Today, at ITEXPO, the premiere communications event, Digium launched a line of IP phones that work in conjunction with their Asterisk and Switchvox solutions. This truly could be a gamechanger, since Asterisk is a popular IP-PBX solution that popular 3rd party phone vendors such as Aastra, snom, and Polycom offer products for. This move by Digium and the impact on these phone vendors could be quite interesting. This reminds me of 2008 when Aastra, a traditional IP phone manufacturer decided to offer a full-fledged IP-PBX based on Asterisk, called AastraLink. As I said during the AastraLink 2008 product launch:
Aastra Telecom has entered the IP-PBX game with the AastraLink Pro 160. This is a very interesting move since Aastra Telecom is known for their IP phones used by various IP-PBXs, including many of the Asterisk-based solutions - trixbox, AsteriskNOW, Druid, PBX in a Flash, etc. With the AastraLink Pro 160 Aastra is now competing with IP-PBX vendors that purchase their phones. It will be interesting to see if some IP-PBX vendors, especially the Asterisk-based ones, move towards other IP phones such as Polycom
Aastra even admitted in a follow-up interview I did that this was a delicate issue with their partners. Digium offering IP phones could have much more of an impact than Aastra's move did back in 2008. Digium is espousing their new phones by promoting, "Simple configuration and game-changing app engine" as well as "best possible performance, unprecedented integration and a uniquely customizable phone system."
“Digium’s new phones mark the launch of the next chapter in our history of innovation,” said Danny Windham, president and CEO of Digium. “These are the first phones designed specifically for Asterisk—with the tightest integration possible between the phones and Asterisk. The success of Asterisk began with the transfer of power from the hands of the proprietary phone vendors to the hands of end users and administrators of phone systems. And now we’ve done it again by bringing control to the desk phone. These phones are absolutely the easiest to install, integrate, provision and use with both Asterisk and Switchvox. And best of all, we’ve done all of this at a very competitive price point, providing our customers with the best value in business phone systems.”