A SIP future

A SIP future

Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

SIP trunks are increasingly becoming a standard means of voice access and here Paul Taylor, Sales and Marketing Director at Voiceflex, examines the challenges in their provision and looks to an exciting future for resellers.

Voiceflex provided its first commercial SIP trunk in 2005 and according to Sales & Marketing Director Paul Taylor, for the next two or three years the company focus was on testing and approval of their product with PBX vendors.

“Interoperability with key PBX vendors was crucial for our company. At that time there was no clear standard for SIP so each vendor had a slightly different flavour of SIP that we had to ensure we could work with. Today that issue has largely disappeared but the time we spent testing and the experience gained has proved to be most valuable. At the same time as the testing we also invested time in training the vendor sales staff on the benefits of SIP trunks and how to sell them.

“In 2008 we started to see the market for SIP take off. By then the vendors had their second phase of SIP interoperability on their PBX systems, ADSL2 was available to provide great bandwidth and QoS for voice, new products designed specifically for SIP trunks such as ipcortex and the Aastra 800 had come to market and there was a general increase in confidence in the market.

“Despite the economic downturn of 2008/09 that followed our revenues and sales continued to increase.”

Challenges:

To many people SIP trunks are still new technology and it’s a fact that there are perhaps more pieces to the SIP jig-saw than there are for ISDN. The PBX, router and ISP need to have their products configured correctly whilst the SIP provider must understand the market dynamics. ISPs preferably should have a direct interconnect with the SIP provider platform.

 

However, the benefits of SIP trunks far outweigh those of ISDN and certainly justify the extra work sometimes needed. Resellers and partners that have invested the time in building up their customer base of SIP trunks and technical skills in SIP provision are today reaping the rewards.

In recent times the market has begun to shift from a very structured – ISDN plus PBX environment, to a more fluid model where SIP, VoIP and soft switches are increasingly taking a leading alternative role.

This has, and continues to present a wide range of challenges to the channel. PBX vendors would far rather supply resellers with SIP trunk licences than they would hardware in the form of an ISDN interface card. Indeed it is evident that there is an increasing tendency to see PBX systems today shipped without handsets – leaving the choice of IP device endpoints to the user and reseller.

 

Looking Ahead:

Taylor believes that in the longer term SIP trunks will replace ISDN

“Connectivity continues to get faster and cheaper. Ethernet now represents a huge opportunity for the channel as carriers start to roll out the synchronous high-speed service. Voiceflex has examined a couple of typical scenarios where we see 10 SIP trunks on an Ethernet circuit being about the same cost as ISDN. Put 25 SIP trunks on the same Ethernet service and the cost is about 30% cheaper than ISDN. If you then factor in the 24×7 maintenance available on Ethernet you have a realistic, robust and reliable alternative that also brings the disaster recovery and location flexibility benefits not available on ISDN.

“Data comms traffic is set to overtake voice, which has essentially become just another application on the network. Some customers are actually prioritising email traffic over voice because mail is so important to them and mobile phones for voice are always available. It is a misconception to think that voice is paramount to every single customer – it’s not.

“Applications are increasingly being shifted from the premises to the cloud and here Voiceflex has introduced Call Recording in the Cloud (CRC) that is FSA, PCI (credit card authorisation) and HIPPA (medical sector) compliant. All calls are recorded and the pricing is based on a pence per minute model.

“In the last three months Voiceflex has upgraded our platform – both core and peripheral elements, to ensure there is no single point of failure for our service.”

 
 
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