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What’s In Your Building? Why Sticking with POTS for Non-Voice Applications Is Hurting You

POTS for Non-Voice Applications

Money doesn’t grow on trees!

If you’re like us, you probably remember being told this multiple times in your life: maybe as a kid when you asked your parents for the latest Gameboy edition or much later by an executive anxious about meeting quarterly sales targets. 

The point is that the bottom line is hugely important across all aspects of your business. Some decision-makers try to cut costs by streamlining their operations and investing in new communications and collaboration technologies. That’s definitely a good way to go. But here’s another way: paying attention to your overhead.

Yes, overhead. The costs that you must pay in order to either be or stay in business. Take a look around you right now. Chances are, whatever building you’re in, it’s not just space you’re paying for, but also utilities like lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, water, the internet and your telephone service. 

Here’s one type of service that doesn’t often come to mind but should: your alarms! Think about elevator, fire, security and blue light emergency service alarms. They’re vital to the safety of your building and the people within it, but could they be costing you more than they should? It turns out that knowing what’s behind your walls and in your panels could make all the difference.

What’s In Your Walls? Alarms and POTS Lines

Traditional phone systems relying on physical wires are known as “plain old telephone service” or POTS lines. Not a very inspiring name, right? Starting in the late 1880s, POTS were the traditional way that residences and businesses connected to each other. They are the standard voice-grade phone lines you grew up with, where, to communicate, you used copper wires and switches strung on poles or buried underground. Since the early 1990s, these rudimentary systems have gradually been replaced, first by fiber optic cables and now by better digital technology like cellular wireless signals. However, there is one area where POTS lines persist: business alarm systems. Elevator lines, security gates, emergency services – your building has these features, and chances are they are relying on aging POTS lines. You’re definitely not playing with that old Gameboy anymore, but chances are you’re still using the same-era technology to safeguard your business. Isn’t it time you upgraded?

When you’re thinking of your building’s main features, the copper wiring supporting your alarms and elevators may not spring to mind – but they sure will in the event of an emergency or outage, when business continuity rears its stressful head. Whether you’re serving office workers, patients, students, or hotel guests, people want to work, learn, and rest in buildings that are safe and sustainable. For those in older buildings, some infrastructure systems have become outmoded and inefficient. Leaving these POTS lines in place past the end of their usefulness can have dire consequences in worst-case scenarios. Dated systems using POTS lines often lack the latest safety features. They are more prone to breakdowns, malfunctions, and general unreliability. Even if your old elevator alarm lines meet the latest safety standards and codes, your building may still be at risk.

The Costs of POTS: A Hidden Money Drain for Your Business

Beyond possible risk, there are other considerations as well, like the added service, parts, and repairs required on older systems. POTS is now legacy infrastructure, so support and maintenance are becoming more expensive all the time. Simply put, the wiring infrastructure and associated equipment for copper wire systems is expensive, and all the extra work of updating and fixing them is becoming costly and inconvenient. Because of this, support and service for POTS lines is being discontinued in some cases. This makes the monthly costs of maintaining POTS lines even higher still – as businesses modernize, technicians familiar with POTS maintenance will be tougher to find. The takeaway? Modernizing your alarm and elevator lines can increase safety and functionality, as well as lead to long-term cost savings.

Managing the Bottom Line Without Compromising on Reliability

Running a smart, modernized business means managing overhead and increasing efficiencies wherever possible. You may not have thought of the stuff inside your walls as a drag on your bottom line, but there’s a better way. If you’re ready to explore options for replacing your old POTS lines, reach out to us as your trusted IT advisor today.