Not impressed with EPM--Many issues

I purchased the EPM so I could program Polycom VVX400 phones, and for the mowt part that works. I am not impressed with the number of features I can assign to a side key. BLF, BLF/TRF, Speed dial. I can’t even get one of them to transfer to Park AND announce the park location. BLF/XFR 70 sends the call immediately, my users want the warm fuzzy of where it went. They might have more calls parked than I have BLF buttons for. This is a big issue. I have tried to program a bottom softkey, but that didn’t work out either. Can I hardcode or change one of the buttons by the keypad?

Well here’s the deal with parking using 70 at some point along the lines of asterisk coding something was changed that makes it so that when you do a transfer of a call to a parking lot using the phone’s buttons you will never hear the “where it went”. You have to do the transfer manually (Usually *2 then 70 or ##70). This was (most-likely) changed in the past so that transferring to a parking lot worked the same as transferring to an extension (both blind normally).

You can blame EPM all you want but all you have to do is program a speed dial that is ##70, this will then keep the call on hook long enough for the parker to hear the slot.

You can see this ticket for more details about how a blind transfer to parking lot 70 is NOT suppose to play back the slot number because as I said it is a blind transfer (eg you transfer and it disconnects):

Sorry if I came off as a jerk there. I came from another system that made that announcement and my customers loved it. I did not know the history of why it is the way it is now. Maybe it is just a matter of semantics now. A hold key and a bunch of line keys. But, what happens if there are more calls “Parked” than there are BLF keys for? Many of my customers still come from a time when they had actual lines on their phones. I have only used the EPM on two systems. I will keep an open mind on it from now on.

Ed, If you are going to be in the business of supporting FreePBX for a living you really should attend OTTS training, pass the test and become a certified shop.

It’s hard to not have an attitude when the certified reseller community has made an investment to be qualified and part of the eco-system to support the project. When you come in and tell us about “your customers” I can’t imagine how poor an impression they get of the project from a system installed by a company that doesn’t even read the admin manual to a new phone it sells to it’s customers. It’s beyond pathetic.

Well there are tools for this. The thing about FreePBX and Asterisk is they are both extremely powerful. Where-as your old Bell-Key system is also very powerful. However one you are paying 40k the other is Free.

That old Bell-Key comes installed with everything you ‘need’, well everything they told you that ‘you’ need (whether you liked it or not), but again it’s upwards of 40k or more.

Asterisk comes installed with…nothing. Just an engine waiting for you to tell it what to do. But it can do anything you can dream of, anything you can imagine.

That’s where FreePBX comes in. We add the tools to make it more like an old Bell-Key system.

In answer to your question ‘what happens if there are more calls “Parked” than there are BLF keys for’. You can do this a few different ways (from free to highest cost):

  1. Write your own application that can do what you want it to do in terms of alerting people where calls are parked (Free)

  2. Use ##70 (like I said already) (Free)

  3. Use the (Paid) FreePBX Phone Apps (which connect directly into your phone and allows someone to be told that a call is parked and waiting for them [only supported on yealink, digium and aastra at the moment) ( (free now while during our beta cycle)

  4. Use something like FOP2 to see where calls are parked. ($40)

  5. Use the (Paid) module Park Pro, which adds Park and Announce ( ($125)

  6. Use isymphony to see and manage where calls are parked ($595.00)

You are right we need to get into the training and I have been after the owners to get me there. We are a small shop with basically just myself spearheading the VoIP installations. We were up against a bid with another company in the area that is also selling Freepbx systems and sold the same phones as in their bid. I had no time to prepare for the new phones. I would love to get trained and certified and then some day add to the community knowledge. I really do appreciate your contributions.

We aren’t doing a very good job of educating our new customers on what is to come lately. I got so many references to the “old system we had” yesterday it was maddening. In this situation I might just restrict the number of calls they can handle. They went from 4 lines to unlimited. I already have 4 park locations and if I cut them to fewer inbound calls on the SIP trunks they might be happy. They have asked for a BLF “sidecar” for their phones, at least the ones that answer most of the calls. I can place all the park locations on them and coupled with the audio using ##70 then maybe they will be happy.

One of the things we like so much about FreepBX is the fact that you include so much of the “Basics”. A previous system we sold we had to license just about any good feature we wanted. Compared to FreePBX it is a joke.
Thanks for the help guys it is always appreciated and I promise I will get there some day.

Well, not selling them until your qualified would be the right thing to do before you impose yourself on the customer. Of course your not the boss. Have your boss call me, I will give him the riot act for you.

The most disturbing aspect of the message is the “our old system did this” comment. Doing your due dilligence and planning the install is essential. Did you do this on the old systems you sold?

What were you selling? Avaya Open Office? Cisco CUCM?

I admit we haven’t done our due diligence lately and that is not good. We sold IPitomy systems. We almost went bankrupt trying to get their pos phones to work properly and reliably. Then I found FreePBX and we ditched them. We have pretty much centered on the Aastra line, with a few Yealink thrown in. I want to get a Digium in and see how that one works. Believe me I want to get the training and get more professional in how we do things. It is an uphill battle tho.

My primary concern is that FreePBX is presented in a positive and professional way. The problem is the low entry point attracts incompetent and under captalized organizations. The FreePBX names is usually the one that takes he beating.

From my perspective what you just said is we are going to inflict ourselves on customers until we get it right. The Schmooze support teams mops up after these situations all day.

The bottom line, start developing process, stick to it, document everything and get competent on the product.

I hear ya and I will work to those ends. Where can I get more info on working with the basefiles of these phones. I haven’t found the Admin manual for the articular Polycom VVX400 phones yet. Nothng that explains that in detail. In the Wiki under the EPM there is a reference to some sample base files for polycom and another phone (name slips my mind at the moment). But there isn’t any link.