the PBX market (it's not as bad as you think).

A magic button isn't the only goodie you'll get, either. Philippe has some other un-released modules he plans on bringing along that help make your life easier for various tasks. We've been working with Philippe for quite a while on custom projects for customers, and I'm still really excited about what he is releasing. And then there are the goodies from the other vendors, but we are not going to go there. The value of the class is in the knowledge we will bring you. You don’t have to go to such a training just to get a free phone, chances at free cards, T-Shirts or a one time opportunity to purchase TDM phone cards at prices you will never see again. The fact that you may get some of that is a nice bonus…

So if you haven't already, take a peek at the training and see if you can attend. Get all the info on the traing site. As Philippe has already mentioned, we’re almost full and if you want to stay at the hotel where the event is at, you better be the next one or two registrations because as far as I recall, that’s about the number of rooms we have left before you’ll have to stay at a different hotel!

I’m looking forward to seeing you and showing you this really cool speech technology!

Ethan

FreePBX: 

Comments

jscoulter's picture

this all sounds great, but some of us wont be at the training.....for us its because it in the USA and costs are a wee bit prohibative to attend, so will you be making your code availible after the training seminar??

Cheers, Jeremy

p_lindheimer's picture

given the strength of the US dollar to the Pound (or just about any other currency these days) seems like you could probably come over here cheaper then if/when we take the show over there... for now, anticipation of what comes next will just have brew for a while.

jscoulter's picture

That maybe true for the UK, but we are not in the UK.....we are in New Zealand.
You are right tho. Its not a bad price to get th the US from here.

warmbowski's picture

Now all someone has to do is to make the little wifi clip-on badges, like the Vocera systems that they use in hospitals. http://www.vocera.com/

p_lindheimer's picture

I've had requests if there will be any more discounts for the training. Well rumor has it that SNOM, AASTRA or ISYMPHONY discount codes might lead you to a few more Scholarships that these vendors would like to support. But don't expect them to last very long, there is only one of each. And thank them for providing the subsidies to you to come and get a great training as well as get access to and preview some really cool and un-released technology as Ethan has discussed here (and more).

jscoulter's picture

Ok, so lets get back to the original question Smile after the training has been done, will the code mentioned int he above article be made availible?

Jeremy

ethans's picture

We don’t know yet. We are going to talk with people at this training to get their feedback and help us decide what to do. Since it requires Licensed (non-opensource) software from LumenVox/Digium – it is a different beast that we will have to tackle. We appreciate your interest though.

Ethan Schroeder

tonyclewis's picture

Thought I would point out that it seems this Magic Button is gaining steam in the community. See TMC's:

Asterisk-based FreePBX clones Microsoft Response Point's Easy Button

Tony Lewis
Schmooze Com/FreePBX
Opening a Bug or Feature request demo video

cpadmin's picture

I cannot attends this current training in SC.
Are there going to be more trainings coming up any time soon? if yes, when and where? Any in California or San Francisco Bay Area?

Ara Harmandarian
Compute Plus

p_lindheimer's picture

Given that this one is almost full, and there are others on the West Coast looking for something a bit closer, you can assume there will be and just as soon as we close the doors on the last couple of seats open on this training, we'll start to figure out exactly when and where the next one will be on the West Coast.

rogerluo's picture

For those who can not attend the training, can we buy the add-on software from you?

harrybrelsford's picture

Hey guys - I bumped into this conversation while cruising the Web and wanted to introduce myself. I am writing the Microsoft Response Point for Partners Primer that I hope to have out in the April\May time frame. Additonally, I am hosting a two-day workshop in late MArch in the NYC area on Response Point with the development team from Redmond....we expect about 150 attendees and it should be a jolly good show. The details are at www.smbnation.com (look under events) or you can e-mail me directly at

Anyways - looks like a great telephony forum you guys have here and I am glad that I bumped into it.

Peace!

harrybbbbb

cosmicwombat's picture

This has nothing to do with any MS products. None the less, welcome to FreePBX.

ethans's picture

The LumenVox speech recognition engine for Asterisk does a pretty good job of handling background noise. It used to not be so, but their most recent release before the last one dramatically improved performance with all kinds of noise issues.

Ethan Schroeder

reinsart's picture

This sounds cool, and I would like to see how it all comes together. I use voice recognition on my phone and it's really weak.. it hardly ever picks up on the name I wanted to use, so it's kind of annoying having to say it 5 times before the phone gets it right.

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mycapitalonecard.com

paul8002's picture

FreePBX allows us to create and manage extensions. voicemail, IVR ?

fskrotzki's picture

Paul8002,

Your message is considered hijacking. Please next time post a new forum question instead of attaching to the bottom of just any message.

The answers to your questions are yes, if you had spend 15 minutes and read the documentation. You can find that along the left hand side, under the donation button, below About, News, Support, forums you'll find Documentation.

Hopefully since it's now two days after you posted this question you've taken the time while waiting for a response to explore and read that part of the site.

Resorts 360 Vacation Club's picture

One of the Response Point's main features is the "Easy button" that you can press and then speak commands to the RP system, such as "transfer to Tom Keating" or "call Bill Gates".

p_lindheimer's picture

I am locking this thread due to it being an excessive target for spam.