Archive for October, 2010


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Summary Of Why Businesses Should Implement SIP

There are several reasons why enterprises should utilize SIP. Firstly, it improves how companies and individuals can manage and improve applications, devices and thus, communication. Built on a text-based language, like HTTP, it is easily used by IT employees and is very understandable by the average user.
It can implement one “address” for all communication devices, including mobile phone, video chat, landlines, texting, and instant messaging. Communication can be routed to whatever mode the user prefers or whichever one the user is available at. It can also create an availability profile, so that those trying to initiate contact will know if anyone is on the receiving end. SIP can also prioritize incoming messages, so that users aren’t overwhelmed with communication. They can format and route messages depending on the user’s needs.
SIP can also transform traditional communication by implementing speech-to-text and text-to-speech, so that users working off different devices can still have a conversation. SIP applications can be used within and between large and small businesses and create protocol for communication, i.e. instantly ordering a product if the stock is low. SIP also reduces user costs, maximizing on low cost modes of communication, such as the internet. Customer service services, including contact centers, can be greatly improved in efficiency and management, especially with self-service options. All of these SIP benefits improve employee and business productivity. Nextiva offers PBX SIP Trunking services for small business – more information can be obtained by visiting: http://www.nextiva.com/products/pbx-sip-trunking/


The Smart Communication System

The potential of SIP-enabled applications is limitless. For instance, let’s say a user instant messaged his colleague, but the colleague was unavailable. SIP protocol could be arranged so that User B received a text to his phone letting him know communication was attempted and what the message was. In addition, SIP can also integrate tools such as speech-to-text and text-to-speech. This means that one user can be instant messaging and other is on a voice call, yet communication is facilitated and efficient. Devices linked to SIP can intelligently differentiate the needs to each user and manage sessions to ensure the clearest communication possible.

In addition, SIP can sift through messages and applications to prioritize the most important messages for the user based on preference. With all of the different modes of communication, so many messages can come from so many directions. For those with out a personal assistant or secretary, or even those who do, creating a protocol of prioritization can be extremely helpful.

The point of this example is to show how SIP can change and improve with use. As needs become more evident, SIP can adjust to those needs. It is malleable and adaptable for whatever the user needs, ranging from new protocol rules to presence issues to application capabilities to privacy settings.

SIP can also utilize location services to find out where users are and apply these locations to an application. For instance, let’s say a student walked into a library study room with a presence-enabled wireless access point. Automatically, a signal could be sent to a scheduling application to check whether the room is available for use and can ask the student if he would like to reserve the room to study and for how long. If it isn’t available, the system can suggest study rooms that are available.


SIP and Multiple Devices

It’s happened to all of us before. A colleague seems to be online via chat, but not responding. So you shoot over an email, but still nothing. You text him, but receive no response. You call his direct line and get voicemail and then finally you call his secretary, who says he out of the office sick today. So many ways to communicate and still nothing.

With the integration of SIP and multiple devices, clients will no longer have to send a “Are you available?” message. Instead, users can integrate all their communication into one number. Laptops, mobile phone and all the applications applied to both, for instance, instant messaging, can allow for one presence and user preferences.

Users can dictate where they are available for voice calls, video chats, instant messaging, texting, or any combination of these or perhaps none at all. Those who are trying to contact the user will receive information on the ways the user would prefer to be contacted, which usually the most efficient way to contact the user.

Instead being faced with various “Away” messages or idle statuses, user presence becomes much clearer for an array of communication devices and can improve efficiency when another person tries to contact the user.

With presence-PBX integration, communication is even more efficient. Those initiating contact can see previous to session initiation if any one is even on the receiving end or whether they are unavailable. In addition, when initiating a session, a user can contact the SIP message server, which initiates the session based on both users’ preferences and availability. User A does not need to try several different devices to get a hold of User B, such as texting, IM-ing, emailing and calling. Rather, he sends one message to a SIP server, who starts a session based on the desired communication device as the appropriate time.


SIP and Business Applications

How does presence operate within applications? This question refers to intelligent communication and the increased productivity and efficiency when presence is established. SIP, when paired with web and XML-based applications, allow for business application presence. When a directory of contacts is linked to a business application, users can see others’ availability within the application. This is rather than having to open up an additional application, such as an instant messaging service to begin a conversation.

In fact, many applications do not require any sort of customization on the side of the client. Existing libraries, when linked, are equipped with functions that can communication with presence servers. These include DLLs in Windows and libraries through Linux.

Thus far, we understand that SIP enables the recognition of presence and subsequent communication within a particular application. But SIP can also increase efficiency of this said communication. For instance, open web services can allow applications to automatically check for the presence of others and to initiate sessions, if a protocol has been set up for it. The human client doesn’t need to click to start the process; instead the application can begin the session independently. Changes or queries can be made quickly.

