High-level executives cannot ignore the open source telephony platform Asterisk, created and developed by Digium (News - Alert), though just a few years ago large players scoffed at the technology, the head of a Europe-based company that specializes in building high availability and scalable Asterisk (News - Alert) systems worldwide told TMCnet in an interview.
According to Dr. Daniel Krahenbuhl, CEO of Intuittech Sdn Bhd, Asterisk was little more than a “nice fresh idea” to companies such as Cisco (News - Alert) and Avaya.
“Like with every emerging new solution, Asterisk had to go through the laughing phase,” Krahenbuhl told TMC Editorial Director Erik Linask (News - Alert) in an interview, printed in full below. “Today its companies like us laughing because we are winning more and more prestigious projects.”
“Today it’s companies like us laughing because we are winning more and more prestigious projects,” he said.
Krahenbuhl – who is speaking on the “Large Enterprise Asterisk Cluster” during AstriCon 2009, to be held Oct. 13 to 15 in Glendale Ariz. – added that Asterisk allows his company to deploy technology platforms quickly and affordably.
“Our clients are using our solutions to try out new business models in the market,” he said. “These can be applications like emergency services (call centers), services for specially designed for kids, electronic fencing, local based services and many more. After a successful launch of a new business model, our clients either invest into a larger Asterisk platform or buy traditional carrier grade equipment to growth the new service into a substantial business.”
Their full exchange follows.
Erik Linask: This year marks the 10th birthday of Asterisk. What has driven its growth over a decade?
Dr. Daniel Krahenbuhl (pictured right): Its reliability features and affordability. We are at a stage where C-level people cannot afford to ignore Asterisk anymore. A couple of years back Asterisk was not more than a “nice fresh idea” and companies like Cisco and Avaya were laughing at us. Like with every emerging new solution, Asterisk had to go through the “laughing phase.” Today it’s companies like us laughing because we are winning more and more prestigious projects.
EL: What is your company’s involvement with Asterisk?
DK: We at Intuittech specialize in building high availability and scalable Asterisk systems around the globe. Our major clients are governments, armed forces and telecommunication companies. Some of our telecommunication clients are using Asterisk for their call centers with over 700 agents and some handling up to 10’000 concurrent calls for soldiers in Iraq. Intuittech will continue to establish itself as number one organization for large Asterisk system.
EL: Who is your target customer and what are their biggest pain points?
DK: A big chunk of our customers are carriers such as Vodafone, Maxis, Telekom Malaysia (News - Alert). Typically these companies have to come up with new ideas and services very frequently to stay competitive. To offer a new service to the end-client normally involves a huge investment in technology and resources.
With Asterisk, we can deploy technology platforms quickly and affordably. Our clients are using our solutions to try out new business models in the market. These can be applications like emergency services (call centers), services for specially designed for kids, electronic fencing, local based services and many more.
After a successful launch of a new business model, our clients either invest into a larger Asterisk platform or buy traditional carrier grade equipment to growth the new service into a substantial business.
EL: How does Asterisk help address your customers’ pain points?
DK: In short, our Asterisk solutions shorten the time to market for telecommunication services massively, and for a fraction of the cost they would spend with traditional vendors and equipment.
EL: What are the key differentiators of your product over others on the market?
DK: We tailored our Asterisk-based solutions towards larger projects, ranging from 1,000 to many thousands of extensions and concurrent calls.
Our Asterisk installations are optimized for load balancing, real-time billing, least-cost routing and much more. All our systems can scale from a handful of asterisk servers to many hundred servers orchestrated into one logical unit.
EL: You are speaking at AstriCon 2009 – describe your session and tell our readers why they should attend it.
DK: We are lucky and could deploy a project for the U.S. Army in Baghdad, Iraq. This is an interesting project in terms of technology and logistics. The Asterisk cluster in Baghdad consists of many load balancers, Asterisk and database servers. All communication is done via multiple satellite links and SIP trunks throughout the world. The system is monitored via Nagios server, which alerts the support team via e-mail, SMS and Festival (text to speech engine).
We hope to share some interesting stories about how to deploy an Asterisk system capable of handling thousands of calls, combat landing in Baghdad, having soldiers as clients and more.
EL: What else do you expect to see or hear at AstriCon that will be particularly interesting or innovative?
DK: I’m looking forward to meeting old friends (and making new ones) from all over the globe to share stories and have some drinks and a good time together.
EL: Where do you see the Asterisk market in five years?
DK: Asterisk will continue to shape the telecommunication market and will have its fair share of the business. Asterisk will continue to rock.
Learn more about Intuittech Sdn Bhd 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