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CRM Solution for Asterisk

What is the best CRM solution for Asterisk, which is easy to deploy and Open Source? Well, there are some good options out there but the reality is that It’s not possible to determine which one is “better”. Nevertheless you can always evaluate and consider which one fits your needs, that’s why among the different CRM solutions around, I would like to call your attention to Zurmo CRM, which have just released their 1.0 GA version.

The first thing about Zurmo is that the way they care about the community’s feedback, contributions and suggestions leads me to believe that this project has a brilliant future. The community around Zurmo has been a major factor to getting the application to where it is today.

One of Zurmo’s strengths is its focus on usability. Have you ever wrestled with a bloated, heavy and enigmatic CRM solution whose interface and “functionality set” match the complexity of the Inception movie?. Well, Zurmo tries hard (and succeed) to avoid that, as their ultimate goal is to create a CRM that everyone will actually use.

From a developer and Slackware Linux user’s perspective, used to test driven development and simplicity, there’s something about Zurmo that gives me a good feeling: it doesn’t try to do everything under the sun, but what it does, it does it right.

Developed under the Yii framework, and other set of great tools, you can expect an application optimized for performance that it’s able to fulfill your needs.

If you just don’t have the whole “CRM” concept clear, and why would you (or your client) need a CRM solution, then check this out this short and interesting introduction: So What Is CRM All About?

Now, do you want to avoid being one of the estimated 70 percent of companies who have tried implementing standalone CRM systems and failed?, then you should read this book:

It provides information for the business person who is trying to understand CRM and how it can effect his/her business.

Asterisk vs FreeSwitch

Last Updated: 14-March-2013

What are the similarities and differences of Asterisk and FreeSwitch? Which is better? Which should I use?. These questions often arise in the VoIP community but no so often are answered in a helpful way.

In the following article I’ll try to throw some light over these topics with the hope of helping the readers to decide which one to choose. Note that I made emphasis in “helping.. to decide”. I do not claim to have the definite opinion about the subject.

Which one is better?

Neither of them. We can not compare apples to oranges and expect to say which of them is “better” (even if you can eat both, both have good taste, and both would do great as part of a healthy diet). While both software products are designed for telecommunication purposes, their authors did not have the same goal at the beginning, neither do they have it now.

What are the differences?

I won’t try to enumerate all of them because, depending on details, I might need a complete new blog (not post) to address that topic. But here are some pointers:

Asterisk is a framework for building communications applications. It is a reusable platform developed for developers to developers, acting as an abstraction layer for the underlying protocols and technologies,  so it can be used to deliver specific solutions. As a framework (and probably because of it’s origins) it has a “default” that may be seen as a communications server (PBX).

FreeSwitch is designed to be a telephony platform, a soft switch to route and interconnect communications protocols using a wide range of media, all of this while being able to handle a growing amount of work.

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Phone Records Lookup

Phone records lookup is a policy you might want to apply in your company in order to get sure that your resources are being used in a proper way, by analyzing where the calls being made. Or maybe the scenario is that you have developed an application for Asterisk to accept creditcards using a payment gateway and you need to look for a reverse phone lookup services in order to get the full address of the caller (not just state,city).

Whatever the reason you might have to use this kind of services, here we provide some options that you should consider some provider that might even provide APIs, so the integration of forms might be possible.

What Is A Telecommunication System

As its name implies, a telecommunication system is first a communication system, that is, a system to transmit information from one location to another. And secondly, a system that allows you to transmit information from locations with a considerable distance between them. That’s what the prefix tele means in greek = distant.

As in any communication system, it’s composed by 3 parts:

  • The transmitter
  • The channel
  • The receiver

and it can be analog and digital.

The Components of a Communication System

Basically, a communication system is composed by three parts: The transmitter is the first component. That’s the part of the communication system that sits at point A. It includes two items: the source of the information, and the technology that sends the information out over the channel. The second component is the channel. The channel is the medium (the conduct) that the information travels through in going from point A to point B. An example of a channel is optical fiber, or the air. Finally, there’s the receiver, the part of the communication system that sits at point B and gets all the information that the transmitter sends over the channel.

An example of communication system would be a conversation between you and one friend. The transmitter would be the person talking (and the two items would be the vocal cords and the windpipe). The channel in this example would be the air between persons speaking, and the Receiver would be the other person that is listening while the first one speaks.

Building Robust VoIP Solutions With Asterisk and PyroCMS

If you have not read about PyroCMS before, from the website: “it is a simple, flexible, community driven Content Management System built with the PHP framework CodeIgniter.”

What makes PyroCMS different to other CMSs around there is that it does not try to solve all problems ever imagined by mankind. It goes straight to the point of being a “basic” website out of the box and a big part of anything more complex.

Is the “… anything more complex” what really catches my attention. Being CodeIgniter based, PyroCMS can be used to build applications that integrates with Asterisk in a very easy way through Asterisk AMI interface by developing a simple library that handles Asterisk commands. Other important aspect is that you can use PHP based scripts in order to control the dialplan logic.

In the next few days I’ll try to take out some time and post some articles about how to address the previous topics mentioned before (I might be including material about using Twilio with PyroCMS as well). Meanwhile, you can visit PyroCMS website and start getting used to it. You might also want to check CodeIgniter’s homepage in order to know more about the framework.

See you around.