Anveo PBX

I finished moving my landline phone number from Verizon to Anveo this morning. Since I want to keep my landline number I hope this will make my life more pleasant by blocking all telemarketers.

My goal was simple. Send all incoming phone calls from phone numbers not in my address book to voicemail. Verizon Fios doesn’t offer this option. After looking around I went with Anveo, which is geeky and not pretty. I looked at another service that seemed simpler but I found many complaints about customer support.

I started by buying an Obi200 which allows you to connect a landline phone to the Internet. I set up my ObiTalk account (free) and from there signed up for Anveo for $7/month. Did the setup and then started the process of porting my Verizon number, which took around a week.

I then imported my contacts into Anveo as a CSV file (must be comma separated). My first import went poorly, I didn’t realize that I needed to have a 1 before every phone number so it would recognize the number as a US number. Anveo ended up taking the first 1 or 2 digits of each phone number and turning them into country codes.

The other mistake I made was to not add a column before import to identify the Type of entry. I set everyone to be type FRIEND. This is important for when I set up the call flow (more on that below).

Unfortunately I do not see any way to apply batch changes or deletions in the Anveo phone book. So I am slowly deleting the original 400+ contacts I imported originally. Click on delete then click to confirm deletion. In this day and age I expect more. Oh well, I am using the phone book only to white list phone numbers.

Now for the fun part. Anveo has a call flow feature. By default it starts with the option to block spam calls, but this depends on having a spam number list. Almost all of my spam are from random numbers, so this isn’t helpful to me. The next step is to look at the call and if it is a fax to accept it, put the fax in the fax inbox and email the fax to me. I tested incoming faxes this morning and it worked great. No phones rang in my house and the fax arrived.

If it isn’t a fax I added an object on the call flow to do a Contact Check. If the phone number is associated with a contact who is tagged as friend, family, or business the call is sent to my phone. If the caller is Other, which applies to everyone not in my Phone Book, I send the caller to voicemail. Which means that my landline phone never rings.

Since I’ve been spending a lot more time at home due to the pandemic I notice that I get around 5 unwanted phone calls a day. Even with nomorobo this is a pain because nomorobo requires that my phone ring once and it doesn’t catch all of the spam calls.

I can do much more sophisticated stuff but I’m not inclined to put in more effort. I could have different voicemail boxes for business and family and friends for example. I could allow some calls to be forwarded to my cell phone (I will eventually do that). But hopefully I’ve accomplished my goal of eliminating spam calls.

Unfortunately the Anveo service looks like it is from 2010. It doesn’t look slick and is aimed at geeky clientele. Much easier to use than the circa 1990 PBX I used to run at my office until last year. My office 8x8 phone system is easier to manage and in many ways more powerful and approaches administration differently. But the Anveo seems suitable for a family or a small office where the person administrating it is technically inclined.