Can Open Source Asterisk Find Its Place in the IP PBX Space?
The VAR Guy continues to ask the question: Can Digium and its open source IP PBX technology Asterisk make inroads in the telecom space? Now that Asterisk 10 has been released, more signs are pointing to yes. Read on for the feature list of Asterisk 10, and a little perspective on how it could shape the VoIP world …
Asterisk 10 was unleashed at AstriCon 2011, boasting its 12th year as a no-cost robust communication system solution. So what new features is Asterisk 10 bringing to the table to maintain its open source prominence? According to Digium:
“The most important new feature in Asterisk 10 is its wide-band media engine. Digium has replaced Asterisk’s telephony-grade media engine with a more advanced one, providing support for … high and ultra high-definition voice … that would have otherwise required specialized or expensive equipment …”
Asterisk 10 also supports a slew of new codecs to make it “future-proof,” including Skype’s own “SILK” codec. Version 10 also includes a “ConfBridge” app for HD video and audio conversations that are optimized based on a user’s connection speed. And in case you thought fax was dead, it’s not — Asterisk 10 allows for old-fashioned analog fax machines to integrate seamlessly with the digital back-end of the Asterisk IP PBX/SIP system. Lastly, text message routing has been enabled, allowing for Asterisk 10 to “act as a text messaging server and bridge, between different messaging protocols,” which include SIP MESSAGE and XMPP.
As always, Asterisk 10 is free of charge and available for anyone to download. But our resident blogger reminds his readers of the real question: Is Asterisk 10 enough to upset the traditional IP PBX apple cart? Perhaps — the development time Digium spent on the latest version could explain why Digium has been so darn quiet in 2011, despite Digium’s January 2011 announcement that more than 50 partners were working to build AsteriskExchange-compatible products and services. Now that Asterisk has an even wider range of features at its disposal, Digium may be ready to move out of “quietly building revenue” mode into a full-blown assault on the IP PBX world.
Digium Asterisk will currently be up against a smattering of UC and VoIP solutions, most notably from Avaya and Polycom. More interestingly, however, will be if Digium Asterisk takes to the cloud the way many other UC and VoIP solutions have been doing. As always, The VAR Guy will keep his eagle eye on the promising developments out of Digium.