Using Live Record

Perhaps as exciting as tile and grout cleaning are conference calls which drone on and on for hours.  (If you’ve been on one with me recently, I assure you I’m not talking about that call.)  It’s easy to see how details can be overlooked and simply forgotten while you’re updating Facebook, er, uh, “temporarily distracted.”  Or, perhaps your conferences are fun, exciting, and full of useful quotes you’d like to hear again at the office holiday part.

Either way, you may have a practical need to record calls. There are certainly many ways of doing these from very expensive solutions from Cisco partners which use voice recognition to scan recordings for interesting phrases, to much simpler Live Record feature which is the topic for today.

WARNING:  USE OF THIS FEATURE MAY BE UNLAWFUL. You should check applicable state (and in the case of interstate calls) federal laws on the subject before using this feature. In the spirit of full disclosure, you can get all details of how to setup this feature from Cisco.

I’m going to summarize the solution and outline the steps here.

  1. Do you have enough disk space to handle this feature? This solution uses your Cisco Unity Connection or Cisco Unity voice messaging system to take the recordings.  Using the default setting, which is to store recordings in G.711 format, you’ll need 64kbps / 8 bits-Byte = 8kBps * 60 seconds = 480kB per minute.  To make things easy, I’d just round it up to a half MegaByte per minute.  It’s quite possible you’ll need to adjust the quotas on your user’s mailboxes.
  2. The next consideration is conferencing resources. The feature works by conferencing the calling party, called party, and unified messaging system together so the recording can take place. This could be done with either software (the Voice Media Streaming Application) or hardware (DSPs).  If you have a multi-site network, keep in mind that different codecs may be in use and their transcoding or a hardware mixed-mode conference resource may be required.

    Since these recording sessions are conference calls, the Cisco Unified Communications will, by default, keep the conference up as long as at least two parties remain. This will tie up the conference bridge and make the recordings longer.  To avoid this, you can go to System => Service Parameters => Cisco CallManager and set “Drop Ad Hoc Conference” to drop the conference when the initiator hangs up or when no OnNet parties remain.

  3. Examine your dial plan and set aside a Live Record Pilot number.  At its core, this is a Directory Number which is permanently call forwarded to the Unified Messaging system’s pilot number. (We used this same technique in a previous blog posting on Sending Callers Straight to Voicemail.)

With those steps done, the remainder of the work takes place inside of the messaging system.  For my environment I use Unity Connection, so I’m going to summarize the process for that platform. Again, for all the details (or if you’re using Unity) see the URL above.

  1. The first step is to configure the system to take calls which come from the pilot and direct them to the Live Record feature.  This is done by editing the call routing rules on the system.
  2. The second step is to configure the “remember this is recording” beep under System Settings => Advanced => Telephony. AGAIN CHECK WITH YOUR LEGAL ADVISORS and consider configuring the beep to play at fifteen second intervals or less.  You can also use a value of ‘0’ to disable the beeps entirely.

Now if everything works, you should be able to test it out and get a recording of your call placed in your voice messaging box.  For extra credit, you can use an RSS reader on Unity Connection to access your recordings that way.

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