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Evolution vs. Revolution in VoIP/SIP

Most large enterprises do not have the capital and/or resources available to change out their traditional TDM infrastructure for centralization, VoIP, and SIP with one large project. Thus a multi-year evolution is the preferred path. But, the longer the evolution takes, the greater the chance of a revolution. In this case, a revolution is defined as changing IT management/staff, outsourcing, and/or moving to cloud based services to drive change sooner than later.The end state of the revolution has an architectural model where all communications services reside in a couple of data centers and use SIP. The office sites consist of a high quality IP network and end devices. PBXes, voice mail, call recording, and telecom circuits have been centralized. The benefits of this end state include:

--75% decrease in communications spend * Telecom--Saving millions per year by eliminating toll free feature charges, intrastate LD, on-on LD, ISDN D channel, local usage, and on-conferencing toll, and significantly reducing access, peak number of trunks required, LD on-off, and toll free costs. * Support--Most MACD work is software based with self-provisioning * Maintenance--No hardware in the field and economies of scale

--Quicker migration to UC: Integrating data and supporting multi-channel communications is easier when the infrastructure resides in the data center and SIP is used to add other communication channels at will--video, chat, co-browse...

--Mobility: Easier to support the mobile, 3rd party, and home users

--Business Continuity: Customers call more during a crisis. If a local office is closed due to weather, those calls need to be routed and handled elsewhere, including the DID #s.

--CEBP: Supporting real-time, asynchronous communication, across multiple channels that are tied to business processes to expedite results for customers.

--4G Integration: With the commoditization of most business products/services, efficient and effective communication becomes a core differentiator. Business success will be linked to who is in the "hot" list on someone's smart phone.

The challenges on moving to this revolutionary state quickly include:

--Upgrading the data network to handle voice: Designing and supporting voice on the data network and to the carriers requires new infrastructure, process, tools, and skill sets.

--Mind shift: Doing VoIP/SIP is a totally different architectural model than traditional TDM and a lot of telecom managers are "old school."

--Changing telecom contracts: An enterprise's existing carrier is not promoting change and likes to lock in rates over multiple years.

--Getting the capital required: Even if there is an IRR of 30-40%, IT typically only has a limited pool of capital to spend.

Enterprises have 2-3 years to complete the evolution or face the revolution to a centralized, VoIP, and SIP communications model. Senior management is demanding lower bottom line costs while also growing top line revenue. In the past, the migration to VoIP has been one of parity to maintain a basic communication service at a lower cost. In the future, a VoIP/SIP infrastructure that is integrated with other IT systems and processes will be a core business differentiator, especially as more products/services in the market become a commodity.