A Telephony Revolution with Asterisk

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you,
then they fight you, then you win.
—Mahatma Gandh

we confidently predicted that Asterisk would fundamentally change the telecommunications industry.  Asterisk is now the most successful private branch exchange (PBX) in the world, and is an accepted (albeit perhaps not always loved) technology in the telecom industry.
Unfortunately, over the past nine years the telecom industry has continued to lose its
way. The methods by which we communicate have changed. Whereas 20 years ago
phone calls were the preferred way to converse across distances, the current trend is to
message via text (email, IM, etc.). The phone call is seen as a bit of a dead thing, especially
by up-and-coming generations.
Asterisk remains pretty awesome technology, and we believe it is still one of the best
hopes for any sort of sensible integration between telecom and all the other technologies
businesses might want to interconnect with.
With Asterisk, no one is telling you how your phone system should work, or what
technologies you are limited to. If you want it, you can have it. Asterisk lovingly em‐
braces the concept of standards compliance, while also enjoying the freedom to develop
its own innovations. What you choose to implement is up to you—Asterisk imposes no
Naturally, this incredible flexibility comes with a price: Asterisk is not a simple system
to configure. This is not because it’s illogical, confusing, or cryptic; on the contrary, it
is very sensible and practical. People’s eyes light up when they first see an Asterisk
dialplan and begin to contemplate the possibilities. But when there are literally thou‐
sands of ways to achieve a result, the process naturally requires extra effort. Perhaps it can be compared to building a house: the components are relatively easy to understand, but a person contemplating such a task must either a) enlist competent help or b) develop the required skills through instruction, practice, and a good book on the subject.


Leave a Reply