Welcome to the Auto-Receptionist Creator by Colton Sandvik. This is a unique utility that can help businesses of any size create an auto-responder and help route phone calls through their office space. You may be wondering how all of this is possible! It's simple, you use a flowchart style diagramming system that instructs the robo-receptionist to follow your every command... or at least most of them. This tool is easy to get up and going with just a Twilio account required to source the means of living for our little robo friend. To get started make sure your credentials are setup for Twilio and when they are, click start. This will let you start designing your new receptionist. Your receptionist has 5 basic features:

  • Speak - Which says something
  • Redirect - Which ends the call and patches the connection to another number
  • Directory - Which allows you to list a directory you design of callable numbers
  • End Call- Which ends the call and must complete any command chain
  • Options - Which allows you to branch these chains into different paths
We've included some pictures to help you get your bearings and get up and going!

Applying for: Overall Hacklahoma Best Use of the Twilio API JP MORGAN & CHASE: "Best Hack for Social Good" Challenge

Inspiration

I've worked a lot with small businesses in my professional experience and one thing I found to be quite often lacking is the ability to juggle phones around especially when a proper PBX can be sourced and often times everyone is hands on developing the business which leaves less time for a dedicated individual to spend 40 hours a week manning the phone lines. So I thought of this little guy who could man the phone lines for much cheaper than the price of a human and for many more hours a week.

How I built it

The main component of this build is the web server interface that uses Javascript to create a tree like structure of the components that makeup our auto-receptionist diagram. Most of the work is handled on the client side with the server only really being responsible for some basic stuff such as authentication and the Twilio aspect which ended up being refreshingly easy.

Challenges we ran into

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I could interact with the server better and I ultimately became pretty frustrated with it at about 6 in the morning trying to make the server do work it really did not have to. I specifically tried implementing a lot of data structure logic to handle a bulk of the control flow for the receptionist, which ended up being much more work than I needed since I had already practically implemented in a not super apparent manner on the client side that could be much more easily utilized.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am quite proud of my abilities to create a dynamic web page that was able to so cleanly integrate with Twilio and be able to create a product that seems quite functional. It was a pain in the butt to write the Web stuff for, especially since I specialize in IIoT so all the javascript, css, and html, was quite a lot, but definitely worthwile.

What I learned

I learned a lot about integrating with some pretty cool technologies and being able to utilize a Web environment as a quickish to build interface. I got to mess with Twilio's API which I hadn't done before and that was pretty cool, especially since it was so incredible easy to use.

What's next for BYOReceptionist

I want to implement a lot more features. I am somewhat disappointed that I couldn't get a voicemail system in quick enough which in some ways could easily be provided by redirecting to someone's phone, I still think that would be a cool feature. I also want to make it something that could be hosted online and easily allow small businesses to hook into it and actually use it to help small businesses.

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