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November 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 11
Cover Story

SIP Print Addresses Market Needs in Record Time

By: Paula Bernier (News - Alert)

Donald C. Palmer doesn’t let any grass grow under his feet.

When he sees an opportunity, he jumps at the chance. When he sees a need, he runs to meet it.

This unflagging energy and enthusiasm may explain why Palmer always has something new cooking at his SIP-based recording company, SIP Print (News - Alert).

Palmer, SIP Print’s president and CEO, and Jonathan Fuld, the company’s chief technology officer, came up with the idea for the company in early 2008. Palmer asked around to see if anyone was recording in pure SIP, and nobody was. So last fall at ITEXPO (News - Alert) West in 2008, SIP Print made its debut with a hard launch of its SIP-based recording appliance. Palmer says it’s been taking off ever since.

“I got heavy into SIP, and I loved it,” says Palmer, “and we developed SIP Print.”

Today SIP Print, which gets its product to market through a handful of distribution partners, has nearly 100 of its appliances in the field. That number is expected to top 100 by year’s end. And by 2010, Palmer says, the expectation is that SIP Print will have an embedded base of up to 600 boxes.

The Go-to-Market Strategy at SIP Print

By Paula Bernier

SIP Print doesn’t sell its products direct. Instead, it relies on distribution partners to get its products to market.

President and CEO Donald C. Palmer was excited to announce late in September that SIP Print has added Interlink (News - Alert), “a relatively big name,” as a distributor.

SIP Print’s first distribution agreement was with Vital Communications Inc., a leading national value-added distributor of small to medium-sized business and enterprise-class telecommunications solutions. The VAD offers SIP Print products and solutions to SMBs through reseller partners in the continental United States, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

Vital leverages its value-added infrastructure to offer SIP Print resellers additional sales support, product management, product training and operational capabilities. It also leverages its distribution relationships with leading VoIP equipment providers like Allworx (News - Alert), Axacore and snom.

Palmer says SIP Print offers two tiers of support. It trains its distributors to do the tier 1 support, but anything after that SIP Print does directly “even if we have to put a guy on a plane to do it.”

Good luck getting that from a big supplier! IT

According to Palmer, recording solutions are targeted mostly at enterprise customers, but SIP Print took a different tack. The company instead decided to focus its efforts exclusively at small and medium businesses. Specifically, the company’s recording products, which were developed by Fuld, are designed for organizations with 10 to 200 seats per location.

Companies use recording for a variety of reasons and applications. First and foremost, many industries are now required by law to record certain conversations. Recording is also frequently used as a training tool and to monitor call center, sales staff and field technician quality assurance and productivity.

Palmer notes that the SIP Print solution can enable recording on fixed or mobile phones. That means the solution could record the service calls of a field technician during an evening run and that tech’s supervisor could listen to and get other information about calls the following morning.

“Small- and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our global economy and many of these organizations have business-critical requirements to record some or all of their phone conversations,” said Palmer in launching the company’s original solutions back in 2008. “Other providers claim to support SIP calls, but their solutions are either prohibitively expensive for SMBs, or they provide clumsy PC-based recordings at the handset. There seems to be little doubt that we are in the right place at the right time, with a pure SIP call recording platform that virtually every business can afford.”

On its Web site, SIP Print states that: “In the case of call recording, a business requiring 15-30 users would commonly pay more for the call recording system than their PBX (News - Alert) phone system.”

The appliance that SIP Print announced in 2008, called SMB, serves 20 to 70 concurrent users and is priced at an MSRP of $5,745.

More recently, SIP Print launched a product called SME, a SIP-based recording appliance with hot-swappable components that can serve 50 to 200 concurrent users. It lists at $13,098.

The company also recently unveiled SIP Print Express, which supports 10 users and lists for $2,995.

All of SIP Print’s products are SIP 2.0 compliant, according to company officials.

Palmer says the SME is targeted at customers in such verticals as health care, finance and law enforcement that have regulatory requirements that create a need for redundant recording solutions. The solution offers RAID hot-swappable drive bays, dual hot-swappable power supplies and a Core 2 Quad Series processor.

The SME, which became generally available in August, won the Best of Show Award in the Editor’s Choice category at ITEXPO West 2009 in Los Angeles a month later. Palmer says as of mid-September, SIP Print had sold a couple SMEs and had several requests.

The company also made a significant announcement at the ITEXPO show earlier this year in Miami. This news saw the company entering the U.K. market. The timing couldn’t have been better given a new call recording mandate set forth by the Financial Services Authority went into effect for the U.K. financial services market March 6, just a month after the Miami event.

