Help & Support

Switchboard

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Design
  3. Logging In
  4. Dial Plan Modifications
  5. Using the Switchboard
  6. Highrise Lookups
  7. Feedback and Support
  8. Demo

Introduction

The SIP Sorcery Switchboard is a browser based SIP client application that is designed to provide incoming call management in much the same way as a traditional receptionist may do with a phone system. Click Switchboard Tour for a quick high level tour of the Switchboard's main features.

Design

The Switchboard client application works in conjunction with the SIP Sorcery servers and can be thought of as a standard SIP client that can receive and forward calls. The Switchboard client is a Silverlight application that runs the same SIP stack used in the SIP Sorcery server. By handling communications between the Switchboard using SIP it means the call handling functions are highly responsive as there are no dependencies on web services or databases to manage calls. Web services are used to provide additional information on callers and to track call history but those operations are done in the background and do not slow down the Switchboard's main call handling function.

Logging in

The Switchboard client application is designed to be as simple to use as possible (if you spot any areas for improvement in this regard please let us know email feedback). To get started simply start the application by clicking SIP Sorcery Switchboard and at the login prompt login with any SIP Sorcery SIP account credentials, calls will be sent to the Switchboard whenever your dialplan rings that SIP account. Once you are logged in you should see a list of any other SIP Accounts that are online.

Once you've successfully managed to login to the Switchboard there are only a few small modifications to make to your SIP Sorcery dialplan before it's fully functional.

Dial Plan Modifications

To forward a call from your SIP Sorcery dial plan to the Switchboard is identical to forwarding a call to any other SIP Account using the sys.Dial("username@local") command. Apart from that there is an additional dial string option that can be optionally added to display a friendly name for the line the incoming call has originated on.

  • swcd: which stands for "Switchboard Line Name" and controls what appears as the heading in the caller details section as well as the top line of the call tile in the Calls column on the left hand side.

An example of an incoming dial plan that could be used with the Switchboard is shown below.

In the screenshot below the swln option has been set as "Main Line".

The second part of modifying your dial plan is to create new entries for some outgoing call destinations so that the Switchboard menu buttons work. There are 4 options you need to create:

  • grab,
  • hold,
  • ivr,
  • takemessage,

An example of an outgoing dialplan snippet that could be used is shown below. The reject option does not need a special rule and pressing it will reject the incoming call with a busy response.

There are additional options that can be used for outgoing calls from the Switchboard to control the informational fields displayed in its interface:

  • swln: which stands for "Switchboard Line Name" and is used in a slightly different fashion to the same named option on an incoming call. It can control the icon that is displayed on the call tile to give a quick indication as to the state of an in progress call. Currently the only option supported is "On Hold" which will display a music note icon to indicate the caller is currently waiting on hold. Any other destination will result in a mouth icon to indicate the call is in a talking state. A grabbed call will display a lock icon irrespective of what the swln parameter is set as.
  • swo: which stands for "Switchboard Owner" and it is used to allow a SIP account to take ownership of a call. Because there is no limit on the number of users that could be using the Switchboard by taking ownership it's possible to ensure that only one user can control it.

In the screenshot below the swln option has been set as "On Hold".

Using the Switchboard

Once the dial plan modifications have been made the Switchboard is ready for use. The interface is designed to be as intuitive as possible (again please email feedback if you have any suggestions for improvements) and not overwhelm with a myriad different menus.

The Switchboard has different states:

  • Idle: This state is when no call is active. In the idle state the Call History can be viewed and Contacts managed.
  • New Call: This state is when a new call arrives and the Switchboard will display the actions menu and activate the extensions.
  • Transfer an Established Call: This is the same as the new call state but is activated when an established call is manually selected rather than when a new call arrives.
In the New and Transfer call states a call can be forwarded or transferred to any desired destination. There are 3 different ways to select destinations:
  • The quick menu buttons. These are the Grab, Hold, IVR, Take Message and Reject buttons (for an established call Reject will change to Hangup). These buttons are designed to be provide quick access to the most common destinations are Switchboard user is likely to require. The destinations behind each of the buttons are arbitrary and can be configured to call anywhere at all using a SIP Sorcery dialplan.
  • The extension icons. These icons represent all the online extensions that are available to forward to. All that's required to forward a call is to simply click on the desired extension. If there are some extensions that are not required in the Switchboard there is a new option in the SIP Sorcery portal to specify that a SIP Account should not show up in the list of Switchboard extensions.
  • The dial pad. The dial pad allows any number or SIP URI to be entered. The call will still be processed by associated SIP Sorcery dial plan and the dial pad is for use in cases where the required destination is not available from the quick menu buttons or extensions.
The screenshot below shows the 3 different options available for selecting call destinations.

Highrise Lookups

If you have a Highrise account that you use to maintain a contacts database the Switchboard can look up your callers and display their details when an incoming call arrives. When the Switchboard attempts to lookup an contact with Highrise it will try matches against the name, phone number and SIP address. Contacts generally won't have a SIP address by default but if you do have regular callers with known SIP addresses you can add it to their Highrise details as illustrated below so that the Switchboard can quickly look them up.

To get the Switchboard to attempt a Highrise lookup when an incoming call arrives you need to initiate the lookup before forwarding the call to the Switchboard. The SIP Sorcery server will do the lookup asynchronously and if it is successful it will send the details to the Switchboard when it returns. This asynchronous approach avoids a delay of up to a few seconds in processing the call while the lookup is in progress.

The parameters for the LookupHighriseContact method are:

  • Highrise URL of your account,
  • Highrise authentication token,
  • The contact string to send to Highrise to lookup,
  • Whether to add a note to the contact if a match is found (true or false),
  • Whether to do the lookup asynchronously (true means async and is recommended).

Finally an additional parameter needs to be added to the dial string that forwards the call to the Switchboard.

  • rcd: which stands for "Request Caller Details" and indicates that the Switchboard client would like to be updated whenever new details are available about the caller such as when the Highrise lookup completes.

Feedback and Support

Any feedback good or bad regarding the use of the Switchboard is welcome as are suggestions for improvements email feedback.

Support is available via a community forum at SIP Sorcery Switchboard forum.

Demo

The video below demonstrates a couple of calls being processed with the SIPSorcery switchboard.