You have moved your company to a centralised IP telephony system and should by now be benefiting with a much lower telco bill – well, perhaps. Maybe the savings are not looking quite as large as expected or not as good as they could be. But why? Call rates aside, the only way to maximise your savings is by getting rid of your legacy services. Sometimes it seems easier said than done!
You may have upgraded the main lines and be using your WAN and relinquished the old lines. However there are still likely to be some lines left behind that seem a bit hard to remove.
So let’s look at common types and the options you have.
Miscellaneous Phone lines
There always seems to be odd phone lines left behind and often staff have no idea what they are (or were) used for. Check them out. If not used, relinquish them. If you are still advertising a phone number, have it ported to a DDI and then relinquish the line.
Some of the lines above may have been installed to allow a broadband connection. Quite often people access the internet another way and no longer use this service. If so relinquish. If they are still using it many of these broadband plans are out of date and need to be moved to more recent, cost effective plans.
Some fax machines will work over IP and some not. As you cannot control what fax machine a 3rd party uses, many will advise you to keep your existing analogue phone line to run a fax.
For most businesses, fax traffic has been declining for many years in favour of email so this would be a good time to review if you actually need a fax machine at all. But there are some industries where fax use is still common and if that includes you, here are two common options:
For a large corporate with many branches, installing your own fax server may be the answer where faxes are converted to emails which are distributed across the internal network.
An increasingly popular option is to use a 3rd party fax to email service. It will usually be cheaper than the old POTS line and use the existing fax number and deliver each fax to one of your email addresses. For outbound fax this works in reverse if you have a multifunction printer/copier/scanner.
The EFTPOS industry has been active in this area for some time now and already seem to have all their ducks in a row. Many EFTPOS companies have made a strong push to IP which commonly is charged at a lower rate than over an older POTS line. Many current terminals are already IP capable and connecting them in to your existing LAN could be a minor exercise.
And if moving to IP does not suit, then you can change your terminal to one with an inbuilt mobile connection.
Discuss with your security company, but there are two basic options to connect your alarm system to your security companies monitoring service
Wired – via the customers Internet connection. Will probably require a small IP module installed in the alarm panel itself. Reliability is determined by how reliable the Internet connection is and whether you have a UPS powering the local router and switch
Wireless – via a mobile (cellular) connection. Will need a small mobile module installed in the alarm panel
Of the two, the wireless option would seem the most popular with security companies as it is both fast to deploy and reliable.
Lift phones are not normally top of mind by a building tenant as they are the responsibility of the building owner to provide for the lifts. Nevertheless it is useful to include them here as an exercise to discuss what would happen in a new building that is being reticulated with fibre only. This could happen now as Chorus has announced that a new building in a UFB area will be reticulated with fibre, but if the building owner wants copper lines as well, then they will be at full cost.
And the answer is … the lift industry seems to be lagging behind and without a clear industry strategy in place. There has been some testing with mobile connections but as the mobiles have been mounted around the lift shafts and in basements, reception has proved less than reliable. I guess we will just have to watch this space.
Fire alarms are where you really must talk to your alarm provider but there are a few options available:
- The easiest and most reliable to deploy is a mobile (cellular) connection as long as there is acceptable coverage. This is probably the preferred option.
- Using the new IP telephony system and deriving an analogue connection by using an ATA (analogue telephone adaptor) is possible but unfortunately performance can be hit or miss.
- Alarms can use an IP connection but there is a catch – the entire IP connection needs to dedicated to that single task and be owned (ie under full control ) by the alarm provider. So using the existing company Internet connection is not on (other than as a back-up).
In the future, it looks as though mobile connections equipped with dual SIM cards will be used to provide dual mobile carrier connections (and thus additional resilience)
Because data circuits are not always charged by usage, traffic can be moved to new services and it is not obvious it is no longer being used. Alternatively it can be seen as too difficult to migrate off old circuits. Old circuits are very expensive compared to newer replacement services and certainly unused circuits are a waste of money.
Apart from the costs there is also the risks old circuits may create. If you are paying for an expensive managed service that is no longer being managed if faults occur restoring service may result in lengthy outages to the business.
In 2016 TeleConsultants delivered over $1Million annual savings to our clients with a considerable amount due to updating or relinquishing legacy services.