Asterisk (News - Alert) – the open source telephony platform created and developed by Digium – will continue to see increasingly wide adoption among developers, even as hosted, virtualized PBXs hit the market and become common business models, an official with an Irving, Texas-based provider of voice and data solutions told TMCnet in an interview.
According to J.R. Richardson (News - Alert), chief technology officer at Ntegrated Solutions, the major benefit of Asterisk is that it’s open source.
“We can take the code base and customize it to whatever the customer needs,” Richardson told TMC Editorial Director Erik Linask (News - Alert) in an interview, printed in full below. “We are not locked into hardware or application constraints dictated by some equipment manufacturer. Using Asterisk we have the tools to build voice solutions that add value and fit the customers business. Without Asterisk, we would have to fit the customers business to the telephone system.”
Richardson, who is speaking on “Virtualizing Asterisk with OpenVZ “ next week during AstriCon 2009 – to be held Oct. 13 to 15 in Glendale, Ariz. – Asterisk helps relieve companies’ pain points because it allows Ntegrated to centralize a client’s PBX (News - Alert) within its main office or Ntegrated’s data center, “so all location phones operate in one phone system environment.”
“Also, we can install an Asterisk PBX at each location and, using native trunking, tie all the office together to simulate one phone system environment,” Richardson told Linask.
Their full exchange follows.
Erik Linask: This year marks the 10th birthday of Asterisk. What has driven its growth over a decade?
J.R. Richardson (pictured left): The software works out of the box for 95 percent of the PBX user market. The support in the user community is second to none.
EL: What is your company’s involvement with Asterisk?
J.R.: We are a Voice and Data services provider for business customers. We provide on-site VoIP PBXs and hosted PBXs built with Asterisk. Also our core voice switching network is based on Asterisk and OpenSER. We are Asterisk community participants and contributors.
EL: Who is your target customer and what are their biggest pain points?
J.R.: Our target customers are medium size multi-location enterprises up to 500 users. The biggest pain is the non-continuity of data and telecom services between multiple offices. We converge WAN/LAN across the enterprise for seamless business operations between locations.
EL: How does Asterisk help address your customers’ pain points?
J.R.: In some instances, we centralize the company’s PBX within their main office or our data center so all location phones operate in one phone system environment. Also, we can install an Asterisk PBX at each location and, using native trunking, tie all the office together to simulate one phone system environment.
EL: What are the key differentiators of your product over others on the market?
J.R.: The biggest benefit with Asterisk is that it’s open source. We can take the code base and customize it to whatever the customer needs. We are not locked into hardware or application constraints dictated by some equipment manufacturer. Using Asterisk we have the tools to build voice solutions that add value and fit the customers business. Without Asterisk, we would have to fit the customers business to the telephone system.
EL: You are speaking at AstriCon 2009 – describe your session and tell our readers why they should attend it.
J.R.: I am speaking on virtualization of Asterisk with OpenVZ. Attendants will get an overview of several virtualization technologies and examples of why they would want to virtualize Asterisk. Also we will show benefits of using OpenVZ as the base operating system. We will also go into details of building and OpenVZ base system and installing Asterisk as the PBX system for hosting voice services.
EL: What else do you expect to see or hear at AstriCon that will be particularly interesting or innovative?
J.R.: It is always fascinating to see what others are doing by way of customizing Asterisk for niche marked business and also mainstream PBX deployments. The improvements in hardware and cost reductions help to drive Asterisk acceptance as well, so I enjoy learning about the embedded systems that folks are developing as well.
EL: Where do you see the Asterisk market in five years?
J.R.: I envision continued growth as we have seen in the past few years, but also I believe hosted, virtualized PBXs will hit the market and become common among many business models.
Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan