With small businesses under more pressure than ever, upgrading your entire phone system in preparation for the ISDN switch off might seem a big ask. But this could be the perfect opportunity to take your business to the next level.
Who Will the ISDN Switch Off Effect?
BT’s 2 million ISDN customers will be affected by the switch off. As consumer landlines continue to decline, more and more of those customers will be businesses. According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report, there are 6.4 million fixed landlines in the UK that belong to businesses.
If your current ISDN phone contract is up for renewal soon, now is the time to explore the option of switching to hosted VoIP solutions or cloud telephony.
How Will the ISDN Switch Off Affect Small Business?
When BT switches off their ISDN in 2025, small businesses won't be able to use phone systems that use ISDN any more. Any devices or equipment that use it will be made redundant.
So while we all accept that change is inevitable, the ISDN switch off could have a positive impact on businesses. New technology offers new opportunities, and switching now could be the first step towards business-wide digital transformation.
Switching from ISDN to new telephony technology is like switching from VHS to DVD. On the one hand, you have a perfectly functional means of showing a film. On the other, you have the opportunity to include more features, better quality, and a more exciting user experience.
What are the Alternatives to ISDN for Small Businesses?
BT plans to move its voice network to VoIP (voice over internet protocol). VoIP doesn't run over copper lines, which allows more data to travel faster. It also makes the idea of line rental redundant because all you need for VoIP is an internet connection.
40% of the UK market has already recognised that switching to a VoIP solution provides several key benefits:
- It’s quicker to provision new lines. Hosted VoIP solutions are designed around modern "plug-and-play" infrastructures. This allows you to expand your call centre or sales teams in minutes.
- You reduce your line rental. Calls are made through the internet, so you don't have to worry about phone bills as much. When you pay in data, calls cost much less.
- VoIP is flexible and fast. Pairing a SIP line with a cloud-based telephony system gives you the ability to easily transfer calls between locations, use work lines anywhere from any device, and have greater visibility over your teams.
How to Turn the ISDN Switch Off into a Strategic Advantage
Convert temporary measures to a permanent solution
In the wake of national lockdown in 2020/2021, many businesses chose to stay active by implementing some kind of remote working solution.
For some, that involved simply expensing your staff's personal mobile and home broadband and hastily buying laptops and mobile devices. For others, it was engaging a communications service provider to implement a remote working strategy. Regardless of your solution, these temporary measures can serve as the foundation for a digital switch over.
VoIP and cloud telephony phone systems can easily unify your disparate telecoms infrastructure. It's easy to roll out across a variety of personal and business devices and can be implemented remotely. By pulling all the bills and usage together, you get greater control over costs and can start streamlining processes to create a more robust infrastructure.
Liberate yourself from fixed office infrastructure
Switching to VoIP or cloud telephony offers more opportunities than simply keeping the phones working. You can create a business edge by taking advantage of these opportunities.
Being free from ISDN landlines means you don't have to be in the office all the time. This could provide an opportunity to downsize your physical space, reducing property overheads and allowing you greater flexibility.
When it comes time to scale your business, VoIP and cloud telephony enable fast and cost-effective expansion. If you have a remote working solution in place, this is made easier still because you don't necessarily have to get your hands on more office space.
Less reliance on space also opens up hiring options, allowing you to secure much-needed talent from further afield. Likewise, you can take your business further – sending your sales team into regional locations to better understand your customers and make networking easier.
Align Your Communications to Your Customers
The ISDN switch off allows businesses to rethink how they communicate with their customers to provide a better experience. This is important because 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
Look at the latest trends and profile your customers to make sure that your communications channels are optimised and future-proofed. If your customers prefer to engage with your business over text, WhatsApp, or chatbot, build those expectations into your telephony upgrade plan.
Find a means of unifying your customer contact channels by leveraging cloud technology.
By 2025, 52% of contact centre leaders plan to have unified communications systems. That means the movement to consolidate systems and connect all your channels starts now.
Prepare for the ISDN Switch Off with Confidence
The ISDN switch off will affect millions of small business across the UK – businesses that have already experienced some measure of unplanned digital transformation. With the 2025 deadline still a little way out, businesses have the opportunity to take control of their future and turn a technology change into a serious operational advantage.