Archive for October, 2010


The Evolution Of SIP Within Enterprises

Before complete interoperability, enterprise communication have separate structures of voice and data communication. The voice infrastructure is called time division multiplexing (TDM); for data communication, the infrastructure is called internet protocol (IP). However, the separate infrastructures cause a breakdown in enterprise communication as the system cannot balance out fluxes in voice and data communication. If the enterprise received an increase in calls, the internet data network could be entirely unused, while the phones would ring off the hook and customers would receive a busy signal.

On an individual level, devices aren’t be able to operate together. Individuals would have separate numbers for their home phone, office phone and mobile phone with different message systems; email couldn’t be synced with texting and IM. All this information coming from entirely separate sources can be a headache to sift through and slow down reaction times to email, messaging, and voicemails.

In the intermediary phase between separate infrastructures and complete interoperability, networks were able to accommodate both voice and data communication in real-time. The improved quality of service and lowered costs are particularly beneficial. However, the benefits are not completely maximized and the costs needed to extend the network may be a bit daunting. Organizations can implement SIP routing and trunking for some improvement.

In the final product, communications are synced with business operations. The linked system allows for communication and protocols. Calls from customers or partners can be routed and recorded instantly; emails can be forwarded, answered, written and sent within seconds. Multimedia messaging can mean that on one side of the conversation, an individual can be texting and the other can be on a voice call. Video conferencing, instant messaging and instant data exchange can make communication reliable and speedy. In regards to customer service, customers can receive timely assistance through intelligent customer routing and self-service options.


So What Does SIP Interoperability Really Mean?

SIP’s main goal is to facilitate IP communications between individuals and enterprises, by building upon existing applications and creating new ones. To do this, SIP exists for a few reasons. First, it takes common network elements and creates an understandable framework in which to build protocols. Protocols smooth out and streamline all types of communication and each protocol but be supported by the initial framework. The protocol also raises the standard of communications. There will be a set of methods in communications: how and when communication will occur. There is also an authentication methods. When there are many users and much information is exchanged, security is of the utmost importance. SIP has ways to protecting user’s information – how it used, who it is released to, etc. In addition, it can create safe ways to exchange money and billing information.

There are a few entities that work to encourage SIP interoperability including Developer Communication, SipCenter, SIP Forum, SIPconnect, SIPit, and SPEERMENT.

Interoperability also refers to multi-vendor integration. Previously, the only way interconnection occurred was through the use of Q-interface Signaling protocol (QSIG). However, issues arose in the copies made of features and systems and difficulties in training users.

With SIP, there are the following benefits: open standard IP telephony environment, different user agents, and supported connectivity between vendor systems, devices and applications. SIP allows users to create a single system, out of different PBXs.

SIP allows for the connection, layering, simplification and streamlining of how communications occur, through devices and applications that were previously separate. SIP facilitates communication between users with enterprises and between independent enterprises.


What Is SOA?

SOA stands for Service Oriented Architecture and it has three significant goals. SOA is able to design IT infrastructures. This allows for better interoperability and data exchange through a set protocol. In addition, it allows previously existing applications to be used together. With these services, SOA is then able to automate operations. SOA strives to improve the speed and smoothness of communications to better relationships between entities, but also entities with their clients and their markets. But SOA does not just build complex models. It can also simplify communication processes to make it even better.

SIP also integrates well with internet based applications that are increasingly used with businesses. Multi-modal communications can be integrated within business applications. So general user information can be folded into applications. Thus, communication goes from being user-to-user only, to allowing applications to use the information as well.

This helps with automating operations – applications use a protocol to ensure smooth operations without needing a middle-man user to manage processes.

SOA is based on the strategy of improving efficiency within and between enterprises. In using SOA, enterprises can be sure that they will improve communication and applications within and between each other, and also in using applications over the internet.


What Is A SIP Federation?

