The traditional PBX is dying a death by million cuts. Open source Asterisk has already bottled PBX into an easy to download, but slightly hard to configure open software package. Thought it is not a major issue anymore. There are tons of other options. And now comes another player, this time from Belgium with their own twist on a SoftPBX. Checkout SIPCat, and come back with your thoughts.
13 thoughts on “Another SoftPBX Launches”
FYI, here’s an article I wrote about using Asterisk and Gizmo to build a worldwide PBX that is a local call in over 30 countries. Granted, we’re not a typical small business, we build teleconferencing systems, but I still find it amazing what you can do with Asterisk and its offspring (Freeswitch is one to watch).
The big trend to watch now is the death of centralized phone systems in general. We only use Asterisk to route calls, and use Gizmo as the end point, which is another example of Isen’s Stupid Network principle. It’s smart, getting smarter, and has a nice UI. So we let it decide what to do with call forwarding, voice mail, etc.
Neat stuff, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
I checked out the website and it appears SIPCat has an Asterisk core. I’m betting we’ll see as many of these PBX software companies, as softphones. It’s a good business model and plenty of business to go around.
rick do you think there will be a business around the idea of simplifying asterisk? just wondering. it seems if the core is asterisk, the User experience and feature enhancements are one way to distinguish themselves! much like ubuntu linux?
Om, absolutely… features, functionality, and ease of use.
I suppose one could eventually provide a solution out of the box that you simply install like a Microsoft product with new features.
In fact, it will be interesting to see a product on retail shelves. Wouldn’t that be cool… a PBX product at Best Buy.
I would think as opposed to a software in the box solution, you’d just see a preconfigured hardware solution. Actually, there is plenty of room for both on the shelves.
Come to think of it, isn’t this a good fit for Apple? iPBX, anyone?
It is a natural target for disruption, I totally agree that pre configured hardware would be what will more likely see in this space. It would be goo to know if SIPCat can run on openWRT, I assume it can if it has an Asterisk core. That brings real world application of hardware on something like an ADSL WiFi Router.
I think we are a ways off from seeing a successful mass market PBX retail play. Linksys is testing the waters with their LVS-9000 product ecosystem, which runs on solid state, inexpensive hardware. PBX core unit is not much bigger than a deck of cards, has an intuitive interface, you can pair it with an FXO gateway for PSTN connectivity. That’s another point to make, even with the fast rise of SIP based services, the PSTN is not going anywhere, anytime soon. The Linksys LVS system is about as “user friendly” a product as I have encountered, and it is still well beyond the grasp of the average small business in terms of self-install.
One poster mentions the potential for “real world application of hardware on something like an ADSL WiFi Router.” Asterisk has already been successfully integrated with off the shelf, consumer grade router hardware from Linksys. You can’t do much heavy lifting, i.e transcoding, on such a host platform, but Moore’s Law should change that over the next few years.
Cory wrote, “The Linksys LVS system is about as “user friendly” a product as I have encountered, and it is still well beyond the grasp of the average small business in terms of self-install.”
This is why I smell oportunity for someone like Apple, who is known for adding that crucial usability angle to emerging tech. Is the market big enough, especially when you consider competition from Centrex-like services, that is the question.
I would not underestimate Apple’s ability to bring any product or service to market, but I do not believe that the small business PBX market is their marketplace. They expend a great deal of time and energy creating products that are not only intuitive, but also great from a design/aesthetic standpoint. I’m not sure a lot of small businesses care that their PBX is housed in a clean white cube, nor do a lot of them want to administer it themselves, no matter how user friendly. PBXs are not sexy.
I was very surprised to see them enter the server space, but their is a pretty targeted demographic for such a product, in a world where server hardware and rackspace are a commodity.
If they were going to enter the voice space at all, I would expect a product along the lines of the “iPhone” which has been speculated about for some time. I think they’d be looking for more of a mass market, with an immediate path to ROI.
I am currently playing with SIPCAT their support seams very good and they are plug and play with many phones