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Going Global with SIP and UC

With traditional telephony, covering a large set of countries in your business was either done with nodal PBXs or through some relatively expensive backhaul and local numbers. However, the advent of VoIP, SIP, centralization and UC are changing the picture.

If you go to a centralized VoIP or UC solution, the PBX point of presence goes away. The challenge now is how to provide local PSTN access services in all of the countries where you are doing business.

If you are a typical company working across Europe and into Asia, this can be a daunting task. While one option is to replace the PBX with a PSTN gateway and support those local connections as they were, this does not help with reducing costs. And with many of these remote locations being ones where the employees have mobile phones that can be survivable devices, the local survivability option is less financially attractive. Also, many companies have a need for local number presence in countries for conferencing and contact centers.

With SIP, an alternative is to separate inbound from outbound dialing. There are many outbound SIP dialing options that can give you access to anywhere in the world, but having inbound local number presence is a more complicated proposition. Companies like Voxbone specialize in this type of service. Voxbone can provide local numbers in 50 countries, many with both voice and fax, some with SMS as well. All of these local numbers are then backhauled through Voxbone POPs to your centralized VoIP server locations as SIP.

The result is a very easy way of having presence across a range of countries without equipment or asset costs. In fact, new numbers can be provisioned immediately through a Web interface or an API. In the past, these types of solutions were often hidden, since they were offered as wholesale services to carriers. But now they are increasingly becoming available directly to enterprises and contact centers.

This set of services is now integrated with Micrososft Lync for inbound dialing. For an organization looking to deploy Lync for a global user community--whether users are customers, local workers or travelers--this option enables a potentially better way to deploy services. For example, a company located in the U.S. but with a large European presence can deploy a Lync solution with Lync pools in both the U.S. and Europe for local presence (to minimize latency) and even redundancy.

Then through an inbound SIP service, local numbers can be easily procured across Europe. This enables local business numbers to be dialed for employee access, conferencing, and contact center interactions. These SIP connections will be handed off at the pools as SIP for direct conferencing support or to link back to the employee using the company IP infrastructure (or the employee can also use a local number if IP service quality is insufficient).

As discussed before, for many companies whose local employees are either sales- or support-focused, the mobile device can provide redundancy, eliminating the need for any local physical connectivity or a survivable remote. In this case, the outbound dialing into the company is handled through a large outbound SIP aggregator. As most of the traffic is inbound, this optimizes the cost mix.

An alternative for an organization with a smaller global presence is to simply place all of the Lync pools in the U.S. with all of the traffic going through the U.S. For local dialing to local employees in Europe, this creates some additional latency, but it may optimize the vast majority of interactions that are from Europe back to employees in the U.S.

One area that has been an issue in this type of strategy is the lack of a local capability for 911/emergency services. In most countries this is a requirement if there is a physical office location. Obviously, eliminating a local gateway will also eliminate local dialing for 911/emergency. Companies like Voxbone that provide wide number reach are mitigating this by enabling local 911/emergency services to be matched to the inbound dialing. While this is not intended to be the same as local general outbound dialing, it does enable a user who dials an emergency number to be connected into the local emergency services.

While these solutions now can be used with Lync, they should be considered as part of any large multi-national new communications system deployment. By moving to an asymmetrical SIP trunking strategy where the inbound and outbound traffic is managed though separate providers, there is a high potential for both performance and cost optimization.

Whether your use cases are for local employees, conferencing, or contact center, if your business requires local PSTN access, deploying an inbound SIP trunking solution may be the best way to establish your presence in a range of markets. For organizations considering moving from a Lync IM/Presence deployment to either Lync conferencing or a full Lync Enterprise Voice deployment, these capabilities may increase the benefit and reduce the ROI significantly over current implementations.