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And the big news at Astricon will be …?

The Digium Astricon (www.astricon.net) show has become Digium’s annual event to announce Big News.  Three years ago, the acquisition of Switchvox took place.  Two years ago, it was the Skype/Digium interop agreement, while last year it was an IBM/Digium agreement. 

Perhaps the big clue is Digium’s Kevin Fleming giving Wednesday morning’s keynote. From the description of his keynote on the AstriCon website–

“The Future of Open Source Communications
Asterisk has been an industry-changing open source project that has grown with the support of an active and thriving community. The news that Kevin Fleming will be sharing at AstriCon will further the disruption of the communications industry, as Asterisk did with its original release, and demonstrate Digium’s commitment to taking open source communications in an exciting direction for the Asterisk Community. “

Soooo… what does this mean, exactly? A deep embrace of Unified Communications (UC)? An overhaul of Asterisk code with lots of shiny bells and whistles?  Something else completely?

A lot of the sessions this year seem to be built around the theme of “Asterisk is Scalable, Asterisk is Enterprise-quality,” with presentations from Orbitz, Gemeinschaft bragging about 10,000 phones with an Asterisk cluster, how to compete with Cisco and Avaya in Enterprise, mission-critical Asterisk implementations in Brazil and the energy industry, and a bunch of VoIP security stuff ladled on top.

Hopefully, this year’s announcement will be on the level of goodness that the Switchvox acquisition brought to the company.   It took almost a year for Digium to work out the bugs with the Skype/SIP gateway and now Skype is Best Buds with Avaya.  I’ve also been told that IBM has ditched their marketplace scheme, so Asterisk won’t be distributed through that channel.

Digium should also try to address some grumbling among some of its partners that the company has become too “ADTRAN-like” in its processes and slow to respond to requests for new feature adds to Asterisk and opportunities for working with the company.

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