digium-the-asterisk-company At VoiceCon I met with Bill Miller, VP Marketing and Product Management of Digium. Bill and I go back only three years where we were peers at 3Com, but it feels like I've known him much longer than that.

Digium is growing up and delivering value to new markets. Originally, the company's founder, Mark Spencer, wrote [[Asterisk]], the most popular of a wide range of IP PBX open source projects. Then, with VC funding the company expanded into offering certified-to-work PSTN gateway cards for PCs running the Asterisk code and support services for the software, and the Business Edition and appliance (login required since this is archived). 

In the fall of 2007, the company acquired Switchvox which included an elegant UI framework and software solution on top of Asterisk for SOHO and SMB. The most recent release of Switchvox 3.5 extends the strong feature set for more medium businesses. The impressive switchboard functions, call center type features such as queuing, logon/off features, conferencing and application integration with SugarCRM, Salesforce.com and Google Maps are enhanced with phone provisioning services, which greatly helps with scaling to larger sites and multi-level administration.

Polycom IP phones are integrated into this new provisioning tool, so that the corporate directory is automatically populated into the phones. Here's a comparison chart of features.

More recently, the company offered a Switchvox-branded appliance and moved upstream with reseller and distribution agreements with 3Com and now with Westcon (announced at VoiceCon), who will be the global distributor of choice for Digium branded hardware and software solutions. The WestCon deal reduces Digium financial exposure and improves its global reach into the SMB VAR and SMB VoIP specialist VAR without necessarily increasing marketing and selling expenses. 

Digium is picking up the pace in addressing the market needs of small and medium businesses, where the benefit of open source hardened solutions for resellers and customers are increasingly apparent. The company is wrapping proprietary value around the open source software, increasing its appeal to a broader audience where branding, access to sophisticated features and quality support services are more valuable.

The SMB market is particularly fragmented and seeing how Digium is thriving by aggressively serving the needs of SMB VARs and busineses is quite exhilarating. In this market, the packaging, UI, administrative and support services are key to success.

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