With SIP function, a client doesn’t have to open up several applications. For instance, one application can check an inventory list, alert the client to when a product needs to be re-ordered, check the presence of the vendor online, and even begin a session to initiate the re-ordering. And all of this can be done in one program. This is significantly different from an older process, where the client would need to manually check the program. Then find the contact information of the vendor. Then call the vendor. And then place the order. And then update the database. All of this equals more steps and more time. Reducing both steps and time in a major benefit of integrating SIP with business applications.


SIP Trunking and More Customer Service

The business with the best customer service will have the best contact center. Customers should be able to contact the enterprise through an array of devices or methods and the call should be routed to the appropriate human or non-agent quickly. This reduces the time that customers must wait for the information. It prevents customer service agents spending time of customer needs that can be satisfied more quickly with a self-service option.

The best contact centers utilize Customer Relationship management (CRM,) Intelligent Customer Routing (ICR,) multimedia customer input channels, and skills-based routing. ICR utilizes customer data to route communication more effectively. Customers will also realize that their individual needs are better met. In addition, by utilizing other SIP applications, all communication can be routed to a single contact center. In the past, enterprises had to open customer service branches in an array of locations. However, this increased production costs and didn’t necessarily improve customer service. The infrastructure, employees and technology needed to make a contact center function outweighed benefits to customer relations. However, with SIP, calls from one part of the world can be routed to another; multimedia communication can be utilized to reduce communication costs. Geography no longer affects customer service. Inefficiencies in communication have been reduced, decreasing response time and cost.

SIP creates one standard interface with which all communication can be effectively managed and organized through. SIP can create additional endpoints, facilitate routing, and allow for trunking services. SIP increases the interoperability of the different devices and methods customers may use to contact enterprises and increases the flexibility in how enterprises respond.


SIP Trunking and Customer Self-Service

A rather recent development are self-service contact centers, which use voice or button responses to communicate with customers. An automated voice, text or data message will prompt a response from the customer so their concerns can be addressed. These are particularly helpful for paying bills over the phone, checking balancing, receiving directions to a particular location, or receiving updates about accounts. These calls also offer the option of speaking to a human agent if the concern isn’t full addressed through the automated service.

Businesses are now offering multiple communication options to their customers to address issues more effectively and to ensure that their customers are satisfied with the relationship. Companies can handle the influx of customer communication more quickly and on a larger scale, promoting company growth. Utilizing a PBX SIP trunking service within a contact center can shorten the time in takes to respond to customers and improve efficiency in the information they receive.

Much of the information that customers need on a daily basis can be given through a self-service option. This increases the productivity of a company. Customer service agents don’t need to spend unnecessary time looking up a customer’s current balance, which can be done through self-service. Instead, they can help address trouble-shooting issues. Calls can be routed to specific experts, so the call can be efficient – customers don’t have to wait and agents don’t need to spend time looking up information or colleagues to answer these questions. Thus, call time is reduced and productivity is increased.


Contact Centers and SIP Trunking

Call centers have been in existence for many years and some people may argue that call centers are dying. Customers don’t just call into enterprises anymore. They text, tweet, email, call, web messages, and instant message. Thus, businesses need to be equipped to handle all sorts of communication and so the contact center was born. There are many ways to build a contact center. It may be separated by medium, so one department deals with emails, another with voice calls. It may also be separated by outbound communication and inbound communication. Inbound is when the customer first contacts the center; outbound are communications initiated by business. Inbound calls may be in regards purchases, troubleshooting, billing issues, etc. Outbound contact may be to alert customers of new information, to follow up on an issues, to ask for their input, etc. Outbound communication is usually phone-based, as other types of communication are seen as less personal. There may be also be agents who can deal with all types of communication or focus specifically on one, like answering instant messages. However, all these representatives must be well-versed in all technology protocol as well as all the information regarding the enterprise.

With SIP, enterprises can simplify communication by routing messages in a particular way to a particular agent and better parsing out customer information. Customers are able tor receive tailored information when their messages are part of a specific protocol. Communications can be separated by topic and media, and routed to appropriate human or non-human agents. Customers benefit as they make a single call and can be routed directly to the appropriate contact, without the traditional wait or forwarding.


How Secure Is SIP?

SIP uses the same plain-text language as HTTP making it have similar security to web traffic that is not encrypted. Thus, the risks attached to internet use also apply to SIP, including authenticity, privacy, glitches, and crashing with increased traffic. Phones should always be protected behind a firewall or router to make sure that they cannot be accessed from the internet. 

SIP uses digest authentication to prevent someone from monitoring the traffic from the phone and authenticating themselves as your device. Digest authentication is a method by which a device can securely send encrypted passwords over HTTP. 

Another issue is the concept of survivability of these networks. Traditional communication tends to be seen as more reliable. However, IP systems have the option of duplexed systems and redundancy. This means that if an issue occurs, communications can be re-routed and addressed without any pause. Thus, the communicators may not even be aware that a glitch has occurred, which is particularly beneficial in customer relations. In addition, there are very rare instances when IP communications within an enterprise would not be able to handle a malfunction, even a very serious one.




 
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