Flick the switch

Surviving the ISDN time bomb

In 2025 a new era dawns. Telephony’s reliance on copper wires will become a thing of the past. The ISDN network will be no more.

For large enterprises the expense of switching to digital technology voice estates could be vast. That might explain why so many of us have yet to draw up contingency plans for the changes ahead. But given we’re now in 2017, its time to have a proper ponder.

Which is where we come in. While the great ISDN switch-off will happen, a bit of foresight is all it will take to minimise impact and maximise the benefits of digital voice technology. Martin Middleton Frankton, one of Virgin Media Business’ Voice and Unified Communications specialists, reckons that - with appropriate assistance - the change is more of opportunity than inconvenience.

“Where we really excel is in our underlying infrastructure,” he says. “We’re an integrated CSP – a Communications Solutions Provider. And that means we’re also a carrier. And so working with us, coming to the source, makes the transition to digital services so much easier.

“We’ve got thousands of public sector and enterprise organisations using our connectivity. We have solutions that transform legacy estates to brand new, shiny, digital ones. It’s something we do day in, day out, and it can help your business grow, save money or be more productive.”

Become better

The run-up to the switch-off begins in three years’ time, when BT will stop supplying ISDN. Then the countdown to 2025 begins. Martin believes there are three ways in which enterprises will benefit from partnering with Virgin Media Business in preparation. Firstly, firms have the chance to improve what they do and remain flexible enough to keep up with a business world being shaken by tech-powered disruption.

He says: “Because we’re a CSP, our clients have one point of access for all services. Being able to manage everything end-to-end is massively important; if there’s an issue you only have one place to go. This gives much more flexibility as well. We all know how quickly organisations have to change, acquire, downsize and move things around. Moving away from legacy ISDN means there is no longer kit at specific locations, so it makes it much more scalable and allows firms to be quicker to react to changing business needs. For example, if you’ve got a telephone system on-site with ISDN and you close that office, you can’t take those numbers with you. If the numbers reside in our network then you can – and that prevents a lot of hassle as you’ll still be contactable.”

Save money

With what might politely be called a competitive business climate, many enterprises are too busy watching the bottom line to think about a post-ISDN strategy. Yet the second benefit of the switch-off is that firms who adapt on time will save money in the long run.

Martin explains: “Organisations spend a lot of time keeping the lights on. Doing day-to-day work comes first. There’s a sense that the network might be costing us more, but if it’s ticking away in the background then let’s get on with everything else. By making the change, the savings can be massive. For legacy services a lot of carriers are upping costs for ISDN. In contrast a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) channel with a call bundle will provide savings of anywhere between 30 and 50 per cent. There are organisations, particularly in the public sector, that have been sweating assets for twenty years. The capital outlay to replace a system with 1,000 telephones on it is not cheap. We are enabling people to get the services they need without having to invest in multiple devices and large capital outlay. It’s about bringing everything together.”

Head to the Cloud

The capabilities of a Cloud-based network are the third benefit of ditching ISDN. Free of the shackles of 1980s technology, a world of opportunities opens up.

Martin says: “We are seeing a much larger uptake in Cloud Voice. This gives clients the chance to be very fleet of foot and to pay on a consumption model. Very quickly they can be using lots of telephone systems, from voice and unified communications collaboration presence to integration into Microsoft. Because it’s all across our network, it creates a very secure environment. Our message is that there is everything to gain - and nothing to lose.”

As the new post-ISDN era dawns, so does a plethora of new possibilities for enterprise. We’re excited about that. And are here to help excite you – and your board too.

To speak to someone in our Sales team, call 0808 159 9511 (Monday-Friday 8am-5:30pm).

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