What’s pushing SIP trunking over the top

A Forrester Research analyst shows that two main business and technology factors are keeping momentum for deployments strong this year and beyond

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A funny thing happened on the way to Art Schoeller’s most recent webinar on SIP trunking.

By the time it started, its title was already out of date. Hosted by Enterprise Connect, the webinar was given the intriguing title “What’s Stopping the Adoption of SIP Trunking?” As the event began, however, Schoeller acknowledged that his latest figures for Forrester Research actually tell a very different story.

(I don’t mean to diss whoever named the webinar. Even Schoeller sounded pleasantly surprised by how much the data had shifted since the event was given its title.)

Rather than being stopped in its tracks, SIP’s marketplace uptake “may finally be starting to shift and move,” said Schoeller, a VP and principal research analyst at Forrester.

Schoeller’s own data show that SIP is gathering steam. In Forrester’s global survey of 939 IT decision makers, participants who said they had ‘already implemented SIP or planned to expand it’ rose by 10 percentage points between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.

There was also movement in two other categories: ‘not interested or interested but have no immediate plans’ and ‘planning to implement.’

“Both of those (last two categories) have shrunk which means those enterprises have basically moved up to get really serious (about SIP) and get going,” Schoeller said.

Why is this happening now?

Schoeller sees pricing as one driver. SIP providers are moving from the traditional model – where the customer had to estimate their usage requirements in advance – to a pay-for-use system. Customers like the new pricing because it’s based on actual usage, more scalable and “designed for the Internet,” he said.

His theory jives with a report put out in January by research house Software Advice, which was acquired by Gartner in 2014.

“Pricing models are (a) major consideration among the respondents in our sample, as they have a direct effect on the telecom budget,” wrote Daniel Harris, market research associate at Software Advice.

In Harris’s survey of 203 IT decision makers, the number of organizations tapping into the newer pay-for-use system (39 per cent) actually outstripped the number still utilizing traditional port-based pricing (32 per cent).

But the newfound thirst for SIP trunking isn’t just about improved pricing. It also appears to be based on improved quality in the service itself. Among other key data from Harris’s study, 73 per cent of respondents were ‘very’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with the audio quality of their SIP voice calls. In addition, 80 per cent said their SIP system ‘always’ or ‘often’ prioritizes voice traffic effectively on their business network.

Harris does note in his report that the survey was heavily weighted to smaller sized organizations with less than 500 employees, which made up 43 per cent of all the respondents.

Still, Schoeller said during his webinar that customers of all sizes are getting onboard SIP so they can mine yet another benefit from it: optimization.

In his estimation, more customers are catching onto “how to optimize (SIP) infrastructure by leveraging what’s underneath it.” In other words, businesses are finally figuring out what else they can do with SIP trunking besides manage voice traffic. That leads them to applications like WebRTC, disaster recovery, cloud-based call recording and SMS-enabled trunks, Schoeller said.

As he summarized it so succinctly, connecting and extending these other business use cases to SIP infrastructure “is starting to allow us to do some interesting and new things” beyond VOIP.

I don’t know when the next webinar on SIP adoption takes place. But it really needs a title that emphasizes where it’s going next instead of what’s stopping it.

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