Perhaps one of the biggest misperceptions among those who dabble in communications is that Asterisk is only used in small business environments. The reality is that Asterisk is being used in service provider environments as well.
Of course this doesn't mean that a product which happens to work great in a small to medium business is also able to simply flip a switch to become the heart of a service provider install.
In other words Asterisk + "a variety of additions" is what Mrs. or Mr. service provider needs to use this popular open source product to power services to their customers.
In an effort to simplify the process of adding Asterisk to the service provider environment, Digium -- the company behind the world's most popular open source communications software has partnered with Integrics, the maker of Enswitch.
According to an article
on the subject by TMCnet's Susan Campbell, Enswitch allows service providers to use Asterisk in order to provide, full-featured, telephone management and billing
solutions, calling card integration, toll free and number translation services, voice mail, call queuing, ACD, fax to e-mail, and multi-level IVR.
I am pretty impressed with the feature-set of Enswitch. For example, they provide XML and PDF invoices for customers, wizard-based activation, simple sales tax management, web-based administration, sophisticated authentication mechanisms, shared speed dials, .csv integration, dial by name, unlimited classes of service, etc.
In fact you may be hard pressed as a carrier to find a feature that Integrics hasn't thought of.
So what does such an announcement mean to the market? Well first off, service providers are likely to feel more comfortable working with products from Integrics as they now have the Digium brand, muscle and market power behind them.
In addition, we can expect the service provider market to embrace open source at an even more rapid pace than they are already doing.