Skype for Asterisk Gives Small Businesses the Best of Both VoIP Worlds

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 01, 2009

Asterisk, the handy VoIP solution for making phone calls that I mentioned recently, just got a whole lot more attractive. Today Digium, the company behind the open source telephony software, announced the availability of Skype for Asterisk. With the new download, Asterisk users can call landlines, cellular devices, and other Skype users, right from any Asterisk-based phone.

Given that companies can simply download Skype for Business right from Skype's Web site, Digium's offering might seem like little more than an ease-of-use solution to help users avoid juggling multiple apps to make phone calls. However, it's actually much more than that.

Asterisk customers can manage multiple Skype accounts and calls, automatically route calls to different departments according to Skype profile fields, and manage status and privacy settings right from the Asterisk control panel. Small businesses can also use Skype for Asterisk for video calling, instant messaging, file sharing, and so on.

Conversely, Skype users can take advantage of Asterisk's advanced call features like interactive voice response and call transfer. Essentially, Skype for Asterisk takes the best features of both products and puts them all in one place so users aren't hopping from screen to screen just to make and receive calls.

Although all voice calls are natively encrypted, Skype's security has long been a concern for small businesses. Pete Engler, Product Manager, Strategic Products for Digium, tells OStatic, "[Skype for Asterisk] is comparable to the other channel drivers on the market. The business owners will need to configure the system properly. For instance they need to make sure they set their auth_policy to not accept requests for giving out profile details to anyone if they are concerned about such things."

Skype for Asterisk is compatible with both the free and paid versions of the telephony software, and is available from Digium's Web site or its Authorized Resellers and Distributors for $66 per concurrent call. It initially comes with 90 days of installation support and there's a robust user community to lean on if you need additional tech support after that.