Thursday, October 15, 2009

Asterisk is 10

Wednesday night at Astricon 2009 in Glendale, AZ, the Asterisk Community celebrated the 10th birthday of Asterisk. It was not your typical trade show party. It was a pretty quirky event with a lot techie guys drinking beer and playing video games, darts, pool, air hockey and foosball. One colleague noted that there were seven females present and that this was an increase from three females at the Astricon party in 2008. Hey, but what do you expect, this is the Asterisk community. It is a bright, eclectic mix of hackers, open source developers and a lot of independent entrepreneurs who install telephone systems for small and medium businesses.

The stereotypical open source developer is an irreverent young guy with an outrageous mohawk and yes of course those folks are an important part of the Asterisk community. But what I find interesting is the large number of older business owners who attend Astricon. These are experienced guys who have been installing data and telephone systems for 20-30 years. If you wonder who these people are, go to the yellow pages and look for telephone systems. You will see pages of small businesses that install telephone systems. This is a highly fragmented, grass roots distribution channel that adopted Asterisk early because it enables them to earn margins they could never make from reselling the traditional PBX solutions. According to sources at Digium, Asterisk based PBX systems serve more phone seats in North America than any other phone system. That is a pretty amazing accomplishment for a 10 year project.

While at Astricon, I gave a number on tutorial on Number Portability. Here is a download link for the Number Portability presentation.

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