IVRS Installation

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IVRS(Interactive Voice Response System) is commonly used platform to reach people connected through mobile/telephones. This page is about how one can set it up and send Voice SMS at any place with minimal requirements.

Installation and Deployment

This page helps anyone to deploy IVRS to send voice SMS from your Kalpavriksha(Ubuntu) machine with a data card. Call charges as per network would apply. Below instructions were modified from Mojolab site where this was used to install Swara software. This was tested on Kalpavriksha(Ubuntu) with Huwawei E173 and is currently used in Government High School, Domlur. An opensource IVRS program called Asterisk is used to run Swara software.

Make sure each step below is successful without errors:

Step 1: Install ssh, lamp and other required packages

sudo apt install linux-headers-`uname -r` gcc g++ make libnewt-dev libncurses5-dev openssl libssl-dev zlib1g-dev libxml2-dev libjansson-dev uuid-dev libsqlite3-dev git autoconf automake

Step 2: Enter superuser mode and run below commands to install python packages required for asterisk.

sudo -s
<Enter your password>
apt-get install python-setuptools
easy_install MySQL-Python
easy_install tweepy
easy_install oauth2
easy_install stopwatch
easy_install simplejson

Step 3: Disabling your firewall

sudo ufw disable

Step 4: Installing asterisk. Note install only this version of asterisk in this way only. Go to http://downloads.asterisk.org/pub/telephony/asterisk/old-releases/ link and download asterisk-13.13.1.tar.gz file. Run below commands to install it

cd /usr/src
sudo tar -xvzf ~/Downloads/asterisk-13.13.1.tar.gz
cd asterisk-13.13.1
make clean
sudo make install
sudo make samples

Step 5: Enter superuser mode and run below commands to install and setup Swara

wget https://github.com/ccidmysore/swara/tarball/developers
mv developers /opt/swara.tgz
cd /opt
tar xvzf swara.tgz
mv ccidmysore-swara-1cc734f swara
cd /var/www/
ln -s /opt/swara/web /var/www/swara

Step 6: Set up symlinks and Asterisk configurations

ln -s /opt/swara/web /var/www/html
<create folder name as asterisk in /usr/share>
mkdir -p /usr/share/asterisk
ln -s /opt/swara/bin /usr/share/asterisk/agi-bin
ln -s /opt/swara/bin /usr/share/asterisk/sounds
cp /opt/swara/conf/extensions.conf /opt/swara/conf/sip.conf /etc/asterisk
cd /usr/share/asterisk 
mkdir orig && mv sounds agi-bin orig/
ln -s /opt/swara/bin agi-bin && ln -s /opt/swara/sounds sounds
cd /opt/swara/conf
<Edit swara.conf and put in your database password>
sudo gedit swara.conf
cp swara.conf /etc
cp extensions.conf /etc/asterisk
cp sip.conf /etc/asterisk
cd /opt/swara/web
mkdir /opt/swara/sounds/web && ln -s /opt/swara/sounds/web audio
ln -s /opt/swara/sounds/web upload
chmod a+rwx -R /opt/swara
touch /var/log/swara.log
chmod a+rwx -R /var/log/swara.log

Step 7: Download and install chan_dongle from https://github.com/wdoekes/asterisk-chan-dongle

cd ~/Downloads 
git clone https://github.com/wdoekes/asterisk-chan-dongle.git
cd asterisk-chan-dongle
sudo make install

Step 8: Setup chan dongle with Asterisk:

cd ~/Downloads/asterisk-chan-dongle/etc/
<Copy the dongle.conf file to /etc/asterisk/> 
sudo cp ~/Downloads/asterisk-chan-dongle/etc/dongle.conf /etc/asterisk/
<Open the file /etc/asterisk/dongle.conf and set the IMEI setting with the IMEI number of the dongle>
sudo gedit /etc/asterisk/dongle.conf
<Save and close the dongle.conf file after adding IMEI number of the dongle>

Step 9: Setup Asterisk and swara to make calls:

