Browsing Date

October 2010

Contact Centers and SIP Trunking

By October 26, 2010 No Comments

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?

By October 26, 2010 No Comments

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.


The Evolution Of SIP Within Enterprises

By October 26, 2010 No Comments

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?

By October 18, 2010 No Comments

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?

By October 18, 2010 No Comments

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?

By October 15, 2010 No Comments

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:

By October 10, 2010 No Comments

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.