Asterisk's Mark Spencer Speaks

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Asterisk's Mark Spencer Speaks

The keynotes at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo keynotes kicked off today, the first day of this four-day event, with Mark Spencer of Digium/Asterisk to a huge audience.

 Mark started his talk by saying that his company runs VoIP on a network that is as he calls it "the the worst case scenario" and doing so allows them to find out if products are broken before others find problems. As developers they are thrilled to run on a network not designed for perfect voice delivery but not everyone in the company is as excited by this strategy (for obvious reasons).

Spencer says he also has to be sensitive to customer calls as people associate telephone quality with the products you make. Mark mentioned that his phone system was recently inundated by callers looking for a very funny message (Mark indicated the sound clip is available on CD and did not explain how you could hear it if you missed the conference). The message is a funny take off on a busy call center. It is very humurous in a Lily Tomlin sort of way. People began virally spreading an e-mail around telling others to call this number. Mark says they had only one PRI and callers were all calling on the toll free number. They were forced to do something many companies were doing. They asked their provider to send the calls over IP or IAX (pronounced eeks). They were forced into using VoIP and no one realized the change.

The moral of the story is that you need to sometimes have faith in the products you sell.

Mark mentioned they are working on integrating video into the Asterisk platform and are looking to improve capacity so they can accept more calls per server. Spencer went on to explain that Asterisk is supported by developers solving particular problems they have.

In addition, there are paid developers looking to improve Asterisk.

Mark says they are working to interoperate with Google Talk. He would love to have Asterisk interoperate with Skype as well but as he says it is up to Skype to allow this.

Here is a picture of me and Mark after his talk ( I swear he was signing autographs). We had to pry him from the audience who wanted to know more about Asterisk, open source and anything else going on at Digium.

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