PIKA Technologies Inc., today announced the release of its PIKA Appliance for Asterisk
. The PIKA Appliance for Asterisk. According to PIKA, "This unit provides developers with an out-of-the-box embedded computer that allows them to deploy Asterisk with a rich set of traditional and next-generation telephony features, optimized for the SMB environment. "
It includes KSU-like features including power-failure transfer, audio input for music-on-hold and audio output for paging. The Appliance of course works with both VoIP and analog trunks and telephones. On the VoIP side, the Appliance can accommodate up to a combination of 100 trunks (FXO) and telephones. Each unit comes equipped with one analog telephone (FXS) port for portable phones, fax machines and answering machines, and can be expanded with up to eight additional analog ports to be used for either trunks or telephones.
What I find interesting about this news is that we now have the Asterisk Appliance by Digium, the trixbox appliance by Fonality, and now the PIKA Appliance for Asterisk. All three products have "appliance" in the name. And of course there are other Asterisk-based "appliances" that don't necessarily have "appliance" in the name, such as Intuitive Voice Technology's Evolution PBX. The other interesting thing about this news is that PIKA makes their own TDM hardware, so they already competed with Digium, but now with this news they not only compete with Asterisk on hardware, they also compete with them on software. Digium offers the Asterisk Appliance as well as Asterisk Business Edition which are both competitors to this new PIKA product.
PIKA responded to me with this statement: "PIKA is not competing with Digium on software but including their Asterisk software right off of their website. PIKA is not selling a PBX out of the box, rather it is selling a development package that the company expects developers to add their applications to, before reselling to end users."
What I meant by "software side" was simply that Digium offers a paid version of their software - Asterisk Business Edition, which is a complete hardware and software solution. By PIKA utilizing the freely available Asterisk GPL code, they are bypassing paying Digium both for the TDM hardware and software. PIKA isn't for example paying Digium's Asterisk commercial licensing fee
. Thus, I was simply analyzing the competitive impact this announcement has on Digium. Of course, most companies in the Asterisk ecosystem use the freely available Asterisk GPL code, so this isn't specific to PIKA.
In any event, PIKA said, “PIKA Appliance for Asterisk is unique in so many ways. There is nothing else quite like it on the market today,” said Terry Atwood, vice president of sales, marketing and customer care at PIKA. “By taking the features of a KSU and putting them into a small, low-cost, very reliable computer appliance with an open-source architecture, application developers can more effectively deliver their Asterisk solutions to small- and medium-sized business customers.
“In addition to the flexibility offered by Asterisk, the Appliance provides developers with the unique ability to private label the device, giving them the tools they need to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace,” said Atwood.
“Unlimitel is looking forward to being able to introduce the PIKA Appliance for Asterisk to its customers in the SMB market,” said Stephane Monette, operations director, Unlimitel. “As a VoIP service provider to SMBs, Unlimitel worked with PIKA to ensure that the PIKA Appliance for Asterisk would provide end customers with a comprehensive feature set that includes power-fail transfer capabilities on analog trunks and the ability to easily connect to external paging and music-on-hold systems, a flexible offering of FXO and FXS interfaces, and easy serviceability in the field.
“With the PIKA Appliance for Asterisk, Unlimitel will be able to provide its existing customer network with a PBX replacement that will grow our business as well as that of our resellers,” said Monette.
PIKA Appliance for Asterisk features include:
• Up to 100 IP trunk/station ports
• 1 FXS port standard in every unit
• Up to 8 additional analog FXO/FXS ports
• Traditional telephony features:
• Power failure transfer RJ11 jack(s)
• Music-on-hold audio input jack
• Paging system audio output jack
• Ethernet and USB ports
• 2x20 LCD display: backlit, API controlled, with front panel scroll button
• Powerful embedded processor
• SD flash memory
• Dynamic thermal management
PIKA Appliance for Asterisk will be generally available in Q1 2008.