Channel Gives A Boost to Open Source
Westcon Group to supply Digium open-source VoIP products to channel partners
Distributor Westcon Group and telephony products supplier Digium reached an agreement that will allow VARs access to Digium's complete line of Asterisk-based non-proprietary telephony products, including IP PBXs, appliances, software and telephony cards.
"We see this as a big boost for the open-source market," said Bill Miller, vice president of product marketing for privately held Digium. "This is a pure open-source program that we will move commercially. Resellers get a great opportunity to customize their own (telecom) technology platforms."
Miller contended Digium's open-source systems would win up being priced to businesses between 40 and 80 percent below those of larger competitors, setting the stage for the channel to build a strong revenue opportunity.
IP telephony in general and VoIP is particular have become hot areas for VARs during the last few years, but such products can be difficult for smaller solution providers to service and support. By joining with a distributor such as Westcon, Digium hopes that resellers will receive the training and support they need to be successful in the telecom space. Access to Digium's product line also will allow channel partners to compete more effectively on price, performance and features, Miller added.
Digium already uses a number of smaller, boutique distributors in the U.S. and other markets to market its hardware and software products based on Asterisk, which Digium created and claims is the industry's first open-source telephony platform. The arrangement with Westcon will provide Digium access to a greater number of VARs. The company already has authorized 250 VARs on its own, according to Miller. However, Westcon has an estimated 10,000 customers, many of them service and solution providers, and Digium could gain access to many of these.
The financial value of the deal wasn't revealed.
Both Digium and Westcon are major players in the growing open-source field.
Digium defines its mission as transforming "the way businesses acquire and operate their communications systems through the application of open-source software." For its part, Westcon recently started a CollaborativePoint Open Source program. Approximately two dozen other vendors belong to that program, which Digium now joins. Westcon is also a key distributor for Nortel, Cisco, Juniper and other networking vendors.