Aptus FonB

The Mobility Solution For Asterisk – Aptus FonB is a software product by Aptus Telecom. It is developed to introduce the true mobility for Asterisk users. FonB provides exceptional way of call switching or transferring to any of your communication devices (i.e. IP Phone, Webphone or Mobile Phone). You can always switch your call from mobile to IP Phone or to Webphone with a single click, without other party noticing that call has now switched.

FonB is available in 4 different platforms. As a User Portal for Asterisk, it can be used as web service on your web browser from where you can make/receive/switch calls to your mobile device. FonB Mobile is available for Android and is going to be released very soon for Andorid as well. The mobile app is the real form of mobility we introduce to your Asterisk. Here is a quick link to the demo showing what FonB is capable of.

FonB also provides integrated contacts from Highrise, Google and Mobile right on your IP Phone using FonB XML App. It makes easier for a user to merge and sync contacts so that a unified phonebook is provided in Web Browser, Smartphone and IP Phone. FonB features contacts from different platforms (Google, Highrise, Mobile, Internal Extensions, Speed Dials) along with the comprehensive Call History. Not only this, it (will) also provide integration of your mobile contacts (iPhone & Android) with your Asterisk & Highrise CRM. It also allows seamless Call Switching between multiple devices. FonB works with major Asterisk distros like FreePBX, PBX In A Flash, AsteriskNOW and Elastix etc.

FonB is available in 3 packages. Users can always have a full fledged 30 days trial for 5 users including all features. FonB User Portal includes the CRM Feature as well as as the Phone book synchronization and Quick Dial Features on the web interface. FonB Mobility includes the iPhone and Android apps and provides users with the Mobility features such as switching calls instantly between their flash phones, IP Phones and Mobile devices. The combination of above two is presented as FonB Combo. FonB products can be purchased directly from Aptus Website Pricing Page.

5 Users Unlimited Period Free Package: http://aptus.com/download.html
Commercial Packages: http://aptus.com/prices.html

Support Page

Ask Your Questions: https://aptustel.zendesk.com/forums/22104108-Community-Help
Report A Bug: https://aptustel.zendesk.com/forums/22300616-Report-a-Bug
Request A Feature: https://aptustel.zendesk.com/forums/22104128-Feature-Requests


Installation Guide: https://github.com/aptus/FonB-INSTALL-SCRIPT
Miscellaneous: https://github.com/aptus/FonB-Documentation/tree/master/MISC
IP Phone XML App Documentation: https://github.com/aptus/FonB-Documentation/tree/master/XML-APP

Brief details of FonB features are listed as under.

1. Quick Dial & Active Calls

This page involves everything related to call handling. Using Quick Dial, a user can make and receive calls and perform in-call actions. It allow a user to perform number rewrite (which will be explained later). All four types of contacts are integrated with Active Calls & Quick Dial as well. A user can therefore dial any desired contact using the appropriate calling method within FonB.

1.1. Quick Dial

Quick Dial shortens the process of making a call. A user can simply start typing any letter and as he types, FonB starts suggesting matching contact names. Once the name is found, the user can then simply click the name and the call is placed. The user can have multiple choices of calling devices: Webphone, Mobile Phone, or IP Phone and all of these options are available on the web browser.


1.2. Webphone

An important part of Quick Dial is the Webphone. Webphone transforms the web browser into a real working, software-based IP Phone using underlying technologies of WebRTC and Flash. WebRTC is considered the most recent and better with codecs, so it’s used by default. However, when browsers and systems lack the support for it, Flash is used as the fallback option.

1.3. Active Calls

One of the most important features of Aptus FonB is the Active Calls panel, which is visible on every page, providing information about active calls on the user’s extension. Users are able to manage their calls through the Active Calls panel – putting calls into a conference, holding, muting, hanging up, and transferring. Call Transfer is one of the powerful features of FonB Active Call where a user can transfer and switch a call between IP Phone, Mobile, and Webphone without disturbing the conversation with the other party.