With the advent of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), individual businesses may utilize them. But maximum benefits occur when these entities are able to exchange information over SIP. Previous SIP, businesses couldn’t interoperate, not with SIP, connection can occur over the internet. With SIP, SIP benefits are not isolated with individual businesses, more modes of communication are introduced (i.e. instant messaging,) higher quality of communication and reduced cost.

SIP users/entities can call each other, have multimedia exchange sessions, instant message and share presence information. There may be a couple of obstacles that interfere with maximum SIP utilization. These may include interoperation, entities being able to recognize each other, and managing the interactions.

A federation creates open communications over a network to aid entities in overcoming these obstacles. It allows for discovery services to allow enterprises to identify and recognize each other by making directories available. They also build upon SIP communications and allow for interoperability, in regards to voice, video, multimedia, and instant messaging. In addition, to streamline and smooth out communication, federation services authenticate users and has policies for acceptable use. If users do not follow these rules, if a user abuses the systems, with for example, spam, then they would have their privileges revoked. There is also the option of a caller ID-like application, which prevents identity manipulation.

There are other options different than federation, namely “direct peering.” Here, two entities set up their own relationship, complete with a shared directory and their own policy of use. This may work on a small scale, between a few enterprises, but it does not allow for universal exchange.


An Introduction To SIP Trunking:

SIP trunking refers to the process by which calls, in and out, between the business and its partners, are communicated. For instance, customer service calls can be routed to a customer service center rather than the branch of the business itself. This frees up in-store employees to do their customer communication face-to-face, rather than on the phone.

Before SIP, businesses used Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) carriers. They connected their PBX telephone network to one of these carriers and lost money – these carriers charged money even when the lines were idle or busy, incurring toll charges and expensive long distance charges. Now with VoIP and SIP, companies can integrate voice, video and data for a much lower cost. SIP trunks allow for voice and data to be transported over an IP connection. The voice data is moved to a carrier cloud, rather than pure voice circuits. Once the SIP servers connect, the data is moved. The IP circuits can carry email, video and other data as well.

Cost is reduced with employing a single IP pipe for communication. In addition, SIP is not tied to a particular geographic location, which means it has number mobility and can be used wherever and whenever.

Previously, enterprises were not interconnected via SIP and communication outside the islands of enterprises went back to the traditional voice calls. Now, with federated services, enterprises that use SIP can connect and enable SIP-to-SIP calling, which include email, IM-ing and video exchange. Enterprises can then interoperate and manage data, so that communication is streamlined and uninterrupted.


How Does SIP Help Businesses?

To stay competitive, small businesses need to take advantage of technology for several reasons. Utilizing technology can reduce communication costs, make customer service more efficient, speed up communications and keep day-to-day business running smoothly. In addition, over SIP trunking, there is the opportunity for converged voice, video and data. This is done through something call peer-to-peer SIP communications (P2PSIP.) P2PSIP registers, looks up contacts and shares information. It handles the constant flux of information online without dropping or losing any important information.

P2PSIP also simplifies telephone communication. P2PSIP can condense or minimize the functions needed to initiate, connect and end voice calls. The information needed to make a phone call are embedded in the endpoints, rather than needing additional mediation. Essentially, a user can plug in an IP phone into the LAN (local area network,) and the phone configures itself within a few minutes, allowing for voice mail, conferencing and auto attendant.

SIP can also improve enterprise communication as well by facilitating communication between businesses and their contacts, who may include clients, partners, and suppliers. SIP can remove the need for several devices, instead it is an interface which allows for multiple endpoints, thus connecting enterprise platforms with application servers. Cost and efficiency are reduced when enterprises are stuck using circuit-switched hand-off. This harms qualities of transmission, makes contact more complicated and costs more. However, by building a framework of SIP communications, communication within and between multiple enterprises reduces the number of gateways and devices need to run a large enterprise.


How Can SIP Can Simplify Communication?

