Gas Station Security with IP Cameras

June 10, 2008 by Garrett Smith

IP Cameras catch thieves at gas station pumps.

It’s important to watch what happens in the video. It is not what you would expect. For all of those gas station owners there are many advantages offered by IP camera surveillance technologies. Not only do they ensure the protection of your investment but they protect your customers. Because in the end that is all that you have…your customers. If they are not happy, and at a minimum–safe, then there is no way that they will return to your business.

Women in VoIP: Switchvox She-Ra

When people in the VoIP industry hear the word ‘Switchvox,’ most of them associate the name Tristan. Tristan Degenhardt, Switchvox Product Line Director for Digium, works tirelessly to actively promote and further Switchvox products. Switchvox’s good name and reputation comes from the boundless work of Degenhardt, which can be seen all over the web, and beyond. And also in honor of the newest Switchvox appliance, the AA300, which can support up to 150 users, let’s hear it for Tristan.

How long have you been in the VoIP world?

I got my start in technology in 1999 at, where we were essentially delivering bits through that pipe known as the Internet. After that, I co-founded Switchvox in 2003 and that was really my first experience where those bits were voice, instead of music, but I really don’t see a huge distinction. Switchvox was acquired by Digium in September 2007, and it has been a transition that I’m really excited about.

What is it like working as a woman in the VoIP world?

People find it easier to remember my name, so that’s one benefit. Trust me, if a purple guy walked up to the podium at a crowded conference session, introduced himself and started talking about SIP, you’d remember his name. Now, technical women in VoIP are not as uncommon as a purple guy, but you get the idea.
But seriously, I imagine it’s very similar to being a man working in the VoIP world- we’re in an exciting field that’s experiencing tremendous growth, and I’m having a blast. Especially at Digium, there’s a feeling that with Asterisk, we’re helping to build a technology that is fundamentally changing business communication. And we’re doing all of this in a cooperative way with the developer and user communities. I think it makes us so much stronger when we’re competing with proprietary solutions, and that really appeals to me.

How did you become interested/introduced to VoIP?

I became interested in VoIP in sort of a roundabout way. I’m really into usability and interface design, and when we were looking at Asterisk for our own phone system, it became really clear that it could use help in the UI department. So I really started learning everything I could as fast as I could about VoIP, but there’s so much more to learn, and it changes every day.

What are some of your networking/marketing methods?

Well, I’m really proud of Digium’s products and technologies, am a huge proponent of open source, and love to get into discussions with people everywhere I go about this stuff. I find that a lot of people are curious about open source and don’t necessarily have a good handle on what it’s all about yet, so I love hearing their thoughts and opinions. And of course, Switchvox is really important to me. I know the product like the back of my hand, and so when I’m presenting and giving demos to groups, I often like to let my audience describe their real life communication roadblocks and then try to solve them in real-time. For example, they might say that their sales people don’t have enough information about callers before they answer the phone, and so they spend too much time gathering data up front. So they might throw out a problem like that, and then I show how Switchvox can solve it- not just talk about it, and say, “yeah, Switchvox can fix that,” but to actually flip some switches and make some calls and actually show them live, exactly how the technology can work for them. It comes back to bite me every once in a while where someone will stump me, but nine times out of ten, I can come up with a solution that works, implement it in a minute or two, and make the call live, and I think people are naturally very impressed by that.

How is it working with men in VoIP?

I can’t really say that there’s anything different about working with men in VoIP than in any other technology field. I’ve met some really bright and talented men, and women, for that matter, that are attracted to working in such a dynamic space. It’s very fast paced and lots of fun.

What do you see for the future of women in VoIP?

As far as the future of women in VoIP is concerned, I think that you’ll definitely see more and more of us in all sorts of different roles. I just have to look around at the smart women I work with every day to know that I’m right!

IPCS Word of the Day: Lux

Lux = Used more often than lumens when discussing security cameras, a lux is a unit of illumination. It measures the amount of uniform light that falls on one square meter (expressed in one lumen per square meter). Security camera specs use the lux to indicate how much light they require to operate, with lower lux levels indicating a camera as more effective in lower ambient light. Look for 0.2 lux or less when choosing a low-light camera, and two lux or higher for daylight cameras. Refer to the specification sheet of the individual camera to see its lux rating. Below is a standard Lux Chart for your reference.


And the Winner Is…

June 9, 2008 by Garrett Smith

We have a winner!

Ashley Kitto has won a $1500 VoIP Supply store credit in the ‘101 Things You Can Do with Asterisk’ contest from Digium and VoIP Supply.  We had over 250 reader responses in the contest, truly showing that Asterisk is more than just an open source phone system.

We picked our winner by using a completely random number generator, found on

Ashley’s suggestion for a use of Asterisk was the 171th reason:

“You can use Asterisk as a tandem switch in front of your legacy PBX, to add more functionality, like SIP and fax-to-email.”

We would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response to this contest.  Because of your cooperation, we are looking to run more like it in the near future!

