SIP Takes Center Stage

STOCKHOLM (06/21/2000) - Internet, networking and telecommunications companies used the Voice on the Net (VON) Europe 2000 trade show here this week to rally around SIP (session initiation protocol) as a key building block for deploying voice, video, conferencing and other multimedia communications services over the Internet.

Initiated by Stockholm-based Hotsip AB, an international group of companies, including U.S.-based networking vendors 3Com Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Swedish carrier Telia AB, announced here Tuesday the formation of the SIP Forum (http://www.sipforum.org/), an industry group dedicated to promoting technologies based on the protocol developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Telia, the former monopoly carrier that was recently privatized in part, also announced that it has given SIP addresses of its 27,000 employees in Sweden, who can now be reached directly via telephone calls based on IP (Internet protocol) dialed to their e-mail addresses.

Using SIP servers and IP telephones provided by 3Com, calls to the SIP addresses can automatically be directed to regular telephones via a SIP gateway, Telia said.

"SIP is going to be vital in many different areas," including advanced communications services that can transparently span over multiple unified networks, said John Yoakum, emerging business champion at Nortel Networks Corp., in a speech Wednesday.

Driving the adoption of SIP and other convergence technologies is the coming of age of VoIP (voice over IP) and other packet-based communications services.

Worldwide VoIP network infrastructure spending is expected to surge from US$1 billion this year to $7 billion by 2003, providing a huge business opportunity to vendors, said Ami Amir, chief executive officer of Tel Aviv-based Radvision Ltd.

Amir, however, also voiced concern over the fact that the industry to date has failed to deliver more turnkey VoIP systems, which he said has held back use of the technology.

"Nobody wants to be a systems integrator," said Amir. "There are not enough companies committed to providing totally integrated systems."

The lack of choices has allowed companies such as VoIP specialist Clarent Corp. to capitalize on the situation, Amir said after his speech. "It's not that Clarent has better or cheaper products than anybody else, it's just that they offer a turnkey solution. It's a no-brainer."

In addition, the industry also needs to make a better case for why businesses need to adopt packet-based communications, Amir said.

"The real business reasons for deploying packet-based communications have not been defined yet," he said.

Vendors also used VON Europe 2000 to demonstrate new VoIP products and services, based on SIP and other technologies:

-- ACT Teleconferencing Inc., in partnership with Clarent Corp., introduced ClarionCall, a VoIP-based conferencing service. Aimed at businesses that are members of Concert Global Clearinghouse, the service will be available beginning July 31.

ACT Teleconferencing, in Golden, Colorado, can be reached at +1-303-235-9000, or via the Web at http://www.acttel.com/. Clarent, in Redwood City, California, is at +1-650-306-7511, or at http://www.clarent.com/.

-- Cirilium Corp. , Komodo Technology Inc. and Telia AB demonstrated a VoIP system based on Cirilium's Power-Suite call control technology and Kodomo's EF200 adaptors that the carrier will use to deploy trial VoIP services over broadband networks to Swedish homes.

Cirilium, in Tempe, Arizona, can be reached at +1-480-829-8888, or via the Web at http://www.cirilium.com/. Komodo Technology, in Los Gatos, California, is at +1-408-871-3488, or at http://www.komodotechnology.com/. Telia, in Stockholm, is at +46-8-713-6255, or at http://www.telia.se/.

-- GRIC Communications Inc. introduced GRICtalk, a new offering consisting of two PC-to-phone packages aimed at service providers. One allows service providers to offer private-branded PC-to-phone services to their subscribers, while the second one enables Web portals that already have PC-to-phone systems to terminate calls throughout the world.

GRIC Communications, in Milpitas, California, can be reached at +1-408-955-1920, or via the Web at http://www.gric.com/.

-- Sun Microsystems Inc. demonstrated SIP running on its Netra t1 and t1405 servers, and also outlined its CP2000 high-availability program for building carrier-grade systems for public network providers, including a new series of HA CompactPCI system boards and extensions that support multiple processors and systems.

Sun Microsystems, in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at +1-650-960-1300, or via the Web at http://www.sun.com/.

-- Ubiquity Software Corp. launched a new SIP portal site (http://www.sipcenter.com/) . Targeted at both technical and commercial users, the portal site is co-sponsored by Sun Microsystems Inc. and Telecom technologies Inc. It is dedicated to the development and and deployment of SIP-based products.

Ubiquity Software, in Newport, Wales, can be reached at +44-1633-765-600, or via the Web at http://www.ubiquity.net/.

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