[VoiceOps] What does you use for Hosted PBX and why?

Alex Balashov abalashov at evaristesys.com
Wed Mar 15 22:51:57 EDT 2017

Since we work predominantly with service providers that take open-source
approaches, we would be remiss not to plug that as an approach here.
It's taken by a significant percentage of the industry.

No, open source is definitely not free. But to those accustomed to a
Broadsoft-type experience, I think there are a lot of misconceptions
about it that stem from a lack of familiarity with how to approach the
open product ecosystem. There's a perception that it's "highly
technical" or, "Okay, I got FreeSWITCH to compile. Now what?"

In reality, there are _lots_ of "packaged" answers to this problem, if
you're just willing to look. If you don't want to build anything
yourself, there are many good commercial systems built on top of an
open-source technology stack. They cost some money, but nothing on the
order of the big brands, and are competitive and growing in the larger
operator and enterprise markets. Example:


It's built on top of Asterisk, Kamailio and MySQL, but very turn-key. 

If you have the engineering core competency to build something yourself,
the ROI is excellent. Yes, there's a cost and a GTM lag, but once you
sink the cost, nobody's going to hit you up for $MEGABUCKS for another
100 seat licences ever again. And again, it doesn't mean you have to
write a million LOC multitenant software product yourself. 

There are lots of people on this list who provide hosted PBX with
Asterisk or FreeSWITCH and have not had to do this. There are many
approaches; you can certainly roll a home-spun multi-tenant platform if
you really want to, but you can also sell individual instances of
ready-to-go PBX distributions to customers inside a virtualised or
containerised environment. In the latter, the port density / unit
economics relative to hardware are excellent. You can put 100+ such PBXs
on a single commodity box. Automating deployment with all the tooling
out there these days isn't that hard. A lot of the tools already exist
in FOSS land, if you just look around. And you can use feature-rich (and
easy white-labelled) PBX distributions such as FreePBX or FusionPBX out
of the box. Just Google around. 

The companies who have put a little bit of work into this have
definitely forked out some CAPEX (mainly engineering time or
consultants), but their ongoing OPEX commitments are comically low, and
accordingly, their gross margins and cash flow are that much the better
for it. What's more, the sunk cost tends to be largely fixed, so your
ROI gets better and better with subscriber growth.

It's not for everyone. Some organisations are sales-heavy cultures best
suited to selling cookie-cutter products and don't want to do anything
nerdy, or can't. But there are lots of people on this list making
excellent money with open source, and I count some of them among our
customer base (though we are not in the C5/hosted PBX platform

-- Alex

Alex Balashov | Principal | Evariste Systems LLC

Tel: +1-706-510-6800 / +1-800-250-5920 (toll-free) 
Web: http://www.evaristesys.com/, http://www.csrpswitch.com/

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