Let’s Talk! New Open Source Phone System

Fans of the PM Technology Blog know that we’re huge open source advocates. It may not be a surprise to discover that when the time came to upgrade our legacy phone PBX system, we selected an open communications platform: sipXecs.

Maintained by the SIPfoundry community, sipXecs is a modern voice and unified communications software server. Developed as a free and open project, sipXecs offers an alternative to expensive and proprietary phone systems from companies such as Cisco, Avaya and Microsoft. Governed by a non-profit community of engineers and installed in thousands of organizations, sipXecs, is a robust and scalable telecommunications system–one that we can trust to reliably handle district voice communications. Paired with low-cost, high-quality Polycome phones, the new sipXecs platform is a significant upgrade from our discontinued and decaying 3COM PBX system.

Our new system was first installed in April at Letort Elementary, marking a 10 year anniversary since the current phones were originally installed. New phones have also been delivered to Central Manor, Conestoga and Eshleman Elementary. In the next two weeks, Hambright, Pequea, Martic and both middle schools will receive phone updates. Penn Manor High School is scheduled for an upgrade in 2013.

Public callers will notice little change; staff and classroom extensions, as well as building phone numbers, will remain the same as before. Internal staff are discovering new Polycom phones which, unlike their predecessors, and not falling to pieces.

By my estimates, we’ve saved at least $100,000 by leveraging the free sipXecs software voice platform. Beyond the obvious fiscal savings, classrooms are also receiving an easy-to-use and robust communications upgrade. Plus, the district is no longer encumbered by costly and proprietary vendor systems, many of which invariably create a treadmill of expense upgrades and ongoing support costs.

Our new voice system provides great new features, solid stability and reliability without breaking the bank.

And that’s certainly something to talk about.