Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

Digium’s dull (but this is good) AstriCon

Posted on: October 17, 2009

Glendale AZ & Washington DC – As Digium celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Asterisk IP telephony platform this week at the AstriCon developer’s conference with cake and funny hats, this year’s keynote presentation by IBM CTO Mike Smith drifted into the mundane and dull — a very good thing.

Smith, brought in to talk about Digium’s role as an ISV (independent software vendor) in IBM’s Smart Cube platform/Smart Business program, put up a series of slides and descriptions for IBM’s ISV certification process to warm the heart of any nervous SMB IT work thinking about purchasing Asterisk for a Smart Cube server through IBM’s online applications store.

Since IBM services as the single point of contact or — as Smith described it – “the single throat to choke” — for technical support on the Smart Cube, Digium had to adjust and code and jump through  a number of hoops so a commercial version of Asterisk would be available through Big Blue.

Net-net of the qualification process is a product that IBM is comfortable offering.  It may be dull, but this is a good thing since IBM’s process and attention to detail is the sort of thing that will give warm fuzzies to anyone prone to buy IBM servers for their business — fuzzies that extend to the purchase of Asterisk as an IP PBX solution loaded on the Smart Cube Server.

This is a Good Thing. It isn’t PR sexy like the whole Skype for Asterisk announcement last year (and BTW, we know where those Skype folks are these days), but it is another solid step in moving Asterisk into the corporate mainstream.

IBM is also providing another channel for Digium to distribute Asterisk and channel partners who sell the Smart Cube solution now get a chance to provide a PBX along with a data server — plus making some money in providing handsets and configuring a phone system for their customers.  Again, contrast the potential here for Digium to grow its business through (dull but trusted) IBM and its channel partners verses last year’s talk from Skype to A) Develop a business strategy B) Find and train channel partners and C) Ultimately make money by recurring revenue on SkypeOut minutes sold…

(FYI, Skype was talking up love of channels and the Skype partner program about a month ago in Miami, but that’s what they were talking about last year at AstriCon 2008 and at CES 2009… so what’s the hold up?)

Net-net: IBM may not be exciting and flashy, but for most buyers, this is a Very Good Thing indeed.

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2 Responses to "Digium’s dull (but this is good) AstriCon"

I though this was the single worst part of AstriCon, actually. Most viewed it as a sales pitch to the wrong crowd.

mmm. Like I said, dull, but important for a lot of reasons…

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