Glyph Studios Uses Asterisk To Develop Popular Services
Three primary telecom networks provide all of the business and residential Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony, SMS, Internet, and consumer-based mobile phone service throughout the Philippines.
Glyph Studios was searching for a customizable voice communications platform that would provide special content and services to a large segment of those subscribers.
Amisola says he looked at other platforms and frameworks while they were in the development stage. “They were both going to be very expensive for a start-up company like Glyph, building an infrastructure from the ground up.”
One of Glyph’s engineers was familiar with Asterisk and suggested that an open source solution would save money. Sponsored and maintained by Sangoma, Asterisk is used by organizations of all sizes, including call centers, carriers, and governments worldwide to power IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, and conference servers. Even with its proven capabilities, there was still the question of whether Glyph could customize Asterisk to the point that they could attach their communications systems to the telecoms and then provide additional capabilities like their popular MCA and other services.
MCA is essentially voicemail with notification. Because the mobile providers in the Philippines do not offer standard voicemail service, MCA provides a much-needed service. It allows a caller to leave a message if you do not answer, and then the MCA system sends an SMS text message notifying you that someone tried to call and has left you a voice message.
When you call the designated number, given to you in the SMS text message, you are connected directly to the MCA message. The message remains on the server for three days.
“We knew our telco partners were serious about their intent to heavily market MCA as more convenient and cheaper than standard voicemail services but I have to admit we are surprised by the adoption rate. Our carriers like it because they do not have to pay for commercial licensing fees for a voicemail system, and customers only pay a nominal fee when they retrieve their messages from MCA.”
The Solution From Sangoma
This past year, Glyph sent a team of three technicians to an Asterisk conference in Malaysia. While there, they also attended an advanced training class in Asterisk usage. There they met David Duffett, a renowned expert in setting up Asterisk-based systems around the world. Glyph reached out to Duffett regarding their plans to build a SIP infrastructure on the backend to make expansion easier and less expensive in the future.
“Meeting David had a significant impact because we were able to optimize the knowledge of an Asterisk global expert who showed us new tricks to make installation easier, and how to make some of the operations more efficient,” says Amisola.
According to Amisola, scaling Asterisk to handle millions of calls a day was their biggest challenge. A challenge that they are proud to say they have been able to meet. Currently, the telecom companies feed all missed calls through the E1/T1 digital connection with SS7 protocol rather than through SIP. The E1 connection handles 30 calls on one piece of wire. Glyph has nine servers, each supporting eight E1s. That is 2,160 calls simultaneously.
Duffett’s knowledge has been important not only from the standpoint of optimization and scalability but with reference to several of Glyph’s projects, including a couple of special Asterisk-based music apps called Piso Play and Ad Call. Asterisk has been so popular with Glyph Studios.
They currently have eight different services running on the AsteriskPlatform.
“Now, I am focused on building a SIP infrastructure for Asterisk on the backend to keep costs down,” says Amisola. As Duffett likes to remind Amisola, SIP will also improve mobile service and make it easier to grow the volume to larger capacities.