Hi-Tech Answering Machine

Does anyone have any experience creating or installing a "hi-tech" answering machine for the home? I'd like to use my Elk M1G, if possible, to integrate with an answering machine.

Some features I'd like to have:

1. The Elk can announce if new messages are ready for playbeack when the system is disarmed.

2. Pressing an F-key could play the messages either through the Elk Output 1 (or through an external distributed audio system).

Hi George,

What do you use for an answering machine now? Maybe you can integrate your current answering machine.

George I use HomeSeer phone and it has this capability when used with the Elk plugin. My whole house audio announces my email count as well as messages waiting 30 seconds after the house is occupied. I normally do not need to listen to the voice mail messages because HomeSeer mails me a copy of any voice mail that I get during the day. You can also change the default greeting depending the callerID. So if Mom calls it's days- Sorry Mom but we are not here just leave a message and I'll call you later.
I truly love the customized greetings! I don't know how many times someone has asked me "how does your answering machine know that it was ME calling?"
Have you considered setting up and Asterisk box using something like Trixbox (www.trixbox.org)?

I have this integrated with Misterhouse, so we get automated callerid announcements. Just last weekend I implemented a "do-not-disturb" button that mutes all speakers and sends callers straight to voicemail. Integrated this functionality into my "watch-a-dvd" functionality so that one button automatically turns the tv, a/v receiver and dvd player on, sets correct inputs on TV and receiver, adjusts home theater lights and activates do-not-disturb for 90 minutes. Our "eat dinner" button now activates DnD mode for 30 minutes as well, so no phone calls during meals!

Might be overkill for what you want but thought I'd throw it out there as an option...

HAL Deluxe/2000/Pro software has voicemail software with caller id announcement, caller-specific outgoing messages and automatic routing. You can set HAL up to play messages automatically when you return (or not, if you get home late), to email you a notification that a message is waiting, to screen calls with caller id blocked, and to forward incoming messages via email. You can also call in to retrieve messages, or log onto a web interface and play them from there. If you route your home phones through the HAL modem, you can also use any house phone as a home automation remote.

Best of all, these are easy-to-use features built into the software, with no additional plug-ins or advanced setup programming required.