Watch out, Cisco. Move over,  Microsoft. Unified communications and the Asterisk open source platform are on a collision course. In fact,  a startup called Worxbox hopes to accelerate that convergence. Here's why anyone interested in the unified communications market should care.

In recent months, Asterisk has transitioned into the mainstream. More and more businesses and universities are embracing Asterisk as an open source PBX replacement to traditional phone systems.

Digium, one of Asterisk's strongest backers, recently won a global distribution deal that should allow the IP PBX to accelerate its worldwide acceptance.

Similar to Red Hat's early business dominance of the Linux market, Digium is the company to beat in the Asterisk industry. But startups are helping to build out an Asterisk ecosystem.

Dell, for one, partnered with Fonality -- an Asterisk backer -- to promote IP telephone gear earlier this year. And now Worxbox is wisely attaching the unified communications label to its Asterisk efforts.

After all: Anything that says "unified communications" these days grabs the attention of media and customers.

The VAR Guy first read about Worxbox when he visited Smith On VOIP, one of his favorite blogs. Smith noted that Worxbox's mission is:
To provide a production quality Open-Source Unified Communications Server that's easy to build, configure and manage.
Let's keep things in perspective: Cisco and Microsoft are dominant. And their respective unified communication platforms are gaining traction. A tiny organization like Worxbox isn't going to topple the networking establishment anytime soon.

But if you look at Asterisk as an ecosystem -- rather than a single company -- you begin to see how an open source movement can grow ... and grow ... and ultimately rival closed-source options.

It happened when Linux sneaked up on Windows servers. And it's going to happen again as Asterisk-centric companies sneak up on traditional VoIP providers.