The hidden cost of open source VoIP billing solutions

Submitted by Linda123 on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 10:37.

When businessmen hear the term “open source” software, it often implies another meaning – "free" software. Although open source VoIP software is possible to download and use for free, it doesn’t mean that there won't be extra expenses for its support or updates. First thing you have to remember, is that once you choose an open source VoIP solution you save only on the software license but additional costs might arise unexpectedly.

Open source software is available for different updates and further developments without having a copy right for that. But you have to keep in mind that open source software is more suitable for enterprises with high-skilled tech staff, otherwise it will be unprofitable for a company, because tech engineers have to get huge experience not only in such software development, but in its support and maintenance .

When using open source software, you have a chance to ask for support only from Developer's Community, but using licensed software you'll get an opportunity to receive support directly from the vendor, support form a third party system's integrator and of course the help desk. Imagine that you are using open source software and a serious problem occures. What should you do? You have to struggle through thousands of other community members who also use open source software to get help. Don't you think it's not an effective way to reduce the expenses of your company?

So far, open source software has a range of advantages such as give-away copyright costs, low dependence of the vendor, simplicity in software installation, high level of security, but these are really small advantages when comparing to licensed software. Strong VoIP companies should take  the following factors into consideration: packaged open source software is not free of charge (e.g. commercial versions of Unix-system), technical support also costs a fee, therewith you have to pay for consultations of course. Despite the fact that you can get the source code absolutely for free, you should keep in mind that your company have to pay for support and integration with other applications anyway.

One of the main reasons for choosing an open source VoIP solution over licensed software, is that companies want to get an access to the source code. But first of all, they have to adapt the code to their hardware and OS, add security items and some other settings i.e. customize it accordingly. The other problem is that the price for the basic support of an open source solution is 1500-2000 USD per month. Also, you should understand that you have to spend weeks for expensive trainings and learning the variety of technical documentation. You have to go through all of these to make such kind of open source software work correctly. So, the thought that you can get everything for free is not true.

In most cases, open source VoIP billing solutions use the term "open source" as a tag line to get the client's attention. Open source VoiP developments mean to entice clients away from competitors to sell their own systems. Some of the famous software vendors such as Switchvox, Pingtel, Woburn, Mass have affiliate programs for supporting an open source VoIP solutions, which were developed by them. Anyway, it's very important for every customer to get the whole package of services from a single vendor but not from different ones.

From the other side, some commercial VoIP solutions developers such as Jerasoft Development offers support packages which give you an ability to upgrade for free to the latest version of BillBery Billing and Management system, highest priority in tickets and live chat support, help in custom and XML-RPC API integrations with low prices as open source vendors. Their great solution improves service quality in VoIP business and will be helpful for the companies that have high level requirements for reliability and want to stay with latest releases all the time. Also, this package will be useful for companies that have custom integrations with their custom solutions, software or web-site, as JeraSoft provides consultations on API usage.

I'll let you know when I analyze FOSS VoIP

Although this posting is functionally spam, so cannot be trusted as a source, this posting raises many important points, including the range of considerations there are when buying any proprietary software solutions, like how they market their products.

I'll be looking at FOSS VoIP solutioons shortly and will report what I determine.

Disrupt IT

Norm, let's discuss what is

Norm, let's discuss what is good for VoIP solutions.

Wow - you are real

I am definitely interested in some expert perspectives, from within the industry and outside.

I need to pick up my son and spend some family time but will look into the current state of open soruce VoIP further this evening and get back to you with my observations and questions - I'll appreciate if you are able to helpme or our community better understand VoIP and open source in any ways!

Nice to meet you and welcome to realNEO.

Disrupt IT

Thanks, you're welcome, Norm!

Thanks, you're welcome, Norm!

Assuming you represent JeraSoft...

Assuming you represent JeraSoft, you seem to have good product offerings - I'm especially interested in integration with Asterisk.

My personal interest in VoIP and network communications in general is for developing voice (and video) communications capabilities into social networks, ultimately as a primary gateway to all centralized end user communications, ultimately residing in the control of the end user.

The integration of voice and video communications with social networking, to the phone, offers remarkable opportunities for individuals - having that run over WiFi and the Internet for free or at a greatly reduced cost is globally important.

I'll analyze this situation further - please feel free to contact me at norm [at] realneo [dot] us to share how your affiliates may help us with our social network development innovations.

Disrupt IT