My views on software, programming, Linux, the Internet, government, taxation, working, and life.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why Would Anyone Try To Be An Asterisk PBX Reseller?

For those of you don't know, Asterisk is an open source project by a company called Digium, and a large community of worldwide developers, that allows one to make a nearly free, super cool phone system for your office, or for your company over the Internet where you might have workers spread across the globe. It's nearly free because it still requires that you purchase the hardware from Digium. The hardware and software make something called a PBX, or public exchange, and this is the heart of a company phone system. Asterisk comes with lots of features and can cut PBX costs down tremendously. Sounds nice, right? Well, as a startup company trying to get off the ground, if you have the expertise to manage this in-house with more than one person, and you're willing to shave off this kind of cash, then I can't see why you wouldn't use Asterisk PBX to run your business. However, if you plan to make a business plan where you drive around putting in Asterisk PBXes, I can't see why you would want to implement this.

Here's why. At my day job, we use Avaya, which is a spin-off from Lucent, which was a spin-off from AT&T. Well, when the PBX goes down, it could be several things, and some of them might not even have to do with the PBX. Sometimes you think you know what's wrong and a few hours later you find that wasn't the case. And if it's a call center, the costs start to go up quickly when the phones are out. What I'm trying to say here is that your customers can become litigious on an easy whim, doing anything to get their phone system back online. If you don't want lawsuits, I recommend that hacks stay out of the PBX business, whether it's with extremely low cost options like Asterisk or with something like from Avaya. You might get sued. And if your small company just put in an Asterisk PBX, you better hold on to the guys who put it in -- you may need them desperately one day. Unfortunately, Asterisk is not very easy for tasks that deviate from the norm.


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