Opinion: SIP – a catalyst for the next phase of open communications over IP

Paul Fick gives us his views on how SIP can act as a catalyst for open comms over IP.

August 1, 2011

By Paul Fick of Jasco DataFusion, a Jasco Group Company

Pervasive converged communication mediums for day-to-day business communication is where we are headed, and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology is what is going to get us there. It’s being hailed – and actively leveraged – by leading communication platform vendors as the catalyst for the next phase of open communications over IP. For contact centres and enterprises, SIP is really good news – it’s easy to embed in your communications architecture and it will ensure that current investments (of which some are fast becoming ‘legacy’) are leveraged.

SIP is designed with the same philosophic principles in mind as Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP), which a decade ago made the WWW a reality by enabling browsers to access any server-based Web page within the Internet in a transport network agnostic way. Today, organisations have multi-vendor, multi-application and widely distributed communications systems, and it’s a challenge — they need a reliable way to integrate and optimise their network infrastructure.

The business imperatives are to reduce costs, drive revenue through a better customer experience, and ensure business continuity. Users, on the other hand, want greater mobility, ubiquitous access, optimal productivity, and the ability to work from anywhere. And then there is the typical IT support office who wants easy and flexible deployment, quick access to new capabilities, protection of existing network investments, greater control and the ability to measure performance, and the option to build or outsource the network.

SIP supports converged communication applications by placing control of the communication across distributed networked entities and smoothly integrating the various system levels. It’s easy to programme, highly scalable and integrates with the World Wide Web. By enabling seamless data and voice convergence in multi-vendor environments with multiple applications, SIP can provide powerful end-to-end solutions for enterprise environments. In a nutshell, SIP creates new possibilities for system flexibility, enabling organisations to pick the best of breed from a variety of vendors to create a seamless converged communication network.

Incorporating SIP technology into the enterprise’s communication architecture will require use of several building blocks: SIP User Agents (UA), SIP Proxy Servers, Re-Direct Servers, Location Servers, Presence Servers and Feature Servers. These basic distributed network elements are used as a foundation for various converged communication applications, such as voice over IP (VoIP), instant messaging (IM), presence, real-time collaboration, unified communication, and customer relationship management

(CRM) solutions.

A migration plan for SIP deployment doesn’t need to sacrifice existing communication capabilities. SIP entities are software components that can very easily be incorporated within existing network architecture as upgrades to an existing portfolio. This ensures maximum economic gain with minimal service disruption.

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