New technologies help make IP telephony easier, cheaper, more secure

Digium was on hand at the ACUTA conference to discuss Asterisk, as well as the array of support and other services the company sells to complement the software.

When the University of Pennsylvania began a project to converge its voice and data onto a single, fiber-based network, campus officials turned to Asterisk to run its IP telephony.

“We needed a forward-looking solution, one that … could be flexible enough to be configured and extended by us, at a cost of operation that is no more than what we were currently incurring,” said Dikran Kassabian, senior technology director for the University of Pennsylvania’s Information Systems and Computing group, in a Digium-published case study.

Asterisk runs on the Linux, BSD Unix, and Mac OS X operating systems, and it’s compatible with nearly all standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware, Digium says. It includes call conferencing, interactive voice response, call queuing, and unified messaging capabilities, as well as three-way calling and caller ID, and it supports the ADSI, SIP, and H.323 protocols.

Kassabian anticipates the software will enable UPenn to provide the best possible service at the least cost. He imagines a day when campus officials can provide integration from students’ wireless phones, so they can take advantage of no-charge dialing or access to university resources like calendars and other applications right from their phones.

“This is really the start of a larger project,” he said. “There is so much more we have in front of us in terms of modernizing [our] communication services. … We anticipate Asterisk will play a part in this effort.”

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