As 2013 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on a truly momentous year for SIP, both in technological advancements and increasing adoption rates by enterprises from all manner of industries.
Ever Increasing Inroads Into ISDN
SIP continues to demonstrate its superiority over traditional ISDN telephony solutions as results from independent and industry sponsored research show. In January this year, illume consulting’s latest SIP survey showed that SIP/IP trunking exhibits no sign of slowing with growth of 25% June-December 2012. As the UK SIP market numbered 757,928 trunks at the end of 2012 this represents a growth of 60% year on year.
Compare this to the estimated 1 million ISDN trunks that have ‘disappeared’ since 2008 and the continual erosion of the ISDN market could not be more at odds with SIP.
SIP fraud is currently estimated to be a $20 billion worldwide problem. It is becoming increasingly popular because IP-based attacks can be carried out from anywhere in the world with very little risk of the perpetrator being caught even if their activities are discovered.
Essentially cybercriminals can turn a PBX into their own personal money-making machine by hacking into it and then making multiple calls at once, racking up hundreds if not thousands of pounds in charges in a very short space of time.
Security is generally considered to be the remit of the end user but thanks to a number of advancements in SIP technology there are ways that the SIP service provider can help to reduce exposure to malicious hackers. Fraud management tools (FMT) are portal features that allow SIP end points to set spend thresholds. This means that should an attack occur, calls can only be made up to the pre-determined spend level. Once this threshold has been reached, all further calls are automatically barred, stopping the criminal enterprise dead in its tracks.
One of the key features of FMTs from reliable service providers is that they are easy to manage. Through a series of easily navigable drop-down menus, SIP customers can choose the SIP trunk in question, set a daily/weekly spend limit and then establish a spend threshold that ‘once reached’ sends a warning message to anyone they believe should receive notification.
SIP Going Mobile
One of the chief motivations for enterprises to switch to SIP (apart from increased cost-effectiveness and reliability) is the ever-improving ability to integrate Unified Communications (UC) features into their business communications solution. Video and teleconferencing, voice and instant messaging are all communications tools that are pushing forward-thinking businesses to be more efficient as well as more connected with their customers.
While UC integration at the office is doubtlessly important, companies are keen to literally take the technology further and connect to their staff on the go via mobile devices. The increasing popularity of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) makes this an achievable goal that doesn’t have to put an unnecessary strain on the enterprise itself while allowing its employees to work with the devices that they are most comfortable with.
Because of this shift towards BYOD, many companies in the communications industry are moving away from dedicated tablets and instead focusing on UC software that works on a wider range of mobile operating systems, making adoption all the easier for the end user.
As the SIP market continues to evolve at such a rapid-fire pace, it’s not easy to determine its future. However, a number of predictions supported by industry-leading experts can be made with a reasonable amount of assurance:
- SIP trunks deployed in the UK should continue to steadily grow as more enterprises are prepared to make the switch away from traditional telephony solutions.
- SIP service providers will further develop features to improve their business continuity assurances as disaster/fraud prevention becomes an increasingly important priority of UK businesses of all sizes.
- Expect further development of UC and other integrated communications solutions to reflect the importance of inter-connectivity through mobile devices, etc. Matt Townend of illume consulting said in a recent interview:
In the coming year we expect to see more focus on what applications can be layered on top of a SIP trunk, and how Services Providers can really address Hybrid Hosted and SIP environments and bring benefits of Unified Communications to both traditional PBX and hybrid customer scenarios.