It's called Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework, or Asterisk SCF.
It's a new project from Digium, the Asterisk people, aimed at giving Voice Over IP true integration with other Internet services, on an Internet scale.
They're quick to note this is not a replacement for the main Asterisk project, now on version 1.8, but is being built on top of it.
The aim is to make SCF a set of distributed components that can be deployed as clusters in a single server and be transparent to the user.
According to the press release, it offers "the full range of real-time IP communications, including video, multi-channel wideband and ultra-wideband audio, chat, desktop sharing and other media types that may arise in the future."
My late friend Russell Shaw, who covered this beat for ZDNet until his death in 2008, would be proud. Were he still with us I might not be able to finish, we would be so busy Tweeting one another and arguing about things.
Today's news comes alongside Astricon, Digium's annual conference and user tribute, going on right now at a resort hotel near Washington, D.C. There users are hearing about stuff like this, Xorcom's complete hotel solution, an Asterisk PBX that can run the hotel where the conference is being held.
Solutions like this represent where Asterisk has been, and what it has become. VOIP has mainly been developed as a way to get around the phone system, its costs, gatekeepers, and taxes. It is seen by many as a way to cut telephone costs.
But it has always been much more, and with SCF it can become much more. Voice is a low-bandwidth service that can and should be integrated into other Internet services, that can be one ingredient in a larger solution. That process is now well underway.
At which point there will be no more phone network, only ISPs, hopefully in a more competitive market.