How UCaaS can help you cope with the ISDN switch off

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Voice networks around the world are transitioning from traditional analogue and ISDN lines to voice calls over the internet. In the UK, BT plans to start phasing out older systems as early as 2020, switching off all PSTN and ISDN phone lines by 2025 and migrating customers to internet-based Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks.

We think the impending switch off makes it an ideal time to consider consolidating voice and collaboration tools by moving to unified communications as a service (UCaaS) to reduce cost and increase efficiencies. UCaaS delivers communication and collaboration applications and services via the cloud, offering flexibility and scalability for core business applications, managed via a centralised dashboard.

Here are some of the benefits of moving to UCaaS:

Reduced cost

Traditional phone services have deeply complex pricing models, including flag falls, peak/off-peak timing and varied charges for local, national and international calls. SIP trunking is generally billed per user, and removes the complexity caused by location, time and length of calls. In addition to simplifying call billing, our clients report that switching to an IP-based SIP model can lead to savings of approximately 20%, especially for organisations with heavy national and international calling.

SIP also allows you to cater to your bespoke voice calling needs in a far more economical way. Traditional PSTN and ISDN channels were allocated to each user at each site — for example, 200 users across five sites had 200 TDM channels. With SIP and cloud-based telephony you only need to provision the number of concurrent channels you expect to use across the entire organisation at one time, for example, 50 channels across 200 users.

Consolidate communications channels

Organisations can leverage UC by consolidating telephony, mobility, instant messaging, collaboration apps and other cloud-based productivity applications. Mobile workers can remain securely connected to your network and be contactable via one number, making it easier to communicate with and manage your entire workforce.

No physical infrastructure or hardware investments

Traditional phone infrastructures were a hindrance to growth, as expanding your phone network meant waiting for the telco to physically install new lines. IP-based services future proof the growth of your business, allowing you to add phone lines by simply connecting handsets to your network and delegating a number. With no hardware involved, adding phone lines or additional services is as simple as purchasing a handset from your service provider, plugging it into the network and scaling your agreement.

While the switch off ISDN/PTSN services may seem daunting, these forced changes provide a great opportunity to design a high performance, future-proof network for your business.

Justin Lai is a Business Development Executive with DXC Connect.

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