Changes To Business Telephony And Communications For 2023 - Part 1

Business is going to be tough in 2023. We have both the energy crisis and the cost-of-living crisis to deal with right now. What you don’t need as a business is a telephony and communications crisis too ...

As costs get tighter in a business, you may still require high-end equipment or services to invest in so that your business runs super efficiently. The main services that businesses tend to upgrade as they expand are their communications with internet connections, internal data switches, PCs, laptops, WiFi systems and now, with us rapidly approaching the Openreach deadline in 2025 for the big ISDN/PSTN switch off, is the humble telephone system.

"Let's start with the Internet Connection!"

Most smaller companies are satisfied with having a fibre connection in the way of 'Fibre-to-the-Cabinet', from the BT Exchange to the green street box. In the main, there is nothing wrong with FTTC, as long as there are no faults on the copper side of the network. This can be deterioration of the copper due to open or exposed joints, letting in water and hampering data transmission or causing the wire to short circuit.

If you are on a residential contract, you could wait up to three working days for a repair. If you are on a business contract, the response time is much quicker and may get a repair done on the next working day.

The reality is that FTTC has 'best endeavours' in contractual terms as there are no Service Level Agreements (SLAs) of actual fix times so your business could be down for days if all your software packages (Accounts, CRM, shared Data files) are online.

Your service provider's hands are usually tied by Openreach's contractual terms so no good screaming at them either. 2023 is the time to spend some proper money on your business and ensure your ICT (Internet, Computers and Telephony) are all in order.

If you have decided that productivity for those who have been working from home in the past two and half years needs to be reassessed by bringing staff back into the office, then make sure that you give them the proper tools to work with.

Telephone Systems have made a massive transition from the days of having to have separate phone lines (PSTN/ISDN2e/ISDN30e) and large boxes bolted to the wall in the corner of the office and proprietary handsets made by the same manufacturer. The big guns of the PBX suppliers of old, Avaya, Nortel, Panasonic, Toshiba, Samsung and to a much lesser extent Mitel, have all, but disappeared from the emerging markets of IP (Internet Protocol) telephony. There are now TWO distinct markets with regard to telephony. These are the Hardware and the Software/Hosted telephony markets.

Names like Yealink, Poly (formally Polycom) and Snom are now the front runners in generic, opensource hardware that can be used with virtually any of the 100+ Software/Hosted Telephony vendors that are vying for market position in the TaaS (Telephony as a Service) arena.

Mostly, the likes of 8x8, Ring Central, Voiceflex, Swyx and even Microsoft are trying to cash in on the replacement of the PBX by offering supposedly free handsets on 36-month contracts that actually cost anything from £10 to £20 per connected handset per month. This includes handsets that may never get used in the locker rooms, kitchen area or the spare in the Comms Room for maintenance purposes.

"Hosted Telephony has become a minefield!"

Especially if, on your old PBX, you have run call centre software and wallboards, showing calls waiting, abandoned calls etc. If you have a Swan (Inter-Tel/Mitel) Phone Manager or any similar applications, these are all based on a PC that connects to the CCU (central control unit/phone system box) so information is passed internally between systems.

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? As telephony and communcations is such an in-depth subject, I'll continue in next week's blog post.

If you feel inspired to find out more then do call me on 07555 807700 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.