The Scope of SIP and VoIP
There has been much discussion in the tech world as to what exactly SIP is. The reason is that SIP has entered the public consciousness much like many other protocols such as HTTP. As a result, it's used to sell a variety of services and the side effect is that it becomes associated with whichever service tries to use it as a selling point. VoIP is a prime example of this effect. It's indisputable that the acceptance of the SIP protocol has been a godsend for the previously fragmented VoIP ecosystem. It brought together a lot of disparate mechanisms and gave limitless flexibility for innovation as a signalling protocol.
However, VoIP customers have gotten used to thinking of SIP only in terms of VoIP when in reality it's much more than that. SIP is a protocol and it's applicable to a wide range of technologies of which VoIP is one of the most important. Without a doubt, the future will bring many more such applications which can be used over the SIP protocol. We've already seen the case of SIP trunking used in conjunction with VoIP. The true potential of SIP trunking however has to do with unified communications which we'll we're about to examine.
What Unified Communications Means
Whenever you visit the communications section of some large corporation such as Cisco or Microsoft, one the major benefits of their products which they advertise is something called "unified communications." As of now, we communicate in a variety of different ways using many different technologies. We chat using one protocol, email each other using the SMTP protocol, talk to each other on the phone using either the PSTN or the VoIP protocol and conference with each other using technologies which have neither been standardized nor widely adopted.
As a result, it leads to a lot of extra work and interrelationships between these communication mediums isn't possible. The goal of unified communications is to bring all these disparate streams under one roof and this is something which the SIP protocol and the SIP trunking mechanism are uniquely suited for. You can get an SIP account at any number of ITSPs across the country. Many of these also provide you with a hosted free SIP proxy. But as time progresses, you'll find more and more communications being offered by these providers which will then coalesce into a single system for unified communications. The future is pretty exciting and we're only beginning to grasp the possibilities.