Digium Updates Asterisk VoIP Platform

IP software SMB

While the software won't be available until March, it will hit all Switchvox appliances.

According to Tristan Degenhardt, director of product marketing for Switchvox, Monday's update is Digium's biggest release to date and targeted specifically at small and midsize businesses.

At 4.0's core are new features like Web-aware unified communications, which ties in fax, video and chat; switchboard panel additions; call-queue enhancements; and Switchvox Notifier, a Windows desktop client that replaces Switchvox's old Outlook plug-in and interacts with Office applications for pop-up call notifications and histories and one-click options to add Outlook contacts and dial numbers.

Based on Asterisk, the open-source telephony software, the Switchvox SMB update also integrates a host of commonly used applications like Google Maps, and Web-based CRM software like Salesforce and SugarCRM. The update also offers new APIs that let businesses tie in back-office software along with support for instant messaging, fax and video calling.

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The addition of Web-aware UC opens the door for companies to use the Switchvox box as a private chat server, which also integrates with third-party chat applications like Trillian -- based on the XMPP protocol. It opens the door for integration with Web and back-office applications, essentially turning the phone system into a UC platform. With fax integration, users can send and receive faxes via Switchvox. The video-calling feature supports video phones that use codec standards H.263 and H.264.

Another addition is centralized presence, which offers presence and status details for calls and chat activity that are visible across multiple peered Switchvox PBXs.

Voice enhancements in Switchvox SMB 4.0 include Web-aware interactive voice response (IVR) tools, which enable the exchange of data and sound files within Web apps and unified messaging updates for IMP integration for voicemail and faxing and customized greetings and email notifications.

Digium also added auto-provisioning for Snom IP phones, meaning users can plug in Snom devices and go. Switchvox also continues to support Polycom's VoIP phones.

For VARs, Degenhardt said, the Switchvox enhancements offer a new way to add services by writing applications through the XML API. Solution providers can also offer clients an alternative to having a separate chat server and fax server by having both pre-built into the appliance.

The updates also further a resellers' ability to create custom VoIP solution for their clients. The addition of auto-configuration of Snom, along with its Polycom integration, also alleviates the need for VARs to manually configure customers' devices.

Degenhardt said Switchvox SMB 4.0 is available for free to customers with a Switchvox SMB software subscription. For new customers, the software starts at $3.390 for a 10-user system, including hardware, software, a one-year subscription and warranty.