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Talking with David Clarke, PIKA Technologies

By: Richard “Zippy” Grigonis

PIKA Technologies (News - Alert) ( is known for its family of analog and digital voice boards compatible with Digium’s Asterisk (News - Alert) and Fonality’s trixbox CE. It also offers the Appliance for Asterisk® to developers looking for a small, low-cost computer replacement to deploy Asterisk based applications in the SOHO and SME markets. PIKA even offers a T.30 software fax application that works with any Asterisk-compatible board/hardware.

David Clarke (News - Alert) is a Business Development Manager for PIKA. A key member of the PIKA management team since 1993, he is responsible for expanding the business through partnerships as well as identifying new market opportunities. Clarke is a graduate of Carleton University and holds a degree in Electrical Engineering. You can reach him at

RG: PIKA Connect for Linux-based Asterisk enables connectivity to Skype (News - Alert). Is Skype becoming popular with smaller businesses, or are there security concerns?

DG: Yes, there are security concerns with Skype but more so in the large enterprise than in small business. We don’t feel that security issues are keeping small businesses from using Skype.

Skype is not as popular for Skype-to-PSTN calls as it could have been, because there are such competitive long distance rates for small business, so there is not as much of a cost savings as there was a couple of years ago.

RG: Do open source customers tend to buy components and build their own systems, or do they just by assembled systems, like any other IP PBX (News - Alert) shopper?

DG: It’s important here to distinguish between the two types of customers referred to in this question.

The IP PBX shopper is primarily one that is looking to buy a solution for their enterprise/company, not to build one themselves using various open-source components. By far, the vast majority would not even be remotely capable of doing so.

They may in fact not even be aware or concerned with the fact that the IP PBX they are considering is based on some open-source code.

PIKA’s customers, the ones who are supplying finished IP PBX solutions to the IP PBX shopper, are the ones building the systems. They build the systems using a combination of proprietary telephony hardware from companies like PIKA, a desktop PC or server, and an open-source PBX solution, such as Asterisk. In addition, they generally try and add value of their own such as sexy GUI’s, niche functionality, and, of course, support. With the introduction of telephony appliances such as PIKA’s WARP appliance, they are now able to buy the telephony hardware integrated directly into the “PC” from a single provider. These appliances can offer fewer integration issues for the developer and reduce their cost, especially in the lower-end market (i.e., offices with 20 people or less).

RG: Is open source growing? How do you see its future?

DG: Yes, it is growing on all fronts. Using open-source either in whole or in part is gaining ground as a viable method to deliver solutions. In the future, look for developers of open-source solutions to find new ways to monetize their efforts outside of the traditional and widely-used “pay for support and custom development” method. Secondly, look for increased legal issues in the area of intellectual property rights. With widespread use of open-source code will come closer scrutiny as to where exactly this ‘contributed’ code is coming from, and whether it has the right to be called ‘open’. IT


Open Source News
Sangoma Develops New Hybrid Concept in Telephony Cards
Sangoma recently took the wraps off their FlexBRI card. This new hybrid concept is the first in a series of mixed modular designs to be announced, which will allow customers to combine analog and digital signals on one interface card. The FlexBRI is expected to be in production in early fall. Designed in response to customer demands in Germany the FlexBRI card supports fax machines or other analog devices and fits comfortably in a small 1U server. The FlexBRI will support up to four ports of BRI and two ports of FXO or FXS Analog. The card will share the same analog FXO/FXS and BRI modules with Sangoma’s A200, A400, A500 cards, so channel partners will not need to stock more part numbers.
SugarCRM (News - Alert) Sweetens Jigsaw’s Open Data Initiative
Jigsaw, a provider of business information and data services that leverages user-generated content contributed by its global membership, recently unveiled an Open Data Initiative designed to make it “easy to search, select and import company data for Free into leading CRM and Contact Management solutions.” SugarCRM, a provider of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, has announced its support for the Jigsaw Open Data Initiative. As a founding member of Jigsaw’s new initiative, SugarCRM is also able to pre-load its CRM solutions for new customers with “free company data” provided by Jigsaw.
Digium (News - Alert) Forms Partnership with Fanstel to Deliver Interoperability
Digium Inc., the Asterisk Company, and Fanstel Corp. have announced a partnership that is designed to help ensure interoperability between Fanstel (News - Alert) telephones and Digium products. Fanstel SIP telephones are now Digium/Asterisk Certified, which means that companies that want the flexibility and cost-savings of a VoIP platform based on Asterisk Business Edition can benefit from full-featured Fanstel telephones. Founded in 1990, Fanstel is a manufacturer of carrier-grade and enterprise-grade telephone products. Fanstel has delivered high-quality telephone products to 55 countries.
PBX in a Flash Selects Vitelity Communications (News - Alert)
Vitelity Communications has been selected as the exclusive network provider for PBX in a Flash, an open-source, Asterisk-based PBX phone system with 12,000 to 15,000 downloads a month, according to the company. Under the terms of the deal, Vitelity will be able to offer their service to PBX in a Flash customers, who will benefit from Vitelity’s constant innovation, including the Asterisk configuration wizard that simplifies setup and interoperability.
Google (News - Alert)’s Android Mobile Platform Will Be Open Source
Google’s new “Android” mobile platform will be completely open-sourced under standard industry licenses, according to the blog of a principal systems developer. Ed Burnette, a SAS (News - Alert) employee who keeps a blog that’s separate from his job, said today that “the core platform components and libraries needed to port Android to new devices will be open sourced under commonly used, industry standard licenses, says Google.” Burnette cited three Google sources that he met at the Internet giant’s annual I/O conference in San Francisco in May. “Except where noted, everything will use the Apache software license (ASL v2),” Burnette writes. “This is the same open source license used by projects like the Apache HTTP server, Tomcat, Harmony, and many other large projects in the open source community.”
NASCAR Racing Team Purchases VoIP Phone System
VoIP Supply announced it is supplying a VoIP phone system to NASCAR’s Joe Gibbs Racing out of North Carolina. The NASCAR racing team reportedly purchased a complete IP-based phone system solution from VoIP Supply, which consists of equipment from manufacturers such as Aastra (News - Alert), Rhino Equipment and Sangoma Technologies. An IP-based phone system solution will enable Joe Gibbs Racing, the home of NASCAR superstars Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch, to lower costs, increase productivity and scale their telecommunications infrastructure as they grow, according to VoIP Supply.


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