Voicemail for groups, what is possible?

I have a client that might want an asterisk server. Their big requirement tho is all centered around voicemail features. I have several Asterisk systems installed with the basic voicemail, ivr, music-on-hold, etc. working. What I’ve never tried is all these group related voicemail things such as

  • leave a message for a group of extensions
  • each person in the group can listen to the message and can then reply to the sender or to the whole group

They do everything via voicemail since they are rarely at their desks. They use their cell phones mostly so all of the VM features would have to work from external (non ip) phones also. I guess you could say they do with VM what most people do with email.


Probally the most effective way is to have one mailbox, then give all users access to this box by prodviding them with the password.

This means that all will be able to access the mailbox. If they need to give it to a specific user then you can set it so that the message can be forwarded to this mailbox.

It also means that when someone listens to a new message it will be come an old message which means that they can still listen to the old messages, but they will know that some other user already has a listen this message.

So in essence have one mailbox that all can access, then have a seperate mailbox for each user that whoever listens to the message can forward it on to another mail box

Makes sense?

Did you try something like this:

exten => 301,1,VoiceMail(201@default&202@default&203@default)

It copies one voicemail to all the extensions specified. In this example when a caller goes to voicemail, he is directed to extension 301, and whatever message he leaves, is copied to extensions 201, 202 and 203.


That’s the first part. Now, when one of those people listen to the message, can they reply to the sender and/or to the whole group ??? Remember, these people use voicemail like you and I use email. With email you can do both, reply to the send and/or the group. I do not want any extensions ringing for this, just voicemail messages being left back and forth between people.

It’s starting to look like this is going to be a huge custom programming feature. While your example will copy the message to those extn’s, how do I know which extens the user wants? There are over 50 extensions to choose from so the VM prompts will have to

  1. ask the user to enter a bunch of extension numbers
  2. somehow remember that list
  3. record the message
  4. copy the voicemail to each extn in the list

then, when someone listens to the message:

  1. ask if they want to reply
  2. if yes, ask if reply to sender or group + sender ??
  3. retrieve the list of extn’s in the group
  4. record a new message
  5. copy it to whomever was chosen in step 2

continue this ping pong forever…

[quote=“gsmackay”]It’s starting to look like this is going to be a huge custom programming feature.[/quote]nah, start to write the required steps out and you’ll see it won’t be that big.

What do you mean by sender. Sender is the caller and he called in person, didn’t send a voicemail to voicemail. So the example is not similar to email to email.

Modifying the voicemail application needs programming skills which is not what we want here. Using simple dial plan commands we can find some other way to answer this issue. Like if one employee wants to reply back, he can dial 301 and leaves a new messge for all the extensions. This will be a group reply. Replying to individual extensions, he can dial to their voicemails individually.

The main issue is flexability. I could hard code in the dialplan that leaving a voicemail at x301 would copy it to x302 and x303. But with over 50 people in the company each one is going to want to send his/her voicemail to any combination of extensions. So the system has to ask you which extension or group of extensions you want to leave a message for and
remember that list each time. Because when any one of those people listen to the message they will have no way of knowing, nor will they really care to whom and how many people this message was left for.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this really is like email. I want to be able to reply or reply all to a voicemail. A “reply” would only go back to the person that left me the message (sender) and a “reply all” would be copied to all of the extensions that received this message, including the person that left the message in the first place (sender).

It is absolutely possible to create a dialplan which will ask which extensions to sent voicemail to and then remember them as you enter them, and then send it to all of them as you press * or # etc., whatever you setup in the dialplan. I don’t have time right now to create something like this but if you read the ASTERISK TFOT, you’ll find out how. You can find this good book at voip-info.org/wiki/view/Aste … +Telephony

i doubt this is what you’re looking for, but it might help…

what about using the email feature of the voicemail app? that way, the VM’s would actually BE emails (or at least attachments to emails).

we use email attachments for all of our voicemails and don’t actually use the built-in voicemail app for anything…

you wouldn’t be able to access the VM’s over the phone, but if your users have access to email, it may do the trick.

my $0.02, anyway.