Most businesses, small and large, now use VoIP technologies as the core of their Unified Communications strategy. The benefits, financial, operational and to their business profile are undeniable, making VoIP a no brainer.
Within VoIP, there are several options that an organisation can choose to improve the quality of service. Among these are SIP Trunks.
SIP Trunks replace the physical connections provided by traditional communications suppliers. Simply put, a SIP Trunk is the digital equivalent of the conventional physical link. It is usually called a data circuit. It supports voice, data, streaming media and video services, the basis of a business Unified Communications environment.
How does it benefit a business?
It provides scalability
Traditional landline suppliers structure their pricing and capacity plans to maximise their revenue. A further complication is that if a business needs to change configurations and tariff plans, it is a time consuming and administratively cumbersome process.
SIP trunking is much more flexible. An organisation pays only for the resources it is currently using under its current contract and not for resources included in a standard tariff plan. Changing resource requirements is a simple affair, and is often carried out immediately on request.
Huge Savings on Call Charges
When an organisation needs to make long-distance and international calls over a landline system as part of its regular business activity, it incurs high and often excessive communications costs. Routing traffic over a SIP Trunk avoids the often punitive charges levied by landline service suppliers. In most cases, this can be a substantial reduction in comms costs.
If the SIP trunk also carries video conferencing traffic, further savings in comms costs are achieved.
Direct Inward Dialing
One often overlooked feature of SP trunking is support for Direct Inward Dialling (“DID”).
Traditional service suppliers viewed a DID number as equivalent to an incoming line. They, therefore, charge per DID number giving dedicated infrastructure usage and service support as a reason for the cost.
DID comes typically as part of the SIP Trunking package.
Enhance Corporate Identity
SIP Trunking can be used to enhance an organisation’s business profile. Without any major changes in organisation, it can appear more efficient, provide better service levels to respond to customer’s needs, and overall seems to fight well above its weight.
Specific examples include:
Local service centres may be only a VoIP shelf unit automatically forwarding calls over the SIP trunk to a central support centre. The primary support centre can be in the next town, state or country.
This will give customers and potential customers the comfort of knowing there is local support, and that the organisation is more substantial than it is.
The increasing availability of WiFi in public spaces like restaurants, hotels and shopping malls has increased the requirement for employees and customers to reach corporate services from anywhere and at any time.
SIP trunking, linked with a private VPN and appropriate security software allows the organisation’s road warriors to reach corporate systems. It can also provide better connectivity to websites and other public online services.
Until VoIP became generally available, multi-site organisations tended to shy away from communications other than a simple phone call. Conference calls were costly and difficult to organise and took place in only a dire emergency or for the most important reasons.
With SIP trunking, video conferencing and conference calls are now commonplace.
Remote sites are brought into the corporate fold, thereby increasing business efficiency and establishing and reinforcing a standard corporate culture.
Since extension numbers are associated with a user profile, rather than a physical location, monitoring and limiting their ability to make calls is now easier.
Users have an account and PIN which they can use to log on to any extension. The VoIP systems automatically recognise that the user has logged on to a particular physical extension, desktop or smart device, and routes all calls to and from that device.
Calling levels are associated with the user profile, usually local only, local and regional, and unrestricted. Because call limits are now associated with the user, waiting for the manager to leave his office to make a call beyond your call limits no longer works.
User Profiles can be used in multiple locations linked by a SIP trunk, meaning that an individual will have the same extension number wherever they are.
Billing and recharge
Some organisations operate a recharge system, charging individuals and departments for their use of the VoIP system. Call logging and many billing applications are available to ease the process.
SIP trunking makes it easier to deploy such procedures in a standard manner in a multi-site environment.
VoIP, coupled with SIP trunking, is a no-brainer. It provides substantial cost savings, improves organisational performance and image and establishes a Unified Communications environment that will well serve the organisation in the future.