Skype to be integrated into Asterisk PBXs

Small businesses that use the Asterisk open-source PBX platform will be able to control Skype calls using such systems.

David Meyer Special to CNET News.com

The open-source PBX platform Asterisk is to gain Skype functionality, Asterisk's primary developer, Digium, announced on Thursday.

The beta version of Skype For Asterisk, an add-on channel driver module, will make it possible to use the popular Web-telephony service through Asterisk-based, small-business phone systems. A channel driver manages incoming or outgoing calls, acting as an interface for various standards, such as SIP or IAX2. The companies say Skype For Asterisk will enable low-cost, global calling through such systems, while using existing hardware.

"Working together with Skype, our goal is to help businesses boost productivity and reap the rewards of feature-rich telephony software, all while saving a substantial amount of money," said Digium chief executive Danny Windham, in a statement on Thursday. "The Skype For Asterisk beta program is a first step toward adding Skype capabilities to Asterisk-based phone systems and enabling them to reach more than 338 million Skype users."

The beta will make it possible to manage Skype calls with Asterisk applications, including call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voice mail. Once out of beta, Skype For Asterisk will be sold by Digium and its resellers.

Asterisk appliances are available from Digium and other manufacturers, such as 3Com.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.