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Author Topic: Question: Suitability of Obi200 for my specific use  (Read 350 times)
haertig
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Posts: 4


« on: May 18, 2020, 06:56:12 pm »

Hello all - New prospective user here.  I would like to know if an Obi200 device hooked to a traditional DTMF telephone would be a good solution for my use.

Use: Elderly person with dementia, in a memory care facility.  Needs an extremely simply setup.  Outgoing call: Pick up phone handset, push single button (pre-programmed speed dial) to initiate call.  Replace handset to hangup.  Incoming call: Pick up handset to answer, replace handset to hangup.  In other words, "POTS".  Plain Old Telephone Service.  The issue is, it is difficult to get a POTS landline installed at this time (due to coronavirus restrictions at the memory care facility).

The facility has WiFi access to the internet.  I can currently use an Alexa device for VOIP "drop in" and transmit video from a camera, so apparently the WiFi connection is "fast enough", although I cannot say just how fast it is, I don't have building access to test that anymore.

We already have a simple old analog phone with the pre-programmed big buttons we need, and this phone is already familiar to the person with dementia.  Plan is to use an old WiFi router configured as a client to the building WiFi, with one of its Ethernet LAN jacks connected to an Obi200, which in turn is connected to the old analog telephone.  I would then need some VOIP provider to provide service.  I know nothing of Google Voice yet, but that's a free service (I think) that may do what I need.  I simply need to create a phone number people can call, and can be used to call out.  Will Google Voice do that?  I read somewhere that you need a separate phone number to give to Google Voice, and we don't have that in this case.  I want to create a new single phone number, not tied to any other cell number (or whatever).

After initial set up and configuration - I would do that at my home - I will need to turn all the hardware over to the maintenance department at the facility for them to plug in to power and pray that what I configured is "plug and play" and just works the first try.  In the end, the resulting system needs to function just like on old POTS telephone for the person with dementia.

Would an old telephone + Obi200 + WiFi router configured as a client + Google Voice be a functional and reliable solution for my use case?  I realize that Obihai makes a WiFi dongle, but I've got plenty of spare routers and they would most likely have better WiFi antennas and performance than a simple USB WiFi dongle like Obihai markets.  Also, will Google Voice be the service I need to tie this all together, or would I need some other VOIP provider?  What VOIP provider would you recommend?  We need no extra features from the Obi200 or the VOIP provider other than simple incoming and outgoing calls.  No caller id, conferencing, flash switch hook, last number redial - those features are all useless for a person with dementia.

Thanks in advance for any help, suggestions, comments, recommendations anyone can make.
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SteveInWA
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2020, 03:33:47 pm »

Before you get too involved in trying to remotely set up (work with the facility people) a Google Voice installation, consider this:  what number(s) is/are this person going to call and from what number(s) is/are this person going to receive calls?  If it is only one number, such as your home (essentially a "hotline" to your home), then an Alexa or Google smart display device would be better, and easier to set up.  Alexa's "drop in" feature would be especially useful, since you can initiate a call to the person and they don't have to press any keys to answer.  It's designed specifically for people with dementia or other cognitive challenges.

Something to consider if you think they need POTS-like service:  as the disease progresses, they'll be more confused and more frustrated trying to perform the steps to make or answer calls.  Also, they would be vulnerable to receiving calls from scammers, and would be a very easy "mark".  This could be limited by manipulating digit maps in the OBiTALK device, but if they're only going to use the device for a hotline, then it's overkill.

Google Voice is free, and that's what attracts people like honey, but it is a full-function telephone calling, text messaging and voicemail service.  It's overkill, and it can add confusion.

Instead, if you must go with the POTS route, consider using a no-frills SIP VoIP service provider on the OBiTALK device, instead of Google Voice.  You can make it as bare-bones simple as you need.

For one example, see my post here:  http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=17054.msg104011#msg104011
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--Steve

Google Voice Forum Product Expert

https://support.google.com/voice/community
haertig
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Posts: 4


« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2020, 06:25:06 pm »

Thanks for the reply.  I appreciate you taking the time to answer.

Currently, in the absence of a phone, we are using an Echo Dot in moms room.  Mom is still able to remember "Alexa, call XXX" and it dials my cellphone and we can talk.  "XXX" can be either me or my sister's name, and it dials the appropriate cellphone.  Mom could use drop in as well, since I have Echo Dots myself, but then she would have to know where to drop in to (my office, my bedroom, my kitchen, etc.)  That would not be workable.  So I instructed her to use "call" rather than "drop in".  From my end, to contact mom, I use the drop in feature from the Alexa app on my smartphone, or from one of my Dots.  This works well.  My sister does not want to install the Alexa app since it's almost certainly spying on you in the background.  I wasn't in favor of installing the app either, since I come from a work background in computer security, but I had to swallow hard and just install it, since I can't lose touch with mom.

The reason I was looking beyond what we already have, for POTS like service, is so my Alexa-fearful sister and also mom's friends could call her.  But you bring up a good point, the one about scammers.  I kind of forgot about that possibility.  So maybe my idea of POTS service is not such a good one.  I will have to re-think this.

Thanks for the ideas on VOIP service providers.  I will keep that in mind if indeed I decide to go forward with POTS like service.
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azrobert
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 01:27:31 pm »

But you bring up a good point, the one about scammers.  I kind of forgot about that possibility.  So maybe my idea of POTS service is not such a good one.  I will have to re-think this.

Some service providers have a whitelist feature that will allow incoming for listed callerids and block all others. If the service provider doesn't have this feature, the OBi can do it. The OBi can also restrict the outbound calls.
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MB..
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Posts: 40


« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 03:34:58 pm »

Can I suggest you repost this on DSL Reports Voip Tech chat https://www.dslreports.com/forum/voip

With a voip provider (I use Voip.ms, but other good providers are available) you could restrict / screen / incoming phone calls by caller id, menu, etc. It's also a good place to ask about alternative hardware - WiFi Voip phone - might be much easier to install and maintain remotely than a Router / ATA / Phone combination. (However, a downside of anything cordless is that it will need to be on hook to charge...)



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SteveInWA
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2020, 04:00:09 pm »

There is no need to continue diving into the weeds about this.  The solution has already been provided.  The OP now knows that several non-Google Voice ITSPs are capable of building whitelists or blacklists, and other features that can be leveraged to create a solution.
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--Steve

Google Voice Forum Product Expert

https://support.google.com/voice/community
haertig
Newbie
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Posts: 4


« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 06:40:56 pm »

Thanks everyone for the replies and suggestions.  I have not yet decided what I will do, but now I have a lot more information to help me decide.  Much appreciated!
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