We are hoping to see Ashley’s reasoning for the Asterisk use in a future guest blog post.  We are also inviting all of our contributors to send in other guest blog posts on their Asterisk uses as well.

Part of the reason for the contest was to create more dialogue between us and our readers, and we want to continue the discussion. This will provide an arena for you to speak about your experiences and connect with other users in the VoIP/Asterisk world.

Office Security Cameras

June 6, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Russian Office Security Camera in use

Warning: this video is graphic in nature. It had been making it’s way across the webosphere this past week, and I was encouraged to post it by both my friends and colleagues.

This video shows the ‘why,’ we here at IPCS are here to show you ‘how.’

What’s important about commercial or office security cameras is that they enable businesses to keep an eye on threats to the company from the outside and the inside of the building. Especially when using IP Camera surveillance technology which allows remote access by simply going to the correct IP address. Office IP surveillance cameras are used regularly to ensure that the building remains safe from breaking and entering, but at the same time can provide documentation for industrial espionage and employee theft. Many office IP surveillance cameras are wireless, so the company doesn’t have to be closed down to install them. IP Cameras come hard wired also. Your office’s security is our priority, and we are here to help with any questions you may have, so feel free to contact us with any questions or ideas.

IPCS Word(s) of the Day: IR

IR= Infrared, assists with recording in near or total darkness. Many cameras have IR capabilities, both analog and IP. Some cameras have IR LEDs surrounding the lens of the camera that will kick on in low light or dark conditions, generating IR light which is invisible to the human eye, but which the camera can see. Think of it like an “invisible flashlight.” IR is often necessary when users want their security cameras to be able to continue to monitor events under low light conditions, or total darkness.

Update: 101 Things You Can Do With Asterisk contest

Hey everyone! We wanted to thank everyone who has been participating in the 101 Things You Can Do with Asterisk contest.  As you can see, we have surpassed that 101 goal, which is awesome!  The contest will still be going on through tonight, and comments of course will be welcome beyond that, as they are on any VoIP Insider blog.  Our regular posts will start again on Monday, so make sure that you keep visiting us on the VoIP Insider!  And as always, if anyone has any comments, suggestions, questions, or would like to do a guest post, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

IPCS blog making its way around the blogosphere!

June 5, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Our good friend Jon Arnold plugged this very site yesterday on his blog and pointed out that we have the best answers for IP Camera questions. We really are striving to create a conversation regarding anything that you may want to know, and you can ask us anonymously if you wish. Whatever the IP Camera topic, feel free to contact us with questions, news, ideas, anything you want. And Jon–thanks for the nod!

101 Things You Can Do With Asterisk (and more)!

June 4, 2008 by Garrett Smith

101 things you can do with Asterisk

Asterisk is More Than Just a Phone System

Over the last nine years Asterisk has emerged as world’s leading open source telephony engine and tool kit, however most people simply know it as an open source phone system. Over the last five years that we have been involved in the Asterisk community, we have heard of dozens of different things that people are using Asterisk for or have done with Asterisk.

Personally, I can think of about 25 things (don’t worry I am not competing) that I have heard people do with Asterisk and as the visibility and viability of open source communications continues to grow, more and more applications and uses are coming out each and every day. In a effort to have a little fun and to catalog the many uses and applications of Asterisk, VoIP Supply has partnered with Digium, the creators of Asterisk, to run a contest here on the VoIP Insider to find 101 things you can do with Asterisk.

101 Things You Can Do With Asterisk Rules and Details

The premise is simple.

After reading the rest of this post, simply place a comment below that details a unique use or application of Asterisk that you have had a hand in using/deploying or one that you know of (duplicate instances will be deleted).

When we hit 101 things that you can do with Asterisk, we will pick one winner at random for a $1,500.00 VoIP Supply shopping spree (store credit) sponsored by Digium and VoIP Supply.

So what are you waiting for?

Let’s hear what you or someone else has done with Asterisk!

Update: Due to an overwhelming response, we are extending the contest until Friday of this week. Let’s see how many unique uses for Asterisk we can document!

Update: the contest is now closed. Our winner was Ashley Kitto. For more information visit our follow-up post.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

sipgate Launches Mobile VoIP App For iPhone

This morning, San Francisco based sipgate Inc launched a Mobile VoIP application for the iPhone. The application, which allows you to utilize the sipgate Mobile VoIP application on the iPhone to make calls through sipgate or your favorite SIP based VoIP service provider. There is only one catch here; one must have the BSD Subsystem installed on their iPhone in order to install the application. This means you must jailbreak your iPhone, which voids the warranty and can cause the phone to “brick” should you try to update it.

Although sipgate is excited about there application, it is “too little, too late.” With the pending launch of the Apple App Store Monday, the availability of mobile VoIP iPhone applications such as the RF Dialer and various Mobile VoIP providers hinting at the release of iPhone applications, offering a “jailbreak only” application this late in the game might but them at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for mind share.

Since I don’t have a “cracked” iPhone, I was unable to fully review this application, however, if they do come out with a Mobile VoIP application for a legit iPhone, I will most certainly test it out and let you know what I find.

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