Last week, we had a bit of a shock. We visited the Comms Room of a new customer in Pembroke Dock to conduct work on their WiFi solution when we found possibly the biggest decommissioned telephone system we have ever seen.
In fact, there were 3 defunct telephone systems in this room in all, each of varying sizes. The office building is an ex-council training centre which has clearly housed numerous different businesses in its time - each with different telephony requirements. From what we can gather, this enormous system was used to provide some sort of call centre solution, possibly linked with an old ITV Digital call centre nearby (we found numerous fibre cables seemingly running between the two buildings). I'm not sure the photo does it justice, but this system is huge. It was so big we didn't even notice it was there on our first two visits!
I can only imagine that the system has been left in situ because it would take a team of people to dismantle and remove it due to its size and weight. Much like the old Nortel and BT systems it sits alongside, it'll probably be there for several years to come.
My inner geek got to thinking about why a business would ever need such a huge system, what it could possibly do that smaller systems couldn't, and what it would take to get the same features today. From looking at its markings, it seems this system was installed in the early 2000s, so it is not an ancient relic by any means.
The modern Call Centre
Telephone technology has changed drastically in recent times and it is now quite common not to have any hardware on-site at all (excluding phones, of course). Much like the cloud computing services we are used to, cloud telephony has changed the way we do business. People no longer expect to have the 'big box on the wall' or in the Comms Room - on-premises telephone systems are generally a thing of the past, save for those few occasions where one is absolutely necessary. The thing is, a cloud phone system needs no on-site maintenance, saving you time and money and actually making it much easier to get things done. Features can be added and removed in no time - new extensions can be provisioned remotely and call reports can be downloaded in an instant.
Regardless of the size of your business, enterprise-level features are now also available to you. Call queueing systems, call recording and intercom facilities can be made available at any time, with no need to invest in a massive hardware solution as pictured above. We've recently made good use of a call queueing solution for a dental practice in Carmarthenshire - perhaps we'll cover that in detail in a future blog.
If you're looking to change your phone system but don't even know where to begin, it's likely to be far easier than you initially thought. If you have a colossal existing system like the one above, do let us know so we can come and switch it off for you. You'll probably save more in electricity costs than the whole thing costs to replace!