CounterPath and Digium recently launched Bria for Asterisk, a co-branded VoIP softphone solution that’s pre-integrated with the open source Asterisk platform.
Todd Carothers, vice president of product management at CounterPath, says the idea was to start by simply bringing the Bria Professional enterprise-grade softphone to Asterisk in as straightforward a manner as possible. “We’ve done interoperability testing against the Asterisk platform, particularly from a Digium perspective—and we have IM, video and presence available for the solution,” he says.
For CounterPath, Carothers says, this is an excellent opportunity to work with the large and diverse Asterisk community. “They’re still very uniquely positioned in the market, where they bring that diversity… so we can bridge our feature-rich product that we have today to other areas of the market that we don’t reach with vertically integrated types of solutions,” he says.
The next step, Carothers says, will be to see what else the market needs and wants from the product. “What we’re going to do is get more deeply involved in the Asterisk community to bring out… the very specific applications that the Asterisk community supports… so you’re going to see future releases from CounterPath that are going to leverage that community to get a best of breed product that that community will enjoy,” he says.
What form that will take is currently an open question. “The best way to cast a net on this is to bring out the first product to market, and then let the market drive it—so that’s our approach with the product,” Carothers says. “The next version, which is TBD, will have more integration, and I think you’re going to see more things that leverage our Web integration capability into the client, that will enable widgets [from] third party developers.”
It’s this kind of integration, Carothers says, that continues to help CounterPath stand out in the market. “[Bria for Asterisk] is available right from the CounterPath store, and when users click on that button to buy it, they can buy it with confidence that it’s going to work right out of the download against their Asterisk platform,” he says. “That’s the advantage here, that they don’t have to worry about settings, they don’t have to worry about specific environments—it’s been tested and certified.”
Within the next few weeks, CounterPath also plans to launch Bria 3.0, the newest version of the company’s flagship softphone. Key benefits of the new version will include high definition video, Mac compatibility, Outlook contact synchronization, and a new user interface. “We’ve spent a lot of time on usability—we actually have a person that’s dedicated full time to the usability of the client,” Carothers says. “They’ve worked a lot on that, and it’s a much smoother interface.”