As more enterprises cut ties with their traditional telephone systems like the public-switched telephone network (PSTN), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is fast becoming the preferred method for facilitating voice communications over the internet. SIP trunking isn’t exactly a new technology, but only recently has it evolved to become a popular option for companies looking to drive innovation in business communications. And for many, the primary motivation for the adoption of SIP trunking is the immediate and substantial cost savings it brings. But that’s not all that SIP trunking offers.
In this article, William King, Chief Architect at Flowroute, and David Rich, Vice President of Product Management at Flowroute, discuss with VoipReview.org what businesses need to know about SIP Trunking, what sets Flowroute’s SIP Trunking solution apart from competitors, and how Flowroute is helping build the future of telecom.
SIP Trunking Explained
Session Initiation Protocol, more commonly referred to as SIP, is a method of using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to facilitate the connection of a private branch exchange (PBX) to the Internet rather than over traditional phone lines. Aside from voice calls, SIP trunks also use the internet to carry instant messages, user presence information, E911, multimedia conference, and other SIP-based real-time communications services. For SIP trunking to work, a company must have an IP PBX to connect all internal end-users, an Internet telephony service provider, and a gateway to connect to other networks.
Business Benefits of SIP Trunking
There are plenty of reasons why businesses choose SIP trunking--and on top of the list is the cost savings. “SIP trunking is really a more cost-effective way of getting communications rather than connecting to your local telephone copper line provider,” said King. SIP Trunking costs less than traditional phone services because it lets companies pay only for the number of lines they use; adding or removing extensions is also easier. Plus, backups are cheaper and it also does not require the purchase of additional hardware.
Cost effectiveness isn’t the only advantage of SIP trunking, though. According to King, although business customers turning to SIP trunking are often just looking for a more cost-effective and flexible arrangement, they actually get more than just savings. King said, local wireline customers often get nickel-and-dimed by their providers for simply inquiring and enabling little features and functionality (such us what questions on what features they could enable, if they can see their caller ID name coming in, and whether or not their number is being subscribed into a phone book or a directory listing). But with SIP trunking, customers get better control and better insight. “It’s much easier to actually see and enable features and functionality,” said King. “For instance, if you have a small business that does a marketing campaign and you want to spend on that number directly for that marketing campaign, with SIP trunking, it’s really easy to start tracking. That is actually incredibly difficult to do on the wireline side,” he explained.
Another advantage of SIP trunking is its scalability. Unlike legacy carrier technologies, SIP trunks are easier and more efficient to scale. SIP trunking lets companies add extra phones without installing extra lines or paying exorbitant costs. King said that the flexibility of SIP trunking is what allows them to extend the roadmap for businesses. “As companies grow into medium and larger businesses, they can start getting access to certain features that start making sense, such as API porting.”
The Flowroute Advantage
“A software company that happens to be a carrier,” Flowroute is on a mission to changing the way businesses communicate one phone system at a time. “Telecom is a reasonably unappealing sector, from a reputation standpoint,” said King. “People kind of hate their provider. This is not the industry that when most people talk about, they talk about the best customer service and other practices,” he said. That is why Flowroute, a leading provider of communication services and technology for cloud-based communication products, is trying to address these challenges and make processes easier. “I think we’re in the business trying to remove some of the obstacles and some of the problems along the way. We’re trying to ease them, if anything else,” King explained.
Flowroute offers carrier-grade SIP trunking service for IP-PBX systems and analog/digital telephone adapters. With its reliable network, easy on-demand service, and flexible connectivity options, Flowroute helps businesses take their cloud-based communications to the next level. Below are some of the ways Flowroute SIP trunking deliver new levels of efficiency:
- Better failover and redundancy - Flowroute ensures their business customers’ phone service is up and running each and every time with their HyperNetwork. “As our customers get bigger and grow larger, we can’t take the approach of when the system we're counting on goes down, how do we keep processing calls and serving the customers while our engineers get them back up and running?” King said. “We constructed the HyperNetwork in such a way that every point in the network we have the expectation that a major service can go down,” he explained. Flowroute’s HyperNetwork has built-in redundancy, which means there’s physical and virtual redundancy at each of the step. “The challenge of VoIP is that you're dealing with a lot of uncertainty in the middle, and by creating the level of redundancy we have at each place in the network, it’s allowing that much more uptime. That is the area where we focus a lot of energy,” said Rich.
- Pay for what you use (metered) versus a fixed monthly rate - Flowroute SIP trunking service gives businesses real value for their money as they charge for what customers only use. This means businesses can easily control their usage and costs.
- Fraud controls - Another thing that sets Flowroute’s SIP trunking service apart from its competitors is its fraud control functionality, which includes maximum outbound rate limit, destination whitelist, destination restriction, IP-based authentication, and toll fraud protection. According to King, “most of the fraudsters are looking at the 5cents to a dollar or the highest rate location as they can, so being able to set a maximum outbound rate of 5 or 10 cents per min or something along those lines, just immediately shuts down one of those attacks.”
Flowroute offers more than just voice communication services, though. They also offer SMS capabilities that can easily be integrated into applications via an API. In a recent nationwide survey, Flowroute discovered that consumers overwhelmingly prefer SMS to email and voice for business interactions. The most common use cases were appointment reminders (55 percent versus 35 percent for email), prescription refills (51 percent versus 36 percent for email), and service outage notifications (53 percent versus 34 percent for email).
Flowroute’s business SMS service is built to support the same type of long code messaging back and forth. “Other providers don't do toll-free, we do toll-free and will do any number. All of our numbers are enabled and process layered. For us, it’s just completing the product set which is a key point, just trying to enable things that are addressed with a telephone number and be able to integrate better with a company’s product suite,” Rich said.
There are two types of users for Flowroute’s SMS capabilities:
- A company who is running a communications platform and is looking to integrate SMS/messaging into their communications strategy. They typically will have a UI to view and respond to the messages.
- A developer who is building out an application that centers around SMS as a communications channel. The company has participated in several hackathons where Flowroute’s SMS API was integrated into the customer experience - in less than 100 lines of code.
Rich further identifies key trends that will be on the rise this year:
- Software companies are disrupting telecommunications
- It is getting easier for companies to install or convert from PSTN to VoIP - According to Future Market Insights (FMI) it forecasts there will be 204.8 billion corporate consumer users by 2020, accounting for US $86.20 billion in global revenues.
- APIs will automate business processes - According to Zion Market Research, global telecom API market was valued at approximately USD 66.37 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach approximately USD 218.84 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 22% between 2017 and 2022.
- More companies with a telephony management team will seek to gain more control over the configuration and routing of their communications services - This will give more control to customers, making Flowroute’s products more modular.
For more information on Flowroute and how they are disrupting the telecommunications space, please visit Flowroute’s website.
Flowroute is the leading provider of cloud-based communications. Flowroute provides developers and enterprises direct access to telephony resources such as phone numbers, call routing and messaging. The company was founded in 2007 and is based in Seattle, Washington.