Making the big switch off a success for all UK businesses
As UK businesses strive to navigate a rapidly changing digital future, the PSTN Switch Off happening in 2025 will be a much welcomed (and needed!) change. There’s no doubt that this change will significantly impact the telecoms industry, bringing with it an end to the sale of PSTN and ISDN phone lines – a national stop-sell of copper wire based products taking place in September 2023.
With that in mind, adopting digital and cloud-based solutions sooner rather than later is essential if businesses don’t want to get left behind when 2025 is here. Times are changing, and in order for businesses to keep up, they need to consider digital alternatives such as VoIP based solutions to stay in the game.
What will change?
From office landlines and fax machines, to CCTV and door-entry security systems, these office staples will no longer work in 2025. Many of these things have always ‘just worked’ and are rarely paid any mind, but now there is much for businesses to consider as they look to the future.
This is no simple change of telephone. It’s an opportunity for businesses to digitally transform and future-proof their operations in a way that can easily adapt to technology advancements in years to come. It’s an opportunity to improve sustainability and to upgrade your tech stack with new tools that will increase efficiency and productivity in your team.
Businesses can expect to be presented with many choices in digital alternatives, depending on what they need. This can undoubtedly feel overwhelming. My advice to business leaders considering their options and unsure where to start is this:
1. Consider what you need to directly replace what you will lose in the Switch Off
- Consider what upgrades will enhance your business the most
Digital and cloud-based tools today offer far more than just a line of communication. This means, despite the Switch Off being something your business might not have chosen, it is an opportunity to grow. As much as replacing what you will lose is important, I urge leaders to not simply replace but to upgrade and reap the benefits.
What solutions are available?
Voice-over Internet Protocol, otherwise known as VoIP, will be leading the way as the best alternative to lost landlines. This cloud-based technology will allow you to make calls from anywhere, at any time befitting a modern business structure.
But as I already mentioned, VoIP is more than just a direct replacement for landlines. They are tools to be implemented into your business that can support and augment other business functions too. Many of the VoIP providers offer technology that can also integrate seamlessly with other business software. Some platforms can link directly to your CRM, automatically record sales calls to your key prospects and also link to cloud-based accounting software.
What was once separate tools offering a single business function, is now a network within your business that shares information quickly and easily offering multiple functions and capabilities we didn’t have before.
This can go one step further still with Unified Communications (UCaaS). This is an innovative technology stack that can bring all of your comms tools together in a single app, greatly increasing business growth and operational flexibility. It is what we call a ‘total solution’ for businesses, able to manage voice, video, messaging, file sharing and more, all in one central tool.
How will the Switch Off improve businesses?
Aside from the operational benefits to your business, which include many of what we’ve already discussed like greater internal efficiency and productivity from the ease of use and speed of these new digital tools – there are other benefits this big telecoms change will bring.
Today, businesses face many challenges that are larger than any one business can overcome alone. Economic upheaval requires businesses to be nimble and ready to adapt to any number of unexpected barriers. Because of this, flexibility is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity and that includes having flexible infrastructures. Where the copper wiring of old kept businesses anchored to an office, digital and cloud-based tools allow you to upscale and downscale your infrastructure to match your business’ ongoing operational needs, reducing costs by only using what is required.
Decision making during these uncertain times needs to be accelerated. This means your communications between employees, customers, suppliers and partners also need to be fast to maintain or deepen relationships and support those all important business decisions. Again, this is something that PSTN was not always able to offer, but today’s tools can match your speed and more.
And of course, we cannot overlook the sustainable benefits. As the UK strives for its Net Zero target, businesses are increasingly expected to do their part. Digital and cloud-based tools reduce your carbon footprint by deploying video, messaging and more to service customers, instead of relying on resource-wasting travel.
An exciting future ahead
To put things in perspective, the benefits of The Big Switch Off will truly transform the UK and its business landscape. With support from Government and the private sector, businesses can really make a success of the change and best position themselves to embrace newer technologies in the future.
This will be a great opportunity not to just replace what is old, but to introduce something that is new, efficient and scalable. Now is the time for all UK businesses to digitally transform or risk facing an even more uncertain future.