The average lifespan of a telecommunications system is from five to seven years, according to a white paper by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), “Aging Communications Systems: Risks And Opportunities.”But many businesses have delayed upgrades due to the economy, and now aging telecommunications infrastructure is becoming a real concern.
“This market was expected to shift rapidly from TDM to IP; however, the transition has stalled over the past five to ten years,” noted the white paper. “Businesses have shown reluctance to introduce new innovations in their network, preferring to work with the existing infrastructure. Consequently, many enterprise communications systems are ageing to the extent they are impacting business operations.”
The delay in upgrading telecommunications equipment both affects profitability and operational costs. There are both technological reasons to upgrade, such as creating an environment where collaborative conversations can take place, and the cost considerations around maintaining aging hardware out of service contract or that in some cases are no longer supported by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
“The likelihood of equipment failures increases with aging, and failures are costly,” noted the Alcatel-Lucent white paper. “Once equipment reaches end-of-life, no service level agreement (SLA) agreements for the equipment are available. Without a service contract, the business has no guarantee of resolution time or level of priority the equipment supplier will give if an issue arises.” In fact, it is noted that support costs will be higher, ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 per case.
Aging equipment also stalls new standards and protocols that are becoming essential for business, such as the need for an Applications Fluent Network. With bring-your-own-device (BYOD) an inexorable trend among employees, and both the number of devices on the network and their rich media capabilities, it is becoming incumbent that firms prioritize traffic and offer a telecommunications platform that supports modern communication methods.
Recognizing that the ideal is not always possible, Alcatel-Lucent provides in incremental upgrade path that business can leverage to transition to the future while still using some of their existing PBX (News - Alert) system.
“The Alcatel-Lucent OpenTouch Suite of solutions is flexible, allowing a company to reuse elements of the in-service system, such as a legacy PBX, and building an updated system that can last for years without becoming obsolete,” wrote the white paper.
With OpenTouch, companies can use an existing system such as the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX 4400 or an Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX™ Enterprise Communication Server (CS) PBX and transform it into the latest OmniPCX Enterprise CS. Assets such as telephone sets and existing cabling can be reused, and the new system can become the starting point for a company’s telephony evolution.
The benefits of an upgrade can include such things as:
- Higher network availability
- Compliance with the latest regulations
- A flexible architecture that s easily centralized
- Reduction in the number of systems supported
- Support for rich media
- Enablement of better collaboration
As Alcatel-Lucent stresses, “The OpenTouch Suite supports a variety of platforms, such as IP telephony and SIP-based multimedia communications…And because the suite is flexible, you can decide to implement features and capabilities when it makes good business sense.”
There is an old saying that “with age comes wisdom.” And, while some of us who have lived a certain number of years also like the axiom “age before beauty,” when it comes to your legacy communications system being elderly is not a good thing. The fact of the matter is that the installed base of legacy PBX, e.g., TDM switches that were not built or optimized for the Internet Age, has never been older. Not only are these systems “showing their age,” for a host of reasons now is not just a good time but likely the right time to consider a change.
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Edited by Peter Bernstein