SIP Print's Leadership

Like many of its customers, SIP Print is a small organization. But its management brings a wealth of experience to the business.

CEO Donald C. Palmer

Donald C. Palmer is a veteran of the telecommunications and voice recording industries and a co-founder of SIP Print. He began his career in telephony with Pacific Telephone & Telegraph 1979 as a lineman. He also worked as a line supervisor and later headed up the company’s Los Angeles district office.

Palmer then joined RCA Telephone Systems, which later became Mitel (News - Alert) Telephone Systems, where he supervised the company’s CPE installations and ultimately moved into sales management roles where he won every sales award for several years.

He left Mitel to form an interconnect company and later was co-founder of a digital/TDM voice recording company. Prior to joining SIP Print, Palmer was founder and CEO of Tel Net Technologies Inc. for nearly a decade.

CTO Jonathan Fuld

Jonathan Fuld is a co-founder of SIP Print with overall responsibility for the design, development and testing of the company’s patent-pending voice recording products.

Fuld is a seasoned business executive with deep roots in information technology and leadership experience in a broad range of disciplines, including software engineering, operations, product management, corporate development and business development.

His career spans many years in the software, biotech, telecommunications, information services and manufacturing industries. IT

According to the FSA call recording policy statement, many U.K. financial institutions now are required to record and archive telephone conversations and electronic communications relating to client transactions for a period of no less than six months. The new regulations apply to U.K. firms participating in the equity, bond and derivatives markets.

“The need to record calls continues to increase, driven both by internal quality assurance programs and by regulatory compliance requirements,” Palmer said at the time of SIP Print’s entry into the U.K. market. “In the U.S., the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and Sarbanes-Oxley legislation have dictated the recording of certain phone calls by some businesses, and many other firms choose to record calls for internal compliance purposes or for training and customer services needs. The new FSA regulations for the U.K. financial services community are yet another example of the trend towards increased regulatory oversight and improved corporate security and protection.”

SIP Print’s voice recording systems are compatible with mainstream VoIP phone systems and hybrid systems including Allworx, Aastralink, Altigen, Avaya IP Office, Avaya Distributed Office, Cisco, Epygi, Fonality (News - Alert), Grandstream, Mitel, NEC 8100, NEC 8300, Nortel, ShoreTel, Toshiba, Zultys and 3Com. But to ensure SIP Print customers around the world are able to integrate its call recording technology easily and inexpensively with their other telecommunications gear, the company recently started SIP Print Labs.

The SIP Print Labs certification program is an effort by SIP Print to work with IP PBX vendors, customers and channel partners to define standards of interoperability and performance for call recording applications on SIP-based phone systems.

“SIP Print Labs is really important for a couple of reasons,” Palmer tells INTERNET TELEPHONY. “The main reason we started it is because a lot of manufacturers take too long, and they want you to join their group and pay a lot of money.”

According to Palmer, some PBX suppliers charge $1,000 to $10,000 to join interoperability groups and might take on the order of six months to complete interoperability with your product. But SIP Print Labs, which certified 20 vendors’ products as interoperable with its own since opening for business in late June, doesn’t require anyone to pay fees. SIP Print’s effort to certify its products with a broad range of other solutions simply makes the company’s products more appealing, he says. The company anticipates expanding its mission in the future to include testing and certification of a broader array of SIP-based devices.

SIP Print’s appliances deliver:

  • Advanced functions such as voicemail or “follow-me” calls on mobile phones or other off-premises phone numbers;
  • Audit trail;
  • Caller ID;
  • Column sort (on the fly);
  • Archive control;
  • Playback;
  • Email-ready call file formats;
  • Extension lookup;
  • Fast-forward;
  • Name lookup;
  • Rewind;
  • Seamlessly support of mobile phone calls; and
  • Time and date stamping.

As part of the effort, SIP Print does interoperability evaluations both at its facility and at other locations, as needed, says Palmer. And the company isn’t waiting for other vendors or customers to request interoperability, Palmer adds, saying that in some cases SIP Print will go out and purchase an IP PBX solution and conduct interoperability testing proactively.

Since its introduction, SIP Print Labs has certified a number of leading IP PBX systems including the Allworx 6x and 24x lineup of IP-based phone and network systems; the SIPfoundry (News - Alert) sipXecs IP PBX; and the Zultys Inc. family of IP PBX servers and other unified communications products and services. Palmer adds that several Avaya IP communication systems are currently undergoing certification testing.

“It just brings to market a quicker response to the marketplace,” says Palmer. IT

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