We will soon need to change to using VOIP as traditional phone lines are phased out


Just 65 years ago all telephone calls over 15 miles were manually connected by the operator at the local exchange who used to use a jack plug into the correct number on the switchboard.

If the number was not on their board, then the call was passed to correct exchange for an operator there to connect. All changed in Dec 1958 when the Queen made the first Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) call to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. STD allowed for automatic routing and charging for calls. It was not until 1979 that the “Dial Everywhere Network” was completed, and STD had come of age.


We use many forms of communication. In our haste to adopt new technologies we risk not considering the full implications of the changes we are making. The more communication channels we have open, the greater the chance for communication to suffer. Maybe the infinite possibilities of using Voice Over Internet Protocol is something to be approached in bite size chunks.

An example

At Westaways we have a desk phone system, that enables the whole office to hear every incoming call. We have a policy of answering within 5 rings. Try us on 01626 333101 to see if this is correct. We are open 5 days 7am to 4pm. This means that any call can be directed correctly in a friendly and helpful manner. If the call is someone selling us something, then the caller can immediately find the interest level. It is strange but we are now getting far less calls, but the calls we do get are of better value to us. Try us with a random enquiry and see if you are treated with respect. How easy is to get to speak to me for example. This unashamedly old-school but it works for us.

I visited a large multi-site company that had installed a VOIP system that used a platform to deliver calls, messaging, video, conferencing, and screen and document sharing through a single display. They had a remote receptionist on one of the sites directing the incoming calls. Whilst there I overhead a call from a haulier needing directions to one of the lorry bays on a remote site. This was transferred to the correct contact at the site, but they had put their phone on divert to another contact who was working from home and not picking up. The call came back to the receptionist who with no knowledge was unable to help. I asked the receptionist if this was unusual, she said about 15% of all calls were unsuccessful.  This would drive me insane.

I then called a key supplier, who had just built a completely new factory on a single site at huge expense. My call was after 9am in the morning (they opened at 0830), no response not even a redirect to voicemail. I called a mobile number, which did pick up. Apparently, the receptionist was on a day off and the phones had not been switched on.


I know I have too many feeds (both personal and business).

These are from different time zones, different Social Media, cross platform messaging, different cloud services, different user groups, different interest groups and different businesses that I am involved with.

How to engage with and add value to these feeds is an increasing problem. During the pandemic one survey found that the average time on a smartphone has increased by 25% to 6.9 hours every day.

Surely nothing can be so vital we spend nearly 30% of our time on earth being a slave to our mobiles.

Here are my tips to prevent mobiles taking over our lives and still get the job done.

  1. Use an open plan office, with set business hours.
  2. Invite contacts to phone, then answer the phone and do your best help the caller.
  3. Manage expectations, do what you have said you would.
  4. Work a routine and stick to it. When are you open for communication?
  5. Do not adopt platforms or hardware unless you have a detailed plan how you are going to use them.

And lastly

If you are determined to live in a virtual world, be careful. The level and credibility of internet-based fraud is growing just as fast as the growth in eCommerce.

You will be victim in some way of internet fraud, it is just a question of when and the level to which you or your business will be affected.