In the world of missed calls, voicemails and busy signals, communication can be frustrating. However, with SIP, an individual or business can create a “presence,” in which their status, availability and desired contact method is clear and easy to use. A user status communicates whether the user is online or offline. The availability dictates if the user is available to communicate, is away, in a meeting, on a call, or busy. The desired contact method will let those trying to communicate with an individual know which is the best way to proceed with contact. In addition, the presence allows for a protocol to be created in case of communication. For instance, if the user is inactive for a set period of time, an “Away” status will be implemented. In addition, calls can be routed from one device to another automatically if the user is not available at the former one. And all this is done automatically without upsetting the line of communication. When a call is routed through, the SIP proxy, which receives the invitation, will make a decision to where to route the call. The SIP proxy may send the call to several addresses, for instance, the user’s mobile phone, home phone and email. This is called “parallel forking.” If the SIP proxy chooses a specific address, this is call an “intelligent fork.”

In addition, with an address of record (AOR,) there is one public address for all communications. This links all the user’s devices to one single address. And this is all because SIP allows for Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs,) which supports both numeric and alpha numeric addresses. For instance, both phone numbers and email addresses.


Why SIP?

SIP offers many benefits: it uses a range of devices to connect people all over the world at any time through voice, video, and text. It can simplify communication while giving companies in an edge in a technologically competitive world. More specifically, it gives companies a virtual presence, making communication easy, flexible and approachable. But it also gives individuals and businesses the power to choose when and how they are available and alert communication partners to this information. In fact, communication can be virtually scheduled based on the parties’ availability based on the information online. If the person is not available, the call can be automatically forwarded to an assistant. And this is all done without interruption or dropped calls – making for smoother and more responsible communication.

SIP can also centralize communication. In this day and age, an individual may have a home phone, cell phone, office phone, direct line, texting, video chat number, email – the list goes on and complicates communication with any one device. However, SIP can provide one address for all these devices, meaning an individual never has to be confused again. This is called a SIP address of record (AOR) which is a single identifying number, which can be considered one’s public number.

SIP can also aid in voice, IM, video, inline translation services, multi-modal messaging (multiple methods/devices), speech-to-text translations and web-based Interactive Video Response (IVR). Speech-to-text translations aid communication partners, where one only has voice capabilities and the other has only text capabilities. It translates communication between both parties. To learn more about SIP Trunking and the benefits of PBX SIP Trunking services, please visit:

http://www.nextiva.com/products/pbx-sip-trunking/


Automated Attendants: Turning Every Call Into A Business Opportunity

It is true that Nextiva awards its consumers with the use of an automated attendant, but what exactly is an automated attendant? An automated attendant essentially lessens the need for a smaller enterprise to hire a receptionist to greet incoming callers to the business. This service can be incorporated with a multitude of additional calling features, each designed to assist the auto attendant in effectively managing the communication requirements of the business.
One of the greatest attributes small businesses will find after having deployed the auto attendant feature available with their VoIP service plans is the features unique ability to greatly enhance the overall image of the business. Just as the potential for significant monetary savings is the one of the greatest benefits of a hosted VoIP service, the automated attendant is one of the most beneficial features of a hosted VoIP service.
When correctly configured an automated attendant is able to perform most of the duties that a live receptionist would handle in a conventional switch board scenario. These duties may range from greeting clients, forwarding calls, placing calls on hold and even providing an array of menu options allowing callers to reach their intended person, department or sublisting quickly and efficiently.
Having an automated attendant means that incoming callers will always be greeted in a professional, courteous and uniformed manner regardless of the time of day. Business administrators are given the ability to create customized greetings that can be played for callers outside of normal operating hours or even on holidays. This virtualized receptionist has the capability to greatly assist smaller businesses in bolstering their corporate image by ensuring that client communications are handled as proficiently as possible.
Unlike a secretary, an automated attendant can handle multiple calls simultaneously and effectively route each caller to either a live person or a voicemail to help guarantee that no important business opportunity is ever missed.




 
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