A killer feature for school principals

Photo by Kevin Dooley.  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Photo by Kevin Dooley. CC License.

In 11 years of administering phone systems,  almost once a year I get asked this question by a principal of a school, “How can I change the school phone menu to tell parents that school is closed due to bad weather?  From home!”  Or something to that effect.   Traditionally, proprietary phone system manufacturers tend not expose these features to regular users.  I’d end up having to say, “I’m sorry, this isn’t possible without giving you full administrative access and special training.”    As a responsible IT consultant, this isn’t something I’d feel too comfortable with.  And frankly, neither were the principals when I let them know how the systems work.  They wouldn’t want the ability to mess up the whole thing.  That’s a lot of rope!


Enter, Freeswitch!  It’s like a ball of clay that you mold into pretty much anything you can imagine telephony-wise.   I love to say, “Yes.” to my clients and Freeswitch helps me do it.


So how is it done, you ask?  By leveraging the existing voicemail system!  The IVR menu can be programmed to play the active greeting of any voicemail box programmatically, before it continues on to the regular IVR menu spiel.   It’s a perfect little sandbox, controllable by regular users that can’t break the IVR menu or it’s functions.

As long as a principal knows how to record a voicemail greeting, they’re golden!

You can also stack them up.  Say you want to dedicate an announcement message to your development director to give out information to parents about an upcoming fundraiser.  No problem.   😉


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