I’m doing a pro bono project for a non-profit public-service organization that gets heavily involved in search-and-rescue operations using the Incident Command System.
For those not familiar with the Incident Command System, it’s a standardized organization for handling emergency and other incidents and includes an Incident Commander, various defined Incident Command Staff members, several Branch Directors and Group Leaders each of which has subordinate staff. Positions are all defined and standardized within the ICS so that e.g. a Ground Branch Director does the same job and has more or less the same subordinate staff and reporting path no matter what the incident, what organization, or where in the country.
We are standardizing the organization’s PBX so that each ICS position has the same extension number, e.g. the Incident Commander is always ext. 401 and the Logistics Service Branch Director is always ext. 470. In the background, we then want Extension 401 to forward all calls to the Incident Commander’s cell phone, etc.
We need to set this up so that it is not necessary for somebody to go into FreePBX every time and change the forwarding rules on people’s Asterisk extension profiles. Currently I’m the only one in the organization who can do that (this is definitely one of those “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” scenarios), and even if I wanted to, it’s not practical… the position of, say, Planning Section Chief could change from morning to afternoon, and someone has to quickly go in and change Extension 440 to forward to a different person’s cell phone every time that kind of change happens. Even if I wanted to teach others in the organization how to do all of that, I would not want multiple people of unknown qualification to have that level of access to the PBX configuration… all of you know well how much damage can be done by somebody with little or no idea what he/she is doing.
Ideally I’d like to set up a web page with blanks where people can fill in names and cell phone numbers for every slot in the Incident Command System, and then push a “Go” button and the system generates entries for various *_custom.conf files in /etc/asterisk, then commands a “reload” to make all the changes visible to Asterisk. That way if, say, the Communications Unit Leader goes home and someone else takes over as CUL, somebody can call up the web page, change the name and cell phone number for the CUL, hit “Go” and it’s done, without endangering any other aspect of the PBX configuration.
So, my question is… Do any of you know of anyone else who has done this or anything like it, that I can contact and perhaps see if he/she would be willing to let us build on their work?
If not… and without getting into detail about how it’s done… does that sound like it would be especially difficult or impractical to implement?
Eric / www.rkt-tech.com