AINEO Networks originally started as a phone company in 1997. We started with AT&T (now Avaya) phone systems and moved into NEC with the incoming engineers from NEC group companies. As a company with over half of our clients as multinational corporations (MNC), we had to build our Cisco Call Manager skills to support these partners (clients). We developed a niche with NorTel systems in 2003 with the best NorTel engineering team in Japan. In 2007, we began searching for the web 2.0 version of IP telephone systems. We discovered ShoreTel and feel they are the best in class for any office or facility. Of course, Avaya is still great in call centers. NEC has also introduced some great new products.
From about 2005 i n Japan, we have seen limited interest in Asterisk open source IP phone systems built on LINUX. A FREE telephone systems for everyone! All you have to buy is the hardware.
Well, we’ve all learned in life, “You get what you pay for”. That is true for open source as well. For example, Microsoft is plugging all their security holes on their servers OS lately, so what will people attack next? LINUX, of course. The same seems to go true for telephone systems at this point.
We did a bit of research and for telephone systems, Asterix Guru Brian Miller in the US made the following comments. About the systems he knows and ‘loves’.
1) Fully customizable- Good but also an easy way to get hamstrung if your engineer leaves your business (as he/she knows exactly how it was set up)
2) Not as stable as a truly supported IP PBX.
3) Has no distributed architecture and therefore IS a single point of failure
To summarize, we expect voice to become more and more packets on the network. Everyone is going UC (Unified Communications). However, your telephones are still an important part of most business. Therefore, having a fully-supported system with a solid maintenance team (such as AINEO) and supplier behind them is a must for must business. The market seems to be demonstrating that open-source telephone systems will continue to be for people with no budget, tinkerers, and companies that are not really leading their industries. Definitely something to consider.