Eight years ago, we introduced transcription for Asterisk® voicemail messages. When the messages were delivered by email, you got both a recording and the transcribed text courtesy of Google. As with most things Google, the licensing terms changed regularly and voicemail transcription became more convoluted until it became next to worthless. Today we begin our new exploration of IBM’s Watson Developer Cloud. It offers a rich collection of services at unbelievably low price points. We’re kicking things off by introducing a better Speech-to-Text (STT) solution with IBM’s Bluemix. The STT API performs better than any speech recognition engine in the world. And you won’t have to worry about Google breaking our middleware every month. Up to 1,000 minutes per month are free. That translates into roughly 30 minutes a day. If you have more than a half hour of voicemails every day, then you probably should consider hiring a secretary. Short of that, you can pay IBM 4¢ per minute and let your customers yack all they like. That works out to $2.40 an hour which still is pretty cheap secretarial help. In coming weeks, we will introduce IBM’s Text-to-Speech (TTS) offering and Lisa. Up to a million characters of TTS service monthly are free. Here’s a sample to give you a taste of the voice quality:


Overview. What we’ve done today is integrate the STT Bluemix API directly into existing Asterisk voicemail systems. We started with Nicolas Bernaerts’ terrific sendmailmp3 script. It works on both the Wazo and FreePBX® platforms. If you have deployed Incredible PBX, then the setup takes a couple of minutes. For everyone else, there’s an additional configuration step using your favorite GUI. To get started, you’ll sign up for a Bluemix account and obtain your credentials. Next, you download today’s script for your platform and insert your credentials. Finally, you set up voicemail on the extensions desired and insert an email address for each voicemail account. On generic FreePBX systems, you’ll need to add the name of our script to manage your voicemail recordings.

What About the Quality? Here’s the bottom line. Speech recognition isn’t all that useful if it fails miserably in recognizing everyday speech. The good news is that IBM Watson’s speech recognition engine is now the best in the business. If you want more details, read the article below which will walk you through IBM’s latest speech recognition breakthrough:


Creating an IBM Bluemix Speech to Text Account

1. Create Bluemix account here.

2. Confirm your registration by replying to email from IBM.

3. Login to Bluemix using your new credentials.

4. Agree to terms and conditions, name your organization, and name your space (STT).

5. Choose Watson Speech to Text service and click Create.

6. When Speech to Text-kb opens, click Service Credentials tab.

7. In Actions column, click View Credentials and copy your username and password.

8. Insert deciphered Bluemix STT API username and password below.

9. Logout by clicking on image icon in upper right corner of dialog window.

 

Installing STT Engine with Incredible PBX for Wazo

1. After logging into your Incredible PBX for Wazo server as root using SSH/Putty:

cd /usr/sbin
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/sendmailibm.tar.gz
tar zxvf sendmailibm.tar.gz
rm -f sendmailibm.tar.gz

2. Edit sendmailibm and insert Bluemix STT credentials on lines 29 and 30. Save the file.

3. Edit bluemix-test and insert Bluemix STT credentials on first two lines. Save the file.

4. Copy the updated sendmailibm file to sendmail:

cd /usr/sbin
cp -p sendmailibm sendmail

5. Test your Bluemix STT setup: bluemix-test

6. Result should be: please record your message after the beep

7. Set up voicemail account for a Wazo extension with your email address.

8. Place a test call to the extension and record a voicemail when prompted.

9. Your message will be transcribed and delivered via email.

 

Installing STT Engine with Incredible PBX for RasPi

1. After logging into your Raspberry Pi server as root using SSH/Putty:

cd /usr/sbin
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/sendmailibm-raspi.tar.gz
tar zxvf sendmailibm-raspi.tar.gz
rm -f sendmailibm-raspi.tar.gz

2. Edit sendmailmp3.ibm and insert Bluemix STT credentials on lines 28 and 29. Save file.

3. Edit bluemix-test and insert Bluemix STT credentials on first two lines. Save the file.

4. Copy the updated sendmailmp3.ibm file to sendmailmp3:

cd /usr/sbin
cp -p sendmailmp3.ibm sendmailmp3

5. Test your Bluemix STT setup: bluemix-test

6. Result should be: your dictation is now being processed and emailed please wait

7. Set up voicemail for a RasPi extension with your email address.

8. Place a test call to the extension and record a voicemail when prompted.

9. Your message will be transcribed and delivered via email.

 

Installing STT Engine with Incredible PBX 13

1. After logging into your Incredible PBX 13 server as root using SSH/Putty:

cd /usr/local/sbin
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/sendmailibm-13.tar.gz
tar zxvf sendmailibm-13.tar.gz
rm -f sendmailibm-13.tar.gz

2. Edit sendmailmp3.ibm and insert Bluemix STT credentials on lines 28 and 29. Save file.

3. Edit bluemix-test and insert Bluemix STT credentials on first two lines. Save the file.

4. Copy the updated sendmailmp3.ibm file to sendmailmp3:

cd /usr/local/sbin
cp -p sendmailmp3.ibm sendmailmp3

5. Test your Bluemix STT setup: bluemix-test

6. Result should be: we are now transferring you out of the company directory…

7. Set up voicemail for an extension and include your email address.

8. Place a test call to the extension and record a voicemail when prompted.

9. Your message will be transcribed and delivered via email.

 

Installing STT Engine with Legacy FreePBX® Servers

1. Follow steps #1 through #7 from the Incredible PBX 13 tutorial above.

2. Choose Settings -> Voicemail Admin -> Settings in the GUI.

3. In the format field, insert: wav|wav49

4. In the mailcmd field, insert: /usr/local/sbin/sendmailmp3

5. Click Submit to save your settings and then Reload the FreePBX Dialplan.

6. Place a test call to the extension and record a voicemail when prompted.

7. Your message will be transcribed and delivered via email.

Update: Matt Darnell reports that, depending upon your existing setup, you may need to add the unix2dos and lame packages with legacy FreePBX servers to get MP3 messages delivered correctly.

 

Originally published: Monday, March 20, 2017





Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


 

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