Asterisk needs marketing

Socialtext is considering the use of Asterisk as a telephony server. We use a mishmash of skype, vonage, POTS, and to support our distributed team. It’s amazing that it can be done at all, but the string and baling wire is getting tiresome. “Can you hear me” isn’t amusing any more, and wastes plenty of valuable time.
The open source telephony server toolkit has tremendous potential to provide low-cost telecom services for small-to-mid-sized businesses But somebody needs to step up and market the heck out of it.
I was browsing through the Asterisk site itself, and the sites for some Asterisk VARs. The sites all focused on a long, long, long list of features. The laundry list is probably helpful for a telecom geek who knows exactly what she is looking for, and is in search of the specific set of protocols, hardware devices, and functions.
The “feature list” approach is next to useless for a small business person who wants to know how their telecom needs can be met effectively. A good marketing person would talk to small business people and understand what sets of capabilities they’re looking for in a phone server. Then they would explain, step by step, what Asterisk can do, and what the packages contain. The laundry list of features would show up on the site as a third level of detail, when the customer, now with a better understanding of what they are looking for, can see the details and compare to alternatives.
What’s needed isn’t marketing fluff — airy promises about enhanced productivity solutions yada yada. It’s for basic, clear, education so customers can learn what to buy and how to buy it.

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