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SIP Trunking Maturity: 7 out of 10

SIP Trunking maturity was a 5 last year, is a 7 now, and heading to an 8 by the end of this year, on a scale of 1 to 10. The following attributes contributed to this score:

1) Providing Value--10: Fortune 1000-size organizations can save anywhere from 25-60% on their telecom expenses. There are quite a few SIP trunking calculators on the web. One that I worked with is from AcmePacket.

2) Features--9: In the last year, the SIP Trunking service providers have really stepped up to deliver all the basic and advanced ISDN functionality onto SIP trunks. Most manufactures and service providers have robust documentation and testing checklists. One that I have worked with is from XO.

3) Industry Standardization--7: In March of this year, the SIP Connect Forum ratified the SIPconnect1.1 standard. Organizations should help promote standardization and require their vendors to be compliant.

4) Adoption--6: SIP trunking is in 75% of Fortune 1000 organizations, but less than 5% have completed their migration. It took IP-PBXs about 10 years to reach critical mass and it looks like SIP trunking will be about 5 years. Part of the reason for quicker adoption is the poor economy has forced companies to prioritize projects that lower operating costs.

5) Training--5: Telephony is a lot more complex than just ringing the phone. The challenge is that the people who know telephony well do not always know IP well and vice versa. Why some organizations deploy SIP trunking in a distributed model and/or do not use SBCs is evidence of the change in paradigm that SIP trunking brings. No Jitter has a lot of SIP trunking resources including a best practices presentation that I did this year at Enterprise Connect.

6) Support--4: This is the area that still needs the most work in SIP trunking. The tools to monitor, alarm, troubleshoot, configure, and report on SIP trunking are lagging in both the products and in implementation. But, if product roadmaps are any indication, this issue is being addressed.

Three years ago, I spent most of my time as a consultant helping companies build the business case for SIP trunking and doing interoperability testing and trying to get basic functionality to work. These days I am spending more time on training and support, along with International SIP trunking and Skype SIP trunking.

The ROI for implementing Skype SIP trunking for international calling can be as high as 95% when best effort communication is all that is required. As the cellular world moves to 4G, support for Skype mobile may really take off. I think this makes the carriers nervous, just like there are new SMS-equivalent applications that are free.

In 2012, I am looking forward to doing video over SIP trunks. Imagine being on a cell phone and sending pictures/video to an enterprise contact center while talking to an agent. This next round of innovation will move SIP trunking from a cost play to one that helps businesses grow top line revenue. As this occurs, more of my clients will be on the business side, and not in IT. Guess I better update my wardrobe....