Asterisk is a huge phenomenon. I had no idea how big, actually, until about six weeks ago, when Stephan Monette, the owner of Unlimitel and an iotum business partner, told me that we should think about targeting Asterisk users with iotum. As of January, Mark Spencer estimated that there were 250,000 Asterisk installations worldwide, growing at about 20,000 per month. The VoIP-Info Wiki lists hundreds of Asterisk system builders and Asterisk consultants. And IBM, Linksys, and Intel have all made commitments to the Asterisk platform.
Well, today, iotum is also making a commitment to the Asterisk platform. Over the last couple of months we’ve built an Asterisk integration kit, consisting of source code, and API documentation, for an Asterisk module to allow the PBX to communicate directly with the iotum server. Ted Wallingford broke the story last night on his blog.
The integration kit is going out in non-commercial beta at this point, which means it’s free to use for now. Sometime over the next few months we’ll roll out pricing information, and the details of a revenue sharing program as well. We intend for Asterisk resellers to be able to earn money by incorporating iotum features into their installations. Application developers building products that incorporate iotum features will be able to earn some money too. Stay tuned for more details.
The beta has all of the features of iotum, and the iotum Pronto Conference Calling application that we demo’d in Phoenix at DEMO 2006, save one. At this point the team hasn’t completed the code necessary for an Asterisk server to call out to conference call participants and bring them into the call. Look for that in an upcoming beta.
The beta is also interesting from another perspective. To my knowledge, this is the first time anyone has done a mashup of Asterisk, Microsoft Outlook, and MSN Messenger. It’s a little Web 2.0’ness applied to telephony — the kind of mashup I call Voice 2.0. With iotum, you’ll be able to use MSN Messenger presence information to tell Asterisk where to send your calls, and Outlook contact and calendar information to have Asterisk automatically decide whether you want to take the call right now or not. It’s pretty nifty!
To get the kit, head over to www.iotum.com. A link will be live shortly to allow you to download it.