I messed-up! So last week, in a groundbreaking post, I compared SIP Trunking to lawnmowing. And in it, I did the “extra functionality” SIP can deliver a disservice by making it the humble cup holder. Sure, it made the point that even without these cool new capabilities a SIP Trunking deployment at an enterprise is worthwhile. However, SIP enables so much more than mere cost savings. On second thought, perhaps I should have compared this extra functionality to dual titanium never-dull mulching blades.
You see, like a lawnmower blade, SIP is simple yet powerful. SIP can turn an iPod touch into a phone, let people know your availability and enable video conversations. SIP is also a key building block to Unified Communications. One might be as bold as to say without it, Unified Communications in the cloud would be little more than, well… vapor.
Granted, there isn’t a single standard UC deployment. With so many things to unify and so many ways to communicate, it’s no surprise UC means something different to each person using the term. Yet, whatever you think that minimal UC capability set should be, I think we can all agree it provides greater flexibility in how and where we communicate. Voice or data; wired or wireless; laptop, tablet, smart phone or desk phone; the lines are being blurred. Technology continues to make communications across devices, networks, media and applications more intuitive. As this flexibility becomes prevalent, end-users will reasonably expect any communication to be enabled on any device. Powerful stuff!
On the flip side, cloud-based UC providers need to make preparations for eventualities considered rare with traditional communications. Conventional wisdom states remote workers will use their cell, home or hotel phone to call 9-1-1. But UC in the cloud is blurring these boundaries. Your tablet PC may be your desk phone. In a world where I make most of my calls on a cloud-based service using a smart internet-enabled device, would I change that engrained behavior in an emergency, just because I happen to be remote? I doubt it. And if I’m connected to a public safety answering point half-way around the country in a situation where seconds count, the time lost could be the difference between life and death. For cloud-based UC providers, this means that –if they are not doing so already—they need to plan for the underlying SIP Trunks to support nomadic E9-1-1.
Is deploying Unified Communications in the cloud using SIP Trunking cool? Absolutely! Is it scary? Not necessarily. As with the humble lawnmower, you can enjoy years of trouble-free use if you take the right safety precautions.