SIP Trunking for the Big Guys

BroadSoft and Acme Packet have announced a series of enhancements to their joint SIP trunking solution for large enterprise customers. The offering integrates BroadSoft’s BroadWorks VoIP application platform with Acme Packet’sNet-Net session border controller to deliver advanced IP communications services.

“The lack of SIP trunking solutions specifically designed for large enterprises has been a limiting factor in adoption and market growth,” says BroadSoft CEO Michael Tessler. “With the BroadSoft/Acme Packet solution, service providers can ensure business continuity for their customers, as well as provide a host of revenue-generating services as an ‘overlay’ to their connectivity offering.”

The relationship between BroadSoft and Acme Packet, which dates back to 2001, has led to an offering that now supports products from more than 40 different IP PBX vendors. “It’s really about taking whatever services you have today as an enterprise with your IP PBX or PBX and building on top of that through our joint solution, so you’re never behind from a technology standpoint,” says Leslie Ferry, BroadSoft’s vice president of marketing.

Key benefits of the joint solution include support for Microsoft’s Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5. “We’re able to integrate our voice functionality with their desktop software,” Ferry says. “Just because you, as an enterprise, have a PBX, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to take advantage of those types of solutions.”

Other benefits, Ferry says, include video support for telepresence, as well as full support for fixed/mobile convergence. “One of the greatest things from a BroadWorks perspective is to be able to seamlessly transfer a call from one device to another… if I needed to run out, I could with one click of a button move that to my mobile, and we would never have a disruption in that call,” she says.

Michael Leo, director of enterprise and contact center solutions marketing for Acme Packet, says reliability is another key strength. “That’s where a joint BroadSoft/Acme Packet solution really shines, because we can deliver redundancy and survivability and the ability to have a business continuity plan in place for enterprises that cannot afford to have downtime,” he says.

Leo says Acme Packet has seen a significant surge of interest in SIP trunking over the last six months or so. “That plays very well into the partnership that we have with BroadSoft, being able to deliver these advanced solutions to their business customers, including fixed/mobile convergence and Microsoft OCS—because now they have the delivery mechanism to do it via SIP trunking,” he says.

That surge of interest, Leo suggests, can be attributed both to a growing excitement about the technology and to an increased desire for cost savings. “Using our solutions, it allows them to keep what they have until they’re ready to migrate their PBXes to something newer—because we have the ability to do a lot of interoperation between, say, SIP and H.323—and then the ROI is a key factor because of the current economic times,” he says.

And a recent report from Infonetics Research suggests that this is just the beginning of the curve for SIP trunking and unified communications. “We expect hosted UC services to take off, with worldwide revenue doubling between 2009 and 2013, and we forecast SIP trunking service revenue to hit an 89 percent compound annual growth rate from 2008 to 2013,” says Infonetics analyst Diane Myers.

The point, Ferry says, is that enterprise users are counting more and more on F/MC functionality. “If I’m driving into work and I have a nine o’clock meeting… I can call in and have my calendar read to me,” she says. “I can also tell my calendar I’m going to be 15 minutes late—and an e-mail will be sent to everyone that was on the original meeting request to let them know that the meeting will start 15 minutes late because of traffic… This kind of mobile integration just further enhances our joint solutions.”

And, Ferry says, that’s also true of unified communications in general. “Productivity improvement and cost savings are what is driving the current focus and interest in these solutions… every company of any size, from a five-person company all the way up to larger enterprises, everyone is trying to understand, how can we do more with less?” she says. “And that’s really driving a serious focus to this as something we need, versus something that’s just nice to have.”

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