Many thanks to Dave Michels who earlier today passed a link to this blog post from New Zealand’s James Forman about Controlling Applications With Asterisk. James’ project is an excellent example of the sort of thing that sets Asterisk apart from everything else. He used a multi-step process to have DTMF tones issue commands to control a VLC VideoLAN media player.
His approach is very similar to what I had initially envisioned for my home automation project. Where James is dealing with the VLC commands I was going to have the IVR process call AGI scripts that would cause xsend.exe to send predefined commands to various X-10 home automation modules. That was part one of the project.
Part two was to involve making the controls accessible by a simple web site such that the micro-browser in my Polycom IP650 phones could be used as controllers for some functions.
This project is taking longer than initially planned as I decided that first I would replace the X-10 automation with something more reliable based upon Z-wave and Vera from Mi Casa Verde. I just started to play with that system over the holiday break. I have a couple of modules installed and working, with a handful more on order.
This is a very interesting area of exploration. It’s the intersection of IP telephony and home automation. Tight integration of these two concerns could be very attractive on many levels. This sort of thing has been on my mind every since I heard Mark Spencer describing the NYU projects (Botanicalls) involving novel uses of Asterisk.
Home automation and Asterisk have historically shared one common problem; both need to be easier for non-technical people to setup and configure. Asterisk has come a long way in the past couple of years. Home automation appears to be making some progress as well. I’m not a software engineer so for me to pull this off there needs to be very little custom code involved.