The end of December is always a time for nostalgia. A New Year is just around the corner. Newsweek and Time magazines have published their year-end issues, and the National Enquirer commences the craziest moments of the year countdowns. Likewise, people such as myself, begin to ponder how the year has gone for them and how all the little things that happened have added up to equal the big year-end picture.
Applying this to the telecommunications industry, I look back and remember some of the more noteworthy headlines in different periodicals and I see a trend emerging. To sum it up, three of the major telecommunications/contact center software providers announced some sort of product compatibility or interoperability with the open standard for voice over IP – Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). While this happened at various times during 2009, it is a major move for these companies who have been accustomed to creating legacy-based and proprietary contact center applications, thereby locking in their customers with their products over a longer period of time.
“SIP-compatible” or “SIP Interoperable” have become the new terms of art for these traditional telecommunications equipment providers. It has been a long time coming, and is most likely driven primarily by the customers of these companies. Businesses no longer look at voice or multimedia contact channels as separate commodities. These are now all primarily applications which facilitate business just like any other data application or enterprise system. Did someone say, “It’s all about the applications…….”. What used to be a telecom upgrade every five to ten years is now more of an application tech-refresh every two to three years, maybe shorter.
Contact centers want to employ the latest features and technology to stay productive and competitive. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) based systems enable rapid deployment of new contact center features due to their extensibility, flexibility and re-usability of existing methods. Creating applications that adhere to this open standard reduces vendor lock-ins and pricing monopolies, thereby resulting in a competitive environment that benefits the end customers. Customers should be able to independantly choose the best of contact center applications, features, gateways, IP endpoints and SIP stations across multiple vendors based on their needs.
In the final days of 2009, let us welcome these new versions of old players and look forward to an even more open season in 2010.