What is Digium?
An Alabama-based company established in 1999 by Mark Spencer, Digium, Inc. is a privately held communication technology company that aims to empower developers to build and design their telephony apps in a way that best fits the goals of their organizations. Asterisk is the foundational open source software developed by Digium. The company is also responsible for creating various software that enables people to set up a server and make calls. At present day, many VoIP services make use of Asterisk due to features such as openness, ease-of-use, and cost savings.
Digium’s history is rooted in a desire to open up the most flexible and advanced business communication technologies to organizations of all types and sizes. Today, the company remains the maintainer and sponsor of the Asterisk project, with its open source code available free of charge. Asterisk now includes some of the most talented minds from over 170 countries, with approximately 2 million servers running the software.
Digium has continued to design and offer auxiliary services and products to extend the power of Asterisk, which includes IP phones, telephony cards, and SIP Trunking services. Asterisk is also used as a founding ground of Switchvox, Digium’s innovative phone system that is available on-premises or as a cloud-based solution. Switchvox provides enterprise-caliber Unified Communications features at an all-inclusive cost, making it perfect for all types of small and medium-sized companies, universities, and schools, non-profit and governmental organizations.
Advantages of Asterisk
Asterisk is not a phone company in the sense that it manufactures telephone sets or physical components. Rather, it will provide the basic software building blocks for many communications systems, and can constantly be changed as conditions require. Even though originally designed for Linux, Asterisk now incorporates Mac OS X, NetBSD, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and Solaris. It can also provide a Microsoft Windows port called Asterisk Win32.
When installed, the Asterisk software can transform an ordinary computer into a device that can function as a conference server, PBX or VoIP gateway. Asterisk PBX systems include many of the same features found in proprietary systems, including voice response for phone menus, voice mail, conference calling, and call distribution. Furthermore, it is also responsible for the following core product and service offerings at Digium:
- VoIP Phone Systems
- Cloud services
- IP Phones
- Web RTC
- Custom communications
Small to medium-sized businesses have been experiencing the gains and benefits of Asterisk phone system for many years now, and the framework is used in more than 170 countries. Unlike other telecommunication brands, Asterisk assists clients by showing them how the system works, thus enabling them to make any enhancements or amendments later. Here are five main benefits that Asterisk has to offer to its users.
- For developers and non-developers – Asterisk offers benefits to both communication users and developers alike. Developers can create solutions and apps with Asterisk, as long as they have a working knowledge of Linux, telephony, network, and programming. If you lack that kind of knowledge, then you can inquire Digium about using their pre-built Asterisk solutions or looking for an Asterisk integrator.
- Flexible – Asterisk can be utilized in many communication apps. Some of the things you can build with Asterisk include IP PBX, voicemail server, VoIP gateway, IVR server, conference bridge, and call center. The software is also pretty simple to integrate, making it easier to connect your communication products altogether.
Many call centers around the world have adopted the Asterisk system mainly because it is flexible and adaptable to existing features such as bulk dialing, remote IP agent capabilities, and advanced routing. It calls for no additional hardware for use with voice over IP. However, it does require hardware devices and cards for certain kinds of interfaces, including standard telephony cards, and this support comes from the parent company, Digium, Inc.
- Hassle free – Asterisk is free to use under the terms of the GNU GPLv2 license. It has zero license fee for features and users, no upgradation charges, and no vendor lock-ins. This allows Asterisk to be a rather cost-effective and easy telephony platform for improving the communications in your business.
- Help economize on business costs - For large businesses that have locations in several geographical areas, using Asterisk will allow the different offices to connect to the network. This can eliminate a big chunk of the expense that a company spread over several states usually incurs in conference calls. Additionally, employees who must travel frequently can stay in touch with the office’s PBX system as long as they have an Internet connection.
Asterisk phone systems allow every extension to have its voicemail box. These voicemail boxes are connected to the employee's email accounts, so no one will ever miss a message again.
- Customizable - Asterisk is also designed to provide a telephony setup program known as AsteriskNOW. Downloading this allows customization, and the creation of solutions by building the inner workings of a system. Much of the complexity of Asterisk and Linux is handled by the administrative GUI, which allows your system engineer to entirely incorporate into existing system products such as VoIP or, IP PBX, Conference Bridge, a Call Center ACD, and much more.
In short, Asterisk phone systems offer the best of both worlds to their users. They offer an array of impressive features to the business at a cost that is much more reasonable than the traditional phone systems. There are other VOIP PBX options out there, but Asterisk is the oldest and most well established, making it the preferred choice for many business owners.
Should you ever have a problem with your Asterisk system, you can easily get in touch with Digium and seek help directly. The company’s friendly Asterisk consulting professionals will help navigate the problem for you and get the system up and running as quickly as possible.