SIP Trunking : Interview With Amit Bishnoi, Sr. Director, Oracle Communications Business

In last few years, SIP (session initiation protocol) has become the standard protocol of choice for phone calls. In a business environment it offers whole lot of advantages over traditional analog phone calls, like, ease of use, better security and, on top of it, less expensive. These factors are driving the growth of SIP trunking across business verticals, more prominently, in contact center solution firms. While SIP trunking is gaining traction across developed markets, India is not far away. TeleAnalysis spoke to Amit Bishnoi, Senior Director at Oracle Global Communications Unit for APAC, to know the industry dynamics and how SIP is evolving.

 

Q: How do you see telcos and enterprises looking at SIP?

SIP transformation is a reality, there’s a big push coming from the enterprises to the telcos and the telcos are also realizing that they need to get to SIP offerings, they need to retire their end-of-life hardware. In fact, in most of the countries, they are declaring end-of-life for TDM circuits. Maybe by 2019-2020 they will say no more TDM in some countries and that they will provide only SIP circuits – it saves them a huge amount of money. It is just a matter of time in India. I believe telcos today already have a business plan and everything in place, some of them have already taking about SIP aggressively in the market. A soft launch with some Service providers is already in place. You have people who are talking about SIP Trunking and the ability it provides, you have customers who are talking them about the same. This is going to be a game changer for most enterprises in the way they look at their architecture and the way that they look at their voice routing.

Also Read : What Is SIP and What Is SIP Trunking?

Q: What kind of investments do telcos require to transition to SIP, and does it justify the RoI for those who have  legacy infrastructure?

This is the kind of question that a CIO would ask given budget is a constraint. When you transition from a TDM to SIP environment, there is definitely a return on investment. It’s a transformation and transformation projects today get approved because you’re able to show an increase in functionality at the same time and reduction in expense. Imagine you had, say about 1,000 agents. On 1000 agents, if you’re using E1, you’d need about 35 E1 trunks. With SIP you don’t need those cards. You save a huge amount in terms of the hardware and the maintenance of the hardware.

Also, with the transition to SIP and using the SBC (session border controller) hardware and the solutions that we provide the CIO can leverage his existing infrastructure. The way you do that is, say you have a PBX X and a PBX Y from two different vendors we can help interoperate the two which means the client can use the PBX’s seamlessly as one. This save a lot from a capital expenditure perspective.

Also as you rightly pointed out, from a telco perspective they are already on SIP internally. What the telco is doing today? He’s actually converting the SIP into TDM and then passing it on to you. If he provides this new technology directly to the enterprise he saves a lot of money in terms of rack space, power, and whatever investment he has in his infrastructure. The SIP network is also easier for the CIO to manage. We have tools which can provide MOS on the SIP network as well.

So, yes he can leverage the existing infrastructure , bring about the transformation in the network and prove a significant ROI to his organization.

amit-bishnoi-interview-on-sip-trunking

Amit Bishnoi, Sr. Director-APAC, Oracle Communications Business

Q: Is it easier for a green-field operator like Jio compared to Airtels and Vodafones who have TDM structures in place?

It is a question of business. I don’t think it is about who can switch faster. My belief is most of them are ready, it’s just a matter of when. Internally, as you said, all of them are using SIP. They are ready from an infra perspective, it is just a matter of going the last mile. How they plan it, how they provision it, it is something that they need to figure out and go for.

Q: Do you offer this as a complete package or is it customized as per the requirement of enterprises?

It depends upon the requirement. People understand this combination of SBC/Communicaton broker for interoperability, Operation Monitor for SIP monitoring, and Recording is where they need to get as an end state but they may start with SBC as the first. Some people go with the SBC plus the management tool, some enterprises go with the SBC, the communications broker and the management tool and then they introduce the recording piece accordingly. It is a modular architecture; it doesn’t mean you have to buy everything at once. Based on your requirements and the scale, we have different products in terms of the SBC, which can scale.

Q: Which industry verticals do you the maximum traction comes from? 

In India, currently it is the contact centers, because they quickly realize the benefits. You don’t have SIP here internally in India as a standard offering yet. But you have it in the US, UK and other places and they started adopting this technology since a few years back. Their end customers have talking about SIP to them.

On the domestic front, this is something that is going to grow. Internally most large BPOs would be using IP here but from a trunk perspective, it is still TDM. They would love to shift in terms of voice because they will save a lot of money there and it gives them lot of flexibility in terms of how they want to handle that. You will see that transition happen as we go forward.

As customers go to cloud, they will also need security on the real time communication and that’s where SBC plays a role. We see this as a big business going forward.

Q: What are the other industry verticals besides the contact centers?

If you look at Australia, everybody who owns a PBX there is SIP more or less now. Even if you’re a small & medium enterprise having 50 employees, and you want to put a PBX, you put a SIP and the service provider is providing them SIP trunks only. There’s no concept of TDMs there any longer.It is fading away.

Q: How big is the potential of SIP Trunking in India?

It is just starting. You can imagine the size of the market that we have here. It is only going to grow in leaps and bounds. I don’t have a number that I can probably put down, worldwide they say and I saw a report which said that the enterprise/SBC market is about $350-450 million.

Q: You said that you look after APAC. Which are the other countries you are seeing a better SIP adoption?

In Australia, they have adopted to this transition. Most of the enterprises have transformed into a SIP environment. In fact, telco providers there have actually said that we are not going to provide TDM trunk any longer. Say by 2020 everybody has to transition to SIP.

In Japan, we have started seeing the SIP transition. Customers have started asking for it and some of them have started deploying it. In Hong Kong and Singapore, that’s where the hubs are, you have SIP trunks available there with service providers. Specially if there’s a large enterprise who wants to do a lot SIP transformation in APAC they use these cities as a hub. We have started seeing instances of enterprises Malaysia and Indonesia going into SIP trunks. China in some provinces they have SIP by default and you can ask for it and get it.

From a SIP adoption perspective, this region is definitely adopting it. The day the service providers in India launch the service officially, I think the transition will be very fast.

Q: Is the quality of data, be it voice, text or video, any better in SIP compared to TDM?

You remember many years back, initially when we went for VoIP, we were like will it work? If you look at telecom operators, what happens? If I call from a landline, it goes as TDM and converts to SIP. It goes through the circle of your telco, all on SIP and then is converted back to TDM. If you do an end to end IP, the voice quality will definitely be better.

Q: How have the last three years been for you?

It has been fabulous. In US, the market has grown for us tremendously. We have been showing growth across this area continuously across all regions. On the APAC side, we have just had Australia coming up in the last 1.5-2 years, we have other countries coming up now. I see a very bright future in terms of this technology.

Q: How much revenue or sales do you expect from India in the next couple of years?

It depends on how much of SIP trunking opens up. From the contact center perspective, we are engaged with most of the large contact centers. We expect a significant amount of expansion and transition happening there. From a domestic perspective, when the SIP trunking opens up, the market will definitely grow.

Q: What are the challenge of your solution when you talk to prospective customers? Where does the conversation end?

Initially it is the same question that you asked – is the quality of voice going to be better? The way we overcame that was by proof of concepts. We did proof of concept with some customers and they realized that they have lot of flexibility and the adoption started. Obviously there are early adopters so we had key large contact centers do a pilot. Now most of them have stated a formal transition to SIP trunking on our solutions. From the India perspective, we are practically waiting for the market to open. The technology brings return on investments and most CIOs are looking at this transformation.

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