AsteriskNow, Open Source Domination Later

Last week Asterisk users got a peek at their Christmas present from Digium: a beta version of the new AsteriskNow GUI. A formal announcement and a splashy launch are in the works for December.

But as important as a user-friendly Asterisk interface is, even more important, the development signals a new direction for the creator of the open source PBX, according to Digium VP of Product management Bill Miller.

While the company promises that it will continue to serve the open source community, it’s also aiming to make new Asterisk converts, especially among users without Linux or Asterisk experience.

“We are clearly investing in Asterisk products and software appliances — packages that include Linux, and Asterisk and are focused very specifically on target markets,” he explains. “The intent is plug-and-play, 10 minutes to dial tone.”

But isn’t Digium positioning itself to cannibalize the ecosystem that it has fostered around Asterisk?

Well for years Digium didn’t develop a GUI for exactly that reason despite the fact that customers have been asking for a Digium branded GUI.

Now the company wants its ecosystem partners to expand their horizons to reach a changing market.

“We want to make it easier to build applications because it’s applications that are driving voice, not IP-PBX,” explains Miller. “The GUI is very easy to customize, to brand. We want people to build on it. We’re enabling lots of people to go after different parts of the market.”

Miller certainly isn’t thinking small.

“We have a tremendous roadmap to help people use Asterisk to take over the world with open source,” he says. “We’re looking at a whole series of new ways to reach people beyond Asterisk.org. We’re going to add significant new capabilities to the site. Stay tuned for new developments. Wait ’til you see VON.”

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