Here’s an update of a terrific Google™ speech-to-text application for your Asterisk® goody bag. SMS Dictator 2.0 lets you pick up any phone on your Asterisk system, dictate a brief message, have it transcribed by Google, and then delivered as an SMS text message by entering either a 10-digit number of your choosing or by saying any name in your AsteriDex phonebook. The installation process on PBX in a Flash™ systems takes only a minute. And you’ll find Asterisk SMS Messaging to be a welcome addition to your VoIP Swiss Army Knife.
Prerequisites. For the installer to work seamlessly, you’ll need a PBX in a Flash 2 server with the PERL gvoice CLI tool. You can test whether this is working by logging into your server as root and issuing the command: gvoice. When prompted for your Google Voice account name, enter it and include @gmail.com. Then enter your password. If you get a gvoice prompt, all is well. Type quit to exit. If you get errors or the gvoice app doesn’t exist, click on the pygooglevoice link in this paragraph to get things squared away.
You’ll also need a Google Voice™ account that can be used to send the SMS messages. Today’s SMS installer will prompt you for your Google Voice account name in the format: firstname.lastname@example.org. Then you’ll be prompted for your Google Voice password. Once you’ve entered your credentials, the rest is automagic. With a little manual tweaking of the installation script, you can get this working on any Asterisk-based server running under Linux.
As configured, SMS Dictator™ uses extension 767 (S-M-S) to generate SMS messages. If this conflicts with an extension on your server, you can edit the extensions_custom.conf dialplan in /etc/asterisk.
Legal Disclaimer. What we’re demonstrating today is how to use a publicly accessible web resource to respond to dictation requests generated by a phone connected to your Asterisk server. We’re assuming that Google has its legal bases covered and has a right to provide the public service they are offering. We are not vouching for Google or the services being offered in any way. By using our tutorial, YOU AGREE TO ASSUME ALL RISKS, LEGAL AND OTHERWISE, ASSOCIATED WITH USE OF THIS FREELY ACCESSIBLE WEB TOOL. NO WARRANTY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED IS BEING PROVIDED BY US INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR USE OR MERCHANTABILITY. You, of course, have an absolute right not to read our articles or implement our code if you have reservations of any kind or are unwilling to assume all risks associated with such use. Sorry for legalese, but it’s the time in which we live I’m afraid. Plain English: “Don’t Shoot the Messenger!”
Removing Previous SMS Dictator Code. If you installed our earlier version of SMS Dictator, then you have a little housekeeping to do before we begin. Log into your server as root and change to the /etc/asterisk directory. Then edit extensions_custom.conf. Search through the file until you find the lines beginning with exten => 767. Delete all of those lines. If you’re using nano, Ctrl-K will delete a line at a time. Once you’ve deleted all the 767 lines, save the file: Ctrl-X, Y, and press Enter. Now continue on…
Installation. To install SMS Dictator, log into your PBX in a Flash server as root and issue the following commands:
tar zxvf sms-dictator.tgz
Accept the license agreement and fill in your Google Voice credentials when prompted. In under a minute, you’ll be ready to test things out.
Taking SMS Dictator for a Spin. Now you’re ready to try it. Pick up any phone connected to your Asterisk server. Dial S-M-S (767). When prompted, dictate a brief message and press #. If the transcription played back is correct, press 1. Or hang up and try again. Now press 1 to enter a 10-digit phone number for the SMS recipient or press 2 to speak the name of someone in your AsteriDex database. When prompted, enter the 10-digit number or say the name of the SMS recipient. If the response read back to you is correct, press 1 to send the SMS message. It’s as simple as that.
AsteriDex Integration. If you’re using AsteriDex for your contacts, then it’s pretty simple to look up SMS contact numbers from there instead of having to remember them and manually key them in. The only trick is that you may need to adjust the names slightly if Google has difficulty understanding what you’re saying. For example, Google does not like Ward but is perfectly happy with Uncle Wardy. So are we. Here’s a hint. Multi-syllable words fare better than 3 and 4 letter words.
SMS Message Blasting. The SMS messaging possibilities, of course, are endless. A lively discussion
is was underway on the PIAF Forum until The Great Trainwreck of 2013. This could include notifications to Little League teams about schedule changes, or alerts from a school about emergencies, or community alerts about tornados. You can probably think up a dozen more on your own. We’ve now released the first preview of a message blasting utility which you are welcome to download here. Enjoy!
3/2/2017 Update: A patched version of pygooglevoice to support SMS messaging is now available here.
Originally published: Monday, August 13, 2012
Need help with Asterisk? Visit the NEW PBX in a Flash Forum.
whos.amung.us If you’re wondering what your fellow man is reading on Nerd Vittles these days, wonder no more. Visit our new whos.amung.us statistical web site and check out what’s happening. It’s a terrific resource both for us and for you.
Special Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors
Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com. Better yet, download the PIAF5 ISO powered by 3CX. Free version includes support for 8 simultaneous calls with a SIP trunk.
RentPBX, a long-time partner and supporter of PIAF project, is offering generous discounts for Nerd Vittles readers. For all of your Incredible PBX hosting needs, sign up at www.RentPBX.com and use code NOGOTCHAS to get the special pricing. The code will lower the price to $14.99/month, originally $24.99/month. It’s less than 50¢/day.
Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…