Digium, a creator and primary developer of the popular open source telephony platform, Asterisk (News - Alert), announced the availability of Skype for Asterisk open beta.
The Skype (News - Alert) for Asterisk technology adds Skype functionality to Digium’s (News - Alert) Asterisk software, which lets customers make, receive and transfer Skype calls from within their Asterisk phone systems. The software, which is available for free through Aug. 7, lets users access the Skype (News - Alert) network, which offers low cost PSTN access and free calling to more than 440 million Skype users.
In addition, customers can handle incoming Skype calls using Asterisk applications, such as voicemail, ACD and MeetMe conferencing. The software also offers simultaneous access from Asterisk and the Skype desktop client. Users can also trunk calls between Asterisk servers over Skype.
The software is time-limited, John Todd (News - Alert), Asterisk open source community director at Digium, wrote in a posting to the Asterisk Users Mail List. When the free trial period concludes, customers need a license to continue using the software, which will expire after Aug. 31, Todd said. Pricing was unavailable for the license.
The rollout comes nearly nine months after Digium (News - Alert) and Skype, an online videoconferencing service provider, initially announced the service. Skype for Asterisk acts as an add-on channel driver module.
The offer of low rates to call landline and mobile phones around the world is an attractive option for small- and mid-sized business users. Skype officials had said that working with Digium would let the company offer small- and mid-sized organizations a powerful communications solution to conduct business.
And so far, Digium is receiving positive feedback.
The response has been excellent thus far,” Todd told TMCnet in an interview today. “ We're seeing an enormous amount of interest in the module, both from pre-existing Asterisk community members, as well as a whole crop of new participants in the Asterisk world who have been attracted by the clean integration of Skype with a next-generation open-source phone system.”
The highest amount of interest is coming from users in areas where Skype is already very popular, such as Europe, South America and Asia, Todd said.
“Business users in nations from where international calling is expensive can see the immediate benefit of having Skype grafted onto their phone system,” Todd said. “They're using it for reducing the costs of standard telephone calls by using Skype's network, but they're also very interested in allowing inbound Skype calls to their pre-existing Asterisk or legacy call queues, for free inbound customer support.”
TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani said in a blog last fall that the joint venture would help Digium “leapfrog larger telecom players and gives the company major momentum, making it a magnet for more leading-edge deals.” He said that the collaboration would offer more flexibility and lower cost calling for consumers and businesses worldwide in the communications community.
Follow ITEXPO on Twitter:
And now that the software is out, industry experts are likely keeping a close watch on telecom markets, as the price of phone calls is expected to drop dramatically when placed from Skype devices using Asterisk open source PBX (News - Alert) software, Tehrani said.
“Toll-free network vendors should be concerned,” Todd said. “Tthis is the solution for true zero-cost calling.”
Learn more about Digium at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO West will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit Digium at booth #206 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now.
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 Michael Dinan