Asterisk Makes Enterprise Inroads With Big Blue

Digium and IBM announced a new partnership at Astricon Thursday that highlights both the Asterisk company’s increasing attention from the enterprise telecommunications sector as well as Big Blue’s growing appetite for SMB market share.

The two companies announced the creation of an Asterisk-based phone system available now for the IBM Smart Cube platform. Smart Cube is a product of the company’s Smart Business initiative for small to medium-sized businesses, a pre-integrated solution (including hardware, operating system, security, backup, middleware and business applications) that SMBs can download from the IBM Smart Market.

This IBM-certified integration marks the first formal collaboration between the two companies. Asterisk for Smart Cube will give small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers using IBM’s Smart Cube platform a business phone and unified communication system that can be downloaded, configured and up-and-running within half an hour, according to Digium.

The total solution also integrates with IBM/Lotus products Domino and Sametime for multimedia collaboration and unified messaging.

“Digium’s collaboration with IBM to jointly develop an Asterisk-based phone system represents a huge advance toward our commonly held goal of giving SMBs powerful IT capabilities in a flexible, easy to implement system,” said Danny Windham, CEO of Digium. “The ability to deploy and manage sophisticated telephony applications right alongside other critical business software appeals to SMBs across industries. We’re proud that IBM partnered with Digium to meet the needs of its Smart Cube customers.”

Asterisk has grown in ten years to become the most widely used open source telephony platform in the world. With millions of worldwide downloads, it has become the backbone for flexible, cost-effective business phone systems used by companies large and small, and the company’s growth has lately gained the notice of enterprise heavyweights such as Cisco and now, IBM.

On balance these developments are a big positive for Digium and bode well for the long-term growth and stability of the Asterisk platform. As the power and flexibility of systems formerly reserved to only the largest enterprises come increasingly within reach of small and medium sized companies, increased innovation and competition across the business landscape should be good for everyone.