How Australian Businesses Are Moving to SIP

In an earlier post, we looked at the benefits of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Trunking, which offers a converged voice and data network. SIP is a replacement for ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), which has for many years provided a cost effective voice service for Australian organisations with PABX systems.

Offered by both major carriers and niche service providers, approximately two million ISDN lines were in service in Australia in 2009. Analyst firm, Telsyte, has found that ISDN adoption was particularly high in the SMB and mid-market segments.

The growing need for collaboration in the workplace has led to the emergence of Unified Communications (UC). Since true UC features, functionalities and cost savings can only be fully enabled in an IP (Internet Protocol) environment, market penetration of IP telephony systems, particularly in the mid-market segment, has surpassed 15 per cent in recent years and diminished the role of ISDN.

Knowledge is power

An IP telephony and UC environment ideally requires voice and data to be converged over IP-based LAN and WAN. As a result, fundamental changes need to be made to the underlying infrastructure before migration takes place.

The first step is to move away from a legacy system such as ISDN, though many mid-sized organisations have laggedin upgrading their infrastructure. Although SIP Trunking has been around for several years in Australia, many of the mid-sized organisations that moved to IP telephony are still in the process of evaluating SIP, mainly for its IP feature transparency outside of the LAN environment.

According to Telsyte, approximately eight per cent of businesses in the SMB and mid-market segments with IP telephony systems have implemented or are in the process of deploying SIP. A lack knowledge about SIP by almost half of business decision makers (42 per cent), who are also unwilling to take on additional risk by being an early adopters of an emerging product without understanding the potential drawbacks, tends to be a major obstacle to uptake.

Part of the reason for the lack of understanding is the reluctance by carrier to market the value proposition of SIP. Revenue from ISDN and customer premise equipment (CPE), such as PSTN/ISDN gateways, has long been a lucrative source of income for carriers, one that they want to protect.

The wave of the future

As decision makers become better informed about the capabilities and benefits of SIP as a business process enabler, the technology’s adoption rate will also improve. Over time, SIP Trunking will also be a consideration for organisations that are considering the move to IP telephony and want the right communications environment to support it.

The significant cost benefits and operational synergies of SIP will make it hard for businesses to ignore the technology. For instance, a single WAN connection with separate VPNs (virtual private network) for voice and one for data could service an organisation’s entire communication needs, thereby eliminating any need for ISDN for voice and realising savings of up to 30 per cent.

According to Telsyte, SIP Trunking has gone from generating $5 million in service revenue in 2009 to over $150 million by the end of 2013. In recent years, the transition to a predominantly fibre based access network in Australia has further contributed to the decline of ISDN.

The broader availability of SIP in Australia will further contribute to the move away from ISDN, though Telsyte does not expect the technology to disappear overnight. As long as copper access lines remain dominant, ISDN will live on as a backup voice and data service that provides redundancy and resilience to the primary network.

Time for a change

One of BTAS’ more popular services is moving companies from their costly ISDN infrastructure to cost effective SIP. BTAS can help businesses save up to 30% of their telecommunications costs by migrating them to SIP.

BTAS Snapshot provides a high-level management summary of the current status of the organisation’s communication environment and how SIP can benefit you. The on-site and remote discovery, analysis and measurement activities take on average three weeks, and are followed by a detailed report and stakeholder presentation.

Once ISDN has been replaced with SIP, BTAS Unicoms can be laid on top of the new and improved infrastructure. Various communication end-points, such as desk phones, conferencing, mobile devices and PCs, can be brought together into one seamless user experience, allowing an organisation to have easier, faster connection with customers, partners and suppliers.

Contact us to find out more about how the switch to SIP can help your business today.