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Q: Phone system for auto-calling ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Phone system for auto-calling
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: ddickerson-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 12 Aug 2002 11:59 PDT
Expires: 11 Sep 2002 11:59 PDT
Question ID: 53703
I am looking for a product to help my rugby team automate phone
communications.  It should run off of one phone line - with or without
a computer.  I need to be able to plug a list in (i.e. txt file with
telephone numbers)....

It should call the list of numbers and leave a message (i.e. a
recorded message about the game Saturday).  It should also answer the
phone when called (separate line from house) and give the caller
options (press 1 to hear our game schedule, press 2 to ...., press 3
to leave a message).  It would be nice if I could update these
messages OVER the phone.

Oh yeah - and not too expensive ;-).  I have seen autodialers for
telemarketers that cost $1,000+ - that obviously is not what I need.
Subject: Re: Phone system for auto-calling
Answered By: bitmaven-ga on 12 Aug 2002 13:10 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

 I talked to quite a few folks in the business of autodialers and many
had the same response -- an autodialer system (in the traditional
sense) would probably not be the best system for you.   Essentially,
autodialers that I've been perusing have all involved  multiple lines
-- that is usually anywhere between 2-10+ lines for outbound service. 
 Many of the autodialers are also antequated, requiring a PC running
pre-PCI card support.   Most are setup for large businesses and tend
to run into the thousands for setup and service.   Probably not what
you're looking to spend.

Fear not, I did get some helpful advice as to avenues that might be
more useful to you.  Many of the sales reps were kind enough to
reccomend software solutions to your autodialing problem.   The
downside to this, being that any solution -will- require a computer.

Here are a few such systems that I've found, complete with specs, as
per your request.

Acarda Messenger™ Client Call Autodialer -- 

Key Features of the Client Call application

-- Free 12 month rental of single line  version  -- The cost for
Client Call after the first 12 month trial period is $175 a year.
There is a hardware
requirements section that the company lists: 

* Pentium or equivalent

* Typically 32M RAM for 2 line version, (64M RAM for 4 line version).
For TeleManager we recommend 128M RAM for 4 lines.

* 1 ISA slot per ISA-compatible Dialogic card or a PCI slot for the
PCI Dialogic card

* Supports Windows NT4/2000/95/98/ME

You can get the Dialogic cards from anywhere between $200-$600.  

-- Automatically place telephone calls & convey voice messages

-- Every part of the phone message (except the person's name, money
amount, date and time) heard by the call recipient can be recorded and
played in a voice of your choice, ie from the initial greeting to the
farewell message.

-- Up to 10 sets of messages can be recorded and played simultaneously
e.g use one set for appointment reminding, and another set for overdue
bill reminders

-- Set start and stop times for each day of the week.

-- Import a list of telephone numbers, people's names, dates times and
money amounts

-- Allow manual setup and editing of the list of phone numbers, names,
dates, times and money amounts within Acarda Messenger.

-- Configurable number of delivery attempts for busy or no answer

-- Play a different message if call answered by answer machine

-- Identifies fax numbers rung and allows you to print out/export a
list of them

-- Verify the listener is the right person to hear the message

-- Wait till right person comes to the telephone

-- Recipient can confirm they would like some action taken, e.g. to be
rung back

-- Recipient can leave you a message, e.g. explaining why an account
is overdue

-- Recipient can enter a phone or fax number e.g. for you to fax them
more information

-- Reports the results of calls, e.g. add to do not call list,
successful, failed, and the recipients response to given options, e.g.
confirmation, transfer, enter number & recipient message.

-- Displays Call Statistics

-- In Answer Machine Only mode Acarda Messenger will only play a
message if it detects an answer machine

-- Extensive On-Screen Help

-- Supports Windows NT4/2000, 95/98/ME


The linkline autodialer has much the same features/requirements of the
Acardia, (both require the Dialogic series of computer telephony

Here is the feature list for Linkline: 

LinkLine Features

-- Configurations available from 1 to 48 lines
-- Remote Management Capability (This is one of the criterion that the
Arcadia could not provide for)

-- True 32 bit architecture
-- Manual Lead Number Dialing
-- Supports Multiple Telephone Campaigns
-- Supports Inbound/Outbound Call Campaigns
-- Easy Import/Export Database
-- Automatic Random or Sequential Number Generation
-- Can distinguish between an answering machine, fax and a live person
-- Runs on Windows 95(OSR2), 98 and NT

Its also integrated with Ms ACCESS and quite customizable. 

Unfortunately the Linkline did not list a cost, and the gentleman that
the call number directed me to was out on vacation for a week.

