Usually, when a new technology succeeds in the market, it tends to fade into the background. It becomes essential and deployment keeps growing, but there's really not much new to say about it.
Then there's SIP Trunking. A long time ago, when Enterprise Connect was still called VoiceCon, we did several successful SIP Trunking road shows over a period of years. To give you an idea of just how long ago that was, I remember unwinding after one such event by watching one of the presidential debates between George W. Bush and John Kerry.
A decade and a half later, there's still plenty to say about SIP Trunking.
The most interesting thing about SIP Trunking has always been the fact that it offers enterprises the chance to save a lot of money by replacing expensive old-school PRI circuits. Lots of enterprises funded first-generation VoIP systems and early UC deployments with the savings generated by replacing PRIs with SIP Trunking. What made the whole story more urgent was that the incumbent carriers were trying desperately not to offer SIP Trunking, because it cannibalized those PRI revenues and obsoleted the carriers' already-paid-for infrastructure investments.
Then, even as the carriers started to roll out SIP Trunks, enterprises encountered challenges with interoperability. SIP is a standard, which means, like all standards, it can be implemented in many mutually incompatible ways.
The current issues with SIP Trunking — and the reason why there are still new issues to talk about — have a lot to do with the transition to UCaaS and other cloud-based services. On No Jitter this week, Irwin Lazar of Nemertes Research describes The 5 Reasons SIP Trunking is Alive and Well, a couple of which resonated with our content team given what we've been hearing from others during our Enterprise Connect Orlando 2020 planning meetings.
Irwin cites control and flexibility as two of the major reasons why enterprises are still implementing SIP Trunks instead of buying access that's bundled into a UCaaS offering. The specific needs for control and flexibility center around SIP Trunks' ability to let an enterprise keep control over, and flexibility in use of, its phone numbers. Several consultants have told us that, in many of the UCaaS deals they've worked on, enterprises haven't always appreciated the issue of phone number ownership in a move to the cloud. And yes, phone numbers are still an important business asset that your enterprise has to keep control over.
If you don't have SIP Trunks yet, you're not alone. Irwin reports that Nemertes found 58% of North American trunks had been converted to SIP, which means there's still a big chunk of the market still to turn over. And if you're at this point in the process — or if you have SIP Trunks and wonder whether they're a long-term solution — you should check out an upcoming Enterprise Connect Webinar, Save Money and Deliver Results with SIP. The discussion will feature Kevin Kieller, of enableUC, together with Lauren Brockman of Bandwidth, a SIP Trunking provider.
Money and control are two of the most compelling drivers of anything your enterprise communications team works on. SIP Trunks are a strong factor in both. I don't know if we'll still be talking about SIP Trunks in another decade, but I guess I wouldn't be totally surprised if we were.