SIP Trunking and Beyond: New Business Models for Service Providers?

Mobile Services - Beyond Voice

SIP Trunking and Beyond: New Business Models for Service Providers?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Ken Osowski
  |  November 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Now that SIP trunking has proven to be successful delivering basic voice services to businesses, the network infrastructure investment made by service providers needs to be utilized for other services in order for service providers to monetize their capital investments. So what are the services that go beyond basic SIP trunking services? 

The most obvious ones are communication services that include HD voice or video. This can include two-way point-to-point or multi-point conferencing capabilities. Next are unified communications and the ability to federate these services across business domains. Other services that add value to real-time communications include session recording and integration of real-time communications in web applications.

IP communications makes it possible for higher quality voice services to be made available, and SIP trunking provides the vehicle for service providers to deliver HD voice. With more business communications happening between IP endpoints, the vestiges of circuit-switched quality voice communication is getting replaced with HD voice. Service providers offering SIP trunking services can offer their business customers enhanced voice services using higher quality codecs initially on-net. With the introduction of HD voice in mobile and fixed line networks, this will embrace off-net HD voice interoperability, increasing the demand for these services.

For many businesses, video will be the next voice you hear. Video provides a more immersive communication medium and has increased in usage as over-the-top communications video services have demonstrated. Even with on-net video as the primary usage model, video presents more challenges to service providers as video transcoding is needed to widen usage among disparate clients.

Unified communications not only includes voice and video communications but the ability to add application sharing, collaboration, presence, and other multi-modal communication capabilities. These capabilities are often services offered by one UC vendor that has little inclination to interoperate with competitive products. This is where the concept of federating or interconnecting UC services becomes important. Service providers that host multiple UC services in their network are then able to offer UC interworking using a federated services model where they act as the brokers in connecting businesses with different UC products in their network.

Beyond these rich media communication capabilities is the ability for service providers to weave these capabilities into web-based applications. Many application use cases are possible, like click-to-talk and click-to-video in a variety of service provider hosted services such as contact centers and conferencing. Also, with legal regulations emerging to mandate recording of all forms of communications for legal or business compliance reasons, service providers can add session recording as part of their SIP trunk services.

So service providers are in a great position to offer value-added SIP trunking services. Service providers have been building out these networks with the deployment of session border controllers and their MPLS networks. Businesses can now readily connect to this SIP trunk infrastructure by deploying premises-based session border controllers, making it much easier to turn up the services I have described here. Now with SIP trunk networks gaining worldwide momentum, the monetization of this network infrastructure represents the next wave of business model opportunities for service providers.

Ken Osowski is director of service provider product marketing at Acme Packet (News - Alert) (www.acmepacket.com).

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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