Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Jeff Pulver

April 26, 2005

SIP really isn't Dead...

Around the blogsphere, I continue to see some chatter that "SIP is Dead."
I think headlines like "SIP is Dead" may help to drive traffic to a given blog or to a news page, but in the end, the SIP protocol isn't dead just because someone says it is or because another protocol is more popular or because it may appear to be under the influence of others whose intentions are not well understood.
Since 1995, there have been quite a number of protocols used in the evolution of IP based Communications and for a long time SIP made a lot of sense in terms of an open protocol for real-time communication across the internet. SIP continues to evolve and while the SIP fathers may not recognize their children once SIP extensions are added on, the fact remains that because SIP is an OPEN protocol, many vendors will continue to build products and services around SIP for the foreseeable future.
This said, the impact of the success of Skype will start to be felt sometime later this year by many of the vendors whose products and services Skype simply disrupts. Once Skype gains traction on embedded systems and as an application on mobile phones there may be no turning back. During the rest of 2005 I expect we will learn about a growing number of vendors who will choose to adopt their products and services for a Skype empowered world. While this is going, I fully expect we will find many others who will continue down the path they were on, and will hope that their strategy of supporting SIP and/or other protocols just works out in the end.
While some people will continue to debate the future of SIP vs. Skype, what I would love to see is the industry move far, FAR away from having to support using narrow band codecs like G.723.1 and G.729a and focus more on standardizing on codecs which have no royalties to be paid and are optimized for the broadband internet. What would be a great move would be for someone or for some company to acquire the assets of GIPS and turn around and offer all of their IPR back to the communications community…for free! Open Source GIPS. Now that would be cool. The positive impact of such a move would be far greater than just the payment savings from the underlying GIPS license holders. Such a move would help empower a generation to start to take full advantage of free communication across the broadband internet.
So while someone may feel the time has come to publish the formal requiem for SIP, I'd suggest that we are still early in the evolution of IP Communications to rule any one protocol in or out.
SIP isn't really dead...at least not yet.
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