SIP Interoperability Realities

I recently met a large national retailer and the chief architect asked me about the realities of SIP (the Session Initiation Protocol). He saw SIP as the path to plug-and-play telephony.

The topic is one of confusion among enterprises, so let me summarize my views on SIP, a cornerstone of unified communications). SIP is critically important to the industry, but you need to understand what SIP is and isn't, and then create expectations that reflect this.

First of all, the IETF does not generally standardize SIP features, and there is no finite limit on the number of features which can be built using the SIP protocol. The concept of counting features is a vestige of the practice in the telephony community.

Secondly, connecting a SIP phone to a SIP-enabled PBX yields a different result than connecting the same device to a SIP-centric platform, such as our multimedia communications server or our open source-based UC software solutions for SMBs.

Thirdly, there is no SIP certification process for SIP feature operation. In that sense, SIP is more like SNMP than like WiFi, but higher up the stack than either.

So what's the major driver for your interest in SIP: cost reduction, flexibility and agility, backward or forward investment protection?

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