Cisco Discovers Open Source IP PBX Threat, Opportunity
The sleeping giant has awakened. It looks like Cisco Systems is addressing the potential Asterisk open source IP PBX threat -- and opportunity. Here's the scoop from The VAR Guy at Cisco Partner Summit.
The sleeping giant has awakened. It looks like Cisco Systems is addressing the potential Asterisk open source IP PBX threat — and opportunity. Here’s the scoop from The VAR Guy at Cisco Partner Summit.
Cisco announced a series of small business solutions today. Buried within the announcement was an IP Telephony Gateway that allows small businesses to “connect their open source IP PBX to existing analog phones and fax machines.”
Cisco didn’t mention Asterisk by name in the press release. Yes, the blogosphere has certainly written about Cisco-Asterisk integration for years. And during today’s press conference, Cisco VP Andrew Sage noted that Cisco’s SIP phones have long supported open source IP PBX systems.
However, The VAR Guy can’t recall Cisco ever mentioning open source IP PBXes in a channel partner-related press release…
Cisco’s Asterisk strategy sounds similar to Microsoft’s old “embrace and replace” mantra. First, Cisco wants to interoperate with Asterisk open source IP PBXes. Then, if possible, transition those customers over to a full Cisco solution that doesn’t necessarily require Asterisk.
History Repeats Itself?
Similar to how Linux chips away at the Windows empire, Asterisk can potentially disrupt traditional VoIP systems from Avaya, Cisco, Nortel and other big networking companies.
Skeptical? Consider these anecdotes: In recent months, technology companies such as Digium and Fonality have successfully recruited channel partners to sell, service and support Asterisk-oriented IP PBXes. Heck, even Dell and Tech Data now resell Asterisk-oriented phone systems. Plus, both Digium and Fonality landed on The VAR Guy’s Open Source 50, which tracks the most promising open source partner programs. Finally, VARs are increasingly pursuing Asterisk certification.
Admittedly, Asterisk is still a small threat to Cisco. But CEO John Chambers said yesterday one thing keeps him up at night: The fear of missing “the next” technology wave. Asterisk, The VAR Guy believes, could be one such a wave.
Instead of ignoring the potential Asterisk disruption, Cisco is picking up the phone and trying to dial up new partner opportunities. Smart move.