Have you been researching the options for your business communications? The chances are that you’ve come across Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). But are you clear on what it involves? And do you know how SIP connectivity could help your organisation?
SIP is an IP telephony signalling protocol which is complementary with VoIP. In practice, this means that SIP can connect, monitor and disconnect telephony sessions over the internet (as opposed to via traditional analogue cabling). These sessions could be two-way or multi-party.
In turn, this enables a raft of potential benefits. Let’s take a closer look at five of the ways in which SIP connectivity could help your business.
Any organisation with a large call centre, customer service or support function will likely find that SIP technology improves its performance, because it directly connects their phone systems to a robust and reliable internet network. Very simply, if your organisation needs to handle a large volume of calls then SIP connectivity could help you do so more reliably and robustly than via an analogue system.
Cost is usually a key consideration with any enterprise technology project, and SIP connectivity is no exception. Embrace SIP, and you replace two separate connections – one for voice and one for data – with a single combined connection, eliminating unnecessary ISDN lines at a stroke. Not only is that a cost saver in itself, but SIP trunking typically achieves a further 50% cost saving on line rentals, and around 25% on calls. Voice and video calls between SIP users are free.
The flexibility benefits of SIP are rich and numerous. For a start, you get flexibility with numbers, with the ability to choose which phone number you want to be displayed on a call-by-call basis. This is useful for enabling your organisation to be shown as being local, even if calling from elsewhere, or to present an image of business continuity as you relocate or grow. Flexibility of working practices is also enabled thanks to it being automatically set up to support geographically dispersed locations. Emails, instant messaging and applications can be made available across an array of devices, and call re-routing and redirecting is very simple to set up. Then there’s flexibility around the number of lines you actually need; SIP enables the seamless allocation of more lines when demand is high, say around Christmas for a retailer, and to scale them back when demand is lower. And all this happens instantly, without complex hardware installation and removal.
Business continuity and growth
Again, there are a number of aspects to consider here. From a business continuity perspective, SIP trunking offers great resilience, by minimising common analogue problems such as damage to physical lines, or the disruption of moving offices. From a businessgrowthperspective, adding new functionality or upgrading elements of a SIP telephony system is far easier than with an analogue system. Upgrades are a matter of installing new software, rather than decommissioning old and deploying new hardware.
A move to unified communications
Perhaps most compellingly of all, SIP connectivity enables basic voice communications to be seamlessly integrated with an array of sophisticated and data-rich functions, from email, online chat and video to CRM systems and business-specific applications. In practice, this might mean a call centre operative can automatically pull up a customer’s entire purchase history when an incoming call arrives from them, or a group of colleagues can run a seamless videoconference, working through a shared document whilst speaking to each other. The possibilities are near endless.
Unified communications has become a bit of an enterprise technology buzzword over recent years – and rightly so. SIP connectivity could provide a pathway for your business to embrace it.