Attention Asterisk integrators, there’s a new phone firmware! Yay! And a new release of DPMA to support it. Double yay! What’s the good hubbub? Murray’s word on the street is “Smart BLF.”
“Smart BLF” encompasses the behaviors of the Rapid Dial keys on Digium’s IP phones made available with the just-released 1.4 phone firmware. Compared to the previous functionality of Rapid Dial keys, Smart BLF provides an entirely new world of possibilities.
What kinds of things can you do with Smart BLF?
One-touch transfer – On the phone with someone and you want to transfer them somewhere quickly, statim, pronto? Now, you can set a rapid dial key to one-touch transfer that person directly to someone else – perhaps a Queue, perhaps your co-worker, perhaps oblivion. Press the key, and they’re gone. *Poof* This can also work for inbound calls that haven’t even been answered. You’ll be moving calls around faster than corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking, just a moment.
In-call DTMF – Do you use Asterisk’s built-in features as configured in features.conf? Maybe you’re using features-based call recording, parking, attended or blind transfers, or you’ve built your own custom feature? Smart BLF allows you to configure a rapid dial key to send in-call DTMF to Asterisk. Matt Jordan uses this and a custom features.conf feature to playback the “Price is Right” “bum-bum-ba-da-waaaahhhnnn” sound whenever I ask him a dumb question. “Hey Matt, think we can squeeze one more feature into Asterisk 12 even though the Alpha’s already out?” Matt: “Nope.” *presses special Rapid Dial key* “bum-bum-ba-da-waaaahhhnnn”
Conditional Dialing – Want to have the phone dial different numbers when you press the same rapid Dial key, depending on what your phone is doing or even what your contact is doing? Now you can! This makes it a snap to setup things like call pickup. If the contact is idle, you can have a Rapid Dial key dial them. But, if the contact is ringing, that same Rapid Dial key can dial a different extension, that picks up their call instead of just dialing them, when you press it. Could you do this with super fancy dialplan logic instead? Absolutely! But, it’s a gigantic pain! Doing it this way’s *much* easier, and we can all agree on easy.
Control LEDs – Don’t like that a watched Contact goes green when they’re on the phone? You prefer red? And you want it to blink quickly? No problem. Smart BLF allows customization of LED color and blink rate for any Contact’s status.
Load Applications – You’ve written a custom application for Digium phones, and you want users to be able to easily load the application with the press of a button? Map that application to any button you like, and when a user presses the button, your application can load into the foreground. This could go well if paired with the ability to perform behaviors based on what the contact is doing. If you press a rapid dial key and someone’s on the phone, you could instead load an application into the foreground that displayed some extra information about that contact – someone should write a calendar application – such as their schedule. This also allows you to map the phone’s built-in applications (parking, queues, etc.) to a rapid dial key, so you won’t have to navigate the Applications menu anymore.
Set Audible Indications – It’d be convenient if your phone played back the ringtone of your choosing whenever your buddy’s phone is actually ringing, even if your own phone isn’t receiving a call? You’re covered. Smart BLF lets you turn on local ringing whenever your buddy’s phone rings or is in any other state. Maybe you want to “help” someone by causing their phone to ring continuously while your phone is idle, the only way to stop the ringing is for them to call you. We’ve found a cure for workplace loneliness! Everyone’ll be on the phone, all the time.
Precisely Map BLFs – There’s a D70 on your desk and you want to leave a blank spot, or many blank spots, in your Rapid Dial keys to provide separation between things that load apps and contacts? Maybe you’ve got lots of Rapid Dial Contacts, spanning many pages and you want some functions or contacts to appear on each page, so they’re always visible? We’ve got you covered.
Smart BLF lets you do all of this, and so much more! Seriously, go read the documentation, I didn’t even mention the bits about doing different things depending on how long you hold down the Rapid Dial key or what you can do with Display Rules when viewing a Contact.
How do you get started? Again, go read the docs (do this first as there are extensive changes to allow the functionality and flexibility of Smart BLF to work), download the newly-released DPMA 1.7 and Digium phone firmware 1.4, and have fun. Not a DPMA user? You configure Digium’s phones using XML instead? You’re invited, too!