VoiceCon Orlando: Cisco’s magic SIP interoperability box

Cisco (www.cisco.com) has announced the Intercompany Media Engine (IME), a box that being called unified communications (UC) for its ability to enable secure business-to-business HD voice and “enterprise” video from video-enabled devices by simply dialing standard phone numbers.

For VoiceCon, Cisco announced it has conduced the first intercompany “UC” calls (because that’s cooler than simply saying seamless HD voice and video) between itself and Australian-based Queensland Rail and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The box enabled all participants to “spontaneously, simultaneously and with high security” conduct enterprise video and HD voice, saith the Cisco release.

A BT spokesperson described the IME as “creating dynamic SIP trunks between enterprises without any intricate or peer specific configuration” — as about as good as it gets for ease of use.

Cisco’s IME is built on proposed standards submitted to the IETF  — ViPR, Verification Involving PSTN Reachability – and purportedly enables companies to conduct “highly secure, high-quality voice and video telephony calls between company across the Internet” using their existing phone numbers without the alleged need to re-provision or replace currently deployed infrastructure.

Critics, XConnect (www.xconnect.com) and owners of session border controllers (SBCs) are likely to beg to differ with Cisco’s characterization about having to re-provision/replace currently deployed infrastructure, but regardless the IME is likely to stimulate discussion among enterprises and service providers on SIP/HD Voice/Video interoperability.

Perhaps the best thing going for the IME is a “self-learning” technology that automagically learns new routes based on calling patterns and recognizes when users are operating in an IME-equipped network, so no fuss, no muss, no firewall configuration when it comes to enabling SIP-based calls (i.e. HD voice and video) between enterprise networks. 

Food for thought–

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