[HELP] Configuration assistance for roaming workers + PA

Apologies if this question has been asked before, as I have searched the forums and documentation and am not really sure where I should be looking.

Where I work are working on transitioning to VOIP from an old analog PBX. The environment is a receptionist with a small set of workers who have fixed desks / extensions, and others who take whatever desk is available.

Currently on the Analog system, when a call comes into reception, they determine who the call is for, place it on hold, and announce over the PA “Call for Joe Bloggs” on Line X. That worker then picks up the call from any phone in the building, and may place it back on hold to move to another desk when they know what the call is for.

The test system we have setup is AsteriskNow 1.7.1 32bit, and SPA504G phones.

My issue is that I am not sure how to configure asterisk to allow it to function similar to the Analog system. I have tried using call parking, but the users have issues with the multiple steps to transfer the calls to the parking lot, and they do not like that the calls do not stay in the parking lots, but have to be transferred back to the parking lot and may get a different slot if they wish to move phones with the call.

If anyone could point me in the direction of the functions / features that I should investigate to allow the system to function in the above scenario, that would be great.

Thanks

This is configurable (parkingtime in features.conf). It is there because most callers do not like being left on hold for ever!

You should also analyse the basic requirement, rather than trying to mimic the existing behaviour, e.g. the technique You could use the deprecated AgentCallBackLogin application, or the dialplan code suggested to replace it, to allow hot desking with people able to register the device on their desk under a particular extension number.

It is important to understand that extensions and devices are different in Asterisk.

If you want to do this within the limits of AsteriskNow, you should ask on the AsteriskNow forum.

Thank you for your answer, though it looks like my question was a little unclear.

What the receptionists would like to do is announce there is a call waiting, put it on hold, and let the receiving staff member handle it the rest. (I would still like it to ring back to reception after the timout if no-one answers it, so that they dont stay on hold too long)

The desire is more that they would like for a call to reserve a parking slot until the call is terminated, so that if desired, they can pickup the call at extension 101 for example, put the call on hold, and then resume the call at extension 107.

The users do not like the fact that if they want to move desks again, they have to transfer to the parking lot and remember what the slot was. I think there is also the issue that if they are not paying attention, they might pickup someone elses park slot, and cannot easily put it back in the same slot.

Would hot desks allow you to move desks and resume a call in progress?

I don’t know if it works, but you can set a channel variable to specifiy an explicit parking slot.

I agree it seems to be more of a training feature. Many users are just used to doing things a certain way and need to be suggested or taught a better way.

In your analogy, the receptionist “parks” a call at 701, then a user picks up the call at extension 105 but then wishes to take the call at extension 109… so the user ‘parks’ the call again. The system just grabs any available slot, because parking is usually used when you don’t know where a call will be taken from. Your users should be transferring the call, after the initial pickup from park. If user Joe picks up the call from alot 701 on extension 105, then decides he wants to work at extension 109, he merely transfers the call there.

Another option is to use call pickup. typically used to pickup another ringing extension, (ie a user at extension 109 hears 105 ringing and wants to take the call) but i believe if configured properly it can be used to take a call on hold from another extension. (ie the user places the call on hold at extension 105, then at 109 presses pickup, dials 105 and is connected with the caller.)

Personally, i would teach them to transfer the calls unless the distance prevents it.