What I Want to See from Switchvox at Astricon

Georgia on My Mind

This coming week, the world’s largest open source telephony conference, known as Astricon, convenes in Atlanta Georgia. Digium, the creator of Asterisk and developer of Switchvox, hosts this convention that attracts telecom coders, commercial PBX developers and telecommunications pundits from around the world.

Also, attending is me from little ol’ Teledynamic Communications. I’m very proud that this is my third year serving on the Digium Partner Advisory Council. 

Digium takes their partners very seriously, and they make us feel an integral part of their company. It’s a pretty cool feeling, the best I’ve ever enjoyed from a PBX maker.

Digium is well on their way to their best year ever. I’ve heard numerous numbers being thrown about regarding their organic growth, and they’ve been impressive to say the least. Their success will make for a very celebratory atmosphere, I’m sure.

While we’ll be enjoying the fruits of our success, even more important is what we learn and how we can help shape the Switchvox product line. In my 27 years in business, I’ve never enjoyed selling and maintaining a product as much as the Switchvox.

However, like any product or service, we always want more!

Top 5 Switchvox Features I’d Like to See

1. PBX Capacity

When the Switchvox was born, it was best suited for the very small office, typically under 20 people. Over the years though, the feature set has grown more robust, the PBX appliances getting evermore powerful and the appeal for the system has grown for larger businesses. However, today we are limited to 75 concurrent calls and 400 users. Come one, Digium, we need a system that will support twice as many users and calls. I had a prospect with 1,100 users who was very interested in your product. I’ve got my fingers crossed that you’ll deliver a BIG surprise. 

2. Active Directory Support

PBX makers have promised this for years and years, and very few have come through. Digium, it’s 2012, let’s make this happen. Setting up a telephone user should be like setting a computer user. Many IT managers are not big fans of PBX administration, and it’s for reasons like having no AD support.

3. Multi-Location Features

Switchvox, as described above has grown up and become a very viable solution for larger businesses. Many larger businesses have branch offices. IT managers want to tie their PBX’s tightly together and manage them from a single central admin panel. Switchvox lags the big boys here and in my opinion; this part of your offering needs to grow up.

You can do it; it’s only software!

4. Gigabit Capable Telephones

Gigabit, gigabit, gigabit!: Before I go on a rant, let me say that Digium absolutely hit it out of the park this year when they introduced their new line of phones. Exceptional build quality, beautiful speakerphone, great aesthetics and the integration with the Switchvox PBX is wonderful. And they are still on version 1 firmware!

However, two of the phones are 10/100 Ethernet. Any new phones must have GB Ethernet capability or don’t even bother. Digium, you aren’t the only manufacturer who needs to scolded in this area. I’ve been told by those seeming in the knows that the component prices on gigabit phones is high. Digium, find a way to break through so we aren’t embarrassed to tell our customers were still using 2001 technology in our phones.

You’ll sell more, we promise.

5. Digium Softphone/Call Manager

Digium relies on third party SIP clients such as the Counterpath Bria and uses their award-winning Switchboard for some aspects of computer-based call handling. I’ve been pounding the table for the past three years on this item. Give us a fully integrated call management application that makes the best use of your unified communications capabilities. Check out Microsoft’s Lync client for some good ideas on how to build a good UC product. I’d really like for you to step on the accelerator hard in this area.

Heading to Atlanta with High Hopes!

Yes, Digium, I am asking for a lot. I won’t get everything on my list answered at Astricon, but I’ve also learned to be pleasantly surprised that you are doing some cutting edge stuff that nobody else in the industry has even dreamed of. It’s one the many beauties of open source PBX – you can take your product new directions that the proprietary PBXes cannot.

And for that, we love you.

That and you run a tight ship over there, understanding that profit and financial strength come before everything else.

But that’s a whole other post!

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