The Changing Face of Telecoms
This article was first published in the October 2015 issue of B4 magazine. STL Communications’ Sales Director, Philip Donigan, talks about how the latest telecoms technology can help businesses to operate more effectively in this world of agile working.
The world of communications is always changing but the pace of change recently has been exponential in line with the shift in working practices. Just think, how many calls do you make from your land line compared to calls from your mobile? Do your staff work remotely yet still require connection to the server? Is your broadband speed fast enough to cope with your businesses’ voice and data demands?
Phil, tell us how the telecoms landscape has changed
Ensuring that your business’ telecoms system is adaptable enough to meet requests for flexible working has never been more important. Traditional telephony is no longer the most effective way to support mobile and flexible working practices due to its rigid nature; in fact, it could be holding some businesses back. In addition, older more traditional technologies are expensive. STL has 20 years’ experience in providing business communications solutions and over that time we have evolved from being a supplier of PBX telephone systems to being a service provider that specialises in facilitating high speed bandwidth pipes into a business and running voice and data services through them.
This necessitates a more consultative approach to ensure that businesses get the solution that best suits their exact requirements. Of course, we haven’t just stopped providing more traditional solutions, but our focus is firmly on next generation, bandwidth delivered communication services.
Why is traditional ISDN line usage declining?
The number of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) channels used by UK businesses has declined by 30% in the last 5 years, so if you’re still using ISDN lines then it’s probably time that you considered alternatives like Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking because if you don’t you’ll be missing out on benefits such as significantly lower operating costs, great scalability and stronger resilience. The ISDN standard was developed in the 1980s. Just think of all the advances in technology since then and the way businesses operate today! Since the launch of ISDN, significantly better alternatives have arrived that enable organisations to embrace new technology like IP telephony and the integration of voice and data over broadband or internet connections. Not to mention the growth of mobile technology and the need for businesses to adopt more flexible working practices.
In fact, BT has announced that it will phase out ISDN lines by 2025, so business will be forced to move to alternatives like SIP and hosted telephony in the next few years anyway.
Why are businesses turning to SIP and Hosted?
SIP trunking offers greater flexibility than ISDN, with benefits including instant number diverting and portability, as well as nearly instant scalability (increasing and decreasing numbers of lines). Hosted telephony services offer a genuine alternative to on premise phone systems and are paid for per month per user. It’s also a fast and easy process to add or remove users, offering easier budgeting and cost savings over traditional systems, one being that there is no need to maintain or upgrade an onsite system. For the first time, businesses are able to truly fix their voice communication monthly costs.
Hosted systems also never become obsolete, unlike fixed on premise telephone systems. SIP lines and hosted telephone systems also make it easier to deploy a disaster recovery plan so that an organisation can continue to operate even if people are not actually physically in the office. Changes to the system can be made via an online web portal so that calls can be answered and transferred between extensions just as if people are sat at their desks – customers won’t even know. It gives great peace of mind for those snowy mornings when getting in to the office is not possible. SIP trunks can be configured with automatic fail-over to re-route calls to an alternative destination in the event of a situation where calls cannot be delivered to a company’s site, leaving customer service unaffected.
Finally, SIP and hosted are reliable and resilient services (even compared to more traditional solutions) which is important with the requirement of always on, highly available business-critical applications.
How does SIP and hosted help customer service?
Moving to SIP trunking or hosted telephony offers many benefits that help to enhance the client experience. For example, flexible numbering means that organisations with multiple sites can use the same number across all of them, making it easier for clients to contact them. Employees are also able to manage calls effectively from their handset, desktop or mobile phone to improve communications by call forwarding, call twinning and delivering numbers and profiles on any device, whether in the office or on the road.
By assigning a DDI or single number to an employee which can be diverted to multiple devices, whether it’s a desk phone, mobile or even a computer or tablet, businesses can control call costs, employees work more effectively and customers get an enhanced experience.
So can businesses save money with SIP and hosted telecoms?
Absolutely! There are reduced costs associated with contacting remote workers with free internal calls and no high call forwarding charges to a mobile. We are also able to deliver inclusive call packages with both SIP and hosted, providing a fixed monthly rental for both line rental and calls. It is a good time for business owners to look at future-proofing their organisations by supporting more flexible working practices with updated communications.
Free Communications Audit
For more information on what SIP and hosted communications could mean for your business, including a free communications audit, contact Phil and his team on 01993 777120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org