At Digium, we are often asked how we are able to offer both open-source Asterisk and a turn key solution like Switchvox Unified Communications system. People want to know if offering both is a conflict of interest or if one takes precedence over the other. The truth is, as a telecommunications company with the goal of empowering communications, it makes perfect sense to offer both.
Asterisk currently averages over 2 million downloads per year and has deployments in over 170 countries, which includes everything from simple IP PBX systems to alert messaging programs to networks that connect remote island nations to the rest of the world. As a free alternative to proprietary phone systems, Asterisk is a great option for smaller companies that cannot afford the price tag of a pre-built system, or for enterprises that need a more customized solution than is currently on the market.
As you can see, Asterisk has certainly done its job of empowering communications across the globe, but it isn’t always the best option for all companies looking to implement a VoIP phone system. As amazing as Asterisk is, it may not be the best fit for those who are short on time and resources. It has a bit of a learning curve, too, and although there is plenty of content online and training partners located around the world to help people get started, sometimes companies simply don’t have the time to devote to building out a custom communications solution for their business. We at Digium understand this and that is why we offer Switchvox, a complete IP phone system built on top of Asterisk. It gives companies the power of Asterisk and the reliability of an established open source platform, but provides all of the features companies are looking for already built out and preconfigured. Instead of IT administrators having to program a new IP PBX, Switchvox allows them to take advantage of advanced features straight out of the box.
Over the years, we have had countless companies compare Asterisk and Switchvox to find the communications solution that is the right fit for their company. FormFast, a technology leader in automating medical documents and streamlining workflow for hospitals and medical clinics, was recently faced with this decision. As a highly skilled, technical company, they were intrigued with the idea of developing their own phone system. They thought it would be the perfect solution for their growing company, which included a call center and over 100 remote employees. However, after conducting research for the project, FormFast realized they just did not have the time and resources to dedicate to the project.
FormFast began speaking with a local reseller, PhoneWire, to discuss their proprietary options, and when PhoneWire introduced them to Switchvox, they were hooked. Since Switchvox is built on top of Asterisk, it gave them all of the features and functionality of an Asterisk system, but it was preconfigured for an easy deployment. It also helped to reduce the price of Switchvox to make it considerably more affordable than other vendors’ pre-built phone systems.
Since Switchvox utilizes the flexibility of Asterisk, FormFast no longer has to worry about connecting their remote employees. They simply use Switchvox’s web-based interface to easily add new employees regardless of their location. FormFast has also enjoyed the built-in Unified Communications features Switchvox has to offer, such as the integration with their Salesforce CRM.
If you are a company trying to decide whether Asterisk or Switchvox is the right fit for you, I strongly encourage you to check out the FormFast case study. You can see their decision process and how they weighed the pros and cons of each system.