As the MD of Gradwell, the UK’s largest hosted VoIP provider based on the Asterisk platform, I thought it would be a good idea to attend Astricon 2011, the Asterisk user’s conference in Dever Colorado.

Apart from the brief experiment that was Astricon London, this is the first time I’ve been to the conference.  I wasn’t disappointed. It has been a very good event, really worth coming to and it has helped generate have a lot of useful ideas. I was interested to find out what was happening in the industry, take some time to catch up on the latest technical nuts and bolts of the platform, and see what exciting things are in store in the future.

Having attended a few general VoIP events in the previous two to three years, I had come to the conclusion that most people are getting on with the business of selling fairly normal telephony to fairly normal companies. I’d say the same is true of the people at Astricon – except that lots is going on in the software development area, reworking code and laying the ground work for much bigger scale use of open source VoIP. In particular, features like video are coming to the fore.

In my opinion the most interesting talks at Astricon 2011 were to do with the real life experiences of using the platform; specifically the changes and improvements users made to the guts of the system to fit it around what they wanted to do. Given that the Gradwell live platform was built a few years ago, it is clear that the latest release enables a number of lower level improvements to call handling, as well as loads of new, cool functionality.

Watch this space for my reviews and comments of project Asterisk SCF, Asterisk versions 10 and 11, virtualisation and kernel technology, how to distribute multiple customers across lots of servers, Asterisk storing voicemail in MySQL, and why web phones offer the greatest potential for CRM integration.


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