Introduction: Apartment Buzzer- Automatic Entry With Elastix IVR

If you're like me, you spend 95% of your day worrying that you've forgotten your keys and will be locked out of your building forever.
I've read a couple of buzzer-related solutions, where apartment owners would have an answering machine or voice mail pick up the call and play the entry tone. This didn't really appeal to me because it lacks the super-spy coolness of having to enter a secret pass-code, [and anybody who buzzed my suite would get in right away].

This IVR is the ultimate solution if:
a) your buzzer is not hard-wired to the intercom [i.e. it can call your cel phone]
b) you can convince your landlord to change the number from which it currently points
c) you have the pennies to spend on buying a DID
d) you have an extra computer laying around to run Elastix

First things first, you'll need to set up Elastix [a free open sourced Asterisk distro] and an extra machine on which to run it. You'll end up wiping the hard drive, so make sure you don't have any important data on there.
This machine will also need to be network ready.

Step 1: Install Elastix

*Again, this will wipe the HDD.

1.Make sure your machine is plugged into the network.
2.Burn the software as an ISO and place it in a machine set to boot from the CDROM.
3.When it loads the first page, press enter.
4.Follow the menus until it comes to preparing your HDD.
5.Set it to replace the current partition.
6.At 'packages to install', leave as default.
7.Once it's done, it'll eject the CD; reboot your machine from HDD this time.
8.At the log in, type the word “root” and set your user credentials.
9.It'll prompt you with the IP address of this machine.
10.On your other computer, type that IP into the browser and you'll be able to log into the Elastix portal.

Step 2: Record Your Prompts

We'll need two prompts for this project: the main prompt, which will be the first thing you hear when you try to buzz your apartment [and the call hits the IVR]. This can be a minute of silence if you're the secretive sort and just want time to type in your entry password, or it can be a recorded greeting like “enter pass-code, 12 seconds to self destruct.”

*If you foresee a circumstance where you'll want to buzz somebody in but NOT give them your secret entry password, this would be the time to record that option. For example “Enter pass-code, or if this is my pizza guy, press two to be buzzed in.”
You would, of course, route the number two option to your cel phone so you could buzz the guy in manually.

You'll also need to record the tone that tells your buzzer to let people in. It'll be something like 9 or star [whatever you press to currently unlock the door].
If you have audio editing software, there will usually be an option to generate DTMF, or you can use this site, which is quite keen:

Step 3: Now It's Time to Set Up Your IVR

[To upload the recordings you made to Elastix, go to the PBX tab at the top of the screen, and “System Recordings” in the left hand menu. It's a pretty strait-forward brows > select file > press upload way of adding recordings.]

Go to the PBX tab at the top of the screen, and “IVR” in the left-hand menu.

Step 4: Setting Up Your IVR Part 2

Fill in the name, in this case we're programming the branch that plays the DTMF, so name it something like 'dial 9'.
Make the announcement the entry tone you generated in the previous step.
You won't need any other key options in this prompt, so just press save/apply changes.

Step 5: Setting Up Your IVR Part 3

Set up another IVR, this one will be the main greeting.
Like the 9 prompt, name the IVR. This time select the greeting as the main recording you made in the previous step [or a minute of silence, if that's your choice].

Step 6: Setting Up Your IVR Part 4

Now scroll down to your options, and select the radio button for IVR. In the blank box beside that button, enter the code you'd like to type to be buzzed in [in our example, you'll type 361 into the apartment's intercom to open the door].

At this point, if you want the option to buzz people in manually [i.e. you set up the recording to say 'to be buzzed in, press 2'] you'll need to set up an extension that's routed to your cel phone. Once you've done that, you'll set up one of the above IVR's options to send 2 to that extension.
You can skip the next step if you don't care to do this.

Step 7: Setting Up an Extension & Routing It to Your Cel

Under the PBX tab, select “Add Extension” from the left hand menu.
For Device, select “Generic SIP Extension”.
Choose an extension number, name it, and set your password [this is for the soft client login].

Step 8: Setting Up an Extension & Routing It to Your Cel Part 2

Next, from the left hand menu, click “Follow me”.
On the far right of the screen, click the extension you just created [in this case, 2001].
On the next page, you'll change the following settings:
Ring Time: 60 seconds [to allow time for the call to connect]
Follow-me List: enter your cel number followed by the pound sign [#]
Confirm Calls: check this so that you'll get a whisper [automated message] saying the call is from the IVR
Terminate Call: hang up [this will be what happens if you don't answer]

Step 9: Set Up Your DID

We'll assume you've already bought a DID.
Set it up by going to the PBX tab at the top of the screen, and “Trunks” in the left-hand menu.
In the screen that pops up, click “Add SIP Trunk”, and fill in the trunk name and peer details box [this will be given to you when you buy the DID].
Clear the user context box & apply config changes.
Go to the link for Inbound Routes, on the left-hand menu.
Fill in Description, DID number and set the destination as the IVR.

Step 10: Finished!

Now your IVR is ready to go- you never have to worry about having your keys again.
[Unless the power goes out, or your server goes down, or some other catastrophe... Oh god! Maybe you should keep those keys handy anyway.]