Asterisk is an open-source software program that lets users develop their own communications systems. The software includes built-in tools that allow individuals to create custom applications for text, video, and voice communications.
- PBX creation and management
- Creates IVR systems
- Turns computer into a complete communications server
- Open-source and free to download and use
- Vast toolkit
- Easy to expand as a company grows
- Works best on Linux while other operating systems pose some challenges
- Requires app development expertise
The basic function of Asterisk is to turn a PC into a VoIP server. This popular open-source platform is more than that, however. It also gives users the ability to develop their own communications applications. The source code is made available to those who want to use its components for custom development. Asterisk is free and works on multiple operating systems, but it was specifically developed for use with Linux. PBX development is the most common use of Asterisk. A public branch exchange lets businesses route calls throughout an office. This software will let users turn almost any computer into a PBX system. One of the tools available with the software allows businesses to set up Interactive Voice Response for incoming calls. This allows callers to use voice commands to navigate a menu when they call. The menu can route calls to the appropriate office or person. Customer service is greatly improved when businesses use IVR. It streamlines the process of handling incoming calls and is more efficient. Asterisk was designed to be scalable. When a business needs to assign new extensions to a number, the process is quick and easy. Phone directories can be updated in a matter of minutes. The developers of the program also release frequent security updates which keep the framework performing at a reliable level. Many businesses have used Asterisk to reduce their telephone costs by thousands of dollars. The only downside is that the program will work best for companies that have an in-house development staff. Otherwise, creating applications with the program could become expensive.