LAMBA has always had their voicemail system on Google Voice. I had it under my GMail account since that made it easier for me to log in and check the messages/change the greeting. Google has now implemented multiple logins in the same browser and refined the move procedure to make it easier to move already existing numbers to other Google accounts. Now I can use my Google Voice account for my own purposes instead of LAMBA. It also moves some of the functioning back to the generic LAMBA Google account in case I get hit by a bus.
The top reasons for using Google Voice are:
Price - Free
Service - downtime is minimal and there is nothing hosted at my house. When I go on vacation I didn't want to have something die and be down until I got back.
Greeting - there is no automated way to change the greetings. When the trail conditions at Beverly Park change, I manually go in and change the greeting. I forget that step a lot.
Therefore we are going to try a hybrid system. Asterisk has a interface to Google Voice now and a member is willing to hook it up and make it go. I think he is currently using a VMWare/Linux combination but I'm hoping to scrounge up some dough to get a Raspberry PI for him to play with.
Automated greeting changes.
Customizable prompts - Beverly, Thomas, Squaw, Pinicon
On failure of Asterisk or internet connection we can just manually change stuff on Google Voice.
Hardware in the home of a member who is eating the cost of the electricity and donating their time if it breaks down.
So if you see some flakiness in the LAMBA Voicemail over the course of the next couple months it means we are working on integrating and testing the hybrid system.
Before you suggest that we merge the ICORR and LAMBA systems, I already tried that approach a few years ago. The ICORR volunteers were very busy and didn't have time to set the system up. They have also had some pretty extensive outages in the last few years and when those things hit a busy volunteer the organization usually doesn't get highest priority. I do admire their system though and we are going to try to implement some of the same features in our hybrid setup. Ideally, we can come up with a $100 device that will require some minimal setup and make it easy for any organization to use. Here is my inspiration. http://nerdvittles.com/?p=3026
I am more than happy to discuss the Google Voice system setup to those groups that want to try it out. I'm less knowledgeable about the new hybrid setup but I'm sure the maintainer would be willing to help you get set up.