What are they, and why are they great?
What is a SIP endpoint?
A SIP endpoint is a device that makes and receives calls through your gateway. An endpoint could be a physical phone, a softphone app on a computer or a mobile device, an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) or a PBX System (Private Branch eXchange).
You can have multiple lines coming into a SIP endpoint
You may have many extensions and numbers coming into your SIP endpoint. You may have a direct line, a 1-800 number, or localized numbers in various regions, all pointing to your SIP endpoint. You may need the flexibility to have local numbers in various regions to help customers avoid long-distance charges or make dialing easier. You may have clients in other parts of the world where their dialing is limited to local numbers. You can provide easy to access numbers that all combine to your single SIP endpoint. If a customer calls from anywhere in the world your (SIP endpoint) phone rings.
The benefits of a softphone solution
If you choose to use a softphone solution, you’re choosing the most flexible communication solution. Your computer or laptop can be configured to alert you when there is an incoming call, or defer calls automatically when you’re in a meeting or a call. You can set your presence status to control whether your phone rings or it’s directed to voicemail or another colleague. When you’re on a call, your softphone can automatically switch your phone to “on a call” and calls will be routed to a voicemail system or through a series of next best people to connect to a colleague. If you’re away from your desk but still want a call to connect through, a call can be automatically routed to your mobile phone. You can have the same softphone app running on your phone and identify when it’s a good moment to take a call, or when you’d prefer to defer to a colleague or voicemail. You’re in control of when and how to communicate.
SIP endpoints are your interface to an incoming call
The quality of a SIP endpoint determines whether a call is a great experience or a frustrating one. If you can see who is calling, the number, the extension, and details about the caller (is it a new contact or a key client?), you can make informed decisions about how to respond. If details or information about a caller is unavailable, it’s hard to make a high-quality choice on how to respond. For a customer, if you are quickly and reliably routed to a person who can answer your question or solve your problem, it makes for a great experience. A customer won’t know how many times they are shuttled through a system of people, only that they were able to speak to someone who helped them. The quality of the SIP endpoint makes a big difference in the experience on both sides of the call.
Lots of technology leads to the SIP endpoint
While the experience of the SIP endpoint is your connection point to the call, there is a lot of technology between each endpoint. The SIP Trunk and Gateways are the connection points that run between the SIP endpoint, the PBX, and core systems that drive your communications platform. There is a lot of modern technology and powerful infrastructure that helps to connect you to others and provides useful and robust features. You can either create these layers with open source software or rely on a partner with reliable and configurable systems.
The SIP endpoint user experience is key
When you’re choosing a SIP endpoint, you need to consider your team. If you’re making a choice for just yourself, pick the best solution and fit for you. However, if you’re in charge of a wider team you’ll want to ensure choice and flexibility so your entire team can utilize communications in a solution that works for them. You may prefer a softphone solution on your mobile device, but someone else on your team may prefer a physical phone they can pick up and prop on their shoulder. Another team member may prefer a power user setup where they can transfer quickly between their laptop and their mobile device for when they are on the road or hopping from meeting to meeting. Providing your team with the right tools in the right context means they will be able to stay in touch with each other and service customer needs quickly and efficiently.
SIP vs VoIP as a SIP endpoint
When evaluating a SIP endpoint solution you need to consider all the functions that Session Initiation Protocol can provide. Most of us are familiar with VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. This technology is the compression of your voice into data and the ability to send it across the internet as digital packets. It turns your computer and headset into a phone and allows you to call ‘normal’ phones or cell phones from your softphone solution. While this technology is impressive, SIP has much more functionality built into it. SIP can carry audio and video calls, real-time presence information, instant messaging, file transfer capabilities, and much more. When you are selecting a piece of hardware of software as your SIP endpoint, you need to make sure you’re selecting one that takes full advantage of the functionality provided by SIP. If your business has a diverse customer base and a diverse team of staff, you’ll want to make sure you equip your team with the right tools to harness the power of the SIP protocol. Make sure they can use audio or video to connect with each other or clients, that they can open a chat message with a team member to answer a client question, while they’re on a call or video call with that client. The right tools can allow your team to work more efficiently and across devices. Today, with teams being more distributed than ever, having the right tools on laptops and mobile devices can be a powerful way to connect your team with each other and with your clients.
Explore the right solution for you and your team
Identify what your key priorities are for a SIP solution and you can try a solution and see if it meets the needs of you and your team. Make sure you select a solution that has reliable technology, is easy to configure and extend, and gives your team the most choice of how to access the service. At CounterPath, we understand that communication remains the heart of every business, and have solutions for businesses of all sizes:
Bria Teams: For internal teams or small businesses, start communicating quickly with team voice, video, and messaging.
Bria Enterprise: For call centers or small to mid-sized enterprises, Bria Enterprise supports HD voice and video calling with any call server or VoIP provider.
Custom Solutions: Create a custom, branded solution for 200+ users.
Bria converges calling, messaging, presence, and collaboration tools into one secure SIP endpoint.
Interested in implementing a SIP endpoint solution?
Get in touch with our team for a demo today.