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Wanted by AstriCon 2009 Speaker: Asterisk as a Viable Alternative to Traditional PBXs

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October 12, 2009

Wanted by AstriCon 2009 Speaker: Asterisk as a Viable Alternative to Traditional PBXs

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor


VoIP industry insiders should hear and see more evidence this week at AstriCon 2009 that Asterisk – the open source telephony platform created and developed by Digium (News - Alert) – is becoming more accepted by the enterprise as a viable, high quality, alternative to the typical proprietary-based PBX systems, the head of a San Francisco-based software developer in business applications and IP telephony told TMCnet in an interview.

 
According to David McMorrow, CEO of Cloud Telecomputers, greater adoption of Asterisk (News - Alert) means more opportunity dollars to spend on intelligent phones and business applications.
 
“This is good for the customer and good for Cloud Telecomputers,” McMorrow told Linask.
 
McMorrow – who is speaking this week on “Making the Business Telset Relevant Again” during AstriCon 2009 – also said that Asterisk’s growth over the last decade has been fueled by the ability of new and innovative companies to pivot off the Asterisk platform to develop products and applications for small businesses at affordable rates.
 
Their full exchange follows.
 
Erik Linask (News - Alert): This year marks the 10th birthday of Asterisk. What has driven its growth over a decade?
 
David McMorrow: It is the ability for new and innovative companies to pivot off the Asterisk platform to develop products and applications for small businesses at affordable rates. The affordability and flexibility are key drivers for the adoption we are seeing with Asterisk.
 
EL: What is your company’s involvement with Asterisk?
 
DM: Our involvement is several-fold.
 
First, we have made our software platform interoperable with Asterisk so that communication devices (i.e. SIP/VoIP phones, tablets and netbooks) that run our software can work seamlessly with Asterisk IP-PBXs. Our product is a tightly integrated software platform that enables a smartphone-like experience for business media phones. The bottom line is that Asterisk partners will be able to buy/sell our desktop smartphones and digitally brand it themselves. In addition, manufacturers of phones that want to license our software will be able to do so and be immediately interoperable with Asterisk as well.
 
We have built our platform using Google’s (News - Alert) Android as a key building block for open development and endless creativity. Therefore our platform additionally allows Asterisk partners the opportunity to control the second screen on the work professional’s desk. This is a powerful and unprecedented branding opportunity for Asterisk partners trying to build a better brand presence with their customers. In collaboration with Asterisk, we aim to bring work flow applications and unified communication software together with IP Telephony and make it more visible and usable on touch screen phones.
 
EL: Who is your target customer and what are their biggest pain points?
 
DM: Our target customers are the Asterisk IP-PBX (News - Alert) partners who will adopt our complimentary phone solutions and bring them to small/medium enterprises coupled with their other Asterisk enabled services. Their pain points are the revenue opportunity size at the initial sale; plus how to build an on going brand/revenue relationship with these customers post implementation. We help solve both pain points.
 
EL: How does Asterisk help address your customers’ pain points?
 
DM: Asterisk helps address these pain points by allowing the partner community to layer on high value communication applications at very compelling prices. Cloud Telecomputers further compliments these efforts by deeply integrating the solutions right to the SIP phone itself and making the applications more visible and usable using touch screen technology.
 
EL: What are the key differentiators of your product over others on the market?
 
DM: The immediate differentiating factor is that our product operates an 8 inch, high resolution, touch screen that gives the end-client a smartphone-like experience on their desk phone. Our software ports contacts from Outlook, the mobile phone and company directories for a “touch to dial” experience. Our product also has features like Bluetooth so that end-users can answer their cell phone on their desk phone and execute SMS texting without ever taking their mobile device out of their pocket. Bluetooth also helps us create “auto-detect presence” with our offering.
 
Our product really differentiates at the application layer. Our software platform is like a giant umbrella that tightly integrates business communication applications and work flow software with the every day telephony experience. End users will be able to use the touch screen for productivity, media and collaboration tools; a vastly improved communication experience. This is an experience many are familiar with when using their mobile smartphones while away from their desk; our product simply makes that experience available to them when sitting at the desk, but with greater visibility, faster processing power and a high definition speaker phone.
 
EL: You are speaking at AstriCon 2009 – describe your session and tell our readers why they should attend it.
 
DM: If you want to see how tomorrows desk phone will look and feel you need to attend my session. Partnering with Cloud Telecomputers will fundamentally change how you view the relevance of the desk phone as a sales advantage. As you thrust your business forward with Asterisk and business communication applications, we will help you integrated these functionalities, logically, through touch screens using our highly intuitive UI.
 
We have never met a potential business client who did not immediately want our product.
 
EL: What else do you expect to see or hear at AstriCon that will be particularly interesting or innovative?
 
I want to hear and see more evidence that Asterisk is becoming more accepted by the enterprise as a viable, high quality, alternative to the typical proprietary-based PBX systems. Greater adoption of Asterisk means more opportunity dollars to spend on intelligent phones and business applications. This is good for the customer and good for Cloud Telecomputers.
 
EL: Where do you see the Asterisk market in five years?
 
DM: Asterisk, in aggregate, will continue to gobble up market share at the low end of the market and begin making aggressive inroads into the middle market and fortune 500 space. Asterisk has an exciting future and we are honored to be working together with this evolving community of partners.
 
Learn more about Cloud Telecomputers at AstriCon 2009, to be held Oct. 13 to 15 in Glendale, Ariz. The conference’s mission is to expand awareness and knowledge of Asterisk, the world’s leading open source PBX, telephony engine, and telephony applications toolkit, over the course of a three-day conference and exhibition. AstriCon includes a wealth of information for every Asterisk user, whether you are getting started or have already discovered the power of Asterisk. Register now.

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







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