<Open the file "/etc/asterisk/dongle.conf" and set the values for Context as "from-sip" and exten as "swara-local">
sudo gedit /etc/asterisk/dongle.conf
<Save and close the dongle.conf file

Step 10: Download and extract folders from http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/swarabinFiles.zip to /opt/swara/

cd ~/Downloads
wget http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/swarabinFiles.zip
unzip swarabinFiles.zip
cd swarabinFiles/
sudo cp -r bin/ /opt/swara/
sudo cp -r conf/ /opt/swara/
sudo cp -r libs/ /opt/swara/
sudo cp -r tools/ /opt/swara/

Step 11: Setup Asterisk to use swara configs

<Edit /etc/asterisk/extensions.conf>
sudo gedit /etc/asterisk/extensions.conf
<Under [from-sip], change>
exten => swara-local,n,AGI(menu_system_localized.py)
exten => swara-local,n,AGI(/opt/swara/bin/menu_system_localized1.py)
<Save and close the file after changing as shown above>

Installation is now completed. Now to run the IVRS and send voice-sms, connect the USB dongle to the USB drive and follow below steps:

1. Open the terminal. change to root using the command "sudo -s"
2. Now run the command "asterisk -vvvvvvc". This should run without fail and the CLI prompt should come
3. On the CLI command prompt run the command "agi set debug on"
4. Call to the number and you should hear the IVR prompt
5. Stop to this run "core stop gracefully"
6. Stop and Restart " core restrat gracefully"
7. check Dongle is ready "dongle show devices"

Sending Voice-SMS

Below steps can be followed to send Voice-SMS with above set-up. Get the Voice-SMS GUI from this link http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/VoiceBlast.zip. Extract the file to get VoiceBlast folder inside your Downloads folder. To be able to run IVRS without going to Terminal, please run below comm

Open terminal window and type:

sudo visudo

In the bottom of the file, type the following:


Now press Ctrl+O and then press Enter and then Ctrl+X to come out of editor.

Next type below command in Terminal:

gedit  /home/ubuntu/Downloads/VoiceBlast/voiceblast.sh

This will open edit window, now paste the below code into it and save the file.

cd ~/Downloads/VoiceBlast/ && sudo ./VBlast4.py

Now go to the file location and right click on it to select Properties. Click on Permissions tab and tick the "Allow executing file as program" checkbox.

Right click on Applications, select Edit menu. Click on Office on the left side and click on New Item on the right side. Type IVRS 1 as name and type below command in the Command field:

sudo asterisk -vvvvvvc

Now tick the Launch in Terminal and Click on OK.

Again click on New Item and Type IVRS 2 for Name field. Then in Command field type the following:


Then tick the Launch in Terminal and Click on OK.

1. Open Voice-SMS window.
2. Select your Audio file in *.wav format.
3. Select text file with list of numbers to which the message has to be sent.
4. Enter the duration in seconds.
5. Click on Send to start the calls.

Getting Good Quality Audio for Voice-SMS

Usually in school ambiance, it is difficult to get good quality audio recordings for sending Voice SMS. Great quality audio is very essential for your message to reach your intended audience. Below are few steps one can follow to ensure this:

Before proceeding with below steps, please ensure you have the following with you - Android phone, Audacity software, Tape-a-talk app on your Android and earphones if available.

  1. Install Tape-a-talk app on your Android phone.
  2. This IVRS platform requires audio recording in *.wav format, so please record using Tape-a-talk which outputs *.wav format audio by default.
  3. Set frequency in the android app to 8,000GHz which is another requirement for IVRS.
  4. Hold your phone at exactly 450 degree angle and at half-feet distance from your mouth for better audio capture by phone's microphone.(Use earphones if available)
  5. Stop the recording when you are done and transfer audio file to your computer.
  6. Use Audocity to remove any noise from the audio file and export it to same *.wav format with 8,000GHz frequency.(Listen to your audio file in earphones if available)
  7. Use the exported audio file to send Voice SMS in the IVRS applciation.