Implementing Asterisk in developing communities?


I’m currently assisting in a research project at the University of Washington, and part of the project is to implement some sort of call director. What we want is an automated service that users can call into, which will be deployed in rural Africa. I am very new to this topic, and Asterisk in general, so I have two main questions about this implementation.

First, I was wondering if some aspects of our planned automated service are possible using Asterisk. The first is that most terminating paths end in the caller recording a message. However, we want to differentiate what path the user went through before recording the message. I’m assuming it isn’t difficult to separate this data? Also, we have plans for an ‘administrator’ to be able to dial a specific access code to be able to enter parts of the automated service that a normal user wouldn’t be able to access. Is this sufficiently secure? We have plans to implement this device in rural Africa, so doesn’t have to be nearly as ‘airtight’ as a typical machine, but if this security is easily overcome, we may need to rethink it.

Second, what is the cheapest solution for this? An optimal plan would be an implementation where we can take an existing cell phone, then route the audio output to a computer, which does all of the asterisk automated service processing and saves the messages locally. Is this plan feasible, or even possible? We definitely have the budget to buy some sort of intermediate device, but not on the order of thousands of dollars. For this to be deployed in our target communities, we’d need a solution for just a few hundred dollars (or less if possible).

If anyone wants anymore information about our project, please say so, I’d be happy to detail our full plans.

Thanks very much


You need to get in touch with the guys who ran the system for last years Burning Man festival



Those people do look like great resources. For a couple of them, it looks like their research focuses exactly correlate with ours. I’ll make sure to contact them.