Text my gate operator to open? I think so (Thanks Twilio!)

May 20th, 2011 § 2

As some of you know I have a project going on but with it hanging in the balance because of a “sort of” competitor’s site failing I have taken to doing some things for fun, doing a lot more toying around with API’s and general tinkering with code.

One of those things happens to solve a problem for my Dad’s company.

The back story goes like this … My Dad is old school, he’s what most people would call a Man’s Man he buys Rugged Phones and only has internet at his house because I “borrowed” his neighbors with the help of aircrack-ng and repeated it in his house. he does not believe in having a data plan on his phone at all but has recently taken to text messaging. However we own a company together which sells access control products of all types and he often finds himself helping customers troubleshoot operators all over the southwest region if they can’t figure it out. He is kind of the “go to guy” in the area.

In my curiosity I wondered if I could somehow build an app with the Twilio API that lets him send commands to gate operators when he was out on a job site. That curiosity led to my first proof of concept and an idea for a budding potential business.

Basically it works like this, Dad will send a text to a designated number and based on the content of the message (obviously using arrays here) it can respond by initiating a POST action on the REST API and calling the operator to perform said action.

The Really unique part about this vs others you have probably recently read about? It does not use the Arduino open source protyping platform, but simple DTMF tones meaning no hardware installation on the users part and less upfront costs!

So far I only have this working with Doorking systems and it still needs alot of tweaking before an initial beta release, but I would love to hear some feedback from some of you who may or may not find it useful. As someone who has lived in several gated communities I know I would love it, it elminates the need for me to have to buy a remote (which are often overpriced by the communities in order to turn a handsome profit) and also lets me in without having to roll down my window in the rain if I am using a code because I do not have the remote with me.

What I plan on having in place eventually is a way to add systems to the arrays via text message (you have to know the master code to program these systems which is what keeps this secure) and to program any feature you could program in with the downloadable doorking software without access to a computer or having to access the server Doorking has setup to dial into the phone systems.

I’d love to hear what you think about this project and whether or not you think its useful … feel free to use the Contact form on this site or just drop a comment below.

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