In advance of Astricon 2012, we are sharing Part 1 of our interview with Angie Reid, Product Manager for Digium’s Switchvox IP PBX. We discuss the history and evolution of the Switchvox product, the difference betwen Asterisk and Switchvox, the Switchvox Switchboard as well as how Switchvox is competing against the Avaya’s and Shoretel’s of the world.
In Advance of the 2012 Asticon Conference
Randy: Good morning, this is Randy Kremlacek, president of Teledynamic Communications. Today I am speaking with Angie Reed, product marketing manager for Digium. Just a few short days before Astricon, the worlds largest Asterisk conference. Welcome Angie.
Angie: Thank you Randy
Some History About Switchvox
Randy: Angie, let’s just dig right into Switchvox. Teledynamic has been a Switchvox dealer for the last two years and we absolutely love the product. Can you let people know a little more about the beginnings of Switchvox and the evolution to where it is today?
Angie: Sure thing. Well, Switchvox was originally a product that was developed on Astrisk, so you mentioned Astricon, the conference that is coming up. This is, again, the worlds largest open source software that’s utilized for telecommunications, specifically voice over IP.
One of the great things about Switchvox is that it is a product that was developed roughly 5 years ago. That provided a very nice graphical user interface that took advantage of the Asterisk technology and incorporated that into a full blown PBX solution for small to medium businesses.
Since Switchvox, was acquired by Digium, we’ve actually been able to develop that product even further and provide it as one of the real competitive solutions within the SMB market.
Real Cost Savings For SMB’s
Angie: So again this particular product is targeted for small to medium businesses, and it provides a real cost savings to small to medium businesses as we can utilize Astrisk and the open source community and continue to developed features that would provide customers what they need in their businesses today.
And then, because we also anticipate future growth within those companies, we continue to develop this product for businesses and their applications to provide them their complete communication solution for, again, that small to medium business market.
The Difference Between Asterisk and Switchvox
Randy: Great, the product has certainly come a long ways. From your description it started out as a basically graphic user interface for Asterisk and now is a very viable commercial business telephone system. Great job. So how does the Switchvox differ from the Asterisk?
Angie: That’s a great question. Many people ask us that, as obviously you’ve got Asterisk as the engine for Switchvox, but Digium has taken that technology and we have really built upon it and really made it a unified communication solution.
So where Asterisk is kind of the nuts and bolts software to create your phone system, and to provide calling and IVR functionality and even ACD functionality, we can go ahead and take Switchvox beyond that and make it into a complete unified communications solution, so we’ve incorporated many things such as mobile integration.
We’ve provide the switchboard, which is kind of the unique selling feature, the unique advantage of Switchvox, because it provides you that real time dashboard or call control panel where you can do things drag and drop transfers, see presence real time, access call queues, kind of gives you a single point of reference for everything going on in your solution. So that’s just one of the facets of Switchvox, but that’s a unique feature to that particular over Asterisk.
The Difference Between Switchvox and Avaya, Shoretel and Cisco
Randy: Got it. So, it sounds like you’ve taken that Asterisk box and turned it into a fully featured again commercially viable telephone system. I guess it would look somewhat to a buyer like a Shortel or a Avaya or a Cisco system, but there certainly a lot of differences, can you explain the differences between the proprietary systems, as I just mentioned, and the Switchvox?
Angie: That’s another great question and we see that quite often in the marketplace. People are pitting Switchvox against those competitors specifically and most often and they will run into applications where they need many features in their products and other vendors will often times licensing associated with individual features, where Switchvox has that all encompassed or all incorporated in that single platform.
So again when you purchase Switchvox and you have an active system with active subscriptions, you’re going to get all of the features in that particular product, so that’s one of the areas that were actually different from those competitors.
One of the other areas that our customers frequently tell us about is that, you mentioned it Randy, the proprietary aspect of oftentimes those particular solutions, versus Digium Switchvox. We really take into consideration that we are built on open source technology and obviously we maintain the solution and provide a very secure solution for our customers, we do howeveer want to maintain the open communications principal.
So, therefore, we base our product on open standards such as IP technology or we base it on SIP Standards Based Protocols, so that you can easily integrate Switchvox into existing networks, and you’re not tied into a lot of proprietary protocols and obligated to purchase specific gateways or specific routers or switches etc when purchasing this particular telephony solution.
So it provides the customer flexibility and that even gets down to the IP telephone they use, so if they have a specific brand of telephone they would like to use, it will work with Switchvox, because we are again based on open standards and protocols. So that’s another way we differentiate from oftentimes those particular vendors.