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Author Topic: Setting up a small phone system with "standard" features  (Read 6464 times)
vvol
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« on: February 10, 2020, 02:13:23 pm »

I'm new here and considering a small setup with 3x OB1032 devices.

We have a Google Voice number and would like to setup a simple phone system that:
1. answers automatically a call
2. has a recording that mentions: "For sales, press 1, for support press 2, etc"
3. When user dials one of those options, connect to a particular device extension.
This is pretty basic stuff, but, I'm not sure if OBiTalk can do that.
Thanks, in advance for any help.
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2020, 03:42:39 pm »

Google Voice can't do that.

Use a paid service, such as Callcentric or voip.ms, instead.  Either service will allow you to set up extensions for each phone, and set up an IVR to prompt the caller and direct calls.  Either service can be easily configured on the OBi IP phones, using pre-configured templates for those companies on the OBiTALK web portal.

Note:  the OBi 1000 series are near end-of-life.  I suggest you instead buy either OBi 2182 units or Poly VVX x50 units.
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vvol
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2020, 09:44:27 pm »

Hi Steve
Thank you so much for your reply.
I'm getting more acquainted with the technologies and nomenclature.
It seems like I could achieve what I want by:
1. Pointing our GV to Calcentric
2. Enable IVR with custom recordings on one of their paid services
3. Direct extensions selected by the callers to OBi2182s that we would get instead of OBi1032s...

Does that sound like would achieve what we are looking for?
Thank you,
Sheilon
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2020, 02:05:24 am »

There is no point whatsoever in kludging together Google Voice and Callcentric to do this.  Just do it all with Callcentric.  You'll be able to have customers call one Callcentric phone number, which can then prompt callers to press DTMF keys to send their call to whatever extension or department name you wish.  You'll assign unique extension numbers for each phone.  For example. a prompt "Press 1 for sales" could result in ringing extension 101, or "Press 2 for service" could result in ringing extension 102.  Each extension can be configured to send the company's main phone number as their caller ID on outbound calls, or you can pay for as many individual phone numbers (DIDs) as you need.  You can easily add, change or delete any of this at any time, as your business changes.

I've seen so many people come here to this forum over the years, who think they should spend time fiddling with the cheapest possible solution to save a few dollars, only to realize the folly of that effort later.  Focus on whatever your core competency is in business.  Invest in tools that are reliable and don't require you to be an expert in something that doesn't make any money for your business.

The mostly-free version of Google Voice is not intended nor recommended for business use.  Things break. There is no direct customer service from Google.  Google now offers a business-class version of Google Voice for G Suite customers.  There are two monthly fees:  one fee for each G Suite "seat" or user, and a separate per-seat fee for adding Google Voice.  Its IVR isn't very flexible yet, but improvements are on the roadmap.

If you're curious, here's more information:  https://cloud.google.com/voice/
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vvol
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2020, 08:19:35 am »

I absolutely agree with you. It is very counter productive to be "fiddling" with configurations and I so do not want to.
But, please understand that when I got started looking for this I had no idea on what to look for. If you do not know the vocabulary, the features, etc is hard to know what to even look for. (Took me 2 days to get to learn the term IVR)
Anyhow, my reasoning to keep the GV is mostly because we have a vanity number and would love to keep it. But, I guess we could transfer to Calcentric. The other advantage are the ways GV makes it easy to access VM, translation to text, etc.
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azrobert
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2020, 09:10:27 am »

It is very counter productive to be "fiddling" with configurations and I so do not want to.

What EXTRA fiddling to you have to do? Callcentric doesn't know if the call is coming in directly or from GV, so either way you have to configure the IVR.

The only factor you should consider is appropriateness of GV for a business.
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Lavarock7
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2020, 10:21:24 am »

I agree. Ditch GoogleVoice for business.

I personally use and recommend Voip.Ms. It has a 'boatload' (a technical term) of features that help businesses. Callcentric is also a viable solution.

I just set up an IVR for a family-owned tour company. There is a Ring Group to handle NOMOROBO and an IVR with tour information and directions to the marina. They had various hours when they wanted to have one or more family members answer calls so I set up a calling queue they can log into.

Their cost will be a few dollars a month including hosting 2 telephone numbers. They will have support both through me and the Voip provider. Google has no support to speak of, except forums with volunteers.
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vvol
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2020, 01:13:34 pm »

Now that is an interesting new option.
According to all of you, we could accomplish everything we seek by either using callcentric or voip.ms.
Did anyone ever find anyone significantly better than the other?
I just ordered a few of the OBi2182 to try out with calcentric. Would those also work with voip.ms.
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2020, 03:13:36 pm »

Ignore the post from Azrobert.