2. Call Switching

Call Switching is the feature provided by FonB that allows users to transfer an ongoing call from one device to another without other party noticing. The device may be one of the following:
  • IP Phone registered in Asterisk.
  • Mobile Phone.
  • Webphone, transforming your browser into a Softphone.
Any ongoing call can be switched between these three devices. The innovate design of FonB doesn't allow the other party to feel any switching in the active call , thus the switching is seamless to avoid any interruption in the conversation which allows the users abundant freedom in movement while having the conversation. User can start a call to any client using IP Phone on his desk. If he needs to move around within office, he won't have to disconnect the call and instead, he can simply switch it to VoIP client using FonB Mobile App. And if he has to go out and catch a meeting, he can always switch the call to his GSM Mobile connection using a single tap. Once user reaches back home, he can switch the same call again to his Webphone.

3. Contacts

Aptus presents 'Contacts' as the most unique and strongest feature of FonB. The idea of FonB basically revolves around syncing multiple contact lists from different devices in one unified directory. In technical terms, sophisticated use of XML flow and event triggering binds all the main constituents of the system ('Google Contacts', 'Highrise CRM' and Asterisk). Security tokens by Google and Highrise CRM also play a vital role in the efficient handling of contacts.

3.1. Contacts Synchronization

This feature allows users to synchronize their contact lists across multiple devices. These multiple devices can include IP Phone, Android Mobile Phone, Apple iPhone and the Webphone (web based softphone developed by Aptus). The IP Phone is usually the registered extension of Asterisk Server to which FonB is communicating (typically a hardware-based phone from one of the major IP Phone vendors like Polycom, Snom, Digium, Yealink, etc.). FonB will also offer mobile applications for Android and iPhone. Webphone contacts are provided directly from the database to the user web interface. Synchronization updates all the devices with the latest unified contact details. Any duplication is erased to maintain an optimized centralized contact list providing the user with the synchronization date and number of contacts added/updated. If by any means users are unable to proceed with normal sync feature, they can always use CSV Upload option to upload their CSV files.


3.2. Inbound Number Lookup

FonB automatically matches ‘Unidentified phone numbers' in the user’s contact lists, providing meaningful names, when available, in the call display. For example, if Maria has Pottan's number in her Google Contacts, she will be able to see Pottan's name on her office IP Deskphone when he calls, even if the name was not configured in Asterisk. This step is carried out in Asterisk dialplan by using an external lookup query via FonB.


3.3. Multiple Contact Types

FonB can synchronize four types of contacts that are: FonB can synchronize four types of contacts:
  • Google Contacts.
  • My Contacts.
  • Highrise Contacts.
  • Internal Extensions.
  • Mobile Contacts (Coming Soon)


3.3.1. Highrise CRM Contacts

FonB is integrated with Highrise CRM. The Highrise Contact list is a public list within the organization as it consists of the company's CRM contacts. Any added Highrise Contact will remain within the corporate directory of the organization in their Highrise account and will be visible to everyone. However, if there are contacts that are shared among only few users within Highrise, then FonB will respect that privacy and these contacts will only be displayed to this group of users who can view them in the respective Highrise account. Highrise Contacts cannot be edited from within APTUS FonB. A user can only add New Contacts from within APTUS FonB.

3.3.2. Internal Extensions

'Internal Extensions' are the extensions configured in the Asterisk Server. Just like 'Highrise CRM contacts', 'Internal Extensions' are visible to all employees in a given organization. 'Internal Extensions' cannot be edited from within FonB. However, FonB can be configured in a multi-tenant environment to only display the extension of a given user.

3.3.3. Google Contacts

Since Android synchronizes all its contacts with Google, users can grant access to FonB and sync all Android contacts. FonB architecture treats Google Contacts as a personal data, so contact names cannot be revealed, even to managers. FonB provides the option to revoke this access anytime, either from Gmail or from the FonB user’s account. Not only will this remove Google Contacts from the FonB Database, but it will also delete the cached data from all imported contacts acquired from Google. Google Contacts reside in both Google's Server normally and in Android phones. These contacts are only editable from Gmail or your Mobile Phone. However, a user can add NEW numbers to Google Contacts from FonB as well.


