Why is Inflow Communications so involved with SIP?


Session Initiated Protocol

Hello, my name is Travis Dillard. As of the last couple years, I’ve become very involved with SIP – Session Initiation Protocol technology. In addition to being a prominent SIP provider, my company, Inflow Communications (www.inflowcomm.com), located in Portland, OR, provides business phone systems and implementation services for clients throughout the Northwest. Our IP PBX solutions include ShoreTel and Allworx.

We also provide High-Definition Video Conferencing solutions with LifeSize. Our communications solutions are often deployed on an Adtran network infrastructure. My background is in communication technology, business phone systems, and network infrastructure. My experience ranges from combat communications in the Air Force to the engineering of networking and communications technology in the civilian world.

Phone System Technology

I’ve had the pleasure of learning how to sell (or not to sell) business phone system technology in the last recession. I founded my first system company in the month of April, prior to 9/11. We implemented Voice-over technology (frame relay, IP ,etc). At that time, we were heavily involved with a product called Memotec (ever heard of them?) and Avaya’s NEW IP Office business phone system. Since most companies had already upgraded their business phone systems in the late 90’s, and because there was no real compelling reason (from a cost-savings perspective), selling was brutal!

Fast forward to three years ago….

Soft Benefits VOIP

Up to this point, selling business phone system solutions was easy! Everybody was migrating! However, in light of the economic down-turn, companies were no longer spending large amounts of capital to reap the reward of “soft benefits” VOIP could offer them. I quickly realized that I had to find ways to significantly reduce costs for my customers. A simple 10% reduction in their telecommunications expenses was not going to cut it. At this point, I had had some exposure to SIP – mostly as a technology that was contained to an organization’s private network. However, I hadn’t yet worked with any SIP providers as it pertains to business phone system carrier services.

I had many customers with state-of-the- art business phone systems, however they were still connected to the outside world with 20+ year-old technology (T1, analog, etc). I was working with a non-profit organization that HAD to upgrade their failing phone system. The problem was they had no funding to do so. I’m usually very conservative in my technology recommendations, but I discussed the possibilities of using a SIP provider to deliver dial tone versus traditional analog lines. We prepared a solution that kept their main inbound calls on analog lines, but we deployed SIP for all their outbound dialing and Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers. In this case, we provisioned SIP over their business cable Internet connection (2MB up and down). The SIP trunks gave them unlimited long distance and allowed us to port numbers from their remote office (accross calling areas). The result: a significant reduction in monthly expenses (mostly through long distance and analog line savings). We placed the new Allworx business phone system under a lease.

Due to the savings associated with the new SIP provider, we were able to save them an additional $400+ a month in savings AFTER they paid their Allworx phone system lease. This was a no-brainer for them! After a few months in operation, we eliminated more analog lines (converting their inbound calls to SIP) and saved them more money! The design and integration of the Allworx system and the SIP provider was a success!

IP Business Phone System Technology

So the light went on. I could save my customers a tremendous amount of money with SIP while giving them the benefits of new IP business phone system technology. Since then, all my ShoreTel and Allworx sales are integrated with a SIP provider. This has led to a dramatic growth in our ShoreTel and Allworx system sales and many happy customers. At this point, I researched as much as I could about SIP and various SIP providers. I’ve learned best practices, how to set appropriate expectations, and what a practical deployment of SIP looks like (versus what you can read in a sales brochure).

Portland SIP Company

Inflow Communications has since invested a large amount of time and money becoming the most knowledgeable and experienced SIP integration company in Portland, OR and The Northwest. Although many can claim to be able to deliver SIP, few have a long list of happy customers with successful VOIP / SIP implementations. My combining the powerful benefits of our Adtran, ShoreTel, and Allworx solutions with our SIP provider partners, our solutions are unique, solve business needs, and can’t be beat.

So SIP excites me! I feel very strongly that this is truly the future of carrier services. Not only does SIP save money, it is a fantastic answer to disaster recovery, mobile workers, and many other pressing business objectives found in today’s organizations.

Please feel free to comment, make suggestions, and ask questions. We’ll be posting more blogs this month highlighting the powerful money-saving potential of SIP.