05:15 PM

Pingtel Fosters Open-Source VoIP

The company's new program will tap a network of VARs and integrators to deliver open-source IP communications products to small and midsize customers.

Pingtel this week is launching a new channel program as part of its plan to foster an open-source community around VoIP.

Through its new Pingtel Solution Provider Program, the company intends to tap VARs and integrators to deliver open-source IP communications products to small and midsize customers, said Al Brisard, vice president of marketing at Pingtel, Woburn, Mass.

Moving forward
>> Pingtel code released in March 2004
>>  More than 50 IP-PBXes installed
>>  Thousands of softphones in use

“In terms of the value proposition, this is unique for VARs and timely because, for a lot of VARs in IT, margins are going down on hardware and they’re looking for a way to differentiate themselves,” Brisard said. “We’re targeting the IT guy who typically has sold data equipment and sees voice as the next logical step.”

For customers, the benefit of using open-source VoIP tools is fairly straightforward, said Gary Scroggs, partner and owner of Innovational IP Solutions, a Pingtel partner in Bothell, Wash.

“It starts with cost, and then goes to cost and ultimately ends up at cost,” Scroggs said. Open-source VoIP solutions offer the performance, scalability and availability customers need without the expense of proprietary hardware, he said.

Brisard said Pingtel solutions, which run on Linux systems, can cost 30 percent to 50 percent less than competitive offerings.

The vendor is currently working with about 15 solution providers and expects to grow its partner ranks to more than 30 by the end of the quarter. Pingtel expects to add 15 to 20 more partners per quarter going forward.

Since contributing source code for its SIPxchange IP-PBX, CallManager and Softphone software to the open-source movement last spring, Pingtel has logged more than 18,000 downloads of its software, Brisard said.

Pingtel hopes to mirror the success of other open-source efforts—such as Linux and Apache—in the VoIP market, relying on developers worldwide to mold IP telephony, messaging, presence and collaboration software based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), an emerging call control standard.

Modeling itself after Linux distribution vendor Red Hat, Pingtel provides subscription-based support around the free software.

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