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Inventor Unveils New Product to Fight Against the Misuse of Predictive Dialers

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February 12, 2013

Inventor Unveils New Product to Fight Against the Misuse of Predictive Dialers

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

There is absolutely nothing more annoying (well ok maybe a few things), than sitting down after a never ending day with your family to enjoy a home cooked meal only to be interrupted before your first bite can even hit your lips by a robocall from a telemarketer likely using a predictive or auto dialer. While these calls can be useful to inform the public about newly launched promotions, without any garnered interest from the intended person picking up the inbound call, it can be nothing more than frustrating.

The Federal Trade Commission has seen this example play out one too many times, and in an effort to  appease consumers recently started a contest that would give the first person to create an efficient and cost-effective way of stopping unwanted telemarketing robocalls the grand prize of $50,000. Nearly 700 individuals entered their hat into the mix including 24-year-old Linux Systems Administrator Alex Ruiz.

With the vision of seamlessly integrating programming capabilities within the Raspberry Pi solution, he developed a robust platform that encompassed an analog telephone adapter along with a network switch that leverages whitelisting to only allow certain calls to be made. This will help to cut down the feeling of distress this barrage of calls can sometimes stir up.

While the winner of the FCC (News - Alert) run program has yet to be crowned, with industry experts predicting that won’t happen until around April, a major downside of Ruiz’s product is that in order to run successfully it mandates the purchase of three pieces of hardware. This can be prohibitive for smaller sized company’s with limited budgets.

He stated, “I felt [the Raspberry Pi] was economically viable and Linux is flexible enough for me to write whatever I need to. If I need to test eight units quickly, even on a budget, I could do it with this."

According to a recent piece featured on the ars technica website, “The Raspberry Pi acts as a communications server handling telephony processing, call logic handling, and integration with a whitelist database. The analog telephone adapter converts landline phone calls into VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) traffic, and the network switch allows the Raspberry Pi and analog telephone adapter to communicate with each other.”

The Banana Phone (News - Alert) from Ruiz that runs alongside Raspberry Pi requires that those attempting to make outbound calls first type in a four-digit authentication code which proves they are an actual living organism. The call is then routed to the call while a caller ID remains on the whitelist. The product is powered by the Asterisk PBX (News - Alert) phone system as well as the MYSQL database.

Yet another inventor eagerly awaiting the announcement of the official contest winner unveiled a different kind of offering that relies upon audio fingerprinting to put an end to robocalls once and for all. And Ruiz firmly believes that his next-generation solution can implement this feature to quickly analyze what kind of call it is and if it is in fact a robocall, block it immediately.

While you will have to wait to see who wins this coveted monetary allotment and has their hand in completely revolutionizing the dialer space, be sure to stay glued to the Predictive Dialer Channel, exclusively on TMCnet.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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