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Replacing Orange's Wildfire with Asterisk? 25

Loconut1389 asks: "In 1994, Wildfire Communications released a telephone based voice recognition agent that kept track of contacts, and given a schedule or a list of numbers where to reach you, would try and contact you at places you might be when someone calls in. Wildfire was in service through a number of companies, until 2005 when Orange pulled the plug. I had the pleasure of being frustrated with misunderstandings, but thoroughly enjoyed the concept, and it was a worthwhile product. Just before they closed up the Wildfire shop, they had a version that didn't require training. In any case, I was wondering if Asterisk, with some extension modules, had come far enough to replace the functionality of the Wildfire service? Has anyone had experience with the original Wildfire product that could recommend a modern equivalent, even if it was commercial?"
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Replacing Orange's Wildfire with Asterisk?

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  • Yeah,, I got one (Score:4, Informative)

    by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @12:47PM (#16503459) Homepage Journal
    https://www22.verizon.com/iobi/ [verizon.com]

    access to and control of your communications from any location.It connects multiple devices, such as your PC, laptop, and phone, so that
    you can do all this from one place:
    Access Caller ID and Voice Mail
    Route incoming calls to Voice Mail or another number in real time
    Schedule Call Forwarding in advance
    Send Email and Text Messages
    View and update an Address Book and Calendar
    And more
    And that's just the beginning.If you're an iobi customer, or want more information about our current
    products, select one of the links below.
  • Altigen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@NospaM.mscigars.com> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @12:57PM (#16503637) Homepage
    Since you mentioned Asterisk I assume you're open to a PBX solution. If not, you can leave now.

    We use Altigen as our PBX and it does what you ask. I can give it a list of numbers to try me at when someone calls, and the caller will have the option to do so, or to leave me a message. It can be set to this "One Number Access" according to a schedule. It can email your voice messages, call you with voice messages or serve your voice messages through its client software or a web interface.

    Plus all the usual PBX stuff. It ain't cheap, but it's not as expensive as a traditional system. I would imagine that Asterisk can do most of this, but I have no experience with it.
    • Re:Altigen (Score:4, Informative)

      by gregmac ( 629064 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @01:04PM (#16503735) Homepage
      Yes, Asterisk can do all of the above (and more). FreePBX (disclaimer: I'm one of the devs) is a GUI/config for asterisk that provides those capabilities out of the box.

      As far as voice recognition, some work has been started with integrating voice recoginition and asterisk, using both open source (ie, Sphinx) and proprietary voice recoginition engines. Voice recoginition is a hard thing to do, and if not done almost perfectly, it's basically usless.
      • It does? What module can you so this with? I'm looking at my FreePBX website right now and I don't see anything like that. It would be wonderful if there was a module that did that for you though.
      • I've done some work with asterisk and sphinx. It's a damn cool idea. However, voice recognition over the phone is extremely tricky. It really depends how big of a vocabulary you want. A small list of distinct words and it's ok. However, saying numbers and letters, and trying to have a huge vocabulary is asking for disaster.
  • by Takuan ( 68706 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @01:02PM (#16503707) Homepage
    Using bluetooth proximity detection, automatically forward calls to the *right* place rather than just guessing. When you're at your desk, your computer detects your bluetooth phone and routes calls to your desk. When you leave, your computer detects the lack of your phone and forwards calls to your cell. When you get home, your computer there picks up your cell and routes calls to your home phone. Yes, with asterisk.

    http://nerdvittles.com/index.php?p=78 [nerdvittles.com]

  • My company switched to asterisk about 9 months ago. It covers our IVR & PBX needs, but it's got a glitch somewhere that refuses to drop channels. Depending on call volume/luck, we can only go from 4 hours to a week between having to restart because it's claiming all the channels are in use.
    Other than that, we haven't had any problems not related to in house stupidity.
    • Using a channel bank?
      • yeah, we have 2 telephone T1s coming into a channel bank & then it gets routed out to the Asterisk server.
        • by cthon ( 239632 )
          Why have a channel bank at all? You should get one of the T-1 line cards for Asterisk and directly connect to the T-1s. You will have much better performance and control (Especially if you have the T-1s provisioned as ISDN PRIs). I would bet your problem goes away if you ditch the channel bank.
        • We had a similar situation.

          Asterisk wasn't properly setup for the channel bank ( Rhino, IIRC )

    • Yeh, that sounds like you've got a funky channelbank, or someone forgot the Hangup() somewhere in your dialplan... :-P
  • by sonicsft ( 195337 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @03:45PM (#16506679)
    Actually I think I'm maintaining all of the non ATT owned wildfire servers remaining in the US. I get mixed responses from people on the voice recognition, it works great for me unless there is tons of background noise. All you have to do is train it once for each one of your phone locations. There are a few things it could do, but the version we're running isn't that new. Outlook integration, fax receive, email notifications, and some various find me follow me refinements would be nice to have.
    I also run a handful of Asterisk servers and one of these days I'll clone WF's feature set on asterisk. I've been told the final version of Wildfire that got shelved had all of the features I want then some I can't recall who bought them and their IP at the moment. Asterisk is the key to developing the replacement. Supposedly someone has setup a cmu:sphinx server with asterisk that works on a limited dictionary, so thats a step in the right direction. In the meantime we're still selling WildFire service and people are still using it.
  • Keep Using Wildfire (Score:3, Informative)

    by tyen ( 17399 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @06:41PM (#16509591) Journal
    If you are in the U.S., you can keep using Wildfire through CR Technologies, Inc. [crtechnologyinc.com]; don't know anything about them other than I have been following the Wildfire saga, and know that CR advertises continued Wildfire services. For everyone suggesting ways to set up a "follow me/find me" feature, please check out the demos on CR Technologies' web site, because you are kind of missing the point of the original poster's desire to re-establish Wildfire in his life.
  • Cretins (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:28PM (#16510171) Journal
    When Wildfire launched five years ago, it was an innovative service offering Orange customers the opportunity to access voice messages. However, over the last eighteen months user numbers have declined rapidly and during a recent review of the service it became clear that Wildfire does not offer some key features that many Orange customers have come to expect from their answer phone service. As a result, it has now become financially and technically impractical to run the service.

    That is total and complete bullshit. For starters, Orange were actively refusing customers who requested Wildfire be added to their account for at least three years before they pulled the plug. I'd lost count of the people I demonstrated Wildfire to who immediately called Orange to have it added to their account only be be told they were not taking any more customers.

    Secondly, just WHAT features did it not have that 'many Orange customers have come to expect from their answer phone service' - WHAT? The only 'feature' that you could do with the regular crappy Orange answerphone that you couldn't do with Wildfire was forward a message to someone. Does ANYONE EVER do this..?? If it was a feature you couldn't live without, then nobody was forcing you to keep wildfire. Since Hutchison sold Orange it went down the pan. It's obviously run by cretins - don't even get me started on their fucking stupid data plans. Sure - have a new 3G phone at £4 PER MEGABYTE. What? You can take a data plan that's only £4 for 4 Mb? Great! Except... what's that? No you can't have off peak data as well as that silly! Fucking. Morons.
    • by jimicus ( 737525 )
      It's obviously run by cretins

      Actually it's run by France Telecom, but it amounts to much the same thing.

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