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August 31, 2007

snom Founder Talks SIP, VoIP, ITEXPO

By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief

(The following is taken from Rich Tehrani’s VoIP blog:)
I recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Christian Stredicke, founder and CEO of snom technology AG (News - Alert), about the evolution of VoIP, SIP protocols, and how snom is leading their customers into the communications future.

snom technology AG provides products in the area of Voice over IP, primarily on the basis of open-standard SIP.
To learn more about the company, please read this article published on TMCnet.
RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives
CS: The latest cool feature that we have added to our lineup is VPN on our 370 IP phone. That solves a lot of problems; not only with security but also a well-known old friend called NAT traversal. For many of our customers, this solves their security and privacy needs better than TLS and SRTP. Looking at the PBX market, the support for security standards is still pretty low and our customers can “upgrade” their PBX (News - Alert) simply by using a VPN server.
RT: How is IP communications changing your company’s strategy?
CS: Our strategy was IP from the beginning. We are happy to see that the initial idea of having specialized vendors is working.
RT: How has SIP changed communications?
CS: I call it the ketchup that makes a burger tasty. With all the layers of such a sandwich, you need something to glue it together and make it a tasty combination and that is the job of SIP. Many of the large vendors see SIP as a thread as much as they thought that TCP would be a thread. If you think back on this, you can see why we are so excited about being a small player in the telephony world who focused on that protocol very early.
RT: What is the biggest request coming from your customer base?
CS: There is still a gap between what can be done with our products and what is used in real life. VoIP is a much more complex topic than installing a two-wire telephone and you can easily get lost when installing a VoIP device.
RT: How are you answering their demands?
CS: We simply have to realize that not everyone is a snom specialist. As the IT industry picks up SIP on a broad scale, we are working to determine the best method to teach users in a short time how to use the phone successfully — at least in a regular installation scenario. We are also looking into ways to better train customers on available features and maybe even including devices that are used to connect our phones.
RT: What do you think the future of the market is?
RT: How does the growth rate in the U.S. compare to the rest of the world?
CS: Looking at the economic data it would appear other countries have higher growth rates than the U.S.
RT: What do you think of Google (News - Alert) and Apple entering the telecom market?
CS: To me, that is a sign that telecommunications is part of the computer industry.
RT: How about Microsoft (News - Alert)?
CS: I think Microsoft has got it now. They realize what tremendous opportunity SIP is to them. Their latest products are using SIP and that is a good thing.
RT: How will wireless technologies change our market?
CS: People are realizing it is not necessary to run cable to all kinds of equipment. Try to find a laptop that does not support WiFi (News - Alert). Therefore, it is not a big surprise that telephones have also become independent from cable.
RT: How will communications evolve over the next five years?
CS: We will continue to talk on the phone and we will talk a lot. Voice will still be the primary communication method. That might sound surprising to people who think that everyone will use instant messaging, blogs, and e-mail in five years, but most people have problems with sitting in front of the keyboard the whole day.
RT: What sorts of things will we be hearing about during your presentation at ITEXPO?
CS: I will give an update on our security story. How we worked our way through the various standards, funny and not so funny bugs and ended up with a solution that is quite simple: VPN. I will also go into where TLS and SRTP still make sense.
RT: Why is your presentation a “Can’t Miss?”
CS: Because we focus on providing valuable information that makes our customers’ lives easier, our presentation will be a good investment for attendees. One year later attendees will say that listening to these messages saved them both time and money.
RT: What do you want the industry to know about your company?
CS: snom provides great desktop phones that talk to our partners’ network equipment through SIP. Other industry players are welcome to partner with us to provide an excellent solution to the end users.
RT: Please make one surprising prediction we will see in 5 years.
CS: Not everything will be wireless; some people will still be using good old handsets located on their desks.


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