Tag Archives: SIP

Skype for SIP Gains Momentum

skype-sip

skype-sipWith the goal to integrate the Skype service with the growing enterprise deployment of SIP and SIP PBXs, Skype has been marketing a gateway interface called Skype for SIP and certifying interoperability with leading vendors.

To date, Skype for SIP has been certified for Asterisk, ShoreTel and now SIPFoundry’s sipXecs.

Organizations desiring to sign up for the Skype for SIP beta need to commit to a monthly fee (incoming Skype calls are free) based on the number of ‘channels’ which are concurrent Skype calls. Prices range from €19.95 (+VAT) per month for 1 or 2 channels to €4.95 for 30 or more to a maximum of 300 channels per SIP profile. Outbound calls to the PSTN or mobile operators are billed at the normal Skype rates.

IT Expo: Ingate Promotes SIP Trunking

ingate-logo

ingate-logoI met Steve Johnson, President of Ingate USA, the session border controller manufacturer from Sweden that more recently partnered with TMC to develop a one-day seminar on SIP trunking taught by Ingate staff and resellers. Aimed at users, potential resellers and service providers, the event has been going on for a couple of years now as an event co-located with IT Expo.

It was Steve’s observation that in tough economic times, enterprises are more willing to experiment with new services if it reduces their cost structure, and SIP trunking is no exception. Steve also suggested that cable companies are new participants to the SIP trunking market and sees a growing interest in using SBCs as clear demarkation points between the edge of the enterprise and the edge of the service provider, as they address business needs for IP access services and SIP trunking services.

VoiceCon: Acme Packet Sets Sights on Enterprise

At VoiceCon, I met with Seamus Hourihan VP Marketing & Product Management and Jim Slaby, Director, Enterprise & Contact Center Solutions Marketing from Burlington MA's Acme Packet. Both Seamus and Jim had worked together at Wellfleet and then Bay Networks in the mid-1990s.

With a commanding lead in the [[Session Border Controller]] market, where Acme Packet has 500 customers in more than 85 countries, the products support a wide range of applications spanning VoIP interconnects/peering for IP transit, PSTN origination and termination and ASP access and hosted business and residential IP communications, including IP centrex, voice over broadband, and 3G video telephony.

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LifeSize: Market Discontinuity in Enterprise Video

brockmann-lifesizeproducts

I'm planning a report on enterprise conferencing with particular focus on audio and video conferencing. This is the first in a series of briefing reports on the topic. [Watch for survey soon.]

I had an audio briefing a week ago with Karoline McLaughlin of LifeSize, the Austin TX company that is focused on high definition video conferencing for enterprise. Karoline gave me a low-down on the history of the company and the goals of the business and its unique positioning.

Market Dynamics.

Video conferencing for enterprise has been a big beneficiary of enterprise investments in higher speed communications services, and the growing acceptance of geographically diverse organizations. All this has led to a rapid reduction in equipment cost over many years as the volume of shipments have increased. As an application, video conferencing was a big consumer of ISDN circuits (remember 2B+D?) and then leveraged H323 signaling to initiate and control sessions over IP networks. In the mid 1990s, an innovator in ISDN-channel bonding and integration with IP took the leadership of the remote access server market. Internet Service Providers bought the Ascend Max, a DSP-based RAS by the pallet load. That company, Ascend Communications, eventually acquired Cascade the frame relay equipment company and then was acquired to become the data division of Lucent. [This brings back memories, doesn't it?]

Now, with the migration to SIP-based signaling, there is another discontinuity to contend with. That is the transition to High Definition TV. Away with the low resolution analog TV monitors. Away with the cathode ray tubes. Bring on the flat screens. Digital cameras. Wideband audio. Finally, the economical delivery of TV-News (a la broadcast) quality solutions for enterprise at a price point not much more than what a high end workgroup computer might have cost five years ago.

LifeSize Founders and Funding.

With experience from V-Tel, ViaVideo and Polycom, the founders of LifeSize formed the HD-focused company in 2003, launching their product line in 2005. Venture-backed, with over $81 million in four rounds of funding from Austin Ventures, RedPoint Ventures, Pinacle Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and Lehman Brothers, the company has focused on execution in the emerging high definition video conferencing discontinuity. International offices and an impressive global network of video reseller partners all point to the commitment of the company and its investors to the opportunity.

The Product.

brockmann-lifesizeproductsThis is the home page of the company with a  filter highlighting the four components within the solution set. The camera is a high quality digital and optical device capable of 30 frames per second at 1280 x 720 pixels. The 70 degree field of view enables the more impressive 2.40:1 widescreen view. The camera connects to the processor and the monitor (provided by others). The processor compresses the camera signal for transport, handles the IP network interface (it has Ethernet) and for the Team product performs rudimentary session binding. The Room product mixes more sessions.

The LifeSize phone is worthy of the high quality video image produced by the product line. With sixteen microphones and filtering against cellphone radio interference this single device doesn't need separate mics to reach meeting participants in the far corners of the room. 

The processor is controlled with the simple and elegant remote.

There are a few other components to the solution set for SIP-H323 networking and Session Border Control. I'll be meeting executives at InterOp in a few weeks and will have the opportunity to refine my thoughts (and questions) in my show report.

 

SIP for Business – standard?

Unhappy with relying on proprietary extensions to do the most trivial of enterprise features – hold, transfer etc – some vendors are tilting at the windmill to get interoperability going.

In this story by Phil Hochmuth of Network World, reports on the arguments for SIP-B (SIP for Business) , a definition of RFC 3261 extensions that could enable some proprietary extension conversions to standard practice.

Usually promoted by vendors with lots to gain, extensions to standards have a rough road ahead and the SIP-B, is no exception. In the story, Phil surveys the industry problem well (call transfer doesn't work if the SIP call control is from one vendor, and the SIP phone is from another). However, the fact that there is little industry support in IETF to codify extensions, and only a modicum of interest in the SIP Forum tells you that this is not a break-the-bank or kill-the-market impending feature requirement. It's a nice to have, with little benefit for the vendors who invested in their frameworks for proprietary extensions.

For all the years I worked for Nortel, it took Citel and 3Com to show me a phone system where a Norstar phone worked with a Meridian phone!