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Mark Spencer’s talk at VON Canada

Mark Spencer, from Digium, is the other presentation I’ve been looking forward to. He’s talking about Asterisk, DUNDi, and the “opening of telephony”.

He’s starting off with a plug for open source, and all the benefits. C’mon Mark! Get to the meat.

Interesting tidbit: Asterisk does Bluetooth presence. When your bluetooth enabled cellphone goes out of range of your PC, it routes all the calls to the cellphone instead of your extension. Cool!

DUNDi is pretty interesting. Essentially DNS for voice. It propagates requests through the network until it finds the right egress point, and then routes the call there.  Sounds like it has lots of potential.

Most of Mark’s presentation was on the benefits of open source.  But the business models he put up on his slides could have been the same business models for a company with proprietary software. He made the point that if the software was free, then the margins possible on system should be really large for a VAR, but that’s a specious argument.  Anyone with a basic understanding of economics knows that commodity prices are elastic, and margins for fungible commodities tend to zero over time. So, as a software guy I found Mark’s message (and Maddog Hall’s earlier) really tough to stomach. Software should be free is the essence of what they had to say. Easy for Mark to say, since his company makes hardware that can take advantage of that software.  But what of those who are simply software vendors? I noted several prominent IP-PBX software vendors in the audience, and wondered what must have been going through their minds.

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