So it all started off with the question ‘What is a SIP trunk?’
I went to the ‘Channel Partners’ conference in Chicago back in September and this question was being asked so many times it got me thinking that there is no single and clear explanation that people can use over and over again and be sure that the client understands what SIP trunks are. Of course, a lot of clever people out there have no problems explaining what a SIP trunk is and their clients are making SIP calls all day long and reaping the benefits of this ever evolving technology but after hearing this question repeated over and over again – not just at Channel Partners but other events such as ITEXPO and Enterprise Connect I thought that people in the Telco business could help me out in my quest.
So, I placed the question on a number of groups on Linked in and received around 90 responses.
The remit was to be able to describe SIP trunks to a client; so some of the good but overly technical suggestions we put to one side and after a little more sifting we got them down to what we (at The SIP School) thought were the better ones. Then we posted them all on our website for people to vote on them. 353 votes later and we’ve now decided to announce the winner!
With 19% of the votes (67 out of 353) the winning description is:
“SIP Trunking is a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution that uses a data network or internet connection to connect a business telephone system to the PSTN.”
Well done to Bruce McKay of Allstream
OK, so we have a winner yet with 19% of the votes it wasn’t a runaway victory and I’m certain that some of you may not completely agree – but there it is.
The ‘challenge’ was meant to be informative as well as fun and now if you need to find that snappy explanation to help your clients understand this could be the phrase you can use to ensure no glassy eyes! Why not try it out next time you are speaking with people and let us know your reactions on the Linkedin group SIP Trunking – Trials and Tribulations.
I’ve got a funny feeling that we may have to ask this question again at some point because there are a couple of things that I want to add to wrap up this (completely) non-scientific exercise.
Firstly, the winning comment mentions connecting to the PSTN. Well maybe this should be saying the PSTN and other VoIP enabled networks? Connectivity to the PSTN is important yet as people try to avoid the PSTN then what are they connecting to? Yes, it’s other branches, partner companies etc. over Data networks.
Also, a fair number of entries were clear in saying that the term ‘Trunk’ shouldn’t be used at all! I understand why they say this i.e. it’s linked to old technology etc. etc. but actually it’s a word that everyone is used; it’s not going to disappear, so let’s make it work by explaining it clearly.
Finally I have to say that if the winning explanation or even your own still confuses your client, then try the one from Steve Barret (Portel AV Ltd in the UK).
"I spent ages recently trying to explain what SIP was all about. In the end I told my client it was a 'magic door' he understood this and asked why I hadn't said that in the first place!"
And with those final words, that’s it until the next challenge – Watch this space!