3.3.4. My Contacts

'My Contacts' is a private contact list within Aptus FonB application and is considered personal to the user. A user can import a given CSV Outlook contacts file to FonB. Being native to the application itself, this contact list can not be exported or synchronized outside APTUS FonB as it will remain in APTUS FonB database until deleted explicitly by the user. This contacts list is private, which means that the calling identity will not be revealed to anybody but the user.


Glimpse of FonB Contacts Page

3.3.5. Asterisk Speed Dials

With recent FonB release, it has started supporting Asterisk Speed Dials found within famous distributions of Asterisk. You can now import company wide speed dials within FonB and use them from within your Web Browser, IP Phone or even Mobile Phone with the help of FonB.

3.3.6. iPhone Contacts

With the release of iPhone App, FonB now supports your iPhone contacts to be synchronized in your web user portal & IP Phone. You can upload your iPhone Contacts from within FonB iPhone App and can always revoke the access from there.

3.3.6. Android Contacts

FonB is releasing Android App very soon. With the release of Android App, it will start supporting synchronization of Android contacts to all other supported devices, i.e. IP Phone, Web Interface and iPhone.

3.4. User Privacy

FonB has applied user privacy on the individual level as well as the organizational level. Since 'Google Contacts' and 'My Contacts' are considered as private to a user, the contact names will not be shown to administrators. Only the numbers will be shown as part of the Call History. Private contacts can be added or deleted within 'Google Contacts' & 'My Contacts'. If a user wants to revoke FonB access to Google, it can be easily done – either from within FonB or from directly within the user’s Gmail account settings. Thus, a user is never domain dependent to revoke access.


3.5. Adding New Contacts

FonB provides the option to add new contacts and thus to expand the user's phonebook. It can be done from any call history page showing an unidentified number. Simply click ‘Add Contact’ in Call History and a menu will appear that will prompt the user to save the contact as a ‘Google Contact,’ ‘Highrise Contact,’ ‘My Contact,’ or any combination of these, along with any other relevant contact information.


3.6. Contacts Import

This feature helps users to import contacts in one of two possible ways: Import Option 1: involves one-way synchronization setup, which will copy all contacts from either Google or Highrise Contacts. Import Option 2: import using a CSV file. Aptus FonB will accept and import the file no matter what the format is. The imported contacts will appear as 'My Contacts' and will also be listed inside the recent contacts. Any duplicated names or numbers will be overridden with the new, updated version of the CSV import and a date will be listed next to each synchronization action.


4. CRM Integration

APTUS FonB plays 'a bridge role' between Asterisk, Contact Lists and Highrise CRM. Aptus FonB is integrated with 37Signal's Highrise CRM, one of the well-known CRM solutions, making it effortless for corporate users to connect with their sales leads and clients.

4.1. Highrise Contacts Synchronization

This feature enables a user to integrate and synchronize all Highrise CRM contacts to APTUS FonB and the user's IP Phone.


4.2. Corporate Calls Analysis

Once the Highrise CRM Contacts are synchronized within FonB, then the organization will be able to keep a constant track of work related calls made by its employees. The more Highrise Icons attached to listed calls, the higher the number of business-related calls made by employees. Whereas, low Highrise calls indicate that the employee made more private calls than work-related calls, helping managers to gauge their team’s productivity and efficiency.


4.3. Shortcut Access to Highrise

FonB is integrated with Highrise CRM, however, sometimes it is useful to be able to access the Highrise Contact page directly to obtain a certain detail. That is why FonB has granted its users with a direct shortcut-access link within FonB.


4.4. Upload Your Notes & Recorded Calls

A user can listen to recorded calls at any time from APTUS FonB Call History. One can read, review and update any notes related to any specific call or user. The notes together with the recorded call can then be uploaded to Highrise’s lead or contact page.


