What is SIP and Why It’s a Big Part of Your Future

You may have already heard of SIP. And if you haven’t, the chances are good you will very soon.

SIP is a communications protocol that is becoming extremely popular. How popular? Consider this: Infonetics (www.infonetics.com) reports that in 2011, telco companies saw their revenues from SIP-based services jump 128%. So, even if you are not yet thinking about how to use SIP in your business, the chances are good that one of your competitors is ahead of you.

Very simply, SIP—the initials stand for Session Initiation Protocol—radically simplifies communication between people, places, devices, applications and services. Just about anything that can be tagged with an IP address can be connected via SIP. It simplifies how quickly people can connect and collaborate. And it eliminates the need for a lot of phone lines and extra hardware. In fact, many Avaya customers have reported a return on investment (ROI) of 6–12 months by investing in SIP-based solutions. To get a quick sense of the savings you can gain by moving existing voice circuits to SIP, try the Avaya Flip to SIP calculator at http://avaya-news.com/sip/ipoffice

But what makes SIP so revolutionary is not simply its ability to save money. SIP changes how you think about using communications in your business. Here are six SIP scenarios. See if any apply to you:

You have multiple business locations. Each one must have a local phone number. But you want calls to those locations to get routed to a central service center where they can be more efficiently handled by people with the time and training. In the past, to get this kind of capability you might have had to rent 800 numbers and/or extra lines that sat unused most of the time. SIP gives you the best of both worlds: local presence and the cost efficiencies of centralization.
You have a mobile phone, several e-mail addresses, a bunch of landlines and a slew of IM contact names. You are tired of giving out all your contact information. With SIP you won’t have to: SIP establishes an “address of record”—an AOR—that provides a single, unifying identifier as your “public address.” People can reach you without having to know each of your unique device addresses or phone numbers.
You find it annoying to keep letting people know about your availability, i.e., “for the rest of the day, call me on my mobile.” Let SIP do this for you. SIP can make call-routing decisions for you by checking your calendar or seeing when you last checked your e-mail or used your mobile phone.
You are handling a conference call from your hotel room, but have to check out and want to keep the call going on your mobile. Or, you are on your mobile, but need to view a document and would like to transfer the conference call to your tablet. SIP makes all of that possible.
You operate a customer service operation using agents working from home. You want them to be able to serve customers using e-mail, instant messaging, Web chat, video, or a phone call. Rely on SIP to make it happen.
You use various programs in your business to keep track of sales, inventory, production scheduling, etc. When a problem arises, i.e., a shortage in a particular part, you would like to have a click-to-conference button on the program itself so you can quickly see who is available, initiate the call and share the application. SIP makes that possible. In fact, many applications using dynamic linked libraries (DLLs in Windows and shared libraries in Linux) are ready to be connected using SIP.
Right now, a lot of businesses are looking to SIP to save money by using a single IP pipe to their provider for voice calls and reducing or eliminating recurring network charges. But that’s really just the start. The current uptake in SIP services is an indicator of what the future holds: SIP is big.

Want to learn more. Avaya has prepared a great introduction that’s an easy read. Get the free download of SIP for Dummies at http://www1.avaya.com/pc/SIP_for_Dummies.pdf

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About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 20 years experience in Business Telecommunications. Specializing in voice over IP (VoIP) for business: hosted VoIP, business VoIP phone systems, SIP providers, carriers, T1's - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

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