IBM has teamed up with Digium to offer Asterisk as part of its Smart Cube Office-In-A-Box solution. The SmartCube system is a configurable and expandable all-in-one small to medium sized business offering from IBM that rolls systems and office and business software into a single platform with easy configurability and extensibility along with full support.
The solution fully integrates Asterisk into Smart Cube so that phone system management can take place sirectly from within the Smart Cube management interface. Pricing is set at $2000 for 20 concurrent users and $4000 for 40 concurrent users. Support is provided exclusively by IBM.
This is a clever move by IBM, extending its platform and by working with Digium to integrate the software control they have made it that much more attractive. The pricing is aggressive since concurrent users typically translate in most businesses into three times as many regular users. However, the pricing does not include a lot of the necessary hardware add-ons (such as handsets) and doesn't include additional per call or bandwidth charges that may be incurred. Nevertheless, the Asterisk platform is one of the most robust and well-established solutions available in terms of on-premise solutions and it is continually being extended (for example the recent Skype integration).
From IBM's point of view of course, the goal is to extend the Smart Cube platform and dramatically increase its value to businesses. From Digium's point of view they get an A-list partner, increased sales and market penetration. And from the potential customer point of view, particularly if you are a Smart Cube customer already, this is anothe great alternative.
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