5. Call History

Most of Asterisk CDR solutions are complicated and bundled with parameters that most users are not interested in. To tackle this issue, FonB has featured 'Call History' that is a simple alternative to CDR yet comprehensive enough to present all necessary call details. The interface of 'Call History' resembles the Gmail inbox, making it familiar and easy for new users to navigate.

5.1. Smart Active Call History

This feature enables users to avail simple and active call history. Simplicity is implemented for a normal user by ignoring all the technical parameters that are occasionally important for Asterisk Admins, but irrelevant to the regular non-admin user. FonB emphasizes on simple call history that can be easily understood by any average user. The Call History page is accompanied by active search fields that work on 'Search as you type' approach. Thus, typing 'D' as you begin a search for ‘David’ will present all users with names that start with 'D'. In general, this approach reduces the chance of spell errors while searching for the names as the system is already suggesting a list from where a user may select the required contact. Active search also reduces the time it takes to make each call. Call History can be enabled for a single user or for departments. This page shows all the inbound, outbound, and missed calls for a particular user/department based on Smart Filtering Options. Any contact that belongs to a particular contact list (i.e. 'Google Contacts', 'Highrise Contacts', 'My Contacts' or 'Internal Extensions') is displayed within the corresponding list. Call History also enables a user to listen to any previous call and update the corresponding note for it. FonB eliminates any requirement of maintaining different Call Recording Systems as it can handle the call recording and its web UI for listing them within Call History. This helps in unifying multiple systems as there is no need to install a separate CDR Server and a Call Recording Server.


5.2. Team Management

As discussed earlier, the 'Smart Filtering' feature allows managers to quickly view the call history for individuals or departments, allowing them to measure productivity and evaluate team performance. Plus, you have the option of creating sub groups for even narrower team assessments. The use of Ajax optimizes the bandwidth consumed, so data is not re-fetched when managers switch between individual and sub-group call history views.


5.3. Ambiguous Duplication Solution

Since FonB integrates multiple contact lists on one single platform, situations might occur where a single contact is saved with different names. To solve this, FonB has adapted a method to present icons with corresponding duplicate names. Thus, if 'Jeff Anderson' is the name of a contact in 'Highrise Contacts' and 'J. Anderson' is the name for the same person in 'Google Contacts', FonB will present two icons next to the number. Hovering between the two icons will reveal the names as saved in the two lists for the same number. APTUS FonB will always print the personal private name before printing the Highrise corporate name.

hover btwn icons.jpg


6. Number Rewrite Rules

Number Rewrite Rules allow users to create a generic rule in order to avoid repetitive dialing of certain frequent keys. This feature can be explained by a simple example. A Swiss user, who has an International Dialing Prefix of '0041', has a client with a mobile number of '023-3678472'. In order to make the call without applying the synchronization option, the user has to fetch the saved number of '+41233678472' from his mobile phone contact list, note it down then press '9' on his IP Phone, wait for the dial tone, and dial the number with '+412' striped off and replaced with '0', as the call is being placed using the PSTN land-line. This is a lengthy process involving a bunch of time consuming key strokes. The scenarios can be even more complicated if the organization has VoIP trunks or GSM Gateways installed on the site as calling resources. In this case, there will be more than one access code for each trunk (or trunk group) type. However, the synchronization will not help the user to get rid of this process as it can only make the same phone number, with country code prefix available on every device but there wouldn't be any intelligent methodology to resolve prefix strip-out problem and access code appending. FonB Number Rewrite Rule has been developed to address this problem. In the Number Rewrite Rule, FonB prompts the user to define a certain action based on a specific condition. For instance, using the same example, the user can set a condition of finding pattern '+41' and define an action of replacing this pattern with '90'. Thus, the number becomes '902336748472' which is now in a format that the Asterisk Server can easily understand. '9' is presented here as an Access Code to seize PSTN resource whereas '0' signals PSTN line for a mobile call. Number Rewrite feature, once set, is applied immediately across all contacts (other than Internal Extensions).


Created by: voip_geeko, Last modification: Tue 06 of Jan, 2015 (12:13 UTC)
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