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August 24, 2009

Digium to Exhibit its Asterisk-based Telephony Products, Present Numerous Sessions, During ITEXPO West 2009

By Patrick Barnard, Senior Web Editor, TMCnet

Huntsville Ala.-based Digium Inc. specializes in the development of open source telephony software, most notably Asterisk, as well as open source telephony hardware.

Asterisk (News - Alert) is an open-source PBX application which runs on commodity PC hardware. Digium sells a commercial version of the software, called Asterisk Business Edition, which it claims undergoes more testing than the open source version. It also offers Asterisk GUI, an open-source GUI frontend, which can be used with either the free version or Asterisk Business Edition.
In addition Digium makes a range of analog and digital PCI and PCI Express cards designed to work with Asterisk.
The company will be exhibiting its products during Technology Marketing Corporation’s upcoming Internet Telephony Conference and Expo (ITEXPO) West 2009, to be held Sept. 1-3 in Los Angeles. In addition executives from Digium, which is an ITEXPO sponsor, will be presenting numerous sessions during the show.

To find out what’s new with the company and to learn a little more about what it will be doing at ITEXPO West, Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC, recently interviewed Bill Miller (News - Alert), Digium’s vice president of product management. What follows are excerpts from the interview:

RT: What has the economic crisis taught you, and how has it changed your customers?
BM: Stay focused on your customers continuously delivering value and service. Customers are more cautious in spending their budget dollars and the consultative selling approach is appreciated by customers.  
RT: How is this down economy affecting your decisions to reinvest in your company or market, if at all? Where will you invest?
BM: Many of today’s best companies took advantage of down times. Leveraging this history, Digium’s leading open source communications platform Asterisk has seen between 25-30 percent increases in downloads in the first half of 2009 while our business phone system Switchvox continues to grow. These are areas of investment for Digium – both open source Asterisk and our turnkey web-aware Switchvox SMB IP PBX (News - Alert). We are investing heavily in Asterisk development, and sales and marketing for the channel.
RT: What’s the strongest segment in the communications industry?
BM: We see a growth pattern in adoption of open source based VoIP communications being driven by cost savings, ROI, and powerful web-based applications. Over the next year we’ll see more video and wireless segments heat up as an extension to VoIP telephony.
RT: With the rise of smartphones and netbooks, many wireless technologies, such as WiFi (News - Alert), appear to be poised for rapid growth. For example, we’re seeing more and more airlines add in-flight WiFi. In general, how widespread should WiFi be, in your view?
BM: I believe wireless should be ubiquitous. You should be able to have wireless access anywhere and everywhere. It is a huge revenue source for carriers, equipment suppliers, and increases both productivity and entertainment for both consumers and businesses. Over time, access and interoperability will be simplified and easy to access. 
RT: Which nation or region of the world will present the largest opportunity for your company in 2009/10?
BM: Digium enjoys a global market for Asterisk, Custom Telephony Solutions (CTS) components including gateway cards and add-ons to Asterisk. Over 50% of our CTS business is outside US. We see the US as a major growth area for Switchvox because of our channel investments and momentum while we see increased adoption of open source Asterisk more heavily outside the US in Europe and Asia.
RT: In what ways is President Barack Obama helping or hindering the technology markets? What more can he do?
BM: The President has taken some bold positions such as appoint an IT Director for the US and the stimulus package; we’d like to see the US mandate, as in other countries, the consideration and adoption of open source telephony in all federal, state and local government.
RT: What device or devices do you use, and what do you wish you used?
BM: I am an iPhone user and love it! It is by far the most utilized mobile phone I’ve ever used; it’s just probably the least amount of minutes I have ever talked on my mobile per month. I do not have many additional wishes except the new generation iPhone would be nice if it were an even swap and I’d enjoy a higher quality camera!
RT: What has the iPhone 3G taught us? I know it’s very new, but what about the Palm Pre? What are we learning from the smartphones based on the open source Google Android (News - Alert) platform?
BM: These newer smart phones are integral components of the enterprise solution. At Digium, we are split between iPhone and Android with Blackberries and Nokias to a lesser extent and losing favor fast. Developers seem to like Android while marketing and community folks like iPhones. My assessment is we have learned that new smartphones are truly unified communications tools and will continue to be further integrated with business phone systems.
RT: I understand you are speaking during ITEXPO West, to be held Sept. 1-3 in Los Angeles. Describe your talk and tell us what companies or people should attend.
BM: Digium is a platinum sponsor of the SIP Trunking Workshop. We have two sessions, both discussing Asterisk as a telephony solution leveraging SIP Trunks. My talk is in the opening session and Steve Sokol, product manager, will follow me in the next session to discuss enterprise SIP Trunking solutions.
RT: Why should customers choose your company’s solutions? How do they justify the expense to management?
BM: Asterisk is a free and open source software package. It is proven to be very powerful, Flexible and 24/7 support subscriptions specifically designed for SMBs and enterprises are available annually to offer piece of mind to IT leaders. The most widely deployed open source telephony software worldwide Asterisk has become the preeminent IP platform connecting to SIP trunks worldwide! For businesses looking to leverage open source using a turnkey IP PBX based on Asterisk, award winning web-aware Switchvox is the leader offering full featured solutions to business at very affordable prices.

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Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard


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