What to Expect from Business Phone Installation in a Post-Covid-19 World?

Covid-19 has radically changed business needs both in terms of the US as a whole and as a small or mid-sized business. How are telecom companies adapting, and what can you expect in the new normal?

In the last few months Covid-19 has forced personal and organizational adaptations that would typically take years of planning. Businesses that are capable of remote work have transitioned from office-centric communications to distributed infrastructures; industry associations and non-profits have either canceled events, or virtualized them. Business and consumer travel has ground to a halt while virtual entertainment such as video games, eCommerce, digital media, and social media has exploded, increasing by roughly 25% overall, according to Cloudflare. Meanwhile, specific websites and apps, such as Netflix have seen much larger usage increases, the top performers up to 800% (The Impact of COVID-19 on Telecommunications and the Future, 2020). Imagine the chaos had we required airlines to increase capacity by 25% in two weeks, much less 8x the norm? 

But aside from the occasional hiccough in video conferencing or page load, digital infrastructure has continued to operate without showing significant signs of strain. That shows just how scalable digital infrastructures are, and how flexible they are to rapid shifts like the ones we have seen over the last few months. Business leaders are right to consider deepening their use of digital technology, especially communications. 

Many are also seeing that remote workers can be just as productive if not more when working from home. The prospect of reducing office space in exchange for greater flexibility is attractive now, and will continue to be attractive even after a vaccine is developed and all returns to normal. Indeed, we have seen more businesses switching to distributed communications networks in the last couple of months than we anticipated over the next year. 

To help manage this shift we continue to develop a migration model that outlines and addresses the chief challenges encountered during the transition to a distributed workspace, where employees are just as connected whether they work from home or commute to the office. 

We envision that in particular small and mid-sized companies will find a lot of value in thinking through the business outcomes they want from the transition, and then understanding the tasks needed to achieve those outcomes. We have provided an outline of the most important and general outcomes below.

How to Plan a Business Phone Installation for a Distributed Workspace? 

The challenges of engineering a distributed communications network are quite different than in a traditional office installation.

Business Outcome

  • External Communications
  • Broadband Connectivity
  • Digital Phone Infrastructure
  • Security
  • Hardware
  • Safety
  • Training

Office

  • Conference Room
  • Office ISP (Internet Service Provider)
  • Cloud or premise PBX (Public Branch eXchange)
  • Endpoint
  • Softphones, headphones, mobile
  • On-premise servicepeople wear N95 masks
  • On-premise

Distributed

  • Web Conferencing Solution
  • Everyone’s ISP
  • VoIP App and Cloud PBX almost exclusively
  • Secure distributed networking tech (Ie. VPN or alternatives)
  • Same
  • Home-office installation equipment shipped, ISP services managed by ISP
  • Virtual

At the highest level, we see a continued shift to cloud infrastructure. If fewer teams operate out of the office, on-premise PBX will deliver less value in comparison with cloud hosted solutions. The added simplicity will also be useful when other aspects of business phone installation become more complex.

Security, for example. It is critical that as the attack perimeter increases security solutions must also extend to protect individual workspaces, which can sometimes be located outside the country. Businesses need to determine a programmatic way of working with various Internet Service Providers, and of finding the right amount of control to exert when setting up home workspaces. 

  1. WiFi security
  2. Power Supply Units (PSUs)
  3. Individual Workstations
  4. Virtual Private Network (VPN) or alternative tech 

The unpredictable location of home offices also presents challenges with connectivity. Some workers might be located in a region with relatively poor connectivity. In most cases video conferencing is unaffected; however, slower DSL speeds can deliver unprofessional performance. Telecoms should be proactive in their discovery process so that any potential issues are planned for, rather than unearthed after the fact. 

For Telecoms, Business Phone Installation Has Become Bigger than Telecom

While enterprises employ individuals or teams to handle telecommunications concerns, smaller businesses will be less prepared to navigate these shifts on their own. Therefore, telecom and VoIP providers are mandated to prepare comprehensive and practical migration recommendations and procedures for distributed office networks. It is imperative that we consider communal safety first, health of communications, network protection, and physical well-being.

If you have any questions at all, please give us a call. We are happy to share our expertise to help you manage the transition effectively.

Barb Peck

I can’t say enough good things about Convergence!  Steve, Paul, Laura and the entire Convergence Solutions team make every effort to be friendly and helpful while taking care of our needs.  They are knowledgeable, patient, and kind.  The initial set up and implementation of our phone system several years ago was flawless, and they have continued to update and maintain as needed.  We’ve had our voice mail go down on a weekend, and they are always accessible.  I was leaving to go out of town recently and emailed a last minute change order.  I wasn’t clear with my request, and Paul tracked me down on my cell phone to clarify the instructions so he could put the change in place that day.  We are truly thankful to all of them!

Barb Peck
LifeBridge Church

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