WE’RE TALKING ABOUT POTS: This is not a game

Pots

 
Introduction – How POTS and Digital Transformation got into the same sentence.

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) communication lines are being turned down and decommissioned with a sunset date of August 2nd, 2022 effectively forcing customers to upgrade their legacy copper line infrastructure to newer technology. This end-of-life scenario has created an environment for newer technologies to solve old problems. While SIP trunking and VoIP have largely replaced old copper voice and DSL lines, specialty lines with very low usage such as fire alarm, burglar alarm, and fax have remained on old copper lines.

 

How does this equate to digital transformation?

Analog to digital. The transformation taking place is effectively as simple as swapping dial tones from analog (copper) to digital (wireless, fiber). Surprisingly enough, there remain roughly 40 million active POTS lines for services requiring an analog dial tone like fax, alarm, point of sale, elevator, and e-911.

A comprehensive POTS replacement strategy, by definition, equates to a digital transformation as multi-path redundancy is built in, services are aggregated and consolidated to use resources more efficiently, and new processes are put in place that remove the heavy lift of rip and replace of infrastructure. For example, for a site that does not have diversity routing to cover a failure of Internet access, moving POTS to VoIP will, in most cases, require re-engineering the IP infrastructure for redundancy and continuous operations.

These analog services can be replaced in a manner in which the new solution is only changing the transmission of the signals, not interfering with the system in which the signal is being generated in the first place by your burglar or fire alarm for example. Additionally, since you are effectively swapping dial tone for dial tone, there are not any compliance issues from fire marshals and municipalities.

Picture1-1Example of POTS In A Box solution (Source: MetTel)

How does this impact me?

Time to act now. First and foremost, the sunset date of August 2nd, 2022 means that there is a possibility that you will lose connectivity on lines that have not been transitioned to an alternative service by that date. As there are multiple options for alternative service, this timeline requires business leaders to address their POTS connectivity in their organization – now.

Cost savings opportunity. Over the past several years, carriers have been increasing the cost per POTS line dramatically as their cost to maintain and service this legacy technology has increased as well as a mechanism to incentivize customers to convert to newer technologies.

This means that if you have not critically looked at your POTS environment, you are likely spending significantly more that you should be – to the tune of hundreds of dollars per line per month.

Not sure if you have POTS lines? At minimum, every building has two. Fire and burglar alarms. Many locations have more for fax, elevators, DSL and voice.

Multi-location companies. Quick math will quickly convey the opportunity for cost savings for organizations with high location count. 100 locations with minimum two lines average cost between $50-100/mo traditionally are now as high as $700/mo. Split the difference and at $300/mo per line your monthly spend on POTS is $60k/mo or $720k/yr.

POTS aggregation. To stabilize your cost immediately, moving to an aggregator is likely the most straightforward way to bring your spend back down to reasonable levels. Aggregators have resale agreements with local phone companies across the country, giving them the ability to streamline these services for clients. You’ll immediately benefit from their bulk pricing discounts and vendor consolidation.

Additionally, these aggregators have long-term contracts that will give you the time beyond the sunset date to methodically and effectively transform your POTS infrastructure.

Inventory Management. Prior to taking any action on your existing POTS lines, performing an audit is a critical first step to gain full visibility of your spend by location and usage. Analyzing this data will oftentimes uncover immediate savings and optimization opportunities by identifying unused lines can be turned down while setting you up to transition to the right replacement service for lines that will continue to be operational.

By nature, these POTS lines are legacy line items for any location and corresponding invoice thereby flying under the radar of IT budgeting and planning. Getting the data on each line, its primary use, contract status, and the associated costs is the first step to addressing your POTS infrastructure.

Future proofing POTS replacements. When considering your new POTS service replacements, it is critical to build-in more than a single path. Additionally, you will want to remove the process of having to rip and replace infrastructure, and ultimately create a new solution with greater resiliency and a predictable fixed cost every month.

POTS IN A BOX is a new solution with an enterprise-grade LTE router and IP appliance that directly replaces wireline Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) lines including the capability for transmission of FAX, fire panel, burglar alarm, analog modem data, ring-down, voice & emergency lines, with full access to E-911. Additional functionality includes:
  • 24-hour battery backup power ensures uptime even during a power outage.
  • Dual-SIM capabilities ensure connectivity even if there is loss of primary internet
  • UL 60950-1 & UL 2054 certified
  • Connect with broadband, 4G LTE, and/or Wi-Fi

Picture2-1
Example of full POTS In A Box board (Source: MetTel)

Next Steps?

To quickly address your POTS infrastructure, contact Resourcive and we can run a diagnostic report in a matter of days. With full visibility, Resourcive will work with your team to identify opportunities for disconnects, explore immediate cost relief options, and begin to plan and implement a best-in-class POTS transformation solution.

Resourcive Value Add to Sourcing POTS Transformation
  • Complete baseline inventory and audit/analysis of current spend and usage
  • Market expertise and experience guiding clients through POTS transformation process
  • Transfer strategic and tactical man hours from internal IT team to Resourcive

 

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