There is an exciting project underway at M.I.T. in Cambridge, MA. It is a project based on integrating voice and text messaging with your Drupal site using VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology.
Dr. Leo Burd and his team have created a collection of modules called VoIP Drupal. You can visit the sandbox site at voipdrupal.org and actually play with the VoIP Drupal setup and see/hear it in action. You can even peruse the PHP scripts that are behind the VoIP Drupal module. Download the scripts and hack them to create your own scripts!
The VoIP Drupal modules are packaged and downloadable as a bundle and include the API’s to some popular VOIP services like Tropo.com and Twilio.com along with a few comments about upcoming availability using FreeSwitch, an Open Source VOIP option.
Can you see how VOIP partnered with Drupal could save a small business THOUSANDS of dollars on their phone bill? If they have workers in other countries, they can all have ONE company phone number, and it could send calls to your partners/employees cell phones as voice or text…
VoIP Drupal can replace the PBX style phone system – initially, the primary advantage of a PBX system was cost savings on internal phone calls: handling the circuit switching locally reduced charges for local phone service. As PBXs gained popularity, they started offering services that were not available in the operator network, such as hunt groups, call forwarding, and extension dialing – VoIP Drupal handles all of these scenarios and more…
Here is one use we are working on now:
The programmers for FreeSchoolUniversity.org are gearing up to launch a new feature on the site that uses VoIP Drupal together with a custom API. This new functionality allows people to call the VOIP phone number listed on the Website and hear the latest posted Announcement, or any page in the Website that is designated by an administrator.
The VoIP Drupal module is pretty easy to install and configure. You will need to set up an account with a VOIP service such as Tropo.com or Twilio.com – there is also FreeSwitch, an open source service that boasts the advantage of being FREE and not fee-based. Tropo and Twilio options are quite affordable however and are on the scale of a penny or two per minute. You have the option to purchase VOIP phone numbers from each company for a modest monthly fee (I believe it is $1).
Tropo.com allows you to use their service for free while developing and testing. On closer inspection, it seems that Tropo has some other advantages such as offering text to speech conversion as well as speech to text conversion. Both services offer translation to a few different languages (Tropo again offers more choices) and both offer a choice of a male or female voice.
Here are some useful resources related to this post:
|VoIP Drupal Project Sandbox|
This site has been created to provide latest news about VoIP Drupal and let users experiment with some of the main features of the platform. Enjoy!
|The VoIP Drupal Handbook|
VoIP Drupal is an innovative framework that brings the power of voice and Internet telephony to Drupal sites. This project is under continuous development.
|VoIP Drupal Project|
This is a link to the actual Drupal Module – VoIP Drupal is an innovative framework that brings the power of voice and Internet-telephony to Drupal sites. It can be used to build hybrid applications that combine regular touchtone phones, web, SMS, Twitter, IM and other communication tools in a variety of ways.
|VoIP Drupal Group|
We have been working really hard to improve existing VoIP Drupal modules, bring new ones to life, and implement new systems on top of the platform. For a description of the modules already implemented, please check: http://drupal.org/node/1078790
|Dr. Leo Burd|
Creator of VoIP Drupal and a co-founder of the Department of Play, a group of researchers, developers, and community practitioners who are always coming up with new technologies and methods to foster youth participation and social inclusion.
Hopefully VoIP Drupal will bring a welcome reduction to phone costs and remove a barrier to entry for some very small companies that will now have access to communications that were unavailable to them at current market prices.
I look forward to seeing more internationally diverse companies using VoIP Drupal to enhance their phone based services.
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