Distributed call-takers

I have a couple of non-profit orgs that I support, and they’re needing to break away from the high-cost, high-risk world of Microsoft, and find better ways to do telecom. In particular, they need a way to allow registered, trained people to answer the phones, like a lot of places.

When I worked with a telemarketer, we had a Mitel system that took the inbound 800 numbers, handed it off to a non-busy handset, displaying the DNIS number. The operator would type the DNIS number into my database program, and the program would walk them through the questions to ask, and help gather the data. It worked fabulously, but, for example, to merely report on the calls output to a serial port cost the company $10,000 for the XT and the program to run it. (and I could have done it for free!)

I want select users to load Ubuntu Linux, get a .deb from the organizer, and after answering a few questions on the organizer’s website, allow the person to accept calls from the 800 number and capture their data on the organizer’s website.

I don’t speak telecom, but I’ve been in computers longer than the IBM PC; I can handle the client side, but I have noidea* how to accomplish this with Asterisk. It would seem to be a great way to get a lot more Asterisk instances installed, though, aye?


I just want to know how hard this would be (on the telecom side)…

Using Asterisk’s queues should be very simple to do, as long as you are able to install and manage a standard Asterisk setup.