Feature Story

What You Need to Know about Schmooze Com Inc.

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  July 08, 2014

Schmooze Com Inc. is a global telephony software development business based in Neenah, Wisc., and a Diamond Sponsor of this year’s ITEXPO (News - Alert) in Las Vegas. Schmooze’s flagship product, FreePBX, was initially released a decade ago, and is in use on millions of production systems in 210 countries and territories, making it the most prevalent open source PBX (News - Alert) platform in the world.

The company was founded by a group of telephony and IT entrepreneurs with a plan to build a better business phone system based on software, not locked down by proprietary hardware restrictions. Requiring a stable, customizable, feature-rich, software base to build on, Schmooze (News - Alert) licensed FreePBX as the core of its PBXact commercial telephony platform. Schmooze actively contributed back to the OSS FreePBX project while continuing to improve upon its own PBXact products and solutions.

Schmooze’s participation and contributions to open source steadily increased over time, until eventually it made sense for Schmooze to acquire the trademark and copyright to FreePBX to become the project’s primary sponsor and manager. Today Schmooze’s core focus is to provide direction and financial support of the FreePBX Project, providing active contributions of both open source development and commercial add-ons as well as support and managing the expansion of the FreePBX ecosystem across the globe. The fast moving and mission-critical nature of communications systems means FreePBX is continually enhanced to meet these evolving communications challenges.

An example of the ongoing FreePBX commercial development provided by Schmooze is the recently released and award winning (ITEXPO, Best Large Enterprise Solution) FreePBX High Availability platform. FreePBX HA provides an easy to configure HA solution between two FreePBX systems. Historically, HA solutions have been a costly endeavor requiring dedicated expensive system engineers to configure, support, and constantly maintain. FreePBX HA embeds the setup and configuration of a high availability system all from the FreePBX GUI interface, allowing system integrators and end users that need a fully commercially developed solution to reliably and economically implement HA and mitigate costly down time.

While the open source development model allows for an innovative product, the Schmooze business model provides a simple way for businesses to deploy communications systems effectively. Schmooze provides FreePBX Certified hardware, software, professional consulting, training and support, as well as a FreePBX integrated SIP trunking service through its popular SIPStation.com VoIP service. All of these services are available directly from Schmooze; however, the primary distribution across all industry segments and sizes is though the Schmooze Channel Program for distributors, system integrators, VARs, and resellers. This program allows for channel partners and service providers to offer seamless communications technology integration, paired with their local industry expertise.

In addition to the Channel Programs, Schmooze continues to evolve the FreePBX ecosystem by delivering solutions in collaboration with major hardware and software partners. These extensive collaborations connect every aspect of the unified communications space, and help users deploy integrated and certified configurations of FreePBX. Certified FreePBX software undergoes a rigorous testing process. Above providing a great user experience and enhanced functionality, third-party software must be compatible with FreePBX and easy to install and uninstall. Certified FreePBX hardware must pass a series of validation tests conducted by Schmooze, and provide for easy provisioning directly from within FreePBX. Users can be confident that any certified solution will be compatible with FreePBX and supported by both manufacturers, and the FreePBX development team.  Using a rigorous hardware and software certification process, Schmooze helps to ensure a great FreePBX experience, and keeps the entire platform open and not limited by a single vendor’s vision of the future.

FreePBX’s solid growth is testament that Schmooze is successfully delivering world-class software, backed by fantastic customer service, all at a highly affordable price.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi