Open Source changed the business landscape upside down in the last decade. I
know I am going to ruffle a few feathers with a statement now but I going to say
it because I am convinced that it is a correct assessment. It is my opinion that
Open Source broke open the market from the monopolistic clutches of the
proprietary software companies and helped Cloud Computing take a foothold in the
marketplace. If not for this leveling of playing field by the Open Source, the
traditional software vendors, with the monopoly kind of hold on the market,
would have killed the idea of computing on the Clouds in the bud itself. In the
coming decade, Open Source and Cloud Computing are going to change the market,
including the enterprise segment, completely from the way it exists today.
On the communication side, VOIP has changed the landscape upside down from
the clutches of powerful telecom companies. It has leveled the playing field,
making the communication across the globe really cheap and easily accessible to
businesses of any size in any country. One of the significant playmaker on the
VOIP side is the Open Source PBX and Telephony platform Asterisk. It broke open the,
till then, proprietary communication industry and made it easily available to
everyone from individuals to small businesses to enterprises. Asterisk can be a
PBX switch or an IVR or a complete call center. This powerful communication
platform is one of the biggest innovations coming from the Open Source side.
Imagine the advantages one can achieve if this innovative Open Source
technology, Asterisk, is married to the other innovation in the market, Cloud
Computing. Imagine the endless opportunities such a marriage could create,
starting with superior performance to extraordinary savings. Installing Asterisk
on the clouds is a breeze. Anyone with little bit of system admin knowledge
(like setting up an OS) can do it. I do expect a much stronger marriage between
VOIP and Cloud Computing in the near future. I do envision a scenario where
companies will offer complete telephony as a service in the cloud. Then, we will
be able to take advantage of the utility nature of the Cloud Computing for our
Even though it might take a while before we see such a service offered to
customers, there are ways to start off with Telephony on the Clouds right away.
From small businesses to enterprises, it is possible to tap into the power of
Amazon Web Services and Asterisk to build anything from a simple PBX to a Call
Center solution. It is possible to install and run Asterisk on Amazon EC2
seamlessly and take care of the communication needs of any business. Voxilla has a series of two
articles explaining how to do it.
I hope businesses, small and big, can pick up on this article and build their
communication system on the Amazon Cloud. For those of you who want help with
Asterisk and its configuration, you can take advantage of free (and legal)
availability of O’Reilly book on Asterisk.