As an analyst, it is extremely easy to fall into the trap of always looking forward. New features, roadmap items and the next version of a product or service is all that most of our clients want to talk about. What often gets overlooked, however, are the fundamental benefits that a service can provide businesses on the first day they start using it. I was reminded of this as I wrapped up the latest update to our North American VoIP access and SIP trunking research study. Next-gen voice access services are taking the telecom market by storm, racking up double-digit growth rates in both revenue and users in the last several years. This level of growth cannot be attributed to early adopters looking for the latest whiz-bang technology, but can only be achieved through mainstream adoption by businesses of all industries and sizes.
So why are businesses flocking to VoIP access and SIP trunking services? At a basic level, these next-generation of voice services offer immediate benefits to customers with either TDM or IP telephony systems.
- Access line consolidation. By converging voice, video, and data over a single access line businesses can eliminate redundant digital subscriber line (DSL), cable, T1/E1 or Ethernet connections and thus realize monthly cost savings of about $200 to $1,500 for every discontinued line.
- Free on-net calling. One of the benefits of SIP trunking services and VoIP access commonly include company-wide extension dialing plans and free inter-office calling, which typically accounts for a large portion of multi-site businesses’ voice costs.
- More economical local and long-distance voice plans. The use of VoIP technologies allows service providers to offer compelling bundles of local and long-distance minutes or competitive per-minute rates, significantly reducing off-net voice costs.
- Access to local numbers in geographically dispersed sites. SIP trunking provides customers with local points of presence in multiple cities, which allows them to save costs by eliminating expensive 800-number lines used for customer service, sales, or technical support.
- Dynamic trunk/bandwidth sharing across sites. Multi-site businesses can use advanced SIP trunking capabilities to share bandwidth across locations based on real-time demand. This feature can be particularly beneficial when the business sites are in different time zones or otherwise subject to bandwidth demand fluctuations.
- Cost-effective and streamlined network management. Businesses leveraging VoIP access or the benefits SIP trunking services can reduce the time they spend managing disparate networks and re-purpose internal IT staff for more strategic tasks.
- Streamlined telco relationships. Converged voice, video, and data services allow businesses to reduce the number of provider relationships and thus streamline service provisioning, service level agreements (SLAs), contracts and billing, and ongoing service management, troubleshooting and accountability.
- Access to advanced network-based applications. Hosted applications bundled with basic SIP trunking services provide businesses with an economical and risk-free way to trial new technologies and gain immediate benefits, while avoiding any substantial capital outlays.
E911 service support: Some UC platforms do not reliably support 911 routing and geographically independent 911 solutions. A SIP trunking service offering an integrated 911 capability helps eliminate the complexity and additional costs of integrating third-party 911 solutions in a UC implementation.
In short, VoIP access and SIP trunking services are addressing the fundamental telecommunications needs of businesses today with increased points of presence, while at the same time offering advanced capabilities and a lower overall costs.
Michael Brandenburg is an industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan, covering infrastructure and unified communications and collaboration as part of the Information and Communications Technologies group.