The ISDN switch off – why you must act now!

The ISDN switch off – why you must act now!

What will the year 2025 look like?

Looking into our crystal ball we can see Boris Johnson, in his new press centre, sadly announcing the 20th lockdown, promising that this will definitely be the last time.

And we see thousands of stressed business owners coming to the sudden realisation that they are about to lose all their comms, with the big ISDN switch-off being imminent. If only they had contacted a business telecoms supplier earlier.

This goes to prove that you should never trust a crystal ball!

Hopefully, by 2025, the Covid will have been consigned to the past.

And what of the business owners? Happily, there is absolutely no reason why the ISDN switch-off should cause any problems. There are four years before the shutdown, so we all have plenty of time. Or do we?

The question is whether businesses and organisations will grab the opportunity for seamless transition now? The example of Germany suggests that may not be the case.

Procrastinate at your peril

The Germans were ahead of us on their planned ISDN switch-off – and the transition was far from smooth.

A few weeks before the shutdown was due to happen, on December 31st 2108, the COO of one of Germany’s leading comms companies, declared that:

“A number of German businesses that were not aware of this change and how it affects them are in a state of panic as they heavily rely on their ISDN service to function.

“This can drive business owners to make quick decisions about something which could have a long-term costly impact on their sustainability.”

Far too many organisations left their migration to the last minute, which resulted in poorly planned strategies and countless businesses paying over the odds.

The German ISDN switch-off was delayed due to the problem – but there is no indication that the UK will follow suit and also put back the date.

Panic like it’s 1999

A similar panic occurred with the Y2K or Millennium Bug panic.

Over 20 years on, it is difficult to recall just how worried people were, but it was a monumental crisis. The Millennium Bug was caused by the fact that when dates were coded in early computers, a year (like the month and the day) was represented by two numbers – e.g. 99 rather than 1999.

As the year 2000 approached, the magnitude of the error became apparent. Computers could not tell the difference between 1900 and 2000.

The problem was spotted in 1988 when a batch of tinned meat with a sell-by date of 2000 was rejected by a supermarket, as the computer thought it was 80 years out of date.

In 1993, Mary Bandar from Minnesota received an invite to join a local kindergarten. She declined as she felt that, at the age of 104, she was probably a bit too old.

Aside from the comical errors, there was concern that every computer system could go into meltdown, crashing financial systems, medical equipment, military software and every conceivable data network.

On the evening of 31st December 1999, planes were grounded across the world, due to fears they would fall out of the sky at midnight.

Fortunately, the issue was spotted and addressed by IT geeks across the world, and the dreaded Armageddon never happened.

In a recent LinkedIn Article, Nick Poyner – Rubix VT Director, recalls how he could barely cope with the crazed demand for Y2K compliant telecoms at the end of 1999.

“We couldn’t sell phone systems fast enough,” wrote Nick. “As a dedicated telecoms salesman at the time, I have vague memories of staggering home late on Christmas Eve that year, hollow-eyed with tiredness, satisfied with a job well done but unnerved at all the phone fear out there.

“Business owners were in a panic about the mysterious Millennium Bug destroying their computer networks. They were also dreading the deafening silence of clients and prospects unable to get hold of them.”

The lesson from the Millennium Bug and the German ISDN switch-off is the same.

Huge numbers of people won’t act until the deadline is looming. And when everyone panics, the supply dries up, the prices rise and the whole process becomes unnecessarily painful and stressful.

Switch now – and save

If you are currently using ISDN, you will most likely be aware that you need to migrate by 2025, but it may not be the highest on your to-do list. Even if you are planning to act before the last-minute rush, it may not be a pressing issue. Four years is a long way off – although we all know that time flies.

But there are other reasons why acting now makes perfect sense. ISDN is outdated technology, and once the writing was on the wall, there has been no investment in the infrastructure.

Although 2025 is the deadline, the time to get out is now.

Switching to a VoIP set-up has vast benefits. For start, you can save money. VoIP works off your internet so there is no need for multiple channels or lines. Unlike ISDN, VoIP is easily scalable and extremely flexible.

With ISDN lines, moving office is a big headache. VoIP, being a cloud-based solution, means location is not an issue. The limitations of ISDN have been magnified during the lockdowns when so many people have been working from home.

Ultimately, migrating from ISDN is not a choice. It HAS to happen as it will soon disappear. As you have to move, the smart thing to do is act early to make the most of the benefits.

Get in touch and we can talk you through the most cost-effective and productive way of migrating. And we promise you, no one will be panicking.

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