Yes, you can accomplish exactly what you want with either Callcentric or voip.ms.  I have been using Callcentric for over a decade, and Lavarock7 has had extensive experience with voip.ms.  Both are solid options, and both will work with OBi IP phones.

After you sign up for service with one of those two providers, you'll need to decide how many inbound telephone numbers you need, and how many extensions you need.  Next, you'll configure the extensions, assign each extension a SIP password, and set up your call treatments (inbound call routing), and set up your IVR prompts and actions.

Once that's done, you will use the OBiTALK web portal to add the IP phones and configure their SP (service provider) slots to use the extensions you created previously.  To do this, follow the instructions to use the OBiTALK  **5 xxxx method to add the new devices to your OBiTALK dashboard:  http://www.obitalk.com/obinet/pg/obhdev

You'll be asked if you want to configure Google Voice - decline that.  Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "OBiTALK compatible service providers".  On the next page, select Callcentric or voip.ms as appropriate, and fill in the SIP credentials on the form.  That's the end of the basic configuration.  Of course, you will want to label the line keys and whatever settings you wish.
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vvol
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2020, 08:46:22 pm »

According to your recommendation I did get a couple of OBi2182s instead of the OBi1082.
However, although these phones are pretty, they have zero documentation.
How can that be?
The boxes came just with the devices. Not paperwork.
There are references neither on Obitalk nor on Polycom pages.
What should I do?

On another note:
I signed up for an account with callcentric for the time being to test it out.
However, before I commit to it and transfer our number, I wanted, if possible to just point to
their service for a few days, get used to things then do the transition. Do any of you have
experience on how to get started?
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drgeoff
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2020, 12:32:01 am »

According to your recommendation I did get a couple of OBi2182s instead of the OBi1082.
However, although these phones are pretty, they have zero documentation.
How can that be?
The boxes came just with the devices. Not paperwork.
There are references neither on Obitalk nor on Polycom pages.
What should I do?

On another note:
I signed up for an account with callcentric for the time being to test it out.
However, before I commit to it and transfer our number, I wanted, if possible to just point to
their service for a few days, get used to things then do the transition. Do any of you have
experience on how to get started?

Comprehensive documentation is available at https://www.obitalk.com/info/support/docs-downloads
« Last Edit: February 13, 2020, 02:36:52 am by drgeoff » Logged
SteveInWA
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2020, 02:43:46 pm »

...and, I gave you a high-level overview of how to get started with Callcentric.  The basics are:
  • Set up an account on Callcentric.com.  Understand the confusion that they sell inbound calling, outbound calling and telephone numbers a la carte.  So, you need to select all three.  You can get just one phone number to start, and then add or delete numbers as you wish.
  • Another point of newbie confusion:  Callcentric accounts have a 1777xxxxxxx number.  This is your primary SIP userid, and it can be used for non-PTSN calls to other Callcentric users (and for other advanced things out of scope here).  Each SIP client (a phone number on a service provider slot on your phones) needs a SIP userid and password.  You can create as many extensions as you need.  Each extension starts with your 1777xxxxxxx number, with a number added on the end.  The primary SIP extension is your 10-digit 1777 number; technically, extension 100.  You can then add 101, 102, 103, etc, to the other extensions.  You'll then configure the behavior of each extension on their dashboard (extension number, SIP password [which you select at random] phone number to send as outbound caller ID, what to do when that number is called, etc).
  • AFTER you have completed all that, then you'll configure each extension on your OBiTALK dashboard, assigning SPx (SP1, SP2, SP3 through SP6) to the extensions you wish.

None of the OBiTALK products have ever come with any printed manuals, aside from the one-sheet quick-start guide.

This is the trade-off people get for choosing DIY VoIP, vs. getting it from the local cable company.

There are no contracts or any other sort of commitments required to use Callcentric.  You can sign up, get a local phone number ("DID"), and try it out for as long as you wish.  If it doesn't meet your needs, then cancel service.
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vvol
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2020, 09:27:18 am »

Steve,
You have been such a thoughtful and generous "guide" throughout this process and I am very thankful for it.
I'm well aware of the tradeoffs involved with the DIY. My point on the OBi2082 device is that, unlike some other user mentioned, I could not find any documentation at all. Not even at the manufacturer's page.

