SIP enablement solutions help an organization to transform their current network infrastructure into future proof, state-of-the-art SIP based IP enabled platform, supporting complex and heterogeneous business environments. Amit Bishnoi, Senior Director APAC, Communications Global Business Unit, Oracle Communciations Global Business Unit, explains how the SIP transition is going to revolutionize the entire industry.
Voice&Data: Please throw light on the enterprise communication business of Oracle…
Amit Bishnoi: The way we are structured around communications side is, you have the SP business – the service provider business where you are selling into the core of the service provider. This is where you talk about your LTE, PCRF, DSR, and multiple technologies that are on that place and the other is the enterprise side of the business.
This enterprise business is something that we started about three years ago. The idea behind doing this business was that we do a lot of stuff that the telcos were doing and all those things are getting extended into the enterprise side. We had a lot of products that made a lot of sales for the enterprise, in terms of their return and investment; for whatever they could buy from us. We specifically looked at enterprise and said, “Let’s start focusing and building on the enterprise business across the globe.”
There are three lines of businesses largely that we talk about, one is the service provider business, the other is the apps business, which is OSS, VSS, and another is the enterprise business where we talk about the Session Border Controller, the Enterprise Operations Manager, the communications broker and the recording platform.
Voice&Data: How is SIP enablement changing the scenario?
Amit Bishnoi: With the advent of SIP, all these telcos have started putting SIP for their end-customers that transition is happening now. It happened in the US, it moved into Europe, now it’s getting into APAC. SIP is nothing, but a protocol. Earlier, we had copper circuits coming in to the enterprises, now they are changing it into IP. The IP transition at this side of the PBX, which is towards us as users had already happened – VoIP, that’s what we call.
On the trunk side, it was still a TDM. The moment the trunk changes from TDM to SIP, there are different things that you need. The reason for the change is the amount of flexibility that it offers. In TDM circuits, you either have an E1 or T1. In India we have E1s, so 30. If you need 40, you need to buy two E1s. In a SIP kind of an environment, you can buy 40 sessions. It gives more flexibility, it is much better in terms of managing and the moment it becomes IP, now that technically it is IP package, you need something to secure your enterprise with it. So that it prevents denial of service attack, to prevent toll fraud, to do trans-coding and stuff like that. That’s where a Session Border Controller actually fits in.
Any enterprise transition from TDM to SIP environment on the trunk side will need a Session Border Controller. That’s the start, that’s the initial. You have heard about firewall for data, this is firewall for real-time communications because data firewall cannot really handle real-time communications.
Now that everything is coming through the Session Border Controller, it becomes like an entry point. That’s how you define a Session Border Controller and ACME Packet, the company that we acquired, was the pioneer in the Session Border Controller market. They are the ones who coined this term, came about it and did a lot of things around this area. So, once you have SIP coming in, obviously everything after that is something that you control.
Voice&Data: What about challenges involved?
Amit Bishnoi: If I look at it from the challenge that enterprises are facing today, they have multiple PBXs. You would have a CISCO, you would have an Avaya, you would have an Alcatel, you may have MyTel – multiple. Lots of PBX vendors people have gone in and bought. Now only they acquired companies who may or may not have the same PBX or BACD that they control. Today mostly what these guys are facing is, how do I get these guys to inter-operate with one another?
If you want a PBX-A to talk to a PBX-Y, how do I get this guy to talk to the other. SIP for PBX vendor X is different for vendor Y, in terms of how they interpret it. The SIP is the standard. I could interpret it as A, someone else could interpret it as B. Now what the Session Border Controller and the software that we have, what we call a communications broker, what is does is that it manages the inter-operability.
