Advice on starting a wake-up call website

I am trying to setup a small website which would let users register for free daily wake-up calls. I was wondering if Asterisk would be a good platform for such a service? I have been reading the Asterisk documentation and I am a bit lost.
Say, I have a list of numbers (real phone line numbers) stored in a DB, then I want to automatically call those numbers at a specified time. Does Asterisk provide such a feature? Would it be free, or would I be charged connection fees? Do I need special hardware?
This would be a small not for profit service (maybe a few 100 users at most).
If Asterisk does offer such a feature, would it be possible to please point me to some tutorials/documentation?
Thank you.

Yes, you can certainly do this with Asterisk. It doesn’t have this particular feature ‘out of the box’, but all the parts are there to put it together. Some things you will need:

1 - An account with an ITSP. There are a ton of them out there. Since this isn’t a real ‘enterprise’ application, you can pretty much pick the cheapest provider you can find. (Yes you will have to pay for our calls to the PSTN.)

2 - You will need a database to store the info about the call. Most likely phone number, dial time, and perhaps the outgoing greeting.

3 - You will need to write a script which can read from the database and write the contents out to a “.call” file in the asterisk spool directory (/var/spool/asterisk/outgoing). ( … o-dial+out).

4 - Setup a CRON job to run the script you wrote in step 3 every minute or two…

You can also create the .call file and future date it for example

The following will call at 10:10 am tomorrow

root@pbx:/var/spool/asterisk/outgoing $ ls -al --time-style=long-iso
total 12
drwx-w---- 2 asterisk asterisk 4096 2009-12-06 22:40 .
drwxrwxr-x 11 asterisk asterisk 4096 2009-07-29 16:44 …
-rw-r–r-- 1 asterisk asterisk 132 2009-12-07 10:10
root@pbx:/var/spool/asterisk/outgoing $ date
Sun Dec 6 22:43:48 GMT 2009
root@pbx:/var/spool/asterisk/outgoing $

This is simple and reliable.


that solution definitely simplifies things…

One downside I see with your method is that without having the data in the database it becomes difficult to modify or delete a scheduled wake-up call. I like databases, so naturally I’ll always gravitate that way :smile: