Headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, Presence Technology is a global software company, which offers a highly valuable technology proposal to the contact center market. The company will make its presence felt at the upcoming Astricon in Glendale, AZ, September 23–25. Presence Technology Executive Vice President Jason Goecke will participate in the conference program, presenting a session entitled Empowering he Elastic Contact Center. I asked Goecke several questions in advance of the event.
GG: Are you planning any new announcements at the event?
JG: We will announce a new Asterisk (News - Alert) Architecture implemented within our new version of Presence OpenGate named N + 1. This architecture allows several Asterisk Nodes to be controlled and managed by a Master Server such as a single PBX (News - Alert). This new architecture drastically improves Asterisk’s capacity growth, redundancy and reliability allowing us to fulfill the high capacity and up-time needs demanded by Enterprise Contact Centers.
GG: Where does your company fit in the current world of Open Source communications?
JG: Presence Technology offers a full range of solutions which manage the interaction between the Customers and the Contact Centers. Our Suite improves the Contact Center performance and simplifies management and quality control. It also provides a set of GUI tools which allow management of the Contact Center and the infrastructure without the need of complex integrations or, most importantly, deep technical knowledge. So now Management Supervisors are able to adapt the product configuration. This is very useful in those environments where flexibility and time to market are crucial – such as outsourcing companies serving several master customers.
Our Presence OpenGate Product Suite integrates with Avaya (News - Alert), Nortel and Asterisk PBXs, providing the same features for all the supported platforms.
The integration with Asterisk not only offers advantages on the overall cost reduction of the solution, it also allows us to more tightly integrate our product with the PBX software thus simplifying the administration and configuration of the solution end-to-end.
GG: What are the most important criteria organizations need consider when migrating to open source?
JG: Organizations need to follow a similar approach applied when they implement a Commercial Product:
- Clearly understand the problem they are (primarily) solving
- Identify which software or solutions might meet their needs
- Consider the software requirements: infrastructure and knowledge / skills needed
- Quantify TCO: implementation, licenses, infrastructure, training, personnel, professional services (understand resource requirements), etc.
- Get global references
- Support available? if so quality, if not, alternatives and cost
- Proceed with pilot or pilots for final evaluation
The evaluation metrics must be established and properly ‘weighted’ based on the specific needs of the organization. Implementing an analytic approach through Scored Metrics and evaluating the different alternatives helps to identify which software or solution best suite the organization needs and which are the benefits.
GG: How would you define the value of Asterisk-based solutions to those organizations that have yet to adopt it?
JG: One of the main values Asterisk-based solutions have is their reduced cost compared to any other commercial product available from a known brand, not only on software licenses or hardware, also on support and professional services.
Open Source Telephony is becoming a real competitor to commercial products. Many companies who manufacture hardware-based PBX solutions are changing their model and increasingly becoming software companies, due to the following reasons:
- Servers are becoming more and more powerful so they can handle more transactions
- Telecom operators will provide SIP Trunks as part of their standard offering simplifying the architecture or the need of specific hardware elements to perform the TDM to VoIP conversion, so in the future the PBX will only require the TCP/IP protocol to handle data, voice and video
- Organizations are already migrating their Digital PBX to VoIP which is becoming a standard due to the benefits of merging the networks.
That means the software PBX will be the future and Asterisk is already there.
The major concern some organizations have is that Open Source Software does not provide the guarantees of a commercial product, forcing them to have in-house gurus to manage these solutions. Open Source was created to allow developers the opportunity to apply their specific expertise to applications and optimize their performance. So, the OpenGate solution, for instance, is not just an Open Source solution. It is exactly what our announcement suggests, N + 1...it is the Open Source tools combined with the intelligent ACD engine our developers created based on first hand experience in a real call center environment. So, the ‘N’ allows the increasingly powerful ‘+1’ to make customers realize that they can affordably have efficiency, productivity, quality and flexibility in their businesses.
GG: What do you think the biggest new trends in open source telephony will be in the next 12 months?
JG: First, an understanding of the purpose and power of Open Source and the surrounding development that creates ‘user-defined’, ‘user-driven’ applications and specifically to the ‘source’…
We consider the new trends will be:
- More intuitive administration / configuration tools (easy to use)
- Performance Improvement (more calls and extensions handle per server)
- High Availability support
- Simplified reporting tools
Greg Galitzine (News - Alert) is editorial director of TMCnet. To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
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