Companies often hear about the benefits of voice over IP (VoIP) communications as a way to increase corporate efficiency and deliver enhanced ROI. Yet, VoIP is just the beginning; as noted by Markets Morning, SIP trunking — which uses VoIP to facilitate a PBX connection — has been growing steadily over the past few years, with almost 60 percent of businesses now leveraging SIP in some form. Despite increased adoption, however, there’s still confusion about exactly how SIP trunking works and the specific advantages it offers your company. Here’s what you need to know:
Before you can make best use of a SIP system, it’s important to understand the basics. According to Tech Target, session initiation protocol (SIP) is an IETF standard for initiating multimedia user sessions — in other words, it carries voice, video and data transmissions. This protocol allows companies to link their internal private branch exchange (PBX) with an Internet service telephony provider (ITSP) to provide worldwide VoIP-based communications.
The ability of SIP trunks to combine data, voice and video streams into a single line offers the most obvious benefit — by leveraging SIP solutions, companies can make and receive local and long distance calls, use both mobile and fixed line telephones along with sending emails and texts. What’s more, the protocol also supports audio and video conferencing; together, these features provide the basis for what’s known as unified communications (UC), which eliminates the need for separate physical media for each type of connection. Often, this results in improved ROI thanks to reduced management costs and more efficient use of corporate PBX systems.
SIP trunks also provide the benefit of mobility. With companies quickly on-boarding BYOD and cloud-based communications, it’s easy for local networks to become fragmented, leaving IT to deal with a blend of plain old telephone service (POTS) lines connected to fledgling VoIP networks, while also managing the unique access and permissions requirements of BYOD deployments. SIP trunking, meanwhile, allows companies to easily connect any device — mobile, fixed or cloud based — to their network, in turn simplifying management and oversight.
Scale on Demand
POTS and T1 lines are often considered less expensive ways to empower global communications, with SIP detractors pointing to the costs of deployment and integration as potentially limiting returns. Though choosing a SIP trunk offers a significant advantage: scalability on demand. With POTS and T1 solutions, companies must be constantly prepared with extra bandwidth in case of a sudden upswing in demand — this is both costly if unused and many prove insufficient if demand exceeds prediction. SIP trunking services, meanwhile, scale up on the fly to meet demand in real time and scale down when demand fades. The result? You only pay for what you need, and never for bandwidth you don’t use.
Choose Your Benefits
According to No Jitter, one of the biggest mistakes companies make when transitioning to SIP is investing because they “should” instead of defining specific reasons for the move. Best bet? Leverage a call center that relies on SIP. This provides all the benefits of SIP trunking and allows you to enjoy specific benefits — such as real-time call analytics or voice recognition — without the need to add extra services at a local level.
Considering a move to SIP? It comes with benefits: Unified communications and mobility to start, along with the ability to scale on demand and choose the best mix of services to suit your business needs.
Sheldon Smith is a Senior Product Manager at XO Communications. XO is a SIP Provider and also provides many types of cloud solutions. Sheldon has an extensive background in unified communications and process management.