Open-Source VoIP Evolves

An article appeared on InternetWeek’s website yesterday charting the latest developments from vendors of open-source IP PBXes based on Asterisk.

Open-source IP PBX vendors — led by Digium and Fonality — see similarities between their market and earlier open-source incursions into web servers and application servers. They believe that they can compete effectively against the IP PBX market leaders, such as Cisco Systems, Avaya, and Nortel.

What follows is a pertinent excerpt from the article:

Fonality CEO Chris Lyman says he hopes that PBXtra, based on a modified version of the Asterisk code from Asterisk that first brought open-source telephony some notoriety, will compete with the likes of Cisco’s CallManager and other big name IP PBXs. PBXtra supports up to 500 users for as low as $1,995. It includes Web-based management capabilities and round-the-clock support, as well as most of the standard functions expected in a business phone system. The higher-end Professional Edition also supports unified voice mail and e-mail, click-to-call capabilities, softphones, and more. "It’s feature parity to what the big boys sell for half the cost," Lyman says.

Asterisk servers already have made headway in many organizations, and while the market presence of open-source IP PBXes aren’t threatening Cisco’s or Avaya’s shares or margins at the moment, odds are good that growing numbers of small- and medium-size enterprises will be attracted by the lower price tags and greater flexibility of open-source VoIP systems.

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