Last year we defined a Voice (Audio) Portal for LFY Magazine (now Open Source For You)
This year we’ve worked out how to set up a public facing voice portal, with a callable number and publishing ability to the web for under USD 200.
Yes! This does mean that you can have your own automated outbound dialler for less than the price of a smartphone
“An audio portal (Figure 2) is essentially a website with a lot of audio content that can be accessed both through the Web as well as by phone. While the Web interface is usually like a blog, the phone interface is an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, where users press keys to navigate through menus and content. In more advanced IVR systems, voice recognition may be used, though this is still limited to the well-documented accents of the English language. The Web interface is very similar to a blog, and several audio portals do use the blog layout. Behind the scenes, the platform will also provide an interface to manage posts. Early implementations of audio portals tended to rely on specialised moderation consoles, which have media-previewing capabilities as well as functionality for moderators to add metadata, such as a summary and title, to the content to make it friendlier to users on the Web.
Users will typically call the IVR interface to record and listen to content using their cell phones, while Web users will access the website interface to listen to the audio posts using a browser, and leave comments in text, which then may or may not be converted to audio using a text-to-speech system.”
This sort of system can be used by
- NGOs for awareness campaigns and community building
- Communities for sharing concerns and discussion about locally relevant issues
- Government and non government civic bodies for setting up complaint filing systems
What you need –
- 1 x Raspberry Pi – $35-40
- 1 x 16 GB SD Card – $10
- 1 x Network Cable – $2
- 1 x GSM Gateway – $135-$150
- 1x SIM Card – $1
- R Pi NOOB Image – Free
- Swara IVR software – Free
Email us or leave a comment and we can probably figure out a way to ship you a pre-made SD card Image or even a built up box, for a moderate service fee
Easy way (involves waiting)
We will be setting up a torrent somewhere for the RPi image, at which point you can just download a copy and “dd” it on to a 16 GB card. There are a few copies floating around already, at least in India and Cambodia.
Difficult (but rewarding) way Download the NOOB Raspberry Pi image Get your RPi working Follow the steps here, making adjustments between Ubuntu and Raspbian as needed – WARNING: This requires some Linux chops Hook up your GSM Gateway with a SIM card Download Mojomail from here and set it up to export all incoming recordings via a cron job to an email inbox (we use GMail)
- Mojomail is an ultra simple IMAP client implementation, that allows RPi based Swara servers to export incoming content to a GMail inbox
- Mojomail also does some preformatting on the message to allow content sharing between platforms and formats
From your email inbox you can set up different out bound publication methods e.g. we use Mailman based mailing lists to link up GMail inboxes that receive all the incoming content This way we implement a distributed, relatively secure, well backed up content management strategy, that enables communities to manage content on their platforms collectively Get people to start calling! We love helping out DIY-ers so please feel free to email with queries. (arjun at mojolab dot org)