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Nancy Maluso, VP & GM Communication Applications, Sonus, discusses how Sonus is helping companies deploy mobility and BYOD in their environments, and the role of session management and Sonus Session Manager. She provides a clear description of session management and how Sonus uses it to help customers manage their communications.
Blair Pleasant: Hi. This is Blair Pleasant and I am here with Nancy Maluso. She is Vice President and General Manager of Communications/Applications for Sonus. Sonus has gone through quite a bit of changes lately and they are really on the upward trajectory. So Nancy, last night you were telling me about some things that you are working on. Obviously, mobility and BYOD are creating challenges for enterprises, so what is Sonus doing to help enterprises in this environment?
Nancy Maluso: The challenges are not in BYOD and mobility per se, it is how to deploy that in an environment that they’re in. Sixty-six percent of enterprises have more than one PBX or communications platform, and that gets exasperated as companies start to look at bringing Microsoft Lync into their environment, they might start out using Lync for IM, but then if they want to get the full use of the client, do they start using voice and video from there, and then if they want to go mobile from that client, and they want to go mobile from their PBX, how do they handle that situation? And so companies that haven’t in the past looked at upgrading their environment to get to SIP, let’s say they didn’t need SIP trunking or something of that nature, mobility and BYOD is creating this idea that, “I need to somehow be able to deliver applications in my environment and does that mean I have to upgrade my PBX or go to a different solution to do that?” In many cases the upgrade process or the cost associated with doing that or even the hassle of doing that for no necessary telephony benefit, is not something they want to do.
So what we suggest is and what we are bringing to market is an independent session management layer, Sonus Session Manager, which allows a company to have the application, register with Session Manager, and the PBXs and Lync environment register with Session Manager. So when a user wants to use mobility, they get it from above the session management layer. So the same mobility application can work across all those PBXs. Or let’s say there are users who need to be recorded, so Dodd Frank is a big discussion – it was in the debate last night. Dodd Frank legislation says, you need to record the sales conversation that happens before a trade as well as a lot more situations where trades are going to occur. And so, a company that wants to be able to record that could set up policy rules in Session Management that say, when a broker is engaged in a conversation, automatically record it. And that recording application can come from a cloud provider, the recording application can come from their own premise, but be applied to any user on any of those PBXs in their environment or on the Lync client or on a mobile client. It wouldn’t matter, because Session Management would provide the policy and the rules for when to bring in that application.
Blair: So let’s back up a minute. Define how you see session management.
Nancy: Session management itself is a generic term and if you were to look at Wikipedia, they would describe session management as the management of a communication session. It could also be the management of a desktop session. So if you think of your PC and you have multiple windows going on, if you thought of each of those windows as a session, there has to be something that says, okay, which window is open? Which window is active? And that’s session management.
The way that we are using it from a communications perspective is, when you use SIP-based communications, you create a session and instead of point-to-point, I call you, what happens is the person wanting to communicate opens up a session and Session Management then says, “oh, what do they want to do? Oh, they want to do a call. Let me get the telephony application to complete a call. Oh, they want to add recording. Let me get a recording application to come into that same session.” Because a session is not point-to-point, you can do multiple things inside the communication session.
So session management is simply the term associated with how you manage all of those things happening in that communication session. Now session border controllers have session management capabilities in them. They tend to be pretty basic. So for example, you could have a consolidated dial plan that’s managed in your SBC. Now for some people – that’s okay to manage their dial plan at the edge; some people want to centralize it. If you wanted to centralize it, then you would put it in a separate session management application.
Our session manager is the most robust example of session management, because it not only allows things like a consolidated dial plan, but it also enables you to do that sequencing of applications, that policy about when to use an application. It also does a robust adaptation between the application and the PBX. Let me give you an example. If the application…and here is an example…voicemail systems. When they want to turn on the message waiting light on the PBX endpoint on the desk phone, they want to indicate that there is a message waiting; some voicemail applications send out a subscribe command. Some applications send out a notify command. Some do other things, use other commands to turn on that message waiting indicator. The PBX is expecting, let’s say, a notify and they get a subscribe. They wouldn’t understand that command and the PBX would not be able to turn on the message waiting line.
What session management in the middle does is it says, “oh, this voicemail application is sending a subscribe. This PBX needs a notify; I’m going to give the PBX a notify even though I am getting a subscribe, so that I can make that communication work between those two pieces.” And so, the light would go on and the user would know they have a message even though before, what would happen is, that application vendor would have to change their application to work with that PBX. And so, then you would have to have different versions of that same application for different PBXs in your environment.
Blair: So this is really benefiting not only the customers, but also the vendors and the application developers and everyone.
Nancy: Absolutely. So the application providers we’re working with who have already integrated with various PBXs see it as a way for them to focus on their app and not have to worry about these different nuances. And what ends up happening is, because the SIP standard is not so standard, you end up dumbing down your application to try to make it work in all these different scenarios and this allows them to really take advantage of all the things that they want to do without having to worry about that.
Blair: Good. Well, thank you so much and we look forward to hearing to hearing more about it.
Nancy: Appreciate it. Thanks.
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