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Session Management 101: The Linchpin of Next-Gen Communications

My colleague Rob Arnold recently completed a market insight on enterprise session management, which is the linchpin in next-generation UC architectures. Although still relatively new to the marketplace, these advanced, SIP-based solutions offer the ability to unify multi-vendor networks and disparate components, whether hardware or software. That makes them key to the enterprise communications of the future.

Session management also enables a phased migration to IP communications, allowing companies to leverage existing investments in legacy platforms, orchestrate the rollout of IP telephony and unified communications, and scale to connect the islands of IP communications that exist within the network. To help drive user productivity via more-effective information sharing, session management environments support the ability to give all users in the network access to centralized services and a common and consistent set of features and applications.

The operational efficiencies offered by session management solutions stem from access-line aggregation and consolidation, application server and resource centralization, bandwidth optimization, more pervasive intelligent routing of communication traffic, a uniform dial plan, and, in some cases, common management of formerly disparate network and application components.

Session management architectures can also improve reliability, business continuity, and disaster recovery through improved inter-site connectivity and intelligent routing, distribution of components, multi-path failover, and geographic redundancy, which can eliminate or greatly reduce single points of failure for mission-critical services.

Although session management solutions were initially positioned almost exclusively for large enterprises, mid-size companies and small businesses can benefit from the solutions, which are now being made available to them. The increasing availability of essential SIP trunking services from telcos and ITSPs (Internet telephony service providers) is helping to broaden the reach and addressable audience of businesses and enterprises that can implement session management solutions, which bodes well for the future growth of the market.

Recent Frost & Sullivan research indicates that future enterprise purchase decisions will increasingly call for tighter integration of multi-vendor and single-source solutions. Session management solutions are optimized for configurations which allow applications to be implemented centrally and services to be orchestrated across networked locations from central control. When asked to describe their communications infrastructure today, 45 percent of large companies and 25 percent of SMBs say it is tightly integrated; but when asked to describe that same infrastructure in 24 months, 60 percent of large companies and 30 percent of SMBs expect tight integration.

The full study includes much more information on trends, drivers and restraints, as well as a full evaluation of the leading vendors in the market. Clients can download it at