SIP trunking, or Session Initiation Protocol, has now become the standard communications protocol for voice and video to enable a Unified Communications (UC) solution across a data network. SIP replaces the need for traditional T1-based PSTN connections. In their place, termination to the local PSTN is provided over a company’s internet connection through a dedicated trunk. Along with a shift in technology to SIP, the purchase model becomes more flexible as customer’s buy per channel rather than per line. This allows for greater flexibility on the network and cost savings overall.
Enterprises are adopting SIP to improve the scalability and flexibility of their network while realizing up to 40% global cost savings on their respective ICT expense. SIP trunking creates a single ‘pipe’ for voice, video and data traffic eliminating the need for ISDN/PRI lines for telephony as SIP brings signalling to the data pipe. SIP makes it far easier to manage traffic and provides UC with a new found litheness in allocating resources and managing business needs.
Little surprise then that market research company Infonetics forecasts strong growth for SIP trunking with the market hitting $8 billion by 2018. “There is no denying the world is moving to IP, and SIP has become the de facto solution of choice for businesses for IP connections,” said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC and IMS at Infonetics.
The transition to SIP trunking is forcing a technology migration not just from the enterprise perspective, but the telecos as well. Many network operators are phasing out ISDN/PRI services, while ramping up their SIP network. This can be seen as the third stage in the evolution of voice-over-IP trunking, following TDM and H.323 trunks resulting in a forced migration to SIP in the coming years. The shift will happen sooner rather than later, so it is important enterprises get ahead of the SIP trunking curve and make the right decisions for the technology and their UC strategy.
Turbocharging your UC strategy
Functionality is the key because it provides consistency, regardless of the device you are using or where you are in the world. Couple this with scalability for growth and this is the offering SIP trunking brings to the table. The advantages are all about flexibility, the power to dial up, dial down, expand and contract. It provides various ways of manipulating bandwidth and aligning it to what is happening in your organisation. This makes SIP trunking a very powerful tool indeed.
SIP has the potential to realize cost savings of up to 40% of your voice budget. Savings are made by eliminating ISDN/PRI trunks, PSTN gateways and numerous service provider contracts, whilst reducing the UC total cost of ownership. Savings are also made on traffic costs such as VOIP on-net for zero costs plus competitive single pricing across the globe. If you can get users to run with the technology quickly, you will see savings made even faster. An internal adoption programme is the best way to drive this and get users comfortable with the technology from the onset.
The goal is simple - create one network and make that network work for you. Centralized billing can accurately tracks your voice send. If you combine SIP trunking with a WAN network you have some real negotiating leverage with your local carrier – volume discounts will bring monthly bills down and, as you scale up, enable it to pay off in dividends over the years.
The most understated benefit of SIP trunking is business continuity. By centralizing voice and data on to one network you have the ability to re-route traffice if something goes wrong. UC slots in as a way of ensuring continuous communication for enterprises in the event of a disaster and should be a core component of an organization’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
SIP trunking can support your cloud strategy. Partners, including Microsoft and Cisco, are moving to the SaaS model. Customers are demanding ‘as a service’ models. SIP trunking is part of this adaptation. It is the technology change that is allowing the efficient and seamless delivery of these Sass models. It provides, for example, direct access to Saas providers such as Salesforce.com and Azure via secure VPN connections into the teleco data centers. It allows you to integrate your UC strategy into platforms, such as Salesforce.com, where the UC platform client is increasingly a major part. You simply click the call back customer and it becomes part of the new mode of operation your customers are getting very comfortable with as this technology leaks from consumer to business.
“Business VoIP services have moved beyond early stages to mainstream, strengthened by the growing adoption of SIP trunking and cloud services worldwide. Hosted UC are seeing strong interest up market as mid-market and larger enterprises evaluate and move more applications to the cloud, and this is positively impacting the market,” added Myers.
Interoperability is key
Although SIP is a standard, it is vital to have interoperability between different UC vendor equipment to ensure all the communications work effectively. Make sure you choose a carrier that has done all the testing and that the interoperability works.
The message is very clear. Moving away from PSTN saves money and cost savings can be realised immediately. But more significantly, when you start to drive your traffic on-net you see a tremendous return on your investment in implementing SIP trunking. This plays directly into your turbo charged UC strategy as you start to learn to scale and balance your capacity to make the most efficient use of the platform. Once users are comfortable with using their PC as a phone and/or handset you will see the bills go down.
Cutting costs is without doubt a big attraction for the move to SIP trunking, but its strength in deploying UC across the enterprise and providing hosted services is also fast driving its adoption.
Find out more about SIP Trunking and Unified Communications