As the NBN is going live in more areas many of our clients are starting to enjoy extremely fast internet at much better prices than they have seen in the past, enabling them to implement new technologies that they may have been holding off on due to the cost of connectivity.
But what many people forget about is that the NBN is designed to replace both internet and phone services and in many areas the copper network that may support your business phones, alarms, fax machines or eftpos services will be switched off at some point after the NBN has become available to you. This applies to everyone in the area, regardless of whether you have ordered the NBN or not, which means action needs to be taken to review what may be using these copper lines and arrange alternative options for these devices.
For many alarms and eftpos machines the solution is easy and involves moving the unit to a mobile service. Most alarm providers and banks can arrange for conversions or replacements for these devices to allow them to continue to operate after the switch over.
But what about your business phones connecting to your PBX and your fax machines? Depending on what type of lines you use into your phone system, they may or may not be switched off as part of the NBN roll-out. However more often than not, we find customers have some sort of traditional copper line in use somewhere throughout their business (known as PSTN) and consideration will need to be given on what to do next.
Depending on the age of your phone system, it may or may not be able to support VoIP (Voice over IP). By moving to VoIP, all of your business phones and faxes can be delivered over the internet and you can remove the dependency on those old copper lines and usually save money on phone calls in the process. Because the NBN provides very cost effective high speed internet, the expense of reliable Internet to support VoIP is no longer an issue and many of the issues associated with VoIP such as poor call quality or drop outs are eliminated as these issues are generally caused by poor Internet connections or poor implementations.
If your phone system does not support VoIP then it may be time to look at replacement options for your business phone system. Gone are the days where replacing your phone system requires a giant box bolted to the wall that will remain there for the next five to ten years with little to no updates to your phone system. Current phone systems today come in many different forms and with the improvements to Internet speed and reliability, you may not need a phone system in your office at all, with a phone system hosted in the cloud.
Modern phone systems are known as ‘IP Phones’ which means they run very much like your computer network, plugging in to a LAN and connecting to your phone system in the same way your computer talks to the server. ‘IP Phones’ are quite grown up from older technology and they have the smarts of a computer to go with them. Things like integration between your handset and desktop computer for managing calls, automatically configuring handsets, synchronizing with your company or personal contacts, voice-mail to email, scheduled conference calls, extensions in home or remote offices, extending your office extension to a smart phone and much more all become possible when moving to an IP based system. The best part about these types of systems are that they can be implemented on-premises, in the cloud, over VoIP or over traditional ISDN or PSTN lines, so you do not have to have the NBN to get these features now.
Take our RODIN Voice solution for example. We utilize the 3CX IP based phone system package to bring together all of these features and more to customers running on traditional lines, VoIP lines with the phone system hosted on their own infrastructure at their offices, or through the cloud. As I sit here and type this blog post today, I can glance at my second monitor and see that someone from our sales team is talking to one of our technicians, one of our VIP customers is currently on the phone to a member of our helpdesk team, two of our team members are away from their desks at the moment and review the statistics on our help-desk, reviewing how many calls have been received today, how long the helpdesk team have spent on the phone and how long customers have spent waiting on hold.
If the NBN is available or soon to be available in your area and you are not sure what that means for your current phones, fax, alarms or eftpos machines please feel free to contact us on 1300 138 761 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a review to advise you exactly what will need to be done and what options you have.