Senior Director of Strategic Marketing for North America at AudioCodes alan.percy@audiocodes.com

As I weave my way through the Atlanta Airport, thoughts of this week’s Astricon begin to sink in.  Astricon is the annual Mecca for upwards of 800 developers, enterprises and service providers that have built (or planning to build) solutions based on the popular Asterisk open source software.

Mark Spencer, the original developer of Asterisk has made quite a career out of his IP-PBX-like donation to the open source community – feeding untold developers that have built creative applications and business solutions.   I’m always grateful that Mark makes an effort to stop by and talk to virtually everyone at the event – he personally connects with those that share his passion.  (I would be nice if all founders and CEOs felt as connected to their customers and didn’t hide behind their handlers)

Other regulars make the week a great networking event.  I always enjoy the endless needling about fax from David Duffett, the Asterisk Community Leader and trainer/entertainer.  Who can resist hearing about the latest project from the “voice” of Asterisk – Allison Smith and her rock-star-like status among the sea of men?

One of the benefits for me in attending Astricon is the steady stream of visitors to our booth that start their discussion with “hey, we use AudioCodes in our….” and then describe some very creative solution that uses our gateways, E-SBCs or IP Phones.  From a hospital using our MP-124s to drive the bed-side phones, to hospitality, and a few large contact centers – it’s always great to see the sparkle in the developers eye.  (Now if I could just catch that sparkle in a video case study)

This year I made an effort to attend some of the sessions, clearing my schedule to listen into both keynote addresses.  Wednesday’s presentation from  Clint Oram, CTO at SugarCRM was an interesting perspective on how to take open source solutions to market, building a software solution that would stand the test of time and survive potential legal challenges.

Thursday’s keynote from Chris Gatch, EVP and CTO from Cbeyond was particularly interesting to me, as he explained some of the challenges that his ITSP and SIP trunking provider faces in growing in a fractured and difficult broadband access market.  I hadn’t realized how dependent these providers were on the ILECs and last mile access.  Going so far as target specific buildings and business parks that have access to fiber or DS3 facilities, Cbeyond sales people have to target locations that have the infrastructure needed for their services to be profitable.  He also shared some thought on what Cbeyond sees in hosting cloud applications in their data centers – finishing his presentation with a quote-worthy comment “Commit to the Cloud”.  But I wondered, “will the cloud commit to me?”

Looking forward to next year, but this time I’ll bring our video equipment to catch some of that “sparkle” on camera.

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