SIP Crosses the Chasm

Pingtel’s recent deal to replace a legacy PBX at Amazon with SIPxchange Enterprise Communications Server was more than just a big deal. It heralds the transition of open source and SIP from leading edge to mainstream, according to Bill Rich CEO of Woburn, MA-based Pingtel, the company that developed the open source SIPxchange software.

“It is a very high profile symbol that the technology and approach — all SIP and open source – is a complete and viable alternative for the enterprise market,” Rich explains. “You can say that until you’re blue in the face, but when a company like Amazon steps up, that’s a very powerful validation. That’s the proof in the pudding.

“With PBX systems, going to 1,000 lines used to be a very rarified space,” continues Rich. “In the course of the year we’ve been able to deploy four to five installations of that size. Large customers are adopting this technology. It’s a pretty fundamental shift in how they build and operate networks. It’s much lower cost and it’s a universal platform to go forward on.”

This market is characterized by customers like Amazon, for whom the network is the core of their business — large retailers, financial services firms, manufacturing companies, and universities.

“It’s analogous to IP,” explains Rich. “It’s a nearly universal peer-to-peer infrastructure they can hang all kinds of applications on. Big customers are running their bread-and-butter business on this. It’s an economic as well as a technological leap forward that promotes realtime integration throughout the business.

“As we see these types of companies adopting SIP architecture,” he continues. “I think it’s going to be increasingly apparent that when you can get the same functionality on a standards-based system why would you buy a closed, proprietary high-priced system?”

Rich says that Pingtel will be announcing some more large SIPxchange installations in coming months.

The company is also going to be releasing the newest version of its product set before the end of the year — a complete high availability communications system for large corporations. This system will also include an LDAP interface in the configuration so the directory can be managed centrally.

But the company hasn’t forgotten small users in the pursuit of big corporate accounts. Pingtel has also just announced a partnership with the networking company Patton to develop and market the SIPxNano communications “appliance” on a box the size of a Mac Mini.