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Posts Tagged ‘IBM

Glendale, AZ & Washington DC – Pictures from Thursday’s keynotes at AstriCon 2009.

IBM_cto_mike_smith_at_astricon

IBM CTO Mike Smith talks all about Digium’s role as an ISV on IBM’s Smart Cube program.  Companies with Smart Cube can pull down Asterisk from IBM’s online  Smart Business marketplace.

danny_windham_digium

Digium CEO Danny Windham recapping 2009 in terms of challenges and opportunities.  Windham said that in the budget squeezes of the past year, companies have looked to open source as a more economical and cost-effective means of doing business — good stuff for Asterisk and other open source companies.

steve_sokol_digium

And what’s AstriCon without Steve Sokol? Steve founded AstriCon 6 years ago and got the shows — and himself — bought by Digium.

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Glendale, AZ & Washington DC – Pictures from AstriCon 2009 on Wednesday October 14, 2009.

Keynote audience at AstriCon 2009

Keynote audience at AstriCon 2009

It was a full ballroom for both days of keynotes.

Allworx founder Jeff Szczepanski at AstriCon 2009

Allworx founder Jeff Szczepanski at AstriCon 2009

You run into a lot of interesting people in the hallways of AstriCon — like the founder of Allworx.

Google Chris DeBona keynote at AstriCon 2009

Google Chris DiBona keynote at AstriCon 2009

Chris DiBona delivers the Wednesday morning keynote, talking up all kinds of goodness about open source software.  You need stats on open source downloads and popularity? He’s got ’em.

Digium's John Todd showing off his shirt at AstriCon 2009

Digium's John Todd showing off his shirt at AstriCon 2009

John Todd shows off his newest tie-dye shirt. He gets them custom made, only going to show there’s no accounting for taste.

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.

Every year for the past couple of years, the folks at Digium have rolled out a nice little surprise at the annual AstriCon event connected to the keynote speakers.  Two years ago, Digium announced it had purchased Switchvox (Hello Tristian!).  Last year, Skype and Digium announced a working relationship and a beta of a channel manager (i.e. connection) between Asterisk and Skype.   And this year? IBM and Google are sending speakers.

On Wednesday, October 14,Google open source programs manager Chris DiBona will open up the conference.   Chris oversees license compliance and supports the open source developer community. Maybe we’ll learn that Google Voice has some Asterisk involved or that The Goog plans to use Asterisk as its internal IP telephony platofrm. Or not. I’d give this prediction a 50/50 shot.

Mike Smith, IBM’s CTO of its Server and Technology Group, will be delivering the Thursday keynote and I’ll be really interested in what he has to say. Mike is responsible for leveraging the capabilities of different assets at IBM and leading software development teams for “smart business.” He’s also leading partnerships in new software business opportunities.  Hmmm….

At the last AstriCon, I gave Danny Windham an earful about the Skype/Digium announcement (I wasn’t gung-ho on it) and also said that it would be very interesting to see someone *ahem*ahem* like IBM come in and give the blessing to Asterisk.  IBM, after all, loves open source and is Big Business, so if they were to place a blessing upon Asterisk, it would be A Big Deal for both sides.   Hopefully, Danny remembers that conversation…


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