I feel guilty leaving you with two, so i'm going to find you a few
more and add them in the Comments section.


Clarification of Answer by bitmaven-ga on 12 Aug 2002 14:47 PDT
Here's the rest of my answer, just so you have a bit more than two

The next system I found Was the Active Call center:  (FYI:  This link is actually
listed as an ad)

The Active Call Center describes itself as being 'Affordable Voice
Telephony Service'  With Active Call center and a good voice modem
(about $99) you can implement the system and have it running in a
short period of time.   They have all their documentation online, and
are complete with a support forum.

Here are some of the features and benefits in accordance with what you
were looking for:

Features and Benefits for the New User

-- Installs and uninstalls quickly and easily, even works with voice
modems!  (bitmaven note:   This is a marked contrast from the other
systems which require dialogic cards)

-- Easy to learn user interface can be learned in less than an hour!
-- Visual depiction of call paths.
-- Extensive manual, help file, and examples. Read the manual online
or in PDF.
-- Tutorial videos library 
-- Automates inbound and outbound calls.
-- Rapid integration with existing hardware, software, data, and
-- Completely self-contained, requires only compatible hardware.
-- Online discussion group and technical support forum (click here to

Features for Handling Incoming Calls
-- Prompt caller with pre-recorded prompts or generated
-- Accepts touch tone input.
-- Allows recording of audio.
-- Conditional branching and looping during a call based on caller's
-- Deliver dynamically generated text-to-speech or recorded audio to
-- Multiple line support is included FREE for up to 5 phone lines.
Users that require more than 5 lines can purchase higher density
-- Caller ID support and conditional processing based on Caller ID
-- Virtually unlimited depth of call paths.

Features for Making Outbound Calls
-- All the features for incoming calls, PLUS:
-- Make calls to a list of people automatically. 
-- Results of outbound calls are saved to an easy-to-use call log
-- Software based answer detection to determine if a call was
-- Initiate one or more outbound calls from an inbound call.
-- ActiveX/COM object and command line parameters to integrate
outbound dialing with almost any other application.
-- Features for Customization and Integration
-- Fully customize call logic with Microsoft Visual Basic Script (VB
-- Integrates easily with Microsoft Office applications: Excel,
Access, Word, etc.

Speech Recognition and Audio Recording Features
-- Record audio from caller and save to standard WAV sound files.
-- Match spoken responses to user-defined commands.
-- Recognize spoken input with pre-defined templates such as "Yes" or

High Performance Features
-- Runs as a service under Windows NT / 2000 for maximum reliability.

Unlike the linkline, it does not offer (or appear to offer) remote
updating capabilities.

Finally, there is Comsmart, by iBall Communications :   (reached from a link)

Comsmart is similar to the Active Call Center, with a bit more,
including a free 31 day trial period :-)   The actual cost, if you
chose to buy is $49.95 USD.  ($54.50 EUR)

Comsmart's feature list: 

-- Different greetings for different times of the day/days of the week
-- Secure pin functions:   (bitmaven note:  Say you want to give only
your rugby buddies the rugby information, this system will allow them
to enter in an assigned pin and they can check all the
up-to-the-minute changes in your plans)
-- Music-on-hold
-- When someone calls you, you have the ability to hear the caller's
name or type of call (blocked, out of area, etc. )
-- Having the majority of calls go to message, excepting the calls you
wish to take (So your rugby buddies can get the scoop, and you can
talk to those friends calling for other reasons)
-- playback of messages from the computer.  
-- Autodialer functions that will call your rugby friends with the
latest news.
-- Windows based system 
-- Database that is fully updatable of names, numbers and messages to
be sent.

(sidenote:   Not that this is at all relevant, but I'm looking into
trying out the Comsmart, just because it seems like an accessible easy
option to use. )

I apologize for not providing all the answers at once.   The search
was a bit tougher than I had figured initially, as most autodialer
references are either without a price tag, or made for larger
call-center type applications.   The home auto-dialer market is a
small one still.   I hope these results help you in your search for an
appropriate updating system for your rugby pals.

Game on, 


Search Terms:  "one line" "autodialers" (or auto-dialers); 
		"automatic" "phone dialers" "software";
		"Software" "automatic Dialers";
		 "auto-dialers" "home use"
ddickerson-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
This was a difficult question.  I received four possibilities - all
better priced than anything I had seen so far.  In fact my net
spending will be lower by a few hundred as a result of the answer I
received.  So paying for this service saved me at least $250.

I will be using this service more often.

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