You know I was just looking over the first 2 weeks worth of posts and I realised that I hadn't posted at all about Asterisk.
Considering how cool I think this software application is I'm surprised it's taken me this long. I know Asterisk may seem like a geek toy or something only companies can use but considering you can run Asterisk on a $100 P3 - 1Ghz pc it's something that everyone should look at for even the smallest of home offices.
Asterisk is an open source Linux based ip-pabx. That means you can download for free one of the smartest and most flexible IP PABX solutions available today.
To start check these links out;
There is a growing wealth of information on the wiki
(although a little unorganized)
Asterisk includes features out of the box such as
· Voicemail to email
· Fax to email
· Conference rooms with secured passwords
· Gui web control for conference rooms
· Agent and call centre stats
· Web displayed operators console including drop and drag transfers
· Dial from outlook/dial from html command.
· Text to speech – when I dial extension *61 my asterisk box downloads a text file of the New York weather report from the bureau of meteorology and then reads it aloud to me – (to get it to do this took only 40 lines of code)
· Remote agents – you could answer your office extension from your home pc.
· Auto/manual recording of calls (auto archive or email of calls to conversation participants)
Asterisk also gives you the ability to intuitively customize your solution as much or as little as you want, allowing this project to be open sources means you have 1,000+ developers out there working for you on customizations you can implement when/if you choose and as this technology is gpl’d you never need to worry about increasing costs or license fees.
For the non technical there is now asterisk@home http://asteriskathome.sourceforge.net (don’t be put off by the name – people run entire companies on this version)
Here is a link to the latest Beta version of Asterisk@home 2.0 http://www.voip-info.org/tiki-index.php?page=Asterisk+at++Home
The asterisk@home solution the easiest way to get started. It is an .iso cd that you burn, load into a suitable PC (I run mine on a P3-700) and this super smart scripting code automatically installs the following software;
- Asterisk (the open source switching software)
- AMP (an open source release of a gui configurator) they have their own separate sourceforge website https://sourceforge.net/projects/amportal
- FOP (a graphical web page for transferring calls, monitoring who is online etc) http://www.asternic.org
- Web meetme (a graphical web page for monitoring and controlling conference calls)
Asterisk gives you today for free what the very best Cisco, Nortel or Avaya can offer you for $40k+ and allows small companies (or the largest) the latest in technology.
Examples of this include my Sydney phone number which for $A9.50 a month is actually just an extension of my Asterisk PABX in New York.
I can make local calls across Australia for 10c unlimited, or I can receive calls from people in Sydney which only costs them a local call (and doesn't cost me anything at all apart from the $A9.50 per month).
Who doesn't have friends, families or customers overseas that they could take advantage of with something like this. Plus the ability to answer your home phone from your laptop in the office is always a cool feature.
Feel free to ask me any question you might have as I love this software and want to see it widely supported.