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September 16, 2008
September 16, 2008

Experts at ITEXPO: Open Source VoIP Benefits SMBs, IP Telephony Itself

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

ITEXPO (News - Alert), Los Angeles – Open source development has helped VoIP evolve by bringing more partners and innovation to a technology that many industry insiders see as the lynchpin of unified communications of SMBs.

According to a panel of experts that led part of a certification course at the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall today, open source VoIP is critical not only for the SMB section but for the future of Internet telephony itself.
“It (open source) is huge, especially in our realm, which breaks up into three different types of community members,” Kerry Garrison (News - Alert), trixbox community director at Los Angeles-based IP-PBX VoIP phone systems provider Fonality said during a session of TMC University at ITEXPO. Three three-day event, which is drawing thousands of VoIP insiders, gadget-lovers, IT professionals and journalists, kicked off with a unified communications workshop hosted by Avaya Inc. last night, and runs through Thursday.
“You have developers, who help create code and move a project forward,” Garrison continued. “You have resellers who are out there selling systems, selling products, and then you have end-users who are using the end-products in their own offices, company, house, basement, whatever. And among those three different groups, you have a lot of feedback in totally different areas. Having those people out there to give you that feedback and to help test your product, help test your code, it’s essential.”
Fonality (News - Alert) officials say their free and open source telephony platform, called “trixbox CE,” now counts more than 200,000 live deployments and 125,000 new downloads each month.
At ITEXPO, Fonality is offering two certification courses in trixbox.
“FtOCC CE” – “FtOCC” is short for Fonality trixbox Open Communication Certification – is designed to teach the basics of trixbox CE installation and administration, according to Garrison. The $2,499 course is intended for those who wish to install trixbox CE systems for their company or clients, people who will have to maintain a trixbox installation, or users who are relatively new to trixbox and want to grasp its capabilities.
A second course, “FtOCC Technician,” is a three-day technical certification course designed to train resellers and consultants to support their clients running trixbox CE,
trixbox Pro, and PBXtra systems.
“This is an interesting time in the telephony space,” Garrison told TMCnet Group Managing Editor Erik Linask recently.
According to the panel at today’s session, “Advantages of Open Source VoIP” – moderated by Luca Filigheddu, chief executive officer of Rome, Italy-based voice, video and presence integrator Abbeynet S.p.A. and also led by Ming Yong, chief executive officer of Voiceroute, a VoIP software developer, and Jonathan Christensen, general manager for video and audio at Skype (News - Alert) – cost-savings remains a major draw for SMBs eyeing an upgrade from analog telephone systems.
Christensen – who is delivering a keynote address at 3:30 p.m. today – said it’s useful in considering whether to pursue an open source product, to hear what a client’s business model is.
“You have open source, you have specific products, or a particular service,” Christensen said. “Any given open source project has several different phases.”

According to Garrison, some clients require “convincing” that open source solutions are the best answers for them – though it’s not a deal-breaker.
“I think in a sense they do, but if you are their selected consultant, in my case as I was, they’re looking at you to provide a solution to a problem,” Garrison said. “How you get there is less relevant than providing the solution.”
Fonality is a diamond sponsor of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year.  ITEXPO will take place in Los Angeles, California, September 16-18, 2008, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss.  Don’t wait.  Register now!

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan


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