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Businesses who are reliant on traditional landline telephones are being urged to take action early to avoid any disruption to their services, as BT gears up to pull the plug on the technology.
The telecoms giant is killing off analogue phonelines – also referred to as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – as part of something it has dubbed the ‘Big Switch Off’. In its place there will instead be a fully digital network that supports communications systems that run via broadband.
While many companies have already made the move to digital telephony, or are in the process of doing so, as recently as 2021 it was found that up to 70% of firms were still using analogue phonelines. But perhaps more alarming is the stat that almost 45% were also unaware that BT’s Big Switch Off deadline is approaching.
And it’s not just landlines that will be affected. The switch off will impact other non-voice services too, including those connected to ISDN lines, for example CCTV systems, alarms, faxes, EPOS machines and door entry systems.
Lionel Naidoo, MD at Dragon IS, commented: “The Big Switch Off has been on the cards for quite some time now but we know there are still many businesses out there who remain reliant on analogue phonelines. For those businesses, the move to digital will be a big change but it is also an opportunity and will come with many benefits.
“The way we all communicate has evolved so much in recent years and for businesses it is no longer about picking up a phone on your desk to make a call. You might call someone through your laptop, from a mobile device, through a headset or even through a watch, and to make that call you could be anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.
“Our advice to businesses is to take action early, as the nearer we get to the cut off date, the more competition there will be for support in making the change. The last thing any business wants is to be faced with potential service downtime and disruption”.
So, what is a great alternative to a landline?
VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol
Business IT infrastructure has been steadily evolving over the years and there are already many reliable, secure and well-established cloud-based phone systems to choose from.
At their core is something called ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ – or VoIP for short.
This technology works by enabling the transmission of voice and multimedia over the internet. Instead of relying on dedicated phone lines, VoIP converts audio signals into data packets, which are then transmitted across the internet to their intended target where they are converted back into audio signals.
And VoIP isn’t just confined to voice calls, it covers a whole host of communication forms, including video calls and the sharing of multimedia. This versatility has seen VoIP systems rise in popularity in recent years, but this isn’t the only way the technology can benefit growing businesses.
7 key benefits of VoIP for small businesses
The biggest benefit for most business in adopting VoIP technology is the potential cost savings that can be achieved. Traditional phone systems typically involve expensive hardware, long-distance call charges and maintenance expenses. In contrast, with VoIP many of these costs are made redundant, as the system operates over an existing internet connection. For example, there is no difference between calling someone locally or internationally.
VoIP systems are also highly flexible. With VoIP, employees can make and receive calls from virtually anywhere with an internet connection. This makes it perfect for remote working practices and business travel. This flexibility can help support productivity by lessening potential downtime due to geographical constraints.
VoIP systems are super easy to scale and flex with a changing workforce. Whether you’re a rapidly expanding startup, or a more established growing business, it’s simple to adapt the technology to fit your changing needs.
VoIP systems are equipped with an extensive range of advanced features that can support productivity, help streamline business operations and also help enhance customer service processes. For example, functions such as call forwarding, voicemail-to-email, video conferencing and more.
VoIP systems can also be seamlessly integrated with other business tools and software, including customer relationship management (CRM) systems, emails and collaboration tools. This is great for driving efficiencies and timesaving, while ensuring data is captured and simplifying workflows.
By reducing your business’ dependence on physical phone lines and hardware, you can improve your carbon footprint, better supporting sustainability goals.
Need help moving to VoIP and cloud telephony?
Here at Dragon IS, we support businesses to gain the most from their technology, with IT systems designed to meet each company’s individual needs and ambitions.
We are highly experienced, with a strong track recoding in helping businesses go digital – including to make the move to VoIP and cloud-based telephony.
For an informal chat about your IT infrastructure, or to arrange a free demo of VoIP, please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org