Managing your business is hard enough without worrying about the strength and reliability of your data and voice connections. Your business needs technology in place to efficiently handle large call volumes and multiple phone lines.

SIP trunking is one service that can help you accomplish this if deployed properly and by the right provider. So what exactly is SIP trunking and how can it benefit your business? Let's take a look.

What Is SIP Trunking?

Session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking is a method of connecting business phone systems through an internet connection as opposed to a traditional landline. This method allows for the phones' private branch exchange system (PBX) to send and receive calls online.

A PBX phone system is a phone system within a company that switches calls between callers and provides several external phone lines for users to share. With a traditional landline, users could only use those lines to send voice signals, but SIP trunking allows you to send voice, video, documents, pictures and other media.

SIP Business Phones Are the Future of Telephone Systems

Businesses trust their software with the most important aspects of what they do. Money, clients, legal agreements, branding—it all runs on sophisticated data networks. Why would they not do the same with their phone system? With the amount of data that companies move around every day, there's no reason not to include voice and communication as well on the network. SIP phone hardware is not only making that possible, but it's also preferable to the standard phone.

A lot of people are emotionally attached to the security of a landline telephone—they understand it, it's reliable and hardly requires any maintenance. But the trusty old public switched telephone network (PSTN), the phone system which has remained largely unchanged since the 1970s, is quietly being replaced by a system that can do much more and integrate better with the way we live our lives today. SIP hardware is fundamentally changing telephony and, in a few short years, it's likely to be the only solution available.

Companies are increasingly using this type of internet phone service to gain more control and flexibility over their business phones. SIP phone hardware allows you to consolidate voice and data on a single IP connection, which simplifies and streamlines your operations.

Next-Level Communication: Change Is Happening

What will the world look like without miles and miles of telephone wires running alongside every road and into every building? We're already beginning to see it. Phone companies like Verizon recently phased out ISDN (integrated services digital network) in the US. According to PBX provider, in the UK, ISDN lines are down from 4.7 million in 2007 to fewer than 3 million today, and the trend is increasing. It's estimated that by 2020, 71% of all UK traffic will be SIP.

In 2017, major telecom companies such as BT, KPN, France Télécom, Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia began to drop ISDN lines. With the SIP trunking services market expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 10.7% and reach USD 12.7 billion by 2023, ISDN is on its way out. SIP will soon become the preferred method for business connectivity.

There is often initial resistance from staff who have grown used to the ways they work. But once a company ports all its contacts and begins using the new system, users will begin to experience improvements and become ambassadors for the new system.

Affiliated Physicians, one of the leading providers of preventative healthcare services to individuals and corporations across the United States, was able to eliminate inefficiencies in its communication system by switching to a modern cloud communication solution. Its outdated phone system was unreliable and lacked the modern features needed to handle customer queries efficiently.

“Reliability was a big issue for us,” says Mark Weingarten, vice president of patient services for Affiliated Physicians. “We spent a lot of time on hold, being transferred from one person to the next, trying to get through to the carrier, so we could get our lines back up.”

After realizing the potential of hosted VoIP, they decided to transition to a solution that combined phone service, contact center operations and physical equipment. The transition brought multiple benefits to the company. “We’ve definitely increased revenue and improved the way our people complete appointments because we’re able to QA their calls and coach them,” says Weingarten. “And if a customer complains, we can review the recorded call and take corrective action.”

Read the Affiliated Physicians case study here.

Advantages of Switching to SIP Trunking

SIP business phones not only help you serve your customers better, but they also improve communication with your suppliers and employees. Consolidating all of your communications into one phone system increases overall production and boost revenue.

Here's what you can expect when you switch to SIP trunks:

Call cost savings: You'll experience a dramatic reduction in the cost of calls, especially international ones. Many service providers offer unlimited calling plans

Line rental savings: The cost of installing multiple lines is practically eliminated. Cloud-based servers have nearly unlimited processing power and can easily handle multiple lines

Better customer service: An agent connected via VoIP can dramatically improve service. Caller ID, integrated information and client history, connectivity to calendars and other relevant applications transform the customer experience

Portability: The nature of work today sees far more agents out in the field and away from their desks. SIP hardware lets you reach the right person using the same number no matter where they are. Entire offices can change locations, even cities, and keep the same numbers, without clients ever noticing

Business continuity: SIP trunking ensures that your voice and data connections are intact even during unforeseen circumstances such as physical damage to lines. This allows you to continue running your business as usual

Contingency plan: With SIP trunking, it is easy to reroute calls to backup sites in case of emergencies or during peak hours

SIP has an almost immediate return on investment without the need for additional physical infrastructure. If you're looking for a simplified, cost-efficient way to handle your business phone system, SIP trunking just may be the right solution for your company.

SIP trunking eliminates overlapping networks and the associated costs, basic rate and primary rate interfaces, and treats every call like it's local. No more using an 800 number—you can get a professional, local business number in each city where you do business. You can count on added features like business voice, audio and video conferencing and instant messaging.

What Kind of SIP Hardware Do I Need?

SIP phone hardware is composed of three main components:

IP PBX: This allows communication over an IP network and switches calls between VoIP callers on local lines

ITSP (internet telephony service provider): The ITSP provides service to your company and is responsible for transporting IP communications over a private IP network or public internet

Border element: This ensures connectivity between the PSTN, the enterprise IP network and an external IP-carrier network

SIP Trunking: The First Step Toward Unified Communications

SIP trunking and unified communications (UC) are two aspects of communication that complement each other. SIP lays a solid foundation for UC technologies to ensure seamless business communication and collaboration. This is because UC uses the SIP trunking protocol to carry real-time communication over IP networks.

With unified communications as a service (UCaaS), businesses can further leverage UC technology to manage calls, messages, remote meetings, email and more from anywhere, on any device. Additionally, with cloud-hosted solutions, organizations don't have to manage on-premise PBX, resulting in substantial cost savings without compromising quality.

Why Choose 8x8 for SIP Trunk and SIP Trunking Equipment

8x8 offers cloud-based solutions that can handle your business phone needs, including the use of mobile devices. By providing unified communications across platforms and devices, your team can efficiently interact with each other and your customers on any device, at any time, in any way. Phone, meeting, conferencing, team messaging and contact center capabilities are all handled in the cloud.

8x8's Unified Communications Suite uses pre-built APIs to allow apps such as ZenDesk, Netsuite and Salesforce to integrate into your system for easy access or sharing. It provides for a single data source across devices and systems for ease of analysis. 8x8 also provides security compliance certificates for FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act), SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).

8x8 offers a variety of IP desk phones, conference phones, headsets and other accessories for businesses of all sizes. Check out the full list of equipment here.

SIP Is the Next Step Forward

A revolution is underway in telecommunications, and no one will remain unaffected. While regular phone systems are still viable, forward-thinking businesses are increasingly becoming more proactive with their call systems and embracing all that SIP trunk hardware can offer.

Choosing the right technology is crucial to a growing business. Take the uncertainty out of the equation by choosing a SIP technology provider that can scale to meet your business' needs as it grows. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out the form below to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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