Cisco Canada Blog

Technology Prediction: Why SIP could be the next big thing in 2013, Part 1

January 16, 2013

As I started to write this entry at the start of 2013, my goal was to consider predictions for the collaboration space in the coming year. Most are familiar with the trends that dominated this area in 2012 – mobility, social networking, IT consumerization, the impact of video to the collaboration experience, and others, but one particular area has been quietly developing into what I believe will become a very important topic this year for B2B, and B2C, collaboration.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) URI dialing.

Let me take a step back. SIP is what makes conversations over the Internet, whether they’re video calls, immersive TelePresence meetings or telephone calls, possible by initiating the communication between the users.

The SIP URI is an address that resembles the one you use for email ( It has become a very common way for video endpoints to address each other, especially when calling over the Internet, rather than using E.164 (regular phone numbers) that were common in the era of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) video calls.

The SIP protocol is very capable of coordinating audio calls, video calls and other types of communication sessions. In fact, this form of address has every opportunity to replace your phone number. For some time, there will be overlap – but there will come a time, in the not-too-distant future, when we no longer have digit-based phone numbers.

And that brings me to my prediction for 2013: While it is not yet common for voice calls to be made using your corporate SIP identity over the public Internet, this will accelerate in 2013.

Why? Look at how businesses have communicated over the last 50 years. It started with your mailing address. Then it became your mailing address and your work phone number. Then email, cell phone… you know the story. As the number of devices and more importantly, the number of addresses that we owned expanded, new features emerged to attempt to streamline the ability to reach the person you were looking for.  Single Number Reach allowed your corporate identity to be a single phone number, configured to ring a whole bunch of other numbers that could remain hidden, simplifying the ability of others to reach you.

But SIP URIs takes Single Number Reach to the next level, and I’ll dig deeper into why they are so important in my next blog.

Looking at the future, SIP doesn’t mean that the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is disappearing soon, but it is important that a plan is in place to allow your organization to make use of this new channel. Especially when it gains traction among the customers that your organization serves. Preparing your organization does not require forklifting your existing infrastructure, or making significant infrastructure investment.  In fact, you can “overlay” this capability to enhance your existing technology investments.  Most importantly, awareness of its existence will be critical for technology decisions made in the coming years.

And with the future in mind, that brings me to an exciting announcement. Today, we launched a series in partnership with the Globe and Mail to explore the Future of Work across Canada. Over the next six months, the Globe and Mail will take a look at what the Future of Work has in store for Canadians and how technology is transforming businesses across the country.

I encourage you to visit the Globe and Mail’s website regularly to read more in this series, and to join the conversation on Twitter using #futureofwork.

You’ve read my prediction, and now I’m interested in yours. What technology do you predict will impact the #futureofwork in 2013?

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  1. Well said..

  2. Great article Ian !