The first time I ever wrote about the Asterisk open source VoIP PBX was nearly four years ago when the 1.0 milestone was released. I met Asterisk creator Mark Spencer a few months later in Toronto where he delivered a keynote at the VON (Voice on the Net event) of that year.
Fast forward three years and Spencer is back in Toronto, again keynoting at an event. Spencer’s key mantra this time around? Asterisk is ‘boring’ and it’s the applications that people use Asterisk for that make it exciting.
Frankly I personally still find the simple fact that I can set up a full PBX system with Free/Open Source Software that is equal to (or better) than anything I can find in the proprietary world to still be an exciting concept. Whenever I tell a peer/friend/general passerby that they can have their own full telephony system of their own they too find it exciting (though to be honest maybe that’s just my own take on people’s responses).
Asterisk and Digium (the commercial sponsor behind Asterisk) still have much to do before they actually achieve their full potential.
Digium still (to the best of my knowledge) has not officially launched their AA250 appliance that I spied at NXTcomm. The AA250 will handle 250-500 users and would be a significant step up for Asterisk. I suspect that somewhere in Digium’s testing facility they’ve already got an appliance in the works for the next step up from that even — to handle thousands of users.
So while the simple fact that you can have a full VoIP PBX system may not necessarily be an incredibly interesting thing to some — I personally still think there is a whole lot of excitement left to be had for the opportunity that Asterisk/Digium may yet have in the market as a whole.