by Dave Michels

Astricon is coming up next month.

I attended last year and am excited about attending this year.

The open source nature of Asterisk results with more developers working on it than any other telecom solution. As a result, going to Astricon is a bit like peeking into the future of UC.

For example, last year at Astricon they announced a Skype gateway – the first true gateway from PBX to Skype. No one ever heard of Skype actually embracing a PBX with a direct connection before. Today, Skype is big news on the PBX front… Shoretel and Cisco integrations announced and many more coming. (though Skype for SIP is limited when compared to the Skype for Asterisk solution).

Digium has a way of making nothing out of something big. For example, the new API capabities of Switchvox are really quite innovative. This was initially introduced in SMB4 with little attention – but it appears that the capability is on track to be quite strategic. There is a session just on this topic.

Despite this, I wasn’t initially planning on attending. Astricon is a fairly technical show; more technical than me. But, I began to feel self conscience telling people I wasn’t going. There are a lot of really interesting people planning to be there. Many of which I’ve gotten to know virtually.

The speaker line-up includes keynotes from Google and IBM. I am particularly looking forward to hearing Michael Graves, Eric Krapf, Leif Madson, Fred Posner, Evan Cooke, and David Podolsky. Plus Randy Resnick, the VoIP Users Conference host, is hosting a wine tasting event in the hotel bar.

I am also pleased to see they created a cloud track. Lot’s of good information there including VM, Virtulization, and high availability planning.

I am particularly looking forward to the Expo. All things SIP. Polycom, Aastra, and Snom will be there with their latest and greatest products. I met a few new companies last year, and it looks like I am going ot meet even more this year.

The other added bonus is it isn’t in Orlando. I find Orlando hostile to the tourist – toll roads, great distances between venues, practically required car rental, etc. Vegas and SFO are my preferred big venues, but Phoenix is great for an event like Astricon. Easy in and out airport. The Astricon hotel is next to an open-air mall with restaurants and free parking. What a concept.