What is Asterisk and how can it help my business?

Posted by: on Nov 29, 2011 in Blog | No Comments

I know for many the list below has really basic bullet points about Asterisk, but for those business people  that don’t work in telecom or specifically the Asterisk community, Asterisk is still an unknown jewel. Below is a very non-technical and certainly not complete list of why businesses take a serious look at Asterisk in their business.

  • Asterisk (check out www.asterisk.org for more information than you’ll want) is an open source software for converged communications. Simply put, Asterisk is a very feature rich PBX (phone system) that integrates with applications like Outlook, CRM databases, and smartphones’s  that allow a business to truly inegrate their voice and data services.
  • Asterisk is ideal for networking multiple sites including branch offices, home offices, and employees on the road. With proper planning and design these remote users can be integrated into a business’ central phone system (i.e. Asterisk) which in turn makes calling more efficient and less expensive. That  being said, Asterisk is also an excellent choice for single site businesses as well.
  • Asterisk is an open source technology which means that it will work with many different SIP  handsets and integrate with most any standards-based software.  This means that businesses are not forced to buy one type of proprietary product. For example, if a business buys an Avaya platform they are forced to buy only Avaya handsets and can only use related software that is compliant with a particular Avaya paltform. With Asterisk, the customer has much more freedom of choice.
  • Asterisk is not license driven which means that businesses are not forced to buy a software license for every handset purchased (unless a 3rd party vendor chooses to bill for it). This considerably lowers the expense associated with a system purchase, but doesn’t lessen the performance ability in any way.

If you’re looking for a great in depth read on a how-to guide for Asterisk I highly recommend Asterisk, The Definitive Guide by Leif Madsen, Jim Van  Meggelen, and Russell Bryant (available at  oreilly.com). I’ve done some work with Leif in particular and these guys personify all that’s great about the open source community. Enjoy.