How DX, elastic services will evolve SIP trunking

While cost savings, reliability and redundancy are driving the move to Session Initiation Protocol, emerging services such as elastic SIP trunking and extensible applications could help deliver new features and functionality as part of DX projects.

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More enterprises are making the move to SIP trunking to save money and boost reliability. But there’s also a new generation of services evolving — from elastic services to digital transformation — that make this protocol even more relevant to UC&C initiatives.

Given the opportunities to reduce costs and take advantage of features such as virtualized numbers and call redundancy, “it’s no wonder we’ve seen very strong growth in SIP trunking over the past couple of years,” said Irwin Lazar, vice-president and analyst with Nemertes Research, during a recent No Jitter webinar. “It’s really taken off.”

In a 2018 UC&C research study, Nemertes found that roughly 57 per cent of respondents are using SIP trunking in some fashion, while 19 per cent are evaluating it and 24 per cent don’t need it or haven’t looked at it. Compared to North America, SIP trunking isn’t as widely deployed in Europe or Asia, typically due to higher costs.

But, when digging into these numbers, “we’re not anywhere close to 100 per cent adoption,” said Lazar. “Companies are putting SIP trunks in, but they’re not doing it for all of their PSTN connectivity. In a lot of cases they have a blended environment where they have some SIP trunks in some locations and still using digital services for others.”

Indeed, only about 58 per cent of respondents have converted more than half of their trunks to SIP, and 25 per cent of respondents have converted less than 10 per cent of their trunks to SIP, “so it tells us there’s still something going on in the market where the features are enough to get people started, but not closing in on 100 per cent replacement,” said Lazar.

So why is that? Costs may still be higher than anticipated, he said, or savings may be lower than anticipated. Another issue is deployment flexibility — or paying for additional capacity they’re not using except during peak periods.

One solution is the newly emerging concept of elastic SIP trunking, which offers flexible pricing models. “In an elastic model you’re only paying for what you use,” said Lazar.

“It’s really attractive if you’re an organization where call volumes have fairly regular variability, such as an insurance company who wants to be prepared for a natural disaster and be prepared for a spike in call volumes. That way they don’t have to provision for worst-case scenario and pay for what [they’re] not using.”

Another emerging area is the integration of SIP trunking into digital transformation (DX) efforts, which Nemertes defines as the ability to take advantage of emerging applications, services and technologies to improve internal and external processes.

One example would be adding click-to-call functionality onto your website through WebRTC, allowing users to click a button and make a call directly into your PBX or contact centre platform.

“We start to see emerging use cases around SIP as an extensible application delivered via APIs that can be incorporated into any type of application,” said Lazar.

“We’re still early days, only about eight per cent of folks in the last UC&C study of 650 companies were doing this,” he said, “but 15 per cent were evaluating it and another 23 per cent are planning on implementing these services over the next couple of years, typically as part of a DX initiative.”

If you’ve already rolled out SIP trunking to some degree, “it’s something you want to continue to revisit as new services emerge,” said Lazar. “You want to look at how they could potentially save you money and deliver new features and capabilities you didn’t have, and really help you be more flexible in what you’re delivering.”

Image: Paul Bradbury/iStock

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