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Foehn Launches 'Skype for Asterisk' for Symbian Foundation


September 09, 2009

Foehn Launches 'Skype for Asterisk' for Symbian Foundation

By Amy Tierney
TMCnet Web Editor


Building on its desire to offer greater flexibility and options to end-users, U.K.-based systems integrator Foehn Ltd. has deployed the Skype for Asterisk (News - Alert)  technology at the London offices of Symbian Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization that  develops and licenses the Open Source Symbian (News - Alert) operating system.

The Skype for Asterisk software module lets users make Skype (News - Alert) calls to fixed-lines. Digium, the creator and owner of Asterisk, announced the availability of the technology last week.  The solution lets customers receive Skype calls into their PBX and manage them using Asterisk features including call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail.
Skype, an Internet calling service, has 481 million global registered users of which about 17 million are active at any point in time.
“Skype is widely used at Symbian – for some employees, it’s their main form of communication,” Ian McDonald, head of IT for the Symbian Foundation, who is responsible for the company’s communications system, said in a statement. “As a non-profit organization, Symbian needed a solution that would allow flexible, easy communication whilst being able to control our costs.”
The solution, which took six weeks to design and implement, gives inbound callers the option to contact Symbian through Skype at no cost, in addition to mobile, fixed line and e-mail, company officials said. Foehn’s Asterisk-based PBX system then routes the call to the recipient depending on their individual preferences, whether it’s a Skype account, mobile or desk phone.
“We can now be much more cost effective by using Skype,” McDonald said. “A Symbian employee based in Japan can call via Skype to speak to our legal counsel in London on her desk phone. It doesn’t matter how long they are talking for – since the call is delivered over Skype, it’s essentially free.”
In a recent interview with TMCnet, James Passingham, technical director at Foehn, said the solution brings new potential in the communications technology space.
“It opens up flexibility to the end user and to the external customer,” Passingham told TMCnet. It’s enhancing the communications experience. It’s not longer about you just picking up the phone and dialing a number. This gives us options.”
Foehn, Digium’s (News - Alert) U.K. solutions partner, has been designing and implementing Asterisk-based solutions for more than five years.
The launch of Asterisk for Skype comes nearly a year after Digium and Skype, an eBay (News - Alert)-owned VoIP service, announced it would collaborate on such an effort.  Skype for Asterisk acts as an add-on channel driver module.
Digium is the creator of Asterisk, the open source voice communications software, which is used by more than 3.5 million servers worldwide. The company’s product lines include a range of software and hardware that enable businesses to implement turnkey unified communications solutions or to design their own VoIP systems.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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