The World is Calling — and Asterisk is *Taking* That Call!

David Duffett, Myself, Jared Smith -- who definitely has the Smith Power!

 Astricon — the yearly convention of fans, developers, coders, implementors and re-sellers of Asterisk (in case you didn’t know: the Open Source PBX which also happens to be the fastest-growing telephony platform in the world) has come and gone for another year; and from what I could glean from an informal poll taken in the hotel lounge (as are most polls taken in hotel lounges are prone to being), The Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center — which hosted the event — was hands-down everyone’s favourite venue by far.

Matt Florell & I

Or maybe it was the convention itself — apart from the location — which seemed to strike most attendees I sampled as the reason why it was the “Best Astricon Ever”. (Although, as one regular attendee said – most aptly – “Every year I think it’s the best Astricon ever.”)

Juan Carlos of Bellvoz

Firstly, this is the seventh Astricon, and I can tell you that there was more free discussion; more passionate discourse, and more buzz about the various session topics and speakers than at any previous Astricon – there was an energy and an almost palpable enthusiasm for what was going on which has not been seen to this extent previously. Fewer tracks, speaking topics which seemed to genuinely strike a chord with attendees, and some very gregarious speakers made for an amazing conference, where people were actually conflicted about which talks to attend.

Taking a Break from Conventionating in Old Town Alexandria with Julie & Mike from Digium

And secondly: I, of course, derive a slightly different “payoff” by attending Astricon every year. The benefits of why I would even attend the convention in the first place became evident the very first year, and continue to prove themselves year after year: for someone who earns her living voicing customized prompts – a significant share of those prompts for the Astrerisk community – the meeting of clients I only know via e-mail/telephone is immensely satisfying (and goes a long way to solidifying relationships); the introduction of myself to those with whom I am unfamiliar is especially

The Guys Who Synthesized Me -- Cepstral!

golden – and the most pronounced moment of satisfaction comes when I get to see these wonderful, familiar faces of people whom I’ve known for years; whose children and spouses are known to me, and whom I look forward to seeing and reconnecting with every year.

Tim Panton and I

There was Juan Carlos Castañeda from Florida, implementing telephony solutions across South America for Bellvoz, Claude Patry, an amazing Asterisk wonk from Quebec, Tim Panton, who we all look forward to making the trip from the UK, Matt Florell (one of my “IVR Dojos”) who gave a great speech about Asterisk on Hold (which gave us the idea to possibly do a co-talk next year…) meeting my guys at Cepstral (who market the Cepstral Allison TTS Voice), Sandro Fauchi from Malta, who gave a riveting talk about security and Asterisk,

Me and Sandro Fauchi

The concrete evidence of Astricon’s viability and longevity – attendance at Astricon continuing to increase every year – and exciting news always being officially launched at Astricon (this year’s announcement of Astricon SCF — Scalable Communications Framework — being the big topic of discussion) – the undeniable fact stands that for networking, troubleshooting, workshopping theories…..and for an unbeatable environment of unbeatable non-stop round-the-clock Astrigeekiness – where there is no such thing as talking too long or too much about all things associated with the workings of Asterisk – nothing beats our yearly gathering.

David Duffett, The Incorrigible Mark Spencer, and Matt Fredrickson

It was mentioned that I should try to find a tiara for next year – to fully exemplify my ersatz title of “Queen of the Geeks” – a title I wear with pride.

Watch for next week’s blog entry, where I will delve into the use of IVR in the airline industry — its strengths and weaknesses!

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment on this or any of my previous blogs.

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