I can actually get a phone to talk to another phone of somebody else’s as some other vendor. What does it do for you – investment protection, you don’t have to buy or replace anything with new stuff, you can get these two to inter-operate, you can have 10 phones of these and 20 phones of those, now you can have 30 phones, which you can remotely control. And you have different E1 cards there, different E1 cards here, with SIP coming in, you can manage 30 or 40 sessions whichever way you want to. It gives you a maximum return on investment from a customer perspective. Since everything is IP, you need to monitor and manage, in terms of where is it, the voice quality is not good, if there’s jitter that’s happening, if there’s a problem that’s happening on your voice network. How do you troubleshoot, how do you find out where the problem is? We have another tool that’s called the operations manager, what it does is, it gives you a clear view from an end-point to your telco as to where and how what thing is performing; clarity of voice, packets, packets getting dropped, the kind of responses that you are getting. The monitoring of this SIP, network within the organization is something that the operator manager does.
Even in an enterprise, or a call center, you may a situation where you want to record certain things. Since the voice path is through the Session Border Controller, there’s another technology called SIP-REC (SIP Recording) that we have deployed, you can actually record the voice there itself. It gives you maximum amount of returns because your returns structure is now reduced because you have everything recorded over there and then you can select which sessions you want to record, sessions you don’t want to record, sessions you want to keep, what you don’t want to keep, and then you can also do analytics on this by sending it to third party vendors – people who do analytics on voice. From an enterprise-offering perspective, the Sessions Border Controller, the
Communications Broker for inter-operability, the Enterprise Operations Manager for managing the network and the recorder – something that we sell as a combination into the enterprise market.
Voice&Data: What would be the USP of SIP?
Amit Bishnoi: So one, it is vendor agnostic. Most of the people that you talk to would be aligned to a particular PBX. In our case, nothing! It could be anybody. Any kind of PBX that interoperates with our Session Border Controller.
Secondly, the SIP that we talk about, the monitoring of the SIP, it is SIP. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on an SBC, it could be any network, as long as it is SIP, we can monitor. The ability to interop between multiple PBX systems that’s something which is pretty unique.
As an end-to-end point, where we talk about a Session Border Controller, the operations monitor, the interoperability with the communications monitor, and the recording platform that nobody else in the market is offering. That’s a very strong and compelling reason for customers to look at us and in addition to the fact that we are today in most of the telcos, we understand what interoperability is all about, we understand what the SIP protocol is, and we are the leaders in this space when it comes to understanding this space.
That’s a big USP, even if you look at the market, we have been growing tremendously, and most of the BPOs today, even if you look at India, they are largely our customers. It’s a clear validation of the fact that we are able to differentiate ourselves from anybody else.
Voice&Data: Security is a major challenge these days, what are some of the ways to keep security challenges at bay?
Amit Bishnoi: Absolutely. The Session Border Controller is the first step of doing that from the external threat perspective. In terms of authentication, in terms of making sure it’s the right people who are getting through and access to what you need.
Voice&Data: What are the major concerns of clients today?
Amit Bishnoi: As I said, status quo is not disturbed, the voice quality does not go down, number of outages do not increase, how do you do the transition, how smooth is the transition going to be, so these are certain things that come to their mind. Now we have gone through multiple such things and we have a clear path about how we can help them and get these things done.
From the enterprise perspective, the first thing that they talk about is its transformational, you are moving from TDM to SIP. They really want to understand, what is going to be better. IS the voice quality going to suffice, is it going to be easier, or what is it going to be like?
When you explain to them the number of hops the voice goes through, they get it. At some places we have gone and shown proof of concept to show them that the voice quality is actually better and how you can scale up, scale down, how you can route your voice calls in such a manner that even if a link is down, you have the voice protected, specially of the contact centre. The initial hurdle is around explaining the status quo is not disturbed, in fact you get much better. The voice quality is very good and that’s where it is.
Voice&Data: Anything specific plans for India?
Amit Bishnoi: On the telecom side, a big revolution that is going to come is the TDM to SIP transition. We still haven’t seen that. We are still opening it up and once that happens, it is going to change the way most of the telcos and networks look at or the enterprises look at their networks.
That is going to be big because we have seen it in other countries. You have seen it happen in America, Europe and even in Australia to a large extent where 60-70 per cent has already shifted. As a technology, that shift is happening and that would be a pretty big thing from my perspective in the Oracle CGBU space.