Astricon: A Sparkle in Your Eye
The annual Asterisk event highlights the cloud, SIP Trunking, and the continued strength of the open-source IP-PBX community.
As I wove my way through the Atlanta Airport, thoughts of the week's Astricon event began to sink in. Astricon is the annual Mecca for upwards of 800 developers, enterprises and service providers that have built (or are planning to build) solutions based on the popular Asterisk open source software.
Mark Spencer, the original developer of Asterisk, has made quite a career out of his IP-PBX-like donation to the open source community--feeding untold developers that have built creative applications and business solutions. I'm always grateful that Mark makes an effort to stop by and talk to virtually everyone at the event--he personally connects with those who share his passion. (It would be nice if all founders and CEOs felt as connected to their customers and didn't hide behind their handlers)
Other regulars make the week a great networking event. I always enjoy the endless needling about fax from David Duffett, the Asterisk Community Leader and trainer/entertainer. And who can resist hearing about the latest project from the "voice" of Asterisk--Allison Smith and her rock-star-like status?
This year I made an effort to attend some of the sessions, clearing my schedule to listen into both keynote addresses. Wednesday's presentation from Clint Oram, CTO at SugarCRM, was an interesting perspective on how to take open source solutions to market, building a software solution that would stand the test of time and survive potential legal challenges.
Thursday's keynote from Chris Gatch, EVP and CTO from Cbeyond, was particularly interesting to me, as he explained some of the challenges that his ITSP and SIP trunking provider faces in growing amid a fractured and difficult broadband access market. I hadn't realized how dependent these providers were on the ILECs and last mile access. Going so far as target specific buildings and business parks that have access to fiber or DS3 facilities, Cbeyond sales people have to target locations that have the infrastructure needed for their services to be profitable.
Chris also shared some thoughts on what Cbeyond sees in hosting cloud applications in their data centers--finishing his presentation with a quote-worthy comment "Commit to the Cloud". But I wondered, "Will the cloud commit to me?"
I'm looking forward to next year, but this time I'll bring our video equipment to catch some of that "sparkle" on camera.