Just when you thought every telephony related acronym that could be invented was, we’d like to introduce you to BYOC. It stands for Bring Your Own Carrier, and even if you’ve had your fill of telephony terms to remember, it’s an approach to cloud communications that may be ideal for some clients, so it’s worth learning more about it.
The Move to the Cloud
These days you probably don’t have to spend a lot of time convincing customers that the future of business communications is in the cloud. Nemertes research found that about 40% of organizations are using or planning to use cloud telephony services, and 61% are planning to move to internet-based phone systems when their current contract expires.
There are many ways to make the leap from old-fashioned landlines to the cloud. Clients can SIP enable an existing IP-enabled PBX, choose a packaged UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) system, or move to a cloud PBX. The best solution for your customers depends on their resources and business model.
BYOC is another way of achieving cloud communications that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. The best way to explain what it is is to unpack the telephony technology stack.
The Bottom Line is SIP
The legacy physical telephone system consisting of copper lines is not going to be around much longer. For carriers, it’s expensive to maintain, impossible to grow, and no longer necessary, so they are abandoning it in favor of SIP trunks that deliver calls over the internet. This approach is more flexible, less expensive, and better suited to global coverage.
The Next Levels of the Telephony Stack
You can think of telephony like any other technology stack. One layer sits on top of another until you get a system that provides cloud communications. In the case of internet telephony, SIP (or the PSTN in a land-line scenario) is the first layer of the stack. SIP trunks and the PSTN are both able to connect a call from point 1 to point 2. That’s the foundation of the system.
In order to add features that allow clients to direct calls within the organization, you need another layer of logic. In the traditional model, this logic resides in the PBX system (private branch exchange) sitting in the closet of a business. In modern deployments, this technology often lives in the cloud and is sometimes hosted by a third party.
On top of the underlying platform for directing calls sits the communications platform, with features like voicemail, conferencing, agent queues, hold music, and all the other features you typically associate with a business phone system and some modern additions like video and SMS.
The All-in-one Approach
Over the last fifteen years or so, there has been an explosion in services that offer an all-in-one cloud communications platform that includes both the connectivity that SIP trunking provides and the PBX features businesses needs. These are called CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) or UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) solutions. The CPaaS market alone is projected to increase in value from $2 billion in 2017 to $10.9 billion in 2022.
Most providers of these services have either built their own PBX functionality or are licensing the switching software. They then get voice services from many SIP trunk providers to cover all of their markets. They then bundle the SIP infrastructure cost in with the cost of their service. RingCentral, Microsoft Teams, 8×8 and Twilio are all examples of this model.
Customers appreciate that it is simple; businesses trust the solution vendor to deal with the underlying technology. But as more and more deployments have been completed, the downsides to the bundled approach have begun to get more attention. The challenges are particularly apparent when businesses start to scale.
Higher Costs – While your customer’s results may vary, research indicates that operational costs may be higher when you use a bundled solution with a CPaaS orUCaaS provider.
Unpredictable Service – Most of these bundled cloud communications providers don’t own the SIP trunk technology. Instead, they aggregate coverage and phone numbers from many SIP trunk providers. This means that the quality and features available (like HD Voice and video) will vary across markets and may change as the vendor’s relationships with its partners change.
Regulatory Issues – As you know, regulations on telephony providers are unbelievably complex, and compliance is difficult. UCaaS and CPaaS providers may lose as much as 30% of their coverage each year because of compliance issues. For your customers, that can mean dropped calls and phone numbers that just don’t work. It’s almost always temporary, but it’s no good.
Lack of Control – When your customers opt for a bundled infrastructure, they give up control over call routing. Especially for larger organizations, there are security, privacy, and quality implications to this decision.
The Unbundled Alternative Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC)
Because of these concerns, businesses have started to ask their favorite UCaaS and CPaaS platforms to unbundle and allow them the option to choose their own SIP trunk service. Clients want the best carrier for their situation and the best communications platform. Breaking the bundle allows for the best of both worlds.
If businesses want to choose one from column A and one from column B, why not? Clients love it because they get to:
- Keep control of call routing
- Extend coverage to more markets
- Potentially save money
- Avoid service interruptions due to compliance issues
- Assure acceptable quality
- Keep existing phone numbers
- Choose whether to use one provider globally or break up markets
The Right SIP Trunk Provider
The whole point of BYOC is giving your clients the ability to select their own SIP trunk provider. Therefore it makes sense to resell one that can meet your customers’ immediate and long term needs. Choose to offer one that has:
Tier-1 Infrastructure – This is the key to reliability and resiliency because Tier-1 networks connect to the backbone of the internet itself.
On-Demand Provisioning of Channels – It should be easy to add SIP channels whenever your client needs more.
Toll-Fraud Protection – Toll-fraud is a genuine and growing threat. Your SIP offering should have detection in place to alert you to any suspicious activity.
Expert Support – With a good administration tool, it should be easy to manage your own SIP trunk business, but when you need help, you’ll want to be sure your partner has experts on staff to assist.
BYOC isn’t necessary for every customer, but those that choose it will enjoy the highest level of flexibility and control. As business communications become ever more sophisticated, the trend is likely to accelerate.
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