This blog is dedicated to open, interoperable manufacturing software and the coolest, latest and greatest things I see every day while conducting business under the banner of Inductive Automation.

Hello, my name is Steve Hechtman and I am president of Inductive Automation. During the span of one day there is more excitement, more discovery than I can possibly keep to myself. This blog is, therefore, my outlet. WARNING: This site is highly biased in favor of the most powerful, affordable manufacturing software in the world - Ignition by Inductive Automation!

VOIP Alarm Notifications - Another Solution

When we developed the Ignition alarming module and its voice notification system, we opted to do the modern thing; we based it on VOIP.

The old hardware cards you install on a PC back-plane are so '90's, so we skipped them.  VOIP delivers unprecedented power and flexibility, is inexpensive, and exceedingly easy to setup and use.

What this means is you can connect Ignition to all types of VOIP services.  Ignition looks just like a VOIP telephone handset.  But maybe you've never dealt with VOIP before.  So here's what you should know. Skype is a big VOIP server in the sky - and you can connect to that.  If the phone sitting on your desk has an Ethernet port, it's probably VOIP.  So you would have your phone system administrator configure a new extension and provide you with the username/account/extension_number, password and server's IP address so you can configure that in Ignition.

There are other cases where you would want to connect to a POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) line.  POTS lines are highly reliable and work even when utility power is down.  And that might be the only thing you have available.  To address that we mentioned that we discovered a couple of inexpensive (~$200) VOIP servers, but several customers have mentioned delivery and support on those items are problematic (they are sourced from China).  Well, we discovered yet another option -  it works better and costs less.

Enter the Grandstream HT-503 analog phone adapter.  It's not even a VOIP server.  It just interfaces between VOIP protocol and a POTS line.  It has better voice quality and costs about $50 from Amazon. Colby ordered one from Amazon and got it in a couple of days (Grandstream is located in the US).

Colby wrote a how-to guide to configure this little box (pictured above).  He did add the caveat that you need to set the minimum time between calls  for 5 seconds or more (as shown to the right) since the POTS system requires this.

The information for setting up the HT-503 is included in this KB article  from the support section of our site.

The ways of leveraging VOIP are endless.  We aren't endorsing this Grandstream solution particularly, other than to say we tried it and it worked, the sound quality was excellent, and we were able to obtain one quickly and inexpensively.  Like the rest of of our technology choices in Ignition, the VOIP standard is open, so your possibilities are endless.

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