Mission, Scope and Structure
SIP Forum Mission
The SIP Forum’s mission is to advance the adoption of products and services based on the Session Initiation Protocol and to maintain and serve a global community of commercial SIP based service and technology providers. The primary goals of the SIP Forum are to foster interoperability and adherence to standardization efforts, and provide educational resources and a platform for productive communication among industry participants.
SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) has emerged as the protocol of choice for setting up audio and video conferencing, multimedia and other types of real-time communication services. SIP may also be used for new types of communications, such as instant messaging and application level mobility across various networks, including wireless, and across user devices.
The SIP Forum believes we are in the midst of a global transition from a TDM to an IP-based network infrastructure, with an accompanying explosion of new services under development by the global community of communications service providers and by vendors of technology, solutions and systems based on SIP.
To accomplish its mission, the Forum:
- Advances product interoperability by holding live interoperability test events, such as SIPit, and by defining and creating operational compliance tests.
- Develops industry-wide technical recommendations, best-practice implementation guides, and standards in collaboration with Standards Development Organizations (SDO’s) such as ATIS and the IETF. Notable work includes the STIR/SHAKEN Call Authentication Framework, developed in partnership with ATIS; and the SIPconnect Technical Recommendation, which provides best-practices for SIP Trunking implementation, interoperability and other issues.
- Advances the adoption of such technical recommendations by producing live, interoperability testing events, such as SIPit and SIPconnect-IT.
- Hosts leading industry conferences focusing on the technical issues of deploying SIP-based services and technology, such as SIPNOC and the STIR/SHAKEN SUMMIT.
- Participates in various communications policy and technology initiatives.
- Creates white papers and other documents that cover essential aspects of developing and deploying SIP-related IP communications technology, products and services.
- Builds awareness about what existing and emerging SIP-compliant technologies can do for users and customers through educational seminars and other events, and through articles and editorial published in industry magazines and journals.
- Maintains a growing, global community of IP Communications industry professionals interested in SIP, including professionals involved in such industry segments as Session Border Controllers (SBCs), SIP-aware Firewalls, SIP Trunking services, hosted IP-based services, IP-PBX systems, hosted IP-PBX services, IP phones and other end-point devices, PC clients and applications, and SIP servers and IP telephony gateways.
SIP Forum Scope
The SIP Forum is explicitly not a standards-setting body. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) defines the core SIP protocol. Work on SIP is accomplished primarily in the IETF SIP working group, and at SIP Forum-sponsored SIPit interoperability test events.
However, SIP has manifold interactions with other areas, such as the next generation wireless internetworks, QoS, payments and security. Therefore, an important objective of the SIP Forum is to facilitate the integration of SIP with such other areas of work on the Internet.
The activities of the Forum are also directed at complementing the activities of the standards bodies, though the Forum’s activities are often informed by, and guided by the leadership of the standards organizations. These activities, from time to time, do involve working with the industry in creating best practice Recommendations documents specifying how to utilize standard SIP protocol techniques to create interoperable products and services.
In addition, the Forum undertakes activities guided by the needs of its membership as determined through interactions with that membership.
Finally, the Forum provides opportunities for its members for inter-personal networking, publicity in various venues, and product testing events.
For instance, the Forum creates test cases testing the compliance of modules, products, and systems to SIP in order to promote the interoperability of these items with each other. Standards bodies and members together are likely to guide the definition of these documents or test cases. Test cases developed in this manner may then be used at a SIP Forum sponsored test event to help vendors assure high quality and interoperability.
SIP Forum Structure
The SIP Forum is open to everyone that is willing to contribute to spread information of SIP and accepts the architectural model that SIP relies on. Individual and Academic/Institutional membership is free. “Full Member” Industry organizations pay a yearly fee to cover the administration costs of the Forum.
The SIP Forum is organized as follows:
- Board of Directors. This board, elected from SIP Forum members, provides overall oversight of all operations.
- Managing Director. This individual has the day to day responsibility for administration of the Forum, and for insuring the work of the Forum is completed in a timely manner.
- Working Groups. The actual work of the Forum is performed by
Forum members in various Working Groups established from time to time. The continuing activities of a Working Group are managed by a Working Group Chair nominated by the Board of Directors.
- Consultants. Because most of the work done in the Working Groups is performed on a volunteer basis by members, occasionally no member has sufficient time to perform larger tasks. In this case, the Forum retains consultants to assist in completing these tasks.