Everybody knows VeriSign as the guys who issue SSL certificates, right? Well, I guess Verisign is diversifying.
Check out this bit of news with my analysis at the bottom. VeriSign, a provider of intelligent infrastructure services for the Internet and telecommunications networks, announced today that it is offering Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers a cost-effective way to exchange voice traffic with traditional telecommunications carriers.
Leveraging VeriSign's SS7 Network and VoIP access services, VeriSign's new SIP-7 (Session Initiation Protocol 7) Services provide SIP-to-ISUP (ISDN User Part) protocol conversion. SIP-7 allows SIP providers to connect to VeriSign's SS7 network, the largest independent SS7 network, via a SIP-enabled soft switch and secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). The basic service provides connectivity to North American carrier's networks with international connectivity available as an option. By offloading the complexity of interworking with the SS7 system, VoIP carriers can decrease capital expenditures and speed time to market for launching production services.
"One of the biggest challenges VoIP carriers face is that they still need to invest in people and equipment to connect to the SS7 network, and this can be one of the biggest cost items for jumping into VoIP technology," said Vernon Irvin, executive vice president of VeriSign Communications Services. "This new VeriSign service offering will help drive business for VoIP providers. One IP connection to VeriSign now connects them to almost every switched operator in North America."
VeriSign's offering can be used by carriers and ISPs to introduce new services based on SIP and VXML (Voice Extensible Markup Language), including local number portability, voice virtual private networks, and other intelligent network services. SIP-7 customers will also gain access to VeriSign's Public IP directory for IP-to-IP connectivity.
"In the near future, service providers must be able to support seamless PSTN to VoIP network signaling ranging from basic call management to enhanced features," said David Fraley, principal analyst, Gartner. "As public network signaling adopts the SIP protocol service providers that are using SIP-to-SS7 services will bridge the convergence gap."
So what exactly does this mean? Well, in addition to the benefits listed above, using VerSign's SS7/SIP service, VoIP service providers can perform some LCR (Least Cost Routing) across two different voice transports - IP and the PSTN. So now if two companies have PSTN peering agreements with a low per-minute cost, they can route the call over the PSTN (hand it off using SS7) rather than over IP.
I expect we'll see more intelligent LCR between the VoIP (IP) World and the PSTN World to reduce costs and increase profit margins. Using LCR as a differentiator becomes increasingly important as more and more VoIP competitors enter the market.