Go. Go. Go. How to make the most of the big analogue switch-off.

David Christie, Senior Regulatory Specialist at Virgin Media O2, explains why now is the perfect time to upgrade your organisation to a new digital system.

The big analogue switch-off has already started, with phone companies moving from analogue to digital. In short, analogue phone services and the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) are being replaced by an IP (Internet Protocol) system. Within the next few years, most analogue phone lines will have been withdrawn in the UK. So, what does that mean for you and your organisation, and how can you turn it into a real opportunity?

The switch-off can impact your organisation in many ways, which could trigger a real domino effect across your operations.

The first and most obvious effect is that your existing analogue infrastructure will become obsolete. This in turn means that, if you’re using your analogue lines for your key communications, you’ll lose your phone and internet. This will cascade down to a possible downturn in productivity, leading to a decrease in revenue or a compromised service.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the switch-off will affect much more than communications. That’s because a lot of the services we all take for granted depend on old-fashioned phone lines.

Many alarm systems, lifts and monitoring systems rely on analogue telephony. So facilities managers and suppliers need to be getting ready for the change, working with the entire organisation to shape a new system that can apply across the board.

The need is particularly acute in the public sector, where everything from the monitoring of traffic lights to panic alarms relies on analogue technology. By acting now, you can ensure that citizens’ and patients’ lives aren’t affected by the switch.

Some telecommunications providers have already started switching off analogue technology and are going fully digital. If you leave dealing with the change until the very last minute, you might have a hard time, leading to failures in delivery or unhappy customers. To sum up, doing nothing is definitely not an option.

Don't get left behind

Being switched-on is seizing the opportunity now. What are you waiting for?

Getting on board with digital transformation now can open a whole new set of avenues for your organisation to explore. Technology is developed to transform our lives for the better, so taking the first step towards a digital future is often the best thing organisations like yours will ever do. Digitisation can have a positive impact on your staff, your customers and your productivity.

Many organisations are taking the big analogue switch-off as the opportunity to take a step back from day-to-day operations and think about what kind of network they would put in place to optimise their way of working. And no wonder – because there are some excellent benefits to be had.

Accelerate to the cloud

Firstly, moving from fully or partly analogue to fully digital enables organisations to accelerate their journey to the cloud. Digital transformation is becoming a crucial item on any organisation’s to-do list, and the switch-off is the catalyst to make it happen.

Moving to the cloud enables teams and customer to collaborate seamlessly from anywhere and any device, while being able to access the data they need at any time. It makes for more efficient working, enhancing service delivery to customers, citizens and patients.

The cloud is also more secure than an on-premise system, which can be brought down by computer glitches or natural disasters. And it’s easy to run, as someone else takes care of the tech support for you, while keeping you up to speed with all the latest software and security updates.

Moving to the cloud could actually save you money too. You can scale it up or down as you need, only paying for what you use, and you don’t need to have an in-house tech team. And of course, it’s good for the planet, cutting back on printing and all that on-site hardware.

So, if you’ve always been meaning to take full advantage of the cloud, this is the perfect time to do it and reap the rewards.

Make tracks

Fully enable hybrid and dynamic working

Secondly, the move to digital can fully enable hybrid and dynamic working. Across the UK, people have embraced hybrid working following the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Now it’s time to embed new ways of working into your organisation.

A recent report by the Centre for economic and business research (Cebr) found that the move to hybrid working led to benefits across organisations, customers and citizens too. In public sector alone the move to remote and flexible working led to a 5.7% increase in employee productivity, as people were able to work whenever and wherever they wanted, using the tools that they preferred.

The technology not only allowed employees to work remotely, it also allowed decision-makers to collaborate virtually across organisations and plan improved services faster and more effectively. Employees are empowered, while organisations have the security and protection they need to perform at even higher levels than before the pandemic began.

Think about the technologies you want to take on board, and make sure they can all work together. And keep an eye on the future as you plan your ideal platform – you don’t just want to solve today’s hybrid working challenges, but any changes that may happen in the years ahead.

Improve customer and people experience

The next advantage is the improved experience that going fully digital can bring to staff and customers alike. The internet has transformed how we all interact with retailers and organisations, making it so much more convenient to shop or access services.

Again, research from Cebr found that the move to digital services leads to greater levels of customer and employee satisfaction. The pandemic accelerated digital progress in enterprise businesses by more than four years. That acceleration led to 7.9% higher customer satisfaction and 7.2% higher employee satisfaction.

With tools to support effective collaboration, cloud services to enable easy access to vital information and security solutions to keep precious information safe, organisations have made working practices so much more efficient and rewarding for employees and the people they serve.

The big analogue switch-off enables you to unleash this efficiency across your entire organisation, making it easy for people to interact with your organisation from any touchpoint.

Embed sustainability

Finally, going digital could help to reduce your carbon footprint. Acting in an environmentally responsible way is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must. For private sector organisations, customers judge you by the actions you take. Being sustainable and showing you care about Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues can make you more attractive to your customers.

Acting sustainably is equally important in the public sector. The people you serve care about ESG issues, and you also have targets to meet. In a world of increasing regulation, you have to demonstrate compliance and act with transparency. Otherwise you might lose out on contracts or even face a fine.

It's not just customers, citizens and patients who value sustainability. Employees like it too. So if you’re aiming to attract and keep the very best talent, you want to show them that you have sustainability goals in place and you’re working towards them.

Being more sustainable can save you money too. There may be an initial cost involved in embedding sustainable solutions, but acting sustainably means you’ll cut back on waste and reuse materials. From gaining competitive advantage to saving money, sustainability makes good business sense. And acting wisely during the big analogue switch-off will help you seize the initiative.

On the double

You’re in a good place, with options aplenty

The impending switch to digital offers an excellent opportunity to take stock of your telephony and connectivity assets and focus on the bigger picture.

Rather than fighting fires across your organisation, you have a rare chance to rethink the entire infrastructure. So you could resolve challenges right across your organisation and make the backbone of your operations fully futureproof.

From our conversations with organisations, the primary factor that causes them to delay migrating is the scale of investment in legacy infrastructure, and a need to continue to ‘sweat the assets’. But many of those assets are running out of time, as the switch-off will soon be here. It’s best to act now to find alternatives that work even better.

We can work with you to review and save as much of the existing infrastructure as possible, streamlining what you have and suggesting new equipment for future-proof ways of working.

Acting now can also avoid disruption to your services, as the switch-off may lead to sudden outages or compromised ways of working. Planning ahead means you can avoid the disruption and hit the ground running.

Now is the time to replace your entire existing system with a new VoIP system, allowing remote working, flexibility, video and instant messaging, to name but a few benefits. One key advantage of a digital system is that all these tools will be continually updated with the latest software and fully maintained within the cloud.

In our experience, when organisations begin to explore the many benefits and advantages of VoIP and SIP Trunking systems, they choose to migrate sooner rather than later.

Get a wriggle on. Upgrade to a new digital system now.

It might seem like a long way off, but the decisions you make now will greatly affect your future.

Choose us to be your digital partner during the big analogue switch-off and we will help you make the transition with minimal disruption to your organisation. Whatever path you choose to take, we will work closely with you to map out the most effective route for you to reach your objectives.

  1. Talk to us about how we can support you on your journey, from strategy to execution.
  2. We’ll help you evaluate your existing infrastructure and understand critical areas.
  3. We’ll identify short/long-term tech and strategic objectives.
  4. Together, we can plan and execute a solution.
  5. Ensure your suppliers are aware of the change.

Start your digital journey now, speak to us about taking the first step.

Want to know how to prepare for the big switch-off and how we can help?

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