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Taking the Boredom Out of SIP Trunks

I think it's an actor's responsibility to change every time. Not only for himself and the people he's working with, but for the audience. If you just go out and deliver the same dish every time... it's meat loaf again... you'd get bored. I'd get bored.
-- Johnny Depp

This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me in real life, but I am a restless, impatient person. I get bored easily and have a very hard time sitting around doing nothing. My mind is always off to the next big thing, and even in my quietest moments my brain is awash with thoughts. This may explain why I was never any good at yoga. The teacher would tell the class to focus on our breathing, and I would find myself instead silently trying to solve that day's work problems.

This leads me to a confession: Even though I am considered something of a "SIP guy," I find SIP trunks as boring as yesterday's oatmeal. It's not that I don't find tremendous value in jettisoning those old ISDN and analog trunks. It's just that I am surprised that everyone hasn't already done so.

Let's face it, it's not like SIP trunks are all that new. I have personally been talking about their benefits for well over a decade. Still, I constantly run into enterprises that are only now entering the "consideration phase." While I don't want to come off as elitist, that sounds like someone considering ditching his or her old flip phone for an Android or iOS smartphone. Seriously, that ship has already sailed.

What do I need to make me excited again about SIP trunks? Is it equipment reduction? Is it a compelling ROI story? Is it consolidation and a centralized trunk strategy? No, no, no, and no. To me, talking about these factors is like trying to excite me about a car by telling me it has tires, brakes, and a steering wheel. I want to know what makes that car different from every other car on the market. The same holds true for SIP trunks. If you want me to take notice of your offer, tell me what you do that no one else is doing.

This is precisely why I'm looking forward to joining the good folks at Twilio this Wednesday for the webinar, Extending VoIP: How to Leverage a Cloud Platform & SIP/SIP Trunking APIs. We'll dive into some of the unique aspects of SIP to revive my excitement. Register now, gather your questions, and tune in on November 30 at 11 a.m. PT/ 2 p.m. ET.

So what gets me excited about SIP? There are many areas I look at...

Did you read my recent No Jitter article on Web services, "Priming Your Web Services Knowledge"? Although it may have been a bit on the techy side, I explained a number of concepts that everyone working in communications needs to understand. The future of our industry is going to be cloud and hybrid cloud, and Web services will play a huge part in that.

Web services have started to play a big role in SIP trunking, too. Without going too deep into the weeds, Web services have the potential of empowering enterprises with the ability to control their inbound and outbound trunks in ways that have previously been exclusive to the carrier that delivers them.

One of the first things I look for when I am evaluating a SIP provider is, "What do you programmatically allow me to do with your trunks?" Can I dynamically change routes? Can I provision on the fly? Can I know how much I am paying in real-time? Can I get on-the-spot QoS (Quality of Service) reports?

If security concerns are not keeping you awake at night, then you aren't paying attention. Did you read my two-part article on voice hacking and denial of service -- "Hacking as a Service Part One: The Evolution of the Bad Guy" and "Hacking as a Service Part Two: Help is Here"? Hackers, crooks, terrorists, and all sorts of nasty evildoers are out to get you, and you need to pay attention to an ever-changing landscape of security threats and challenges.

When it comes to exciting me about SIP trunks, I want to know how security is being integrated into the fabric of every leg and component. I know that the moment I expose my network to the outside world, I am putting a target on my back that says, "Here I am. Come and get me." I want a SIP provider to tell me how it supports encryption in order to keep people from listening to my calls. I need to know how it is going to prevent the bad guys from touching my system. And I absolutely need to know when someone may have snuck through my defenses, so I can minimize the damage that might otherwise occur.

This will make me sound old (which I am), but I grew up with a party line. I knew what our ring was and when the old woman across the alley was listening in on my calls. In other words, I have been making telephone calls since the Kennedy administration.

However, I am not that guy with the flip phone and clearly understand that voice is no longer king. These days, I use my phone more often to send text messages than dial phone numbers. On top of that, I use a SIP soft client to bypass the cellular network and tap directly into my company's internal communications network.

I look for all this from my SIP provider, too. While voice is still important, it can't be your entire focus. If you aren't embracing other forms of communications, I can guarantee you a great big yawn.

Are you like me? Do you find yourself thinking about IoT (Internet of Things) sensors when you are supposed to be concentrating on your downward facing dog? Are you tired of commodity products and itching for the next big thing? Are you still on the fence about SIP trunks because you need more convincing?

If so, you need to attend this week's No Jitter webinar, Extending VoIP: How to Leverage a Cloud Platform & SIP/SIP Trunking APIs. Not only do you get to hear yours truly speak, but as I mentioned, I will be sharing the stage with my friends from Twilio. It's our goal that you learn there is no good reason to be bored by the power and future of SIP trunks. Heck, I'm already excited -- and trust me, getting me excited is not an easy thing to do.

Andrew Prokop writes about all things unified communications on his popular blog, SIP Adventures.

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