Would a nice front end be commercially viable?

I was thinking of building a really nice graphical user interface for asterisk. I have seen Trixbox and find the web based style of interface clumsy. Would a really nice user interface have commerical value to VAR’s building asterisk based PBX systems? Before I take two years to do this I want to know if you asterisk using folks think that the unwashed masses would appreciate this kind of thing.

Hi

Have you looked at scopserve ? There are front ends avalible both free and commercial. but TBH you wil need to do more than just a front you wil need to do the backend as well.

Also look at the various appliances as these all have their own gui as well.

Ian

IMHO the answer is yes, but you will not get rich off it, or for that matter probably never even come close to breaking even. The free tools are good enough for most users.

What you need to do is make it unique - have some features or functionality that no one else has. You also need to design it with “large” installations in mind (40+ users) as the small installations tend to default to free. Also dont make it “cute”, a simple interface with features to make an admins job faster and easier will win out over pretty graphics all day long. You also need to price it right, remembering that the base software is free and 90% of the phone system is that free part of the software.

I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about doing this myself but in the end I just dont have the time right now.

this is an old topic but one of the gripes I hear from many of my coleagues in the legacy telcom business is that the IP systems dont “feel like a phone system”… I personally dont have an issue wit hthis but old timers in the business want the feel of programming a PBX… so any front end should have things such as a place to monitor station / trunk status in real time, program outbound routing as routes / trunk groups, and lists etc… I like the free GUO that digium has out right now and have no isses with t… but if you wrre goign to create your own you might find you could gain some business by creating something simple for non-IP guys as there are LOTS of them still out in the working world today who dont want to change and will retire before they learn VOIP… yet their cusatomers want VOIP systems… I would create a turnkey product not just a front end.
-Christopher

WOW.
what are they used to programming for the last 27 years I have only worked on CLI till mitel brought out the 3300 and still I used the CLI…

Ian

ian: the fact you are on an asterisk forum and have 900 posts under your belt speaks volumes that you are definately not one of the people I speak of… you are and have embraced the newer technology and the newer way of thinking about telephony and phone systems…

I myself am 39 and didnt get into the telephony business until 9 years ago… being that computers have been my Life’s interest since i was 8 years old playing on an intel MDS with my dad. I dont have a good perspective on the ‘old timer’ point of view…

most of these guys are used to putting in mitel 200’s, Hitachi’s, fujitsu, NEC etc… the interfaces on these are all menu driven…

even throw an option 11, or a definity at these guys (at least definity they can hit F5 a million times) and they go wow!..

now enter in the 3300 and they go “wow look at all those forms”… sure you can telnet to the thing and get the old “sx-2000” feel but at the risk of corrupting its database by going to CDE in there… although myself, like you, if im going to do maint commands in a 3300 im on the CLI… for one I can capture and save the output in procomm…

bring in asterisk and the guys that were in my office said “wait a minute where do you hook the phones to that thing? where IS the phone syste,?” my reply ‘that dell tower is the PBX, that adtran 924 is where the trunks go, and the procurve is where the phones plug in’ uhm “thats not a phone system thats a computer”, “huh? what do you mean you have to program dial plans into the phones, that goes in the PBX…”

and im sure you can see where the rest goes…maybe I shouldnt worry so much about that group of people as I guess with all new technologies there are those that wish to think its irrelevant…
-Christopher