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Session Initiation Protocol: How are Internet protocols changing the industry?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol used for controlling communication sessions such as voice and video calls over Internet Protocol (IP). Other applications include live streaming, instant messaging, file transfer and online games.

Bianca Jagger photographs with a iPad after speaking at the 2014 re:publica conferences on digital society on May 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The SIP industry is generating buzz since large enterprises, according to some analysts, will have an increasing need to update their communication infrastructure.

Last year, an Echopass executive observed that SIP was a hot topic among attendees at Enterprise Connect which was held in March at Orlando, Fla. “More companies [are looking] to replace aging infrastructure with SIP based solutions that better support the business agility requirements,” according to Rod McLane, who is a marketing director for the California-based company which provides cloud-based architecture for large call centers.

At SIPNOC 2013, many attendees are expected to tune into panels that discuss the regulatory climate surrounding SIP-based technologies, including listen to what FCC CTO Henning Schulzrinne has to say about potential legislation.

It’s no secret that in recent years, the DEA, FBI, Homeland Security, National Security Agency, and various other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been tapping into domestic electronic communication. However, such agencies are likely doing so on old monitoring processes and technologies incompatible with today’s SIP standards.

In a post by the Decrypted Tech blog, speculation was raised on whether the federal government will one day require ISPs to put in real-time monitoring hardware and systems, which could harvest mass data without the need for a warrant or judicial oversight. Apparently, the DEA has recently been unable to monitor communication over Apple’s iMessage system.

Tech blogger Sean Kalinich observes, “The DEA laments (allegedly) that when they subpoenaed records from the cell providers they were not seeing all of the messages they thought had been sent . . . . iMessage, Skype, MSN and other SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) services do not use traditional methods to send data. These are not recorded by the cell provider but are sent over the internet.

The SIP gathering later this month should shed some light into the industry’s crossroad with government security priorities. According to its April 5 press release, SIPNOC 2013 will cover several key areas including:

  • Regulatory and policy developments
  • WebRTC
  • Codec handling
  • SIP trunking design and deployment
  • Fax over Internet protocol (FoIP) interworking
  • Implementing SIP with IPv6
  • Toll fraud detection and prevention
  • HD Voice deployment
  • Applications development
  • Call routing and peering
  • Emergency services
  • Standards development
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