Text-to-speech hardware with a phone output?

I am in the process of building a new house. I am going to be doing HEAVY automation. One of the things I would really like to have is voice announcements. My automation controller will be an HAI OmniPro II (I've been an HAI user for years and have a bunch of custom written software to drive it). I am also using HouseBot software as the "glue" to integrate my audio/video, HVAC and security with touchscreen panels (I have been using this in my current house for almost two years).

Based on some posts here on the forum I was originally thinking about running some separate speaker wires to various locations and driving them from a soundcard on the HouseBot server PC. But then I got another idea from a post here on the forums. I will also be installing a Panasonic KX-TD816 phone system and it has the ability to do system-wide paging. If there was some kind of text-to-speech hardware that could output to a phone line that might be a really good solution. Does anyone know of hardware that can do something like this? Also I'm open to any other ideas :D

-- Dave
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I currently use a Stargate for my "Phone Page" announcements. The Stargate can either use it's internal voice for phone output OR can connect a line in jack to the phone out. I use a PC soundcard to feed the Stargate line in with TTS messages using differen AT&T voices.

Supposedly Homeseer can do something similiar with the Way2Call modem but I have never found anybody specifically using that setup to page through a Panasonic phone system so I can't confirm it would work (or how hard it would be to set up).

Since I have Phones in a lot more places than I have music zones, the phone announcements have been perfect for things like doorbel and mail alerts. I still use speaker based announcements for very verbose messages that don't need to be anounced everywhere at once like my hourly status reports and reminders.
 
Thanks for the reply! The Stargate system looks very impressive (albeit a bit expensive). It's too bad there isn't some hardware that just does the phone functions (voice announcements, voicemail, etc) since I already have good hardware for the other functions. If I don't find anything else though I may end up buying one of these just for the voice announce features. It looks like it would integrate very nicely with my Panasonic KX-TD816. Thanks for the pointer :D

-- Dave
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
One important thing to note: Newer versions of the Stargate (Stargate-IP) no longer include the phone functions. You will have to find a used Stargate SG-1 to do what you want.

This is why I have been looking for altenative options such as the Homeseer Way2Call but so far I have not had much luck. I'm not sure why nobody sees the value of voice output via phone interface but apparently most people who do it use a Stargate.

Your best option might be to look into xPL. It looks like xPL Phone might do what you (we) want. It basically uses a standard Voice Modem to dial out and play TTS messages or .wav files. I'm pretty sure this is going to be my alternative solution in case my Stargate hardware ever fails and can't be fixed or replaced. Damage is probably the most experienced with this solution so maybe he can relay some actual experience. It is on a long list of things I plan to test but haven't gotten to yet.
 
It's too bad that they removed the phone functions from the current product (I wonder why?). I suspect I might be able to make xPL work but I'm going to have plenty of things to be working on and I'd rather have a known solution at least for now. Plus I really like the way that the SG-1 was specifically designed to work well with a PBX. I think I'll see if I can find a used SG-1 (fingers crossed). Thanks much for the help!

-- Dave
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I'm still not clear why there is an xPL app to do this using a standard voice modem and yet it is not possible to do the same thing from Homeseer or CQC or PowerHome or HAL or MainLobby or Adaptive Home Logic or HouseBot or...
 

TCIII

Member
dlmorgan999,

Jeff at JDS has stated that there just was not a big enough demand to continue the phone/voice interface since most new buyers wanted a LAN interface.

I have successfully interfaced a text to speech module to the Stargate IP COM2 port and use the ASCII command to allow the Stargate to make verbal announcements.

I suppose that you could build a simple interface to connect the text to speech module to the phone line.

Regards,
TCIII
 
TCIII,

Thanks for the info. I was fortunate enough to find a used SG-1 and I'm in the process of buying it right now. I also talked to JDS and I heard the same thing. I can understand how the demand for phone functions has gone down but I'm sure glad I was able to find one. After reading the manual and looking at some of the schedules people have written using phone functions I am *very* impressed. I'm very anxious to get the board and get it integrated into my system.

-- Dave
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Still curious if anybody is using the Way2Call modem with Homeseer? Is that a viable alternative or not really?
 
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