Comtec Blog Article by Phil Reed – 3rd March 2020

They seem somewhat unrelated but the challenges listed above also present opportunities to most IT/Business Managers today – how so?

ISDN

BT announced some time ago (2014) that it is phasing out ISDN networks. By the end of 2023 you will not be able to order any ISDN service and the ISDN network will be switched off in 2025 (only 5 years from now!) and all telephony will run over IP networks.

For years ISDN was BT’s ‘digital’ offering that all businesses connected their telephony to and it is thought that there are around 2 million connections still to be replaced. The replacement services are SIP Trunks which allow a gateway connection for existing on-premise telephone systems to use the new IP connections with VoIP (Voice over IP) or cloud-hosted telephony, which a large number of businesses are moving onto. Cloud-hosted telephony alleviates the need for expensive onsite PBX systems and enables the switch to a monthly opex payment model. It often includes handsets and free call bundles for a predictable fixed monthly cost per user. Comtec has a number of easy to setup and use solutions for both hosted telephony and SIP trunks and can offer advice on which option fits your business.

Coronavirus

The UK government has suggested that up to one-fifth of workers could end up either falling ill or in quarantine, leading to school closures and public transport cancellations.  Working from home has never been more important, and businesses now have a window of opportunity to put measures in place that support communications and collaborations between staff, and with customers and suppliers – and to ensure that universal access to data is secure, resilient and performant.

Most or potentially all face-to-face business meetings needing to be replaced by phone calls, video conferences and ‘WebEx’-style sessions. These can be facilitated by hosted telephony systems supporting workers from home, and Teams or WebEx type sessions (see ‘Teams’ below).

Flooding

No matter what the ‘deniers’ say, climate change is here and impacting us with extreme weather events including multiple storms with record rainfalls. This has isolated a number of communities and again solutions for workers to stay productive from home with access to company data and the ability to collaborate remotely is vital.

End of Skype for Business

Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business is going end of life in July 2021 and are running a huge advertising campaign to promote Microsoft Teams as a method of remote collaboration and working to replace Skype for Business.  However, Microsoft Teams is not the only solution on the block, the similarly named WebEx Teams from Cisco offers a number of similar collaboration options.

Microsoft Teams, which is provided through Office 365, and Cisco WebEx Teams both provide one-to-one chats, group chats, guest access, online meetings, video calls, screen sharing, file storage, calendaring, etc.  Both can provide Telephony – Microsoft Teams with a cloud PBX connection and Cisco Teams with connection to on-premise or partner platforms. Comtec’s host cloud partner, Firstcom Europe, have a unique offering with a built-in link to Microsoft Teams from their cloud hosted platform for telephony from Teams.

As precautionary measures are taken to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, many will find themselves asked to work from home. It may be a novelty for some, but this type of flexible working arrangement is increasingly popular. Remote working can make for a better work/life balance by allowing people to live further away from their workplaces, and it can come in handy during periods of extreme weather when staff can stay safe at home.

But to be effective means a business needs to provide the correct tools to their staff – Comtec can help provide these tools.

 

 

 

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