An interesting move by Digium today as they’ve announced the acquisition of Switchvox, a provider of SMB IP PBX systems. Digium has an informative FAQ up on its site about the deal. This move gives Digium a turnkey SMB system, something they really needed, especially as competition for Asterisk-based systems has started to heat up. Switchvox has put a lot of energy into developing friendly and usable systems, something that Asterisk is not known for. Switchvox systems can also integrate with major CRM systems “out of the box”, an important need for many businesses today.
Digium is making a concerted effort to assure the open source telecom community that they are in no way abandoning their ideals of an open Asterisk, and there is a lot of language in that FAQ speaking to that. Most interesting perhaps, is this bit:
Digium’s plan is to take selected elements of the Switchvox solution and contribute them back to the open source community to enhance Asterisk as well as migrate Asterisk features forward into Switchvox.
Dan York has the best write-up on the deal so far, and I think he’s right on the money with this bit:
To me, what is far more compelling is that Digium just bought themselves a whole group of people who “get” the world of “unified communications”, business process integration, Web 2.0 mashups, etc.
Digium has had no story at all around “presence” within its core offerings. Now it does. While Asterisk has always been a platform play where you have the ability to integrate Asterisk with other apps, doing so has not exactly been for the faint-of-heart. Hire yourself some programmers and you can do pretty much anything with Asterisk… but that’s not something that many businesses want to get into. SwitchVox now gives Digium a way to do easy integration with databases and web sites. The integrations to Salesforce.com and SugarCRM are slick. The Google Maps popup is a seriously cool mashup! (And where is that on the roadmap of the mainstream vendors?)