Bring Your Own Number
Akouto Bring Your Own Number is a collection of SMS and Voice enabled applications for use with your Twilio account. The free applications are available at no charge from Akouto, regular usage charges are applied by Twilio to your Twilio account for their services.
There are currently three free Akouto applications you can use with your Twilio account:
- SMS Callback. This application allows you to initiate phone calls from your mobile phone using an SMS message. The primary use for this application is to enable low cost long distance calls from any mobile phone. By texting the number you want to be connected to, this application will call you back, and then connect you to the number you want to reach allowing you to make long distance calls to anywhere in the world for as little as 4 cents a minute. The cost for calls connected using this application is equal to the cost Twilio charges for the call to your mobile phone, plus the cost they charge to call the number you texted. For specific call rates see theTwilio pricing page.
- Dial-Out. This application allows you to create a calling-card like service with a quick-dial menu. When you call your Twilio number, you will be prompted to select from a list of contacts you wish to call, or you can just dial the full phone number you want to be connected to and the application will do the rest. The charge for a call initiated through this application is the cost of the incoming call to your Twilio number plus the cost of the outgoing call to the number you wish to call. This means you can make long distance calls for as little as 3 cents a minute.
- Conditional Call Forwarding. This application allows you to forward your Twilio number to any phone and prevent unwanted calls by creating a blacklist of numbers you want to block.
The rest of this guide describes how to set up each of these applications. It assumes you already have a Twilio account and are familiar with their services. If you do not, you can find out more and sign up for an account at http://www.twilio.com
The first step is to sign up for an account with Akouto. Creating a new account is free and easy, just click the “Sign Up” button from the welcome page, or visit http://byon.akouto.com/signup.php
Using the form provided, enter an email address and password you would like to use in order to log into your Akouto account.
Make sure you read and accept the Terms Of Service (available at http://byon.akouto.com/terms.php) before you create your new account. Once you have created your new account, you will receive an email with more information on how to set up and activate your account.
Logging in for the first time
Once you have created your free Akouto account, just visit http://byon.akouto.com and log in using the email address and password you provided. You will be guided to complete two more steps, just click on the “Go” button next to each one
or follow the steps below.
Configure your Twilio profile
From the menu, click on “Twilio profile” to link your Akouto account to your Twilio account.
Copy the Account SID and Auth Token from your Twilio account to the corresponding fields in the form provided under your Akouto “Twilio profile” page and press the “Update” button.
Once you have supplied your Twilio account credentials, the page will refresh and show your Twilio phone numbers to confirm that your account was linked successfully.
Configure your Akouto applications
From the menu on the left, click on “Applications” to navigate to the application control panel. Click on the icon for the application you wish to configure and follow the steps below to set it up.
Conditional Call Forward
This application lets you forward your Twilio phone numbers to any cell phone or landline in any country for which your Twilio account is authorized. You can use this application to forward a toll free number to your home or cell phone, establish a virtual presence in different countries by providing your friends or customers with a local number they can call you on, or get a temporary number from Twilio to use for a classified ad and forward it to your real phone. Whatever your need, with this application you can have call forwarding enabled in minutes.
Click on the “Call Forward” icon to navigate to the Call Forward setup page.
On that page you will find two forms you can use to configure your forwarding rules.
Using the top form (Forwarding Rules) you can define a rule for each of your Twilio phone numbers. In the “Twilio Number” field, enter the Twilio phone number you wish to forward, and in the “Forward To” field, enter the number you want to be called at when someone dials your Twilio number. Press “Add” to enable this rule.
Using the bottom form (Call Blocking Rules) you can define rules to block certain callers. In the “Twilio Number” field, enter the Twilio phone number this rule applies to. In the “Blocked Number” field, enter the phone number you wish to block. Press “Add” to enable this rule. When someone dials your Twilio number from a phone number you have blocked, the caller will get an “out of service” message.
Now, you need to point your Twilio phone number to your Akouto Call Forwarding application. To do that, copy your personal “Twilio Voice Request URL” at the top of the page and in your Twilio account, paste the URL in the “Voice Request URL” field as shown below:
Your Twilio number is now set up and will forward or block calls according to the rules you have defined for that number in your Akouto account.
This application can be used to trigger a phone call via SMS message. One application of this is low cost long distance calling from mobile devices without a data plan. Say you live in the USA and travel to Italy, but want to be able to call home without breaking the bank. With this application, you could purchase a local SIM when you arrive in Italy and enable that number to use your SMS Callback application. To call someone back home, simply text their number to your Twilio number. The SMS Callback application will first call you and then connect you to the number you texted.
Setting up SMS Callback is simple. From the Application page, click on the SMS Callback icon to navigate to the setup page.
Using the “Callback Rules” form, enter the phone number of any mobile phone you want this application to accept SMS messages from. If an SMS arrives from a phone number you have not configured in this way, no action will be taken.
Using the form, enter your Twilio number in the “Twilio Number” field, and the mobile phone you want to accept SMS messages from in the “Accept From” field. Press “Add” to create the rule. You can add up to 100 phone numbers that can trigger calls via SMS using this form.
Next, you need to tell Twilio to use this application. Copy your personal “Twilio SMS Request URL” from the top of this page. In your Twilio account, paste the URL in the SMS Request URL field for your Twilio phone number as shown below.
This application allows you to create a calling-card like application with additional support for specific speed-dial numbers or extensions. Let’s say you frequently make long distance calls to your friend John, your friend Angela and your mom. Using this application you can set up your Twilio number so that when you call it, you are prompted to dial 1 for John, 2 for Angela or 3 for your Mom. For other numbers, just dial the full number you want to call.
To set this up, click on the “Applications” in the menu, and then click on the “Dial-Out” icon to navigate to the setup page.
Using the top form (Dial-Out Extensions) you define the rules for the speed-dial entries. In the “Twilio Number” field, enter the Twilio phone number the rule applies to. In the “Extension” field, enter the speed dial number (e.g. you would enter the number 1 for John). In the “Prompt” field, enter the prompt you wish to hear for that extension (e.g. John). In the “Forward To” field, enter the phone number you want to call when you select that extension, in this example you would enter John’s phone number. Press “Add” to add the new rule, and repeat the steps to create rules for the rest of the numbers you want to add.
Now, you don’t want just anyone to be able to dial your Twilio number and use it to dial out, so you need to set up a whiltelist, which is a list of phone numbers that are allowed to use this application. You do this using the bottom form (Dial-Out Caller Whitelist). In the “Twilio Number” field, enter your Twilio phone number that will use this application, and in the “Permitted Caller” field, enter a phone number that is allowed to call your Twilio number and access the Dial-Out application. Press “Add” to create a new rule. You can add up to 100 rules.
Finally, you need to tell Twilio to use this application for your Twilio phone number. Copy your personal “Twilio Voice Request URL” from the top of the page. Using your Twilio account, paste the URL in the Voice Request URL as shown below.