How much do you have to know about the inside of your phone system? As a mid-sized business owner, you might think it’s not that much – but your company could actually benefit by learning about the technology called SIP. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and although it might sound like technology jargon only meant for your IT folks, knowing about SIP could save your business a ton of money.
SIP provides a way to send rich media messages – voice, data and video – across the Internet to multiple computers and mobile devices. Traditional private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems cannot do this type of message transfer. By leveraging SIP, PBX systems – the most common phone system used by businesses around the world – are allowed to aggregate multiple calls, screen shares or videoconferences over a single Internet connection. While traditional telecom technology requires physically connecting wires, SIP uses an IP connection. This physical-versus-IP aspect of SIP is the key driver of its growing popularity.
In this age of collaboration and distributed workforces, having a telephone system that is capable of communicating all types of messages to remote workers or satellite offices is critical. By 2015, almost 7 in 10 businesses had either already moved or were planning to move to SIP. Since then, the trend has only accelerated. According to a recent survey, the SIP trunking market is “on pace” to become the default connection between your phone connections that are installed on your premises and the public-switched telephone networks. In effect, SIP is the glue holding together your in-house investments and the “public” telephone networks, which are run by the big telecom vendors.
What was once considered an innovation only appropriate for leading-edge enterprises has now become a must-have technology for organizations of all sizes and industries. In this article, we’ll identify seven characteristics about SIP that will help you decide if it’s right for you. Here are seven things you should know about SIP:
1) SIP saves you money.
SIP is highly cost effective. One telephony consultant has found that his clients – from smaller businesses to the largest enterprises – save between 20% and 60% annually on their telephony costs.
One way that SIP trunking reduces telephony costs is by eliminating separate voice and data connections. One corporate SIP account can serve an entire company’s needs. Even businesses with multiple branch offices can use a single SIP account rather than the multiple primary rate interface (PRI) connections that they must pay for to provide a digital connection to their traditional PBXs.
2) SIP is scalable.
Whether you’re expecting to grow due to seasonal demand, or anticipating a drop-off in activity, SIP is extremely easy to scale up or down. SIP relies on sessions, or calls, within shared broadband bandwidth. This means that if calls are not simultaneous, the network can “flex” to manage the excess load to the available bandwidth. This ability to adjust your SIP capacity to business needs is the second-leading reason that companies are deploying it.
3) SIP trunks can be compatible with your existing telephone system.
Just because you’re switching phone systems doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your existing equipment. When selecting a SIP service, you can look for one that is compatible with your existing telephony hardware. Leading service providers offer “checking” services that analyze compatibility, letting you know whether or not SIP trunking is compatible with your existing system. Additionally, gateways can be added to the service that supports analog phone services. As a result, you’re able to share your home office PBX with users at multiple locations, eliminating the need for a dedicated system at each site. This allows you to expand your technology capabilities without having to throw away your existing investments.
4) SIP trunking reduces telephone management and maintenance.
When compared to physical lines, SIP trunks are much easier to manage and maintain because they are virtual. Rather than dealing with costly on-site installations and circuit and termination point repairs, you can easily adjust your network with software and added bandwidth. As a result, your operational expenses (OpEx) are much lower because you don’t have to interact with your service provider technicians every time there’s a problem.
5) SIP is secure – if done right.
Security is always an issue. There are rising concerns about SIP trunking being vulnerable to cybercriminals, but the right provider will minimize those risks.
6) SIP trunking improves business continuity and disaster recovery.
With SIP, you can easily move fixed lines anywhere you want them to go without the high cost of call forwarding. This way, if a disaster strikes, you can immediately divert calls – for example, to a backup PRI line – so your business operations won’t be affected. Other types of telephone services force you to wait up to 24 hours for call diversions to kick in, and charge you a pretty penny. And if you’re moving your business, SIP allows you to easily maintain your existing phone numbers.
7) SIP supports your mobile users.
You can always add support for mobility using a mobile application. Also, SIP can supplement your existing PBX with additional features delivered via a cloud connection.
By making a relatively small investment for SIP, you can reap these advantages while getting ROI payback within a short time frame. Your business can continue advancing its telephone capabilities while enjoying the benefits of low-cost, high-quality global connectivity over the Internet.