Save Bundles of Money
Every once in a while I catch myself running through an open phone system conversation and whirling past competitors as proprietary. When the conversation suddenly turns to Open Source Phone Systems, I am forced to explain why my company, Telewebtech, provides "Open Platform" phone systems. IT gurus sling it around left and right, because the word "open" is a buzz-word, like the word "cloud". But what does it mean and what is the key difference between Open Source and Open Platform to the end user? Quite a lot actually.
A quick view of sourceforge.net shows just how strong the open source model has grown. Programs are available for anything from Accounting to Zipping files. Some of these are free, others take donations, and some are paid for use. With Open Source, the end product’s source materials are accessible to build a community of programmer-owners that improve the product through developing the source code. An example is the Asterix Phone System.
Software or devices developed with open standards, sometimes referred to as APIs (application programming interfaces), allow the end product to be tweaked in ways not originally intended without the modification of the source code. Open Platforms offer ease of integration and customization without proprietary infringement and without the company who developed it allowing their original code to get out of control. 3CX Phone System is an example of an Open Platform system. An API is available to build out the system and make it more useful. In addition, it integrates with any SIP enabled phone such as those from Grandstream.
Which Should Businesses Choose
Here, I can only state my preference and reasoning. I tend to prefer Open Platform for internal business applications (this is really a preference) because there is a sense of responsibility connected to the company that has created it. Whereas an Open Source project is only as great as its community of programmers and will only be developed if they are still interested; I can see a company balance sheet for an Open Platform application. It comes down to the greatest motivation factor for any business, surviving off the proceeds.
Both of these modes of solution can save a company a lot of money. Open Source and Open Platform systems often boast much more reasonable price tags and integrate with multiple devices, which embraces greater competition. They also have a larger number of trained individuals on the market, which can help in periods of transition.