The market research firm Infonetics recently came out with a new report on the size of the global SIP trunking services market, which it says is on track to grow 35% in 2014 to $4.4 billion. Infonetics forecasts the market will reach $8 billion by 2018.
"There is no denying the world is moving to IP, and SIP has become the de facto solution of choice for businesses for IP connections. In North America, slightly more than 20% of the installed business trunks are SIP trunking today, with significant upside opportunity," says Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC and IMS at Infonetics Research in a statement announcing the report.
SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, which is used to set up and tear down calls or sessions in an IP-based network. It works with all sorts of devices and applications, including voice calls to soft phones, video and audio conference sessions and other unified communications applications.
SIP trunking is an IP-based carrier service that can replace other services such as ISDN PRI lines and T1 or T3 lines. And, as the Infonetics numbers indicate, small and medium-sized businesses have some good reasons to do just that. Here are five of them.
1. Lower cost. While the figures vary widely depending on what you currently have and the exact SIP trunk offering you replace it with, savings in the 30% to 60% range are well within the realm of possibility. What's more, while PRI and T1 lines are sold in certain increments, such as four, eight or 24 channels, you can order SIP trunks in any size you want. If you've got a small office that requires only one or two sessions at a time, you can order and pay for a trunk of only that size.
2. Highly scalable. And should that office grow over time, you can add more circuits to the SIP trunk, again ordering only what you need. No more trying to calculate whether it's worth moving from a PRI to T1 or T1 to T3, even though you know you don't need the entire capacity of the larger line.
3. More flexibility. You can also adjust the size of your SIP trunk to allow for variations in bandwidth requirements, such as to deal with seasonal changes in call volumes. Similarly, you can dynamically vary the amount of bandwidth given to any application based on requirements at any point in time.
4. Support for Unified Communications. SIP is crucial for enabling UC applications including presence and advanced features such as the ability to transfer a call from a mobile phone to a laptop-based soft phone without dropping it. SIP trunks provide the network foundation upon which your firm can deploy such applications.
5. Reliability and disaster recovery. Because they're IP-based, SIP trunks are far more flexible than traditional "fixed" circuits such as T1 or PRI lines. Users can program SIP lines such that if a given user is out of the office, or an entire office is out of commission, the lines roll over to backup sites, phones or devices located anywhere on the company's network -- or at a backup facility. It's all based on the business rules you set up ahead of time.
These are just a few of the reasons SIP trunking is taking off, as the Infonetics numbers indicate. Enterprises have been enjoying the benefits for years; it's time for more SMBs to do the same.