Thanks to you, though, I got started and successfully installed my first device.
Now the next phase is for me to play with extensions so I'm still "digesting" your suggestions.

I have one question though:
In the ObiTalk dashboard for my OBi2082 I see the Google voice lines that I registered as "Connected" and the
Calcentric line shows as "Registered". Does it mean I still have to do something? Should it not be "Connected" as well?
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drgeoff
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2020, 09:55:26 am »

In the ObiTalk dashboard for my OBi2082 I see the Google voice lines that I registered as "Connected" and the
Calcentric line shows as "Registered". Does it mean I still have to do something? Should it not be "Connected" as well?

It is perfectly normally that GV shows as "Connected" and other ITSPs show as "Registered".
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azrobert
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2020, 01:30:59 pm »

In the ObiTalk dashboard for my OBi2082 I see the Google voice lines that I registered as "Connected"

I'm curious how you're using GV. I thought you rejected using GV.

You can easily route inbound GV calls to the CC IVR. Just define the CC number as a GV forwarding number and turn off the OBi device by using the slide button. These setting are found in Setting after your GV signin. It's the gear icon on the top right. It will only take a few minutes to setup. It's also easily reversed if you don't want to send GV calls to the IVR, just use the slide buttons to turn on the OBi and turn off CC.
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2020, 01:39:01 pm »

In the ObiTalk dashboard for my OBi2082 I see the Google voice lines that I registered as "Connected"

I'm curious how you're using GV. I thought you rejected using GV.

You can easily route inbound GV calls to the CC IVR. Just define the CC number as a GV forwarding number and turn off the OBi device by using the slide button. These setting are found in Setting after your GV signin. It's the gear icon on the top right. It will only take a few minutes to setup. It's also easily reversed if you don't want to send GV calls to the IVR, just use the slide buttons to turn on the OBi and turn off CC.


Jeezus, give it a rest.  You have no experience, and no understanding, of the requirements and risks of using consumer Google Voice for business use.  Just because something is technically possible, doesn't mean it is a good idea.
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vvol
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2020, 03:20:18 pm »

I'm just routing my GV to the phone so I can play around with it a bit as I gain experience with the phone itself.
As of now the intention is to use Callcentric for the main service with extensions.
That should not stop me from using GV as a sandbox to play around with.
As I could see I can have a lot of independent lines.
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azrobert
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2020, 03:25:16 pm »

Jeezus, give it a rest.  You have no experience, and no understanding, of the requirements and risks of using consumer Google Voice for business use.  Just because something is technically possible, doesn't mean it is a good idea.

What's wrong with you? Are you insane or do you have something suck up your butt?

I said in my 1st post, the OP should evaluate GV for himself. I don't know how many times users on this forum got the same advice on using GV for a business and used it anyway. It's not up to you how to use GV. We should give users all options, good and bad and let them decide.

Did you see the op's last post that I quoted? HE's USING GV!!!!!! That's why my 2nd post. I gave him another option. He can use it or not.

For the record, I wouldn't use GV for a business. In fact I seldom use GV period, mainly when the wife is on the landline or to call a friend in Canada.
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Taoman
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« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2020, 04:22:59 pm »


I don't know how many times users on this forum got the same advice on using GV for a business and used it anyway. It's not up to you how to use GV. We should give users all options, good and bad and let them decide.


QFT. Quoted for truth!
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2020, 07:21:13 pm »

By that logic, if someone asks me whether it is better to do brain surgery myself, or get a neurosurgeon, I would explain how to DIY.

You barged in, after I already started recommending a solution, with a pointless suggestion to forward Google Voice to Callcentric.

There is no rule that says one must not add value to an answer by actually consulting and recommending a solution.  Clearly, you are unqualified to do that, as demonstrated time and time again over the years.  When somebody asks for setting up a phone system for a multi-employee business, I am going to help steer them to the best choice for their business.

I am not going to waste my time patiently explaining why using the consumer version of Google Voice is a bad idea, except to say:  Google does not want people to do this.  They have a fully-supported, business focused product for that.  They are now aggressively suspending Google Voice service when calling or texting triggers the algorithms.  When this happens, the business loses its phone number forever.  Now, is that a risk worth taking?  There are those bottom-feeders who make it a sport to find the absolutely cheapest service.  That's a fun hobby, not a way to save money for a business.
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