Softswtiches are important equipment today in the telecommunications space as they are used to connect calls, among other tasks, and utilize software to do so - as opposed to hardware and switchboards of the past. For VoIP communications, IP softswitches provide cost savings and business advantages that keep organizations on the leading edge of IP communications. I had a chance to catch up recently with Aashu Virmani, senior director of Marketing at Sonus Networks (News - Alert) to find out more about the benefits softswitches are providing for businesses and his thoughts on the current and future market.
Our exchange follows:
Can you talk a little about the benefits Hosted or IP Softswitch solutions can provide? Are there advantages beyond cost savings?
As with any hosted solution, the most obvious advantage is cost. Clearly, organizations that avoid the burden of deploying their own infrastructure to deliver VoIP solutions will save money – both opex and capex. At the same time, however, using a hosted solution offers a variety of benefits. Taking advantage of a hosted solution allows your IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives with real business benefits instead of handling operational issues, running between office locations, or adding staff to keep on-site VoIP systems up and running. In a similar vein, it can help to minimize complexity in your infrastructure.
How important is interoperability with other switching platforms?
Quite simply, interoperability is crucial. Relying on an IP softswitch environment does not insulate your organization from needing to pass VoIP traffic between environments. Dozens of infrastructure vendors sell equipment to service providers and enterprises around the globe and the issue is compounded by M&A activities that complicate voice networks. If the provider you’re evaluating can’t guarantee, and demonstrate, interoperability, you need to look elsewhere.
Aside from improved billing capabilities and better management of VoIP Traffic, what are some of the top benefits of a hosted softswitch?
As I mentioned, offloading the cost and complexity of delivering VoIP services has tremendous value. But when making the decision, look for a service provider that is able to go beyond the basics to support your growth and will allow you to offer the new and exciting IP services subscribers will demand. For example, can your workers take business calls on their mobile when they are away from their desk outside the office, and have work calls be delivered from their office phone to their mobile when they are away from their desk or even away from the office? Or can they offer the ability to ring more than one phone simultaneously, independent of the technology – for example from a POTS phone to a SIP phone to a desktop application.
Market research indicated the worldwide Service Provider Router market rebounded sharply in 2010 with manufacturers' revenue for IP/MPLS routers increasing 21 percent over the prior year. Can you comment on this and do you predict future growth for the softswitch market?
While I’m not able to address the router or transport layer business specifically, looking at it from the session and applications layer, I agree that the market is well positioned for growth. A recent Gartner (News - Alert) study suggests that the market for Voice-as-a-Service (VaaS) is expected to grow at nearly 29 percent CAGR between 2011 and 2015. It’s an exciting time to be in the communications business, where old business models are getting challenged and new ones are taking shape. Competition in the service provider market is as strong as ever. Service providers are constantly seeking new products and services to stay ahead, and now more than ever, open to partnering with over the top and third party providers. As service providers around the globe deliver more and more minutes over VoIP, companies such as Sonus are more than willing and able to deliver the infrastructure required to support the continued migration to IP.
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Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering voice and Voice over IP technologies. She also oversees production of TMCnet's e-Newsletters in the areas of Internet telephony and speech technology. To read more of Stefania's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell