New, former Digium CEOs on Asterisk PBX future

Danny Windham discusses the future of Digium and open source IP PBX

Open source PBX maker Digium has appointed Danny Windham to be CEO of the company and announced that its founder, Mark Spencer, will become chairman of the board and CTO. The two men answered questions during a teleconference Tuesday about the future of the company, which markets the open source Asterisk IP PBX. Some of the questions and answers follow.

What are the major opportunities you see for Digium?

Windham: Digium has what so many companies spend their entire lives trying to get, which is brand awareness for the product and awareness of the company itself. With Digium, that awareness is worldwide. I think the IP telephony marked worldwide is a gigantic market opportunity. Understanding how you position an open source IP telephony product offering to capture a portion of that market is the challenge that Digium has at hand.

Spencer: Not to mention that we already have profitability and growth behind us to help catapult us. It's not like we're going into this completely blind.

What is the first thing you will do to realize this potential?

Windham: Just getting my feet on the ground here, I'm still trying to assess what is the first right thing to do. But Asterisk today has been adopted by early adopters and those who are on the bleeding edge of technology. We would like to position Digium to enable Asterisk to cross the chasm so that the mass market can adopt the product and use it successfully.

Where do you see Digium 10 years from now?

Windham: The mission of Digium is we're out to build a company that will be successful and sustainable. The mission is to do all the right things for long-term growth and invest in areas that will provide long-term return.

What is the future of Asterisk in telecom networks?

Spencer: From the technological perspective I would say Asterisk is already widely in use in carriers. In the short run we want to focus on capturing specific segments of the market first and then expand that base. One of Asterisk's strengths is to be everything to everyone. It provides PBX functionality, IVR, conferencing, Internet integration, voice over IP gatewaying - the list is almost endless.

How will the company expand its channel partners?

Windham: The channel development efforts underway are to build a channel to reach the medium and small-sized business networks.

How is that different from what you already do?

Spencer: Today the channel that we have is largely to address people who are already somewhat familiar with Linux and Asterisk. We are expanding what we are doing with Asterisk to bring the technology from the very highly technical early adopters across to a market where people are not as familiar with Linux or Asterisk and maybe don't especially want to be. Making that transition is a big part of what we're doing.

What are you doing to make Asterisk less techie?

Spencer: There will be an announcement in the next couple of weeks to address that.

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