Open Source PBX are gaining popularity

Economic recession has been kind to the makers of open source PBX.

In a study released by the Eastern Management Group based on a survey of 6,000 IT executives, open source-based PBX products and overall solutions now account for 18% of the private branch market.

Most of the enterprises are buying the very famous Digium’s PBX solution called Asterisk, according to the report. Minimal amount of Capital requirement and the flexibility of Open Source are the primary reasons why enterprises are moving to Asterisk.

“CIOs are attracted to this because the cost is zero to implement and the chances are systems administrators know how to install it and make it work. CIOs are even able to reuse their old phone systems. They want to move up to a more sophisticated back-end platform without ditching their indestructible Nortel (NYSE: NT) handsets; they can do it in phases with Asterisk,” said John Todd, the open source community director of Asterisk.

There is however some costs associated with installing Asterisk or any other Open Source PBX, namely a forklift upgrade, or significant upgrading of a user’s system. Digium chief recommended that users hire a consultant for the initial install, and then allowing companies’ IT staffs to maintain it. This is true with almost all Open Source software implementation. There is a requirement of in-house expertise but these costs are way too low compared to the closed software maintenance and operating costs.

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Golden Time for Open PBXs like Asterisk?

Important Revelation of PBX Market Share fact

Nortel’s 15% market share was second to Digium’s 18% share for open source PBXs, with Cisco coming in third, with 12%. Which is a trend that needs to be seriously looked at. Why sudden demand for Open PBX?

As per the report, there is a significant market shift that is happening due to the arrival of open source. Traditional telephone makers are competing for dollars in a consistently shrinking market. Open source PBX software is free and can be downloaded for free, it is assumed that it’s being used almost exclusively in laboratories, the survey states. But that assumption has been fundamentally wrong. There are many real use cases for Open PBX.

“When the fog lifts, we find open source is the PBX of choice for a large and growing share of the commercial marketplace,” said John Malone, CEO of the Eastern Management Group.

As per Malone, 40% of businesses installing open source PBXs in 2008 were in the government, education, retail, medical, and financial markets. Furthermore, both large and small companies are installing more than one PBX. This certainly explains the fact that Open PBX are capable and not just limited for not-so-serious users.

There is always the need of hiring a one-time consultant to install Open PBX like Asterisk and for maintenance and this cost may be even higher for companies looking to integrate with complex sales platforms or call centers. But much lesser than the closed PBX.

Source: InformationWeek

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