sipThe Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is certainly on the rise these days. GigaOm has a great article today examining its progress towards becoming the dominant standard of real-time communication.


Berninger writes:

“Several dozen device manufacturers .. offer SIP-enabled devices, and virtually every other consumer electronics company on the planet plans to roll out SIP-enabled devices over the next 12 months. Ten million SIP-enabled phones have sold to enterprise customers.”


and makes a comparison to TCP-IP:

“…TCP-IP …achieved very little in the way of public awareness until the arrival of Mark Andreessen’s web browser… SIP still needs its web browser moment.”


Is SIP going to be the TCP-IP of the phone world? It certainly on the right track. But I think we are early enough on the adoption process that the track could still bend unexpectedly and take us in a different direction.


The difference is, TCP-IP was the protocol behind the browser from day one. There were no “legacy” browsers in 1992. SIP has a much tougher battle in that there are several *billion* non-SIP telephony devices out there.



I’m reminded of the enthusiasm for RTSP in the early days of streaming media. In the late 90′s, there were lots of impressive stats regarding its adoption. We in the streaming media industry — filled with the hubris of that age — were sure that RTSP would soon take over media delivery to every PC, TV and radio. Today, the online video revolution is roaring, but RTSP is not part of it. All the videos on YouTube, etc are delivered using plain-old HTTP (an approach we use to ridicule as unworkable.) These days, the only time RTSP is mentioned is when it causes a security flaw.





One Response to Is SIP unstoppable?

  1. Ike Elliott says:

    Good post, Shai. I agree that it is too early to declare a SIP victory. I do believe that multimedia applications will continue to migrate to IP, but SIP is still evolving, and there is still room for something better to come along. More on my blog at

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