The UK is preparing for a notable transition in 2025 when the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is to be switched off. This change is set to significantly impact business communications, with many organisations currently relying on single analogue exchange lines or ISDN.
While some may think this change will only affect office telephony, the truth is that it will also impact a wide variety of devices – including lifts, fire alarms, and even bus stops and traffic lights. With many UK businesses not seeing the PSTN switch-off as a legitimate concern, and even more worryingly, 42% aren’t even aware of it. With the transition only two years away, organisations must plan for the future and establish their exposure to PSTN withdrawal. This should include creating a practical migration plan that includes transitioning to a modern communications platform.
The modern way of working
While there’s no denying that on premises PBX systems have served many companies well for a long time, today they simply don’t meet the needs of the modern workforce and many are reaching end-of life. Beyond costs, traditional on premises PBXs present a roadblock to growth. Systems can’t scale easily, and incompatibility between phones and PBX hardware add extra IT management headaches. In an age of dispersed mobile workforces that rely on agile, multi-channel collaboration, traditional PBX telephony is increasingly outdated.
To enable modern ways of working, communication platforms need to support audio and video conferencing, connect mobile workers with collaborative tools, and integrate with cloud business applications such as CRM and support centre systems.
A silver lining in the cloud
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) systems offer future-proofed communications for companies that want to adapt to the modern era. For a long time, businesses have been forced to rely on premises-based solutions, which are difficult to upgrade or scale, require new hardware and software, and are expensive and resource intensive. But cloud-based services are becoming widely adopted. According to Gartner, by 2024, 74% of UC licenses will be cloud-based, an increase from 48% in 2019.
Cloud-based UCaaS integrates phone, video, meeting, and messaging into one reliable, scalable and easy-to-use solution. It doesn’t rely on servers, PBX hardware upgrades, and there’s no need for back-end management by IT teams – meaning they can focus on higher-value tasks. Instead, ongoing upgrades and back-end management are handled by the UCaaS providers. And this also enhances business continuity by offering cloud-based off-site backup, redundancy, and disaster recovery.
Meanwhile, integration with third-party applications is much easier via simple APIs, allowing organisations to become more agile even as they grow. At a time when organisations are being asked to do more with less, cloud-based UCaaS makes a lot of financial sense because businesses only pay for the services and licenses they need. Furthermore, employees can access platforms from anywhere as long as they have internet access. This is important for today’s workers, who are more collaborative and need tools that make it easy to share information.
Sophisticated cloud-based UCaaS solutions, such as RingCentral MVP go beyond telephony to offer conferencing and collaboration capabilities, such as messaging, document sharing and screen sharing. It can also enable web, audio, and video conferencing, ensuring workers can connect from any device and any location to access data, applications, and other critical business tools in one place. Ultimately, while having phone hardware and software on premises might seem to offer control, having this infrastructure in the cloud affords a greater element of control, simpler management and less end-user training.
RingCentral MVP and Daisy offer you a faster, Gartner-endorsed route to powerful, future-proofed communications. In an age of globally-dispersed, ultra-mobile workforces that rely on agile, multi-channel collaboration, traditional PBX telephony is struggling to cut it. Cumbersome and costly to maintain, these outdated systems are increasingly approaching end-of-life, while innovation and investment flow in one direction only: the cloud.
Starting a new era
The PSTN switch-off combined with changing working practices is the perfect storm. Taking action now is vital to avoid being caught out by the PSTN switch-off, and businesses should see this as an opportunity to modernise their communications infrastructure. For many, this will be the start of establishing a modern cloud-based communications system that will improve productivity and agility, laying the foundations for future business success.