), MIAMI BEACH – The rapt, nearly all-male audience facing the front of the room here at the Miami Beach Convention Center could have been mistaken for a snap shot at a downtown bar last night, as millions of eyes turned toward HDTVs during a thrilling Super Bowl XLIII.
But this was nothing so pedestrian as couch potatoes and Steelers-Cardinals: This was telecommunications professionals and Session Initiation Protocol (News
“SIP,” as it’s known, is a technology that’s drawing a football fanatic-like interest in the telecom industry – witness the packed conference room during a session hosted here at the Internet Telephony Conference & Expo
by Stockholm-based Ingate Systems
, a company that develops firewall technology and products that enable SIP communications for the enterprise while maintaining control and security at the network edge.
Generally speaking, SIP trunking is a service offered by Internet telephony service providers so that businesses can adopt VoIP using their Internet connection. That way, they can communicate with others who rely on the PSTN, since the enterprise IP-PBX (News
) is connected to the service provider’s PSTN gateways over the Internet.
But that’s technical talk.
Moments before the Ingate-hosted session got underway – a discussion titled “The Service Provider Perspective” that featured Todd Stires of AireSpring
, Joel Maloff of BandTel
, Sean Rivers of Bandwidth.com
and Greg Rothman (News
) of Cbeyond
– TMCnet talked to Ingate’s chief executive officer, Anders Eriksson, about SIP trunking’s popularity.
“I think we are coming to a situation where SIP trunking is really coming off as a market phenomenon,” Eriksson told TMCnet as hundreds of telecom professionals flocked to ITEXPO on the first day of a three-day event that's expected to draw thousands. “We have been working since 2001 with the SIP development and you know we’re waiting for it to stick. But more and more, I think the market now is telling us that it’s taking off and that it’s becoming a standard technology.”
For Eriksson, that means it’s not only the so-called “ITSPs,” or Internet telephony service providers, who are moving toward the technology.
“All service providers are moving into SIP trunking full-speed,” Eriksson told TMCnet. “Not only the ITSPs but also the big incumbents and cable companies. They’re sending representatives here (to ITEXPO) to see what’s going on in the market.”
During the 2-hour session, Maloff discussed different ways that SIP trunking is provided – when it’s provided through a dedicated line, as a feature (for example, with hosted IP-PBX providers), or as a pure SIP trunking provider’s service (such as Bandtel’s).
“It’s my belief that understanding the distinction between the various service providers and the various provision models that we use is essential,” Maloff said. “It will help you understand what will work for you, in your enterprise, as a VAR (value-added reseller), as a technologist.”
SIP trunking seminars and sessions are running through the entire ITEXPO event, which continues through Wednesday, Feb. 4.
Here’s how Ingate diagrams its SIP trunking technology:
As TMCnet reported
, one company that took advantage recently of Ingate’s SIP trunking is an organization that arranges dental care for underserved U.S. children.
Pursuing their telecommunications upgrade to VoIP, officials at Kool Smiles
replaced their traditional telephony system with SIP trunking from Ingate and saved 40 percent in communications costs. The Ingate solution, with new IP-PBX, phones and network upgrades, is expected to pay for itself with a year.
Eriksson told TMCnet during our interview that he’s heard dozens of similar stories already from clients at ITEXPO.
“We’ve heard this morning of savings from 25 to 75 percent, and have one reference case where a customer actually paid for its investment, the whole IP telephony switch, including gear, in less than a year,” he said.
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan