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Asterisk hit the primary market pointsChris Koehncke
One of the rules for a successful product is that it must be remarkable in what it does and also a remarkable value. If you do only one of these, it can be tough going. So success is a great product at a great price. All of this, of course, assumes thereâ€™s an actual market for your product (another big failure point â€“ cool products you donâ€™t really want).
The traditional PBX manufacturers were sitting idly by as the Asterisk software-based PBX got going. Initially it looked like a toy, something a hobbyist would fool around with in their garage or some geek might actually deploy it. Asterisk was easily ignored.
The PBX guys were finding a waning market though. The big hits had already been done. Everyone had voicemail and everyone who even remotely needed it had call center. So there was no compelling reason to replace your PBX and even less so since pricing had not budged in years.
Asterisk really took a hold with the advent of a single installation disc. You took an average PC, shoved the disc in and in about 30 minutes, you could manage Asterisk through a fairly easy web interface. Bang â€“ you had a fairly well powered office PBX. Best of all the price was right â€“ free.
The PBX guys poo pooâ€™d all this, they had more features, better packaging and started yaking about service & maintenance. But what they failed to see is that people just didnâ€™t care, With the advent of email, instant messaging and mobile â€“ the value of the office PBX and all the stupid phone tricks was diminishing.
In this midst an entire new industry was born, resellers, who previously had not shown an interest in voice solutions, suddenly saw this as a web application and easily deployed and serviced by them and off they went.
Detractors will point out that Asterisk is not very polished and lacking in depth of features, but the train theyâ€™ve failed to see is that Asterisk hit the key marketing values. Itâ€™s a remarkable product and itâ€™s a remarkable value.