SurveyCTO Collect call management video overview

As of SurveyCTO Collect for Android version 2.70.6+, you’re now able to effectively manage phone calls inside Collect. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) is now dramatically improved, with persistent controls that allow you to interact with a call in progress on any screen.

Probably the best way to understand the value of the new call management features is trying it yourself, but we’ve made it even easier with the following video overview:

To help solidify your understanding of the above, we’ll emphasize the most important parts in writing.

New phone-call field plug-in and sample form

The new persistent phone call controls are enabled partly by a new field plug-in, phone-call (click to view). This new field plug-in will launch phone calls using phone numbers stored in SurveyCTO forms. It can also hide phone numbers from enumerators, instead displaying a specified label in its place.

Visit the field plug-in's repository to download the field plug-in file, and the sample form to test this new functionality for yourself.

Confirm in the form data whether the new built-in call management features had been used during an interview with the collect-is-phone-app() function.

Providing phone numbers

In contrast to what you'll see in the video, we recommend that you pre-load phone numbers into your forms, as opposed to having enumerators dial manually. The video only demonstrates dialing to help communicate this new feature visually. For example, the sample forms in our CATI starter kit guide provide a list of one or more phone numbers that is associated with the respondent. No manual dialing is required.

Activating and deactivating

As shown in the video, the new phone call management features can be enabled and disabled from the three-dot menu in the upper-right of Collect's main menu. Further, you can give Collect more or less total control over phone calls on a device from the new Set as default phone app setting under Admin Settings. If you are not doing any phone interviewing, you can disable this new feature, or on the other extreme you can request that Collect be in charge of making all phone calls on the device.

Phone controls

Once Collect has been configured to answer and make calls, you can control the call in any way you like from any screen in a form. Simply tap the persistent phone call control bar at the bottom to open the menu to initiate call conferencing, manage speaker options, mute, and hold. In fact, unless you need to access contacts saved on the device, you'll scarcely need anything else other than Collect's phone capabilities, as it can even run USSD codes (e.g. to help you check the SIM card's balance).

Whereas previously you would have needed to swap between Collect and the default Android phone app to redial or manage the call, all of that is now possible inside the form.


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