For Incumbents, SIP is the future

It might be a bit of Friday killing-two-birds-with-one-post here, but it’s not too great a leap to link BT’s announcement of reaching 1 million VoIP users with the $144.8 million bid by Avaya for SIP app server vendor Ubiquity. Just more confirmation that VoIP is replacing POTS in big steps now, fueling demand that requires infrastructure players to beef up their IP voice smarts, usually by snapping up the smaller fish.

On the BT side, we had a chance to speak at length with Dave Axam, BT Retail’s GM for future voice services, at the Sylantro user conference this past October (where he predicted BT would soon reach the 1 million user mark). Axam is a huge VoIP booster, part of the group willingly cannibalizing TDM services for VoIP. The best way to look at voice, Axam believes, is as just another application in a wider stack of IP-based services — quite a radical departure from the old days of one network, one service.

Like other players in the VoIP space, BT has earned its scars in the deployment wars as it tries to get customers to learn how to install network gear. One big hurdle — getting people to understand a router and where to plug in a phone — led to BT’s simple but ingenious solution (left), a cordless phone whose base is physically part of the CPE. See if Vonage and other VoIP providers don’t watch and learn.

On the back-end side, SIP smarts are going to be a necessary evil going forward for big-infrastructure players in the IMS arena, for both large corporate customers as well as service providers. The folks over at Light Reading take an in-depth look at why enterprise telecom-gear seller Avaya wants a carrier software vendor.

The spokeswoman says the move does not signal a new strategy to specifically target the telecom carrier sector, but the firm wants to ensure it has a SIP applications environment that’s appropriate for carriers as well as its traditional enterprise customer base and that can be used by .NET and J2EE developers. “This is all about moving into the software applications development world,” she adds.

Or like BT’s Axam says, voice